Controversial pastor cancels Tampa appearance

03/25/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has canceled what would have been his first public appearance since a furor erupted two weeks ago over inflammatory remarks made in his sermons.

The Rev. Wright was scheduled to deliver a sermon at the Bible-Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace tonight as part of 3 days of revival meetings celebrating the church’s 10th anniversary.

The Rev. Earl B. Mason Sr., senior pastor at the Bible-Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace, says it’s been "grossly unfair" how Wright has been depicted in the media since the uproar ensued. Mason is referring to reaction he’s received in some quarters since the St. Petersburg Times reported last week that Wright would be appearing at his church this week.

Mason says Wright has influenced himself and many others over the decades preaching at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and across the country.

Mason says all of the criticism about Wright and his particular teachings have lacked context and compassion. He says most know nothing of the man but what they’ve seen in the video clips.

For years, Wright has made the journey to Tampa to preach at the Bible-based Fellowship Churches in both Temple Terrace and Carrollwood. He’s never been an issue until now.

The onslaught of media attention on conservative talk radio, Fox News and some blogs has prompted some to threaten to go to church and heckle the pastor.

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