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

Obama supporter calls Wright race controversy good for dialogue

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. mario

    Obama is a racist and Wright is too............... whats next Rev. Wright in the Oval Office advising Obama. ha!!!!!!! no!!!!!why only now Obama is saying that Rev. Wright was wrong in his speeches and for 20 yrs he didnt......... Obama is playing politics dont fall people..!!

    March 30, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. kathy in ohio

    are you kidding me........................i think he has burnt bridges that have been built

    March 30, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Bill, Covington

    For those who are pushing for a big "Mix-Up"...It is my intention that my family remain pure.

    March 30, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. TymeTravel

    Hillary for Vice President 2008!!!!!

    March 30, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. Tracey, Los Angeles

    You know, I am female, white and 24 years young. My experience of race in Los Angles is something that can't really be ignored. I watch my family respond to black people walking down the street by locking their doors. A lot of those fears are not unfounded... however I don't seem to have the same knee jerk reaction as older generations of my family. There is a terribly seedy underbelly of America and it surely IS racial divide. I think the dialog that has been opened is a very good thing... healthy, and a way to change the way our society is structured. Furthermore I agree with Rev. Wright... we have committed atrocities as a country and to not be outraged by what our government has done is un-American.

    Dialog about race is a brilliant brilliant thing. A discussion we should have been having a long time ago. I look forward to a comfortable society where none of our citizens of any color are not treated differently or feared.

    March 30, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Young White Voters for Obama

    . . .That's the problem with you uptight Boomers. You've spent
    most of your life trying to divide yourselves and not look at people
    as the same regardess of race. If you look at Obama voters you see
    that they are all races happy and vying for the same things in life.
    The Clinton supporters seem to rally behind her divisiveness. They
    even seem not to like each other at her rallies. When Senator
    Obama wins the election, we supporters of ALL races are going to
    show you naysayers how it done. We are going to party with unity. Young Americans get it.

    Obama 08.
    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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