The role of the pastor in a congregational church is closest to the role of the chief bishop in a liturgical/hierarchical church. The broader denomination has no authority in a congregational church.
The role of the church in the (non-voluntary) African-American community has been similar to the role that some ethnic Roman Catholic parishes played in (voluntary) Immigrant-American communities.
Also, I would guess that on the Sunday after Al Smith lost to Herbert Hoover, that there were probably some pretty fiery homilies in at least a few RC churches. Can't prove it, though - churches didn't have video (or audio) tapes of sermons for sale back then.
Some interesting observations: not all of which I agree with completely, but that's OK.
Mr. Bush has trashed the country to such an extent that the next President is going to have a horror show on his or her hands. So for the Democratic Party, this election is like having a free play in football. Win or lose, the Democratic Party has proven that it is the U.S. political party willing to pioneer in nominating a woman or an African American.
As for a dialog on race, that prospect has been completely shut down. It's become a subject that is verboten for one side to discuss, thus becoming a monologue. Any suggestions, or do we wait for the general election? 'Cause you know the Rs will find all sorts of ways to bring up the issue.
"he himself said both LBJ and JFK really didn't do shit"
Link please. Not being flippant, either. Bill Moyers tells the story of encountering LBJ after the President arm-twisted Congress into passing the Civil Rights Bill. Moyers asked LBJ why he looked so morose. LBJ replied that he had probably cost the Democrats the south for the next few generations. Still LBJ did the right thing - in my opinion. Are a few extra votes for your favorite candidate worth trashing the best part of LBJ's reputation?
The 'they both do it and are equally bad' line is what the so-called 'liberal' media has been feeding us for years. As a registered Democrat, I recognize it when somebody tries using that tactic on me.