The New York Post has reported that the 67-year-old Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.'s 2007 affair with a 37-year-old church lady employed by a black Texas megachurch headed by one of Wright's proteges has led to her divorce and firing. (And, yes, she's not black.)
Payne's husband, Fred Payne, 64, said he learned of the affair in late February, when he discovered e-mails between his wife and Wright. "There must have been about 80 of them, back and forth," he said. "Wright said things like he was going to leave his wife for Elizabeth."
Wright has been married to his second wife, Ramah, for more than 20 years. The preacher reportedly wooed Ramah away from her first husband in the 1980s, when the couple came to marriage counseling at Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
After discovering he had been cuckolded, Fred Payne, who had married Elizabeth in October 2006, headed straight for divorce court. "I was downright mad about this bull- - - -," said Fred, who said he is "in the oil and gas business," belongs to a hunting club and makes his own bullets in his garage.
"People wouldn't be happy to know that my wife was sleeping with a black man." He added, "Rev. Haynes doesn't like the interracial thing, either. This was quite an issue for him." [Rev. Haynes is black.]
Elizabeth Payne said she has been banished by Haynes and the flock at Friendship-West. "I'm not a member of the congregation anymore; I'm not even allowed on the premises," she said.
Ms. Payne has filed a charge of wrongful dismissal.
That big house being built for Sen. Obama's long-time spiritual adviser in an almost all-white gated golf course community is owned by Trinity United Church of Christ. I assumed at the time that there was some tax-avoidance reason for this, but perhaps when Wright made these arrangements, he had community property issues in mind, too.