May 31st, 2008
06:22 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama resigns from controversial church

Sen. Obama resigned from his controversial church, according to his campaign.
Sen. Obama resigned from his controversial church, according to his campaign.

(CNN) - Barack Obama resigned Saturday from his Chicago church - where controversial sermons by his former pastor and other ministers had created repeated political headaches for the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination - his campaign confirmed.

The resignation comes days after the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a visiting Catholic priest, mocked Obama's Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, for crying in New Hampshire during the runup to the primary there.

Previously, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright - former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ and Obama's minister for about 20 years - drew unwanted attention for the campaign when videos of several of his fiery sermons surfaced.

In them, Wright suggested the U.S. government may be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and equated some American wartime activities to terrorism.

Obama has said he was not present for the controversial sermons by Wright or Pfleger and had condemned both - most recently saying he was "deeply disappointed" by Pfleger's "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric."

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. Low

    Well there you have it

    Obama 08

    May 31, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Frantz

    Brilliant! Now he can focus on the general election without these ridiculous distractions.

    If this is the best ammunition the GOP has on Obama, then he will win the general by a lanslide.

    Obama '08

    May 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. jaye

    I know this was a difficult decision for Senator Obama.
    Now the news media needs to put this church business behind and move forward to more important things.

    May 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. julia

    It is sad that he resigned only after racist nature of his church became known to entire country. If it would not happened, he would continue to stay and be part of that disgusting show indefinitely.

    I see it only as a political move to benefit his chances to win election in November.

    Some uniter…

    I guess its McCain in 2008?

    May 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. TomG

    I go to Congregation because I want to participate with the group, and because I enjoy making a difference in the community, not because I think the pastor is right.
    If you haven't sent 25 to Obama recently, now is a fierce time.

    May 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Don

    What a symbolic jester . . . what he should have done was stay on with the church and try to change its tone. But then again we're talking about a real phony . . . a political opportunist and an appeaser . . . so it should come as no surprise that he quit as opposed to challenge the status quo.

    May 31, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Mike

    Again, Obama, is doing what will serve him best, so he resigns. He calls others liar and he doesn't live up to his own standards. In his first speach "he could no more denounce Rev. Wright than he could denounce the black race." He was in that racist church for 20 years he knew what it was like, who's he trying to kid. He praised the new pastor, a pastor that praised Michael Pfleger's speach against Hillary. Did you see the way the congregation cheered! Obama, now wears a flag because he thinks he's the Democratic nominee. He's only doing it because McCain is a "War Hero," think about it! He speaks kindly of Hillary, so he can unite the party. Again, he's serving himself. If he's the nominee, then Democrats for Hillary should vote for McCain, so as to vote against him. Obama, should "omit" he lied to everyone when he made his last selfserving speach regarding Trinity Church, and it's congregants. Michelle Obama, made her comment about being proud of her country, because she too is a product of that church. This well educated couple from the Trinity church, thinks everyone else is dumb and they can't see through their transparent farcade. He's no different than the people he condemns, think about it!

    May 31, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Jim in FL

    Hopefully it doesn't take this long for you to wake up every day. Not so fast on your feet, eh ? And you want to be President ! Give me a break .... my bad .... I have that break ! Its my vote. You aren't getting it.

    May 31, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. rany

    he did the right thing. as an african american born catholic i will tell some of this black churches need to learn more about positive preching not hate.

    May 31, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. WJS

    I once believed Obama was refreshing and new – that he was above the fray of old-school politics. But now I'm beginning to see that he's just another politician. He only quit this church because it benefitted him politically. He has two choices: (1) He was never a real member of the church and therefore it didn't influence his beliefs, so all his posturing about faith, God, and "spiritual mentors" was bunk designed to get the Christian Left to vote for him or (2) He's hanging his friends out to dry because it's politically expedient after 20 years to walk away and deny ever knowing them. Either or – a man walks away from a church after 20 years, just 5 months before the Presidential Election – it raises serious questions about how "fresh" and "hopeful" his presidency would really be.

    May 31, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Trulove

    The fathers who separated Church and State were no fools! Those who mix the two burn their political fingers! Well done Obama! You have acted wisely to save both Church and State!

    May 31, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. Chicago RepDem

    Ya right... 20 years in the same church and you did not notice what your pastor is spreading in your brain of HATRED... I thought you are smart enough to know that....or mabye NOT...or REALLY you have the same tought as your Pastors.

    May 31, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  13. Yvie

    Well good at least now we can move on and stop relate him to what a priest or a pastor said this is nonsense.Something Hillary said can be used against her something Obama said can certainly be used against him but not a friend,a priest or whomever,this campaing has been going on for sometimes now and i don't see the priest nor Rev. Wright on the campaing trail with Obama never,so lets not allow ourselves to be like FIX NEWS to get obsessed about this matter,we are better then that.This people on FOX NEWS are doing everything they can so that democrats especially Obama don't get elected this year and we can not let this happend,we can not let them win,so lets stop been bitter and divisive and show them that we can make a difference in our country so that our kids and our grandchildren can benefit to something that we all can be proud of.

