President Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, will speak on Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union and designed to increase its political activism.
Wright, pastor emeritus at Trinity United Church of Christ, will keynote the union's breakfast honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Politico reports
The union seeks to develop a group of Chicago pastors to support its efforts, including battling the city's policy of closing down low-performing public schools in favor of charter schools.
"He's a theologian and a scholar," union President Karen Lewis told Politico about Wright. "He is highly respected in this town amongst the clergy."
Wright's speeches and sermons were also known for their anti-American and anti-Semitic views.
In 2010, he told a seminar
at the University of Chicago that Jews controlled the flow of worldwide information and oppressed blacks in Israel and the United States.
He said the U.S. educational system was designed by whites to mis-educate blacks, "not by benign neglect but by malignant intent."
Wright has also supported controversial Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, and has said the United States created the AIDS virus to kill off black people.
Lewis told Politico that she was "not concerned at all" that Wright might repeat such inflammatory remarks at the Wednesday event.
"Martin Luther King was an extraordinarily controversial figure," she said. "And Rev. Wright has been a huge acolyte of Dr. King's vision, spreading the gospel of freedom and justice."
Obama had been a member of Wright's church for 20 years before resigning during the 2008 election campaign and disavowing him in a speech on race in Philadelphia later that year.
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