Al Sharpton At Odds With Black Ministers In New York

The Rev. Al Sharpton has a problem in New York, and it seems fellow black religious leaders are becoming frustrated with the man they see as more of a star than a preacher.

Even in New York, Al Sharpton remains a controversial figure — and not even his own most likely caucus seems to be welcoming the MSNBC host with open arms.

Sharpton has been both sought out and reviled since he burst onto the scene in the 80s, and pushing the bounds of civil rights is something that never makes one popular during their own lifetime.

In America, the Rev. Al is often called upon during times of race-based unrest, and while his message is a peaceful one, he remains intensely polarizing. Mostly the Al Sharpton hate comes from outside the New York area, but right now, his home base is seemingly mounting a coup.

An article in the New York Daily News describes an anti-Sharpton campaign among spiritual leaders titled “Holy War In Harlem,” and the piece explains:

“Speak Out Say It Loud, headquartered at Mount Neboh Baptist Church on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., is a new coalition of black ministers determined to create a unified African-American power base with citywide clout… Mount Neboh pastor Johnnie Green, 51, said Sharpton has neglected black New York while pursuing national fame and acclaim.”

Green told the paper that Sharpton’s focus on national level civil rights issues has left many in New York without a powerful advocate:

“While (Sharpton) is jet-setting around the country, people are going to our churches saying they don’t have money to eat… People need somebody to fight for them.”

Another complained that “Sharpton isn’t a community organizer… [h]e’s a personality.” But true to form, the Rev. Al isn’t taking the critique lying down — Sharpton says that disharmony helps no one, and added:

“We need to attack the issues, not each other… If you want to be the big guy, be the big guy, be that. Don’t act like I’m not doing anything local. I am.”

Al Sharpton also notes that he runs a campaign for civil rights, making the church less his wheelhouse.