    May 31, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Glenn, Cary, NC

    Apparently Senator Obama is the kind of politician who will do anything and say anything to get elected. If it helps him to become a member of a radical black church, he becomes a member. If it helps him to ditch that same church to get the Democratic Party nomination – consider that church to be ditched. So much for the new politics.

    May 31, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. General Mack

    What else could the poor man do. The leadership of that church is just plain appalling. They are the worst kind of rebel rouser since Jesse Jackson. (pregnet sec took some wind from him) Anyway I do believe Obama is above and beyond what is former church is doing.
    Where I go to church we talk about God/ Not politics. The two don't mix-never have and never will. Any person that uses the pulpit for his political needs is not a true servant of the Lord God!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. rock

    When this summer's blockbuster movie, Batman The Dark Knight, is released, Obama will make an appearance as himself in the film – as the two-faced villain. Obama for Senate Reelection. Show us what you can do before you tell us that you had already done it.

    May 31, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. Brian

    I actually like the fact that he took the time to think this through and didnt allow people, and media to make his decision for him. Says alot about his character and how he has run his campaign. Makes me admire him even more.

    May 31, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Sandy, PA

    How stupid does Obama think we are??? If he actually thinks that we believe that he has not sat through one of these sermons he is crazy!!!!

    Come November, he has a rude awakening coming!!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. tushyadev jadunundun

    I think he did a good thing because had he not done it now, they would be using it againt him comes the november election..

    May 31, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. kathy in ohio

    I dont believe anything this man says. I cannot believe that people fell for his last acting job, that was so planned so he could say he had no connectinn with rev. wright. prearranged by the both of them, does no one find it odd there was no reaction from wright after obama denounced him this was planned people with obama and wright

    May 31, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  21. Obed

    It just looks like it doesnt rain but it pours for Sen. Obama. He increasingly has a menacingly frowing steep mountain to climb. However, come hell or high waters, he nonetheless is determined to crawl to the top, if that what it takes.

    Having said that, I do understand that politics and religion are quite at sharp contrast – almost like the North and South poles. An attempt to divorce himself from a church he has been a member for 20+ years just so he can advance his political ambitions sort of flies in the face of divine interests, however. I wonder if Obama is still going to remain a devoted Christian anyways!!

    I dont know of a true and committed pastor who wouldnt have the courage to 'say the truth' as it is. Some words delivered fom the pulpit are not always politically correct nor are they particulalry palatable. Therefore, whatever church Obama decides to join, such issues are inevitably bound to arise – unless if after he becomes president pastors would get mute on such controversial issues so as not to bring him to disrepute.

    That aside, HAIL OBAMA. The DNC has played a fair game and you are still on your way to the white house!!!

    I'm eager to se what other strategies the Clintons are going to pull off this time.......

    May 31, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. Virginia

    I don't understand. Obama is "resigning" from his church?????????

    Since when do you have to resign from a church? Going to that church is not like being employed, there are no agreements or contracts, so that you have to resign to leave and go somewhere else.

    The rest of us simply stop going to the one we don't agree with and begin going to another one.

    So silly – just a way to get some press written about him. Would he have "resigned" if noone had recorded what the priest said bout Hillary Clinton???

    That guy will do anything to get the press to write something about him and keep his name in the paper.

    Pathetic!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. BayArea

    It's unfortunate, but it had to be done. His affiliation was only going to hurt him, esp. for those looking for a reason not to like him. What puzzles me is how these "leaks" always pop up right before a pivotal primary. What I don't understand is why the members and leadership of that church still haven't figured out that they have a mole in their mist. Its quite obvious that someone within the congregation is there- probably every Sunday, waiting for that one sermon to happen. Then bam! youtube here we come!
    I also think its ludicrious (sp) that one person should be held responsible for what another person says.
    It's a sad day when a person's membership to a church is scrutinized to this degree, when it should be a personal matter.

    Obama 08

    May 31, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. Independent

    If CNN reported on McCain's pastors 10% as much as they reported on Obama's pastors, I could pretend there were some fairness. CNN tried to elect Hillary they lost; now they are going for McCain out of spite.

    May 31, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. Obed

    It just looks like it doesnt rain but it pours for Sen. Obama. He increasingly has a menacingly growing steep mountain to climb. However, come hell or high waters, he nonetheless is determined to crawl to the top, if that what it takes.

    Having said that, I do understand that politics and religion are quite at sharp contrast – almost like the North and South poles. An attempt to divorce himself from a church that he has been a member for 20+ years, just so he can advance his political ambitions sort of flies in the face of divine interests, however. I wonder if Obama is still going to remain a devoted Christian anyways??...that to me is a concern!

    I dont know of a true and committed pastor who wouldnt have the courage to 'say the truth' as it is. Some words delivered fom the pulpit are not always politically correct nor are they particulalry palatable. Therefore, whatever church Obama decides to join, such issues are inevitably bound to arise – unless if after he becomes president pastors would get mute on such controversial issues so as not to bring him to disrepute.

    That aside, HAIL OBAMA. The DNC has played a fair game and you are still on your way to the white house!!!

    I'm eager to se what other strategies the Clintons are going to pull off this time.......

    May 31, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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