May 31st, 2008
06:22 PM ET
6 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. Sarah

    Though I am by no means an Obama supporter, the man is in a no-win situation. Stay and have all of this or leave and be viewed as abandoning the church for political reasons.
    Let's look at real concerns (ie, listening to Wright for 20 years, Rezko, Ayers, etc.), not a visiting pastor's pandering to the congregation.

    May 31, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |











    May 31, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  3. Dan,

    Too little, too late. We see you for who you are and we don't buy that you were unaware of the insulting, racist rantings of these two men. You can resign, denounce, distance. . .whatever, but this will all be used against you if you are the nominee and you will absolutely lose the general election.

    May 31, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  4. WeLuvObama

    This is so sad, but probably for the best. Sean Hannity is one sick puppy. What is he going to do now? Obama should not be held responsible for what other adults say. Now Fox news is trying to get the black community to turn on Sen. Obama. I am here to tell them that it won't work. No weapon formed against him (Obama) shall prosper. Senator Obama keep your head up. My family and I are praying for you.

    May 31, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. GiveMeABreak


    May 31, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Tony, Miami

    I didn't know Obama own the church or his pastors. It's always Obama's church, Obama's pastor and so on. I get sick and tired to hear it. How could he be responsible for whatever happens at the church. Those churches have pastors ask them to take responsibility for what ever they do wrong.

    May 31, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. CNN loves Hillary

    Rabid Clinton Supporters and Republican Trolls are sure to crawl out from under their rocks to weigh in on this!!

    Move on MSM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. Spenser

    Suprise Suprise...AGAIN, oBAMA wasn't in church attendance when such controversial comments were made. Kinda weird for 20 years the ONLY times his pastors said anything negative were when he and his family weren't present. Bulls***! Oprah was in church when wright said controversial comments years before Obama....Keep lying! Just what we need to lead our country

    May 31, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  9. Rosie

    Good. Let's move on from this nonsense now. OBAMA '08!

    May 31, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. Kathy from Florida

    Well, I guess it had to be done. I feel sorry for the Obamas because their faith and this church have been so important to them. The media coverage has been horrible. Senator Obama did what he had to do ... I hope he finds another church very soon. He just continues to do what's right and fair.

    May 31, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. VADemocrat

    I respect Obama for making this decision. I know it couldn't have been easy. I just wonder if the IRS will investigate all these sermons?? I think all this political retoric from the pulpit should make their tax-exempt status questionable. Everyone know the IRS loves this type of thing.

    May 31, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  12. Hollywood Knight

    It took a white priest to knock you out of your black church, right Obama?

    Never mind that this priest was saying the same schlock that your black reverend was saying.

    I suppose we'll all just look the other way, in the name of a squeeky clean general election: just like Wexler, who is as much of an idiot as yourself.

    May 31, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Blinded by the Lie

    Nuff said

    May 31, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. one nation under god!!!!

    Nope not buyin it.Too little to late.Only reason your leaving is because its political.

    May 31, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    We know you. Comments detrimental to Obama will be found not in accordance with CNN' policy. I don't give my name because I. like million others, don't trust you.

    May 31, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  16. The Truth

    Where is the freedom of speech as embedded in the constitution of the United States? I want to believe that our ignorance of the understanding of the separation of church and state have influenced our persistent effort that Obama renounce his pastor(s).

    Clergies by virtue of their obligation as prescribed by the scriptures may rebuke injustice and admonish evil. For those who are religious, pastor’s comments as relates to human misery, government actions as relates to its policies vis-à-vis its citizenry are subject to scrutiny.

    Therefore, Obama is forced by ignorant public opinions to take this drastic action of resigning from the church. Where is America heading? Any man of faith should be on guard, and beware of the wiles of the devil.

    May 31, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. King in MO

    Isn't it a shame though that no other canidate in the history of presidential elections has been asked to come between his church and his political ambitions. People couldn't find dirt on him so they dug into his church. Nevermind the fact that Clinton, McCain, and even the Neo-Con Bush don't even attend church regularly. This has served only to tear us apart further as Black and White Americans. I feel ultimately, thats what the likes of Sean Hannity and the RNC (rebuplican news channel) were aiming for and "some" white Americans took the bait – hook, line, and sinker. Maybe they didn't even need bait. Maybe just a good excuse. If you want to argue his experience then that is fine – that is a valid debate but all this other venom that people spit doesn't amount to a pile of Mississippi Mud.

    May 31, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. ree not for Obama

    A little too late. Should of done it years ago.

    Can't believe he never heard the controversial sermons by Wright.

    Still not going to vote for him.

    May 31, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. Uncle Sam


    If you can't keep your pasters (all) to be quiet or atleast talk them in to be quiet for a while then how can you expect to resolve the situation with hamas leader, iran leader, etc... by just sitting down with them?

    So far sitting down hasn't worked for you! Well, it didn't work for you with your church so you decided to quit from the church.

    In other words, you decided to isolate yourself !
    Isn't that the message McCain suggesting with the leaders of iran and other terrorist organization, simpely ISOLATE THEM and put sanction to send them a strong message.

    Sorry/ unexperienced!
    McCain 08.

    May 31, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  20. JimF

    Obama listened to these three, racist, hate-mongers for 23 years and didn't care at all (as long as they delivered Chicago voters) until they appeared on national media.

    Obama's cynacism and immorality is apparent to anyone that actually cares to open their eyes.

    May 31, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  21. Maya


    May 31, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Bill, Albuquerque, NM

    What a joke, who cares!
    Report that Bush/Cheney lied about intelligence to get us into a disasterous oil war

    May 31, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. Debra

    I am so glad Obama resigned.

    May 31, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  24. OBAMA 08 &12

    Excellent move. Too many distractions. The man will soon have a party to unite and a country to run. The people of Trinity will also be free to worship without Republican reporters sniffing around for the latest sound-byte and trying to ambush Obama. Gas, economy, war, housing, health care, etc are what we should be focused on.

    May 31, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. joe

    Why did CNN wait untill Saturday night to expose Obama's past in Chicago his dirty tricks to get elected to the Senate? I guess Michelle Obama is proud of America now , well now, I'm not! How corrupt can the Democrats get? I was a proud Union Democrat for 35 years and have seen both go down hill in recent years.

    May 31, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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