Holy war in Harlem: Pastors want Al Sharpton out

Four prominent clergymen invited over 100 churches to unify in an attempt  dethrone Reverend Al Sharpton.

The prince of the pulpit may have a revolution on his hands.

(left to right) Carl Washington, Pastor New Mt Zion Baptist Church, Kris Erskine, Pastor Bethany Baptist Church and Patrick Young, Pastor 1st Baptist Church Elmhurst, Queens and Johnnie Green, Pastor Mt Neboh Church.

(left to right) Carl Washington, Pastor New Mt Zion Baptist Church, Kris Erskine, Pastor Bethany Baptist Church and Patrick Young, Pastor 1st Baptist Church Elmhurst, Queens and Johnnie Green, Pastor Mt Neboh Church.

Four upstart clergymen have invited more than 100 churches to knock Rev. Al  Sharpton off his Harlem political throne.

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.

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

Green, along with pastors Carl Washington of New Mount Zion Baptist Church on  W. 140th St., Kris Erskine of Bethany Baptist Church on W. 153rd St. and Patrick Young of First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens, has planned a large  rally for Oct. 24 at Mount Neboh.

The group expects more than 1,500 supporters to attend.

Green and his allies argue that Sharpton has spent too much time plugging  his new book, “The Rejected Stone,” and tending to his MSNBC show.

 “Sharpton isn’t a community organizer. He’s a personality,” scoffed Raymond  Blanchette, head bishop of the United Churches for Kingdom Building.

But the insurgent pastors may have a tough row to hoe.

Al Sharpton, after all, is a tested political operator.

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

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

“We need to attack the issues, not each other,” Sharpton shot back. “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.”

The Brooklyn firebrand who burst onto the scene in 1986 is now a power broker  courted by candidates who see him as a gatekeeper to minority communities.

For instance, Joe Lhota, the Republican mayoral nominee, had a private chat  with Sharpton last month.

But Green was offended.

Lhota is running to Al Sharpton like he is the leader of the black community.  He’s not,” he fumed.

Sharpton said he continues to advocate for black New Yorkers on issues such  as the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

“I run a civil rights organization,” the firebrand said. “They’re not going  to do what I do. … I don’t run a church organization.”

But the Speak Out foursome insist the goal is not to rival Sharpton’s  22-year-old, Harlem-based National Action Network, but simply to urge Sharpton  to stick to national issues while their coalition takes the lead on local  problems.

“We are not hating on Al,” said Young, 49.

But a Harlem pastor who has ties to Sharpton wasn’t sure, questioning why he  wasn’t invited to the Oct. 24 rally.

“If this is an anti-Sharpton rally, then it’s deeply troubling to me,” said  Michael Waldron of First Corinthian Baptist Church.

simonew@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/holy-war-harlem-pastors-al-sharpton-article-1.1484356#ixzz2hiJu7ZI1

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