March 30th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama supporter calls Wright race controversy good for dialogue

Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.
Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, Democrat-Georgia, said Sunday that the controversy over Barack Obama's former pastor has reignited a conversation about race that could ultimately be beneficial for the country.

"The civil rights movement had the power to...what I call bring the dirt, the filth from under the American rug out of the cracks and corners, into the light so we can deal with it," said Lewis, a superdelegate who supports Obama, at a forum on faith and civil rights at Washington's National Cathedral. "Just maybe, just maybe, what is happening now will bring something out, so we all can be educated and sensitized."

While he did not mention Wright by name during a sermon he gave at the cathedral, Lewis indirectly addressed the Chicago pastor's fiery comments on race.

"During the past few days, the issue of race and the need for reconciliation have emerged through the presidential campaign. We know, and we all know, it's not a secret America had a dark past of division and separation," Lewis said. "But if we are to emerge unscarred by hate, we must learn to understand and forgive those who have been most hostile and violent towards us."

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–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Cody Combs

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. gfs3

    Of course CNN would make this a front page story... the media needs to get barrak back in that image of the perfect american presidential nominee...

    March 30, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. woman to woman

    If we unite behind Hillary Clinton we can make a statement against sabotaging the best candidate JUST because she is female.

    There is power in unity.

    Losing, on a level playing field- that is one thing. But the DNC, the Democratic party elites, the Hillary haters, the caucus format, the disenfranchised Fl and Mi voters- all that adds up to…CHEATING!

    Cheating that was acceptable because the myth was that Hillary was the person everyone loved to hate.

    Not so…The woman has tight support. We love her.

    We must send the DNC and party leaders a firm message: Let the voters decide, stay out of it, don't rig the election- COUNT the votes

    March 30, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Farzad

    I think ultimately he is right, we cant keep ignoring this issue. The democrats are gonna have to lead the way, because the republicans are not gonna do anything.

    March 30, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. JUAN FOR OBAMA

    GO OBAMA, WE LOVE YOU

    March 30, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. tammyv

    John Lewis's life makes me proud to be an American. He is a man of uncommen character and integrity. I love him...

    March 30, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Paul Andrews

    I don't even see the reason why this blog was set up. When black folks are supporting each other does it offend you guys? Or you all prefer to pit them against each other like media team does, especially lou.
    Norfolk VA

    March 30, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Djools from the Netherlands

    Good viewpoint.

    March 30, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Chris

    Where is the diversity in this picture???

    March 30, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. mary

    Rev. Wright had been about anti-American more than race.

    March 30, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Paul Andrews

    If you look at the number of people who will vote for McCain if Obama wins, then we can understand why race is an issue in the democratic party.

    March 30, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Vivian

    When life gives you a lemon you make lemonade! it's not how we fall that counts it's how we get back up and get back in the fight! This has been a controversy that has caused us as "americans" to discuss opnely, what has been a closed subject. As a white woman, I think it is time for us to go to the next plateau in our mixed world. Obama has handled this controversy with respect to all, with integirty, with honor and very presidentially. God bless him for having the courage it takes and I hope he gets the nomination and the white house.

    March 30, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. Margo

    LEWIS, YOUR JUST ANOTHER TRAITOR! SO, TELL ME LEWIS, WHAT IS A MAN WHO BREAKS HIS WORD and his loyalty. Look it up! I rest my case!

    March 30, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Shannon

    Obama supporters condone any behavior by their savior. If those same words had come from someone on Clinton's side, they would have crucified her. Obama supports a man who promotes hate and racism, and the republicans will have a field day with that. I'm one of the 28% who have already decided it's anyone but Obama, and I'm sure that number will grow. To all the Obama supporters who have called names and ridiculed Hillary, good luck in November without her supporters. Campaign of hope and change LOL!

    March 30, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Obama Supporter

    I agree that this controversy provides the oppurtunity for Americans to come together and work through its racial problems.

    March 30, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. joe

    Eeewwww gross. Obama go away and take your Reverend Wright with you.

    March 30, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Brett

    What I call it, regardless of a candidate going to that church, is sad. Sad to know such racism exists so strongly.

    March 30, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Congressman Lewis had his arm twisted to change from Clinton to Obama.

    March 30, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. Danny

    I don't think so Mr. Civil Wrong, this controversy is not a good dialogue at all. This races going to kill Americans society and merge to hate in the future.

    March 30, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. MCNEIL

    IS THIS NOT THE SAME MR.LEWIS WHO WAS GOING TO GET BEHIND HILARY BUT WAS FORCED TO GO WITH OBAMA BECAUSE OF PRESSURE FROM PEOPLE TO SUPPORT OBAMA.....WHAT A SAD DAY THIS IS WHEN YOU CAN NOT GET BEHIND THE PERSON YOU FAVOUR TO BE THE NOMINEE...............SHAME.........

    March 30, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Surge

    You know what else is good for the honest campaign debate? While the media has typically been all over Clinton for making her Bosnia mistake, no one has mentioned that Obama once claimed that his parents were inspired to get married and have Barack as a direct result of the Selma march. Only problem is, the Selma march was in 1965...Barack was born in 1961. Will the media charge that this lie goes directly to the heart of his campaigns platform of integrity? No.

    March 30, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. ANTI CLINTONS

    Lets just hope he is right

    March 30, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. lol

    obama had over 2 decades to do something about the racism being spewed out of the "reverends" mouth. he chose to sit quietly in a pew, and do nothing. after the controversy hits the main stream media, obama lectures the country about racism. he should of given that speech to his "mentor" 20 years earlier.

    March 30, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  23. judi

    yet they go behind the scenes and threaten the super delecates to vote for obama or loose your poltical seat in the future! i call them thugs!

    March 30, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Wright is not good for dialogue.

    His message of racism and hate is one that the country is still trying to move beyond. There is no excuse or cover for his remarks, none.

    If a white preacher had said the same things he would be run out of town on a rail. And rightfully so.

    Senator Obama's failure to remove himself from such hate filled sermons for twenty years speaks to his complete lack of judgment.

    Wright makes Obama wrong for America!

    March 30, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. Rayhanna1

    What the use?

    March 30, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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