The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck, referring to Sen. Barack Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ, asked her co-hosts, "[C]an white people go to that church?" Sean Hannity, whose show Hasselbeck mentioned, has falsely suggested that the church is segregated.
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During the March 10 edition of ABC's The View, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, referring to Sen. Barack Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ, asked her co-hosts, "[C]an white people go to that church?" Fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg responded, "Sure, white people do go to that church."
Earlier in the show, Hasselbeck mentioned watching a segment on Fox News' Hannity's America titled "The Real Barack Obama," in which host Sean Hannity discussed Obama's church. Hannity previously has falsely suggested that the church is "segregated." As Media Matters for America has noted, Rev. Jane Fisler Hoffman, a minister in the United Church of Christ who attends Trinity, recently made a statement about the church -- video of which is available online -- in which she stated that "ministers all around the United Church of Christ -- European-American, African-American, and other denominations -- bring people from their churches to Trinity because the worship is so powerful, the preaching is so meaningful and prophetic." Hoffman went on to add that Trinity "is a church that reaches out to everybody, locally, around the world, all colors, and it just wants to share the gospel and good news of Jesus." Moreover, in an April 2, 2007, posting on the website of the Martin Marty Center -- the institute for advanced research in all fields of the study of religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School -- professor emeritus Martin E. Marty wrote of Trinity: "My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed."
From the March 10 edition of ABC's The View:
GOLDBERG: Hi, we're back. We're back. So, continuing on with this very interesting discussion. We were talking -- really, the bottom line comes down to, does Obama need to move away from his minister? Is his minister gonna end up hurting him? Do they have any control over what their ministers say from day to day, or what the people who like them, like the -- Ron Paul had the white-supremacist guy who kept giving money to him. He said, "Listen, I'm not returning the money. I don't know this guy. I didn't ask him to call me. I'm doing it." You know, what do you do?
HASSELBECK: I guess it just bothered me that -- wasn't it Barack Obama when he gave that incredible speech at the Democratic National Convention? Didn't he talk about one America? And it was so inspiring. And I just thought, there he had me. But then I just lose it a little bit when I hear him talk about the one America, but then if he follows this -- if it is a belief system and it is executed in their actions, I just feel as though it's, in a way, could be deemed as exclusive and not --
SHERRI SHEPHERD (co-host): What is the -- when you say "the belief system executed in their actions," what are you saying?
HASSELBECK: I'm just saying, is it about -- can you only be -- can white people go to that church? When they talk about --
GOLDBERG: Sure, white people do go to that church.
HASSELBECK: But if they are teaching -- if that's their priority, OK, in that whole journal -- yeah, the black community. If it's so focused on that, it seems to me that that just -- I see a dichotomy there. I see -- OK, yes, they're talking about that here, and then Barack Obama's talking about everyone together. It just -- I don't understand that.
SHEPHERD: But then also, too, Elizabeth, the church has to -- has to embrace the community that it's in.
SHEPHERD: And it is in a black community and surrounded by it are people that are not doing well. So it is embracing that, and Barack started going to this church. Now, he may decide, "I need to go to a different church," but, you know, that church is embracing its community.
GOLDBERG: It may not change the --
HASSELBECK: It hasn't.
GOLDBERG: -- well, no, but the message may not change. If you go to another black church and they're having as much trouble, they're gonna talk about the same things because -- we've had this discussion. Is the country out of its racist period? No, it's not.
HASSELBECK: It's not. It's definitely not.