Holy war in Harlem: Pastors want Al Sharpton out.

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.

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BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2013, 2:30 AM
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HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

(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.

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

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.

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“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.”

AARON SHOWALTER/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“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.”

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

“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.

 

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