James David Manning does not shy aware from controversy. As the Pastor and leader of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem New York, Manning has a pulpit, and he’s not afraid to use it. In February of 2008, a video of the outspoken Pastor surfaced on YouTube, vaulting Manning and his church into the national spotlight. In the video, Pastor Manning is seen giving a passionate sermon in which he harshly attacks presidential candidate Barack Obama and the black community for supporting the man that Manning describes as a “pimp.” The sermon has received nearly 2 ½ million hits on YouTube and garnered attention from the national media. Manning has since made appearances on Fox News, CBS, and various radio shows including Howard Stern.
For many people, Manning’s biting criticism of Obama is the subject of ridicule and a source of comedy – but Manning is not laughing. He firmly believes that Barack Obama is a danger to society. He describes Obama as “an emissary of the devil.” In addition, Manning offers harsh descriptions of Obama’s parents, continually referring to his mother “white trash.” He has also called Obama’s legitimacy into question, calling on Obama to produce a valid birth certificate proving his US citizenship.
However, Manning doesn’t limit his incendiary comments to the current president. His sermons frequently focus on what he sees as immoral aspects of black culture. Much of his criticism is aimed at young black men, specifically absentee fathers. He calls out many black leaders, past and present, for enabling such behavior, and even glorifying “hip-hop” culture. Such stances have created many opponents for Manning. Still, Manning doesn’t feel compelled to compromise his believes for popularity.
James Manning has agreed to answer a few questions via email. I will post the questions and answers as soon as they are available.