The Rev. Jamal Bryant had strong words for the influential inner-city pastors who met Thursday with President Donald Trump to discuss prison reform, job growth and other issues affecting inner cities.
“This is a stain on the body of Christ. This is a stain on our community,” the pastor said in a 25-minute Periscope video Thursday night. “I need to know how all of y’all were smiling at that table while the whole world frowns at what this represents and what it looks like. The blood is dripping off your hands.”
Others also criticized the pastors for meeting with Trump.
The Rev. Darrell Scott, a pastor from Cleveland, received swift backlash online after he called Trump “the most pro-black president that we’ve had in our lifetime.”
“The president actually wants to prove something to our community, our faith-based community and our ethnic community,” Scott said, according to a White House transcript. “The last president didn’t feel like he had to. He felt like he didn’t have to prove it. He got a pass.”
Bryant, who preaches at Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple AME Church, accused the pastors of walking away from the meeting with nothing but a photo op.
“This is a dark day for the church,” he said. “We are in a dark, dismal and a difficult time when basketball players and rappers tonight have more moral authority than preachers.”
He also said the pastors at the meeting failed to challenge the president.
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“Did any of you ask him how it is that he has separated brown and black children and put them in cages like pit bulls?” Bryant asked. “When he went around that table, did any of you urban pastors say anything about gentrification?”