All white people are going to hell, longtime African-American civil rights advocate Rev. Joseph Lowery told an audience at a get-out-the-vote event held Oct. 27 in Georgia.
Lowery, who gave the benediction at the January 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, told the audience of up to 300 African-Americans “that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was,” according to an Oct. 31 report in the Monroe County Reporter newspaper.
“I don’t know what kind of a n—– wouldn’t vote with a black man running,” Lowery also told the audience in the St. James Baptist Church in Forsyth, Ga., according to the Reporter.
“He was saying [that] based on all of the hatred that’s going on” towards President Barack Obama, Helen Butler, the executive director of Lowery’s Georgia-based Coalition for the People’s Agenda, told The Daily Caller.
“He just fell that he should feel the way he used to feel,” Butler, who attended the rally, explained.
“Of course he doesn’t believe that all whites should go to hell,” she added.
“That’s not him — he’s a very caring person.”
“He was trying to get people motivated to ensure they go and vote…. [and] he did make the point that there is a lot of hatred in this country,” she said.
“It was a joke” told via the perspective of a young militant, Lowery told TheDC. “When I said it, I said it was a joke, I identified it as a joke,” he said.
However, the article also quotes Forsyth Mayor John Howard saying he was “pretty shocked” by Lowery’s comments.
Howard “said if a speaker had made the same comments about black people, he would have gotten up and left… He said the Bible gives set instructions on how to go to heaven and it doesn’t say anything about skin color … [and] he said he looked at the face of his pastor, the Rev. Antonio Proctor, and could tell he was real shocked too,” according to the Macon County Reporter account.
“Howard said he and Proctor talked about putting a video of the event on Forsyth Cable TV but decided after [Lowery’s] comments that it wasn’t a good idea,” the article said.
When asked by TheDC about the other notable comment — “what kind of a n—- wouldn’t vote with a black man running” — Lowery said he did not remember making that statement.
“I never said that, I don’t remember saying that,” he told TheDC.