“I think he doesn’t avail himself as fully as he could of the input of black religious thinkers, and this is not a judgment upon his regard for us,” said Obery Hendricks, a professor at New York Theological Seminary.
“I’m not sure why that is.”
The Rev. James Forbes, the former senior pastor of New York’s Riverside Church, said the White House is doing a delicate dance in the aftermath of Obama’s ties—and public breakup—with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, whose fiery sermons nearly derailed his campaign.
“It has to be a consideration: How does the first black president position himself in the public eye in regards to blacks?” said Forbes, who has neither been invited nor sought access to the Obama White House. “I think his handlers would assume that they want to make him as color-blind as he can possibly be.”
Black religious leaders say they’re not asking Obama to help them; they want to help Obama. Some get calls and e-mails updating them on policy issues, including messages from Joshua DuBois, a black, former Pentecostal pastor who directs the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Still, some want more.