May 4th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Rangel says issue of religion will 'come back to haunt us'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rangel appeared on CNN's Late Edition."](CNN) - Hillary Clinton supporter Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, attacked the media coverage of Barack Obama’s former pastor on CNN’s “Late Edition”, blaming them for over-hyping the issue and implying that it could hurt the Democratic Party down the road.

“It's disgraceful that he has to make any explanation for anything,” the outspoken congressman told Wolf Blitzer. “The intrusion of the media and Republicans into the sacred relationship that worshipers have with their spiritual leaders, I think, is going to come back to haunt us.”

“To think that we have to go into the lives and the beliefs of rabbis and priests and ministers and imams is absolutely ridiculous,” he went on.

Rangel’s comments defending the privacy of Obama’s relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright goes against what even the Illinois senator has said about the issue. Last Sunday, Obama told Chris Wallace that it is a “legitimate political issue” and that he understands why people are discussing it.

But Rangel argued that the Democratic candidate’s beliefs are completely different than those of his pastor— and the media know it.

“Of course he's a candidate, and he doesn't want to take all of you on,” Rangel alleged. “If we've got to get into the Jerry Falwells and to the [Pat] Robertsons and to the number of people that have what appears to other religions to be bizarre beliefs, we'll never get to the issues that America is concerned about.”

Filed under: Charlie Rangel
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Sharon

    I went to the local Anglican church in the westend of Vancouver, Canada this morning and the priest's whole sermon was the disgraceful way CNN has distorted the Rev. Wright and Barack Obama. CNN, you are having far reaching reactions to your biased coverage and it isn't pretty. I'm sure you won't print this.

    May 4, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. aware

    "Bizarre beliefs" define character and in the final analysis, Americans care very much about character.

    When a candidate spends 20 years under the teaching of a pastor with "bizarre beliefs" his character is seriously damaged. And, his judgment and credibility are highly questionable!

    There is no way obama can spin his way out of this issue. It will haunt him throughout his political career and mak it impossible for him to win the general election.

    Obama continues to change his story with more misinformation and obfuscation. This was not a "sacred relationship" but, it was a relationship that benefited Obama for some time. Now it is not politically profitable so it is discounted and discontinued?

    Hillary Clinton 2008 and 2012! She is the only candidate who can take the Democrats to the Whit House! 🙂

    May 4, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Lynn R.

    I TOTALLY agree, especially when we don't treat this subject FAIRLY with everybody!!! After all, our TAX DOLLARS paid for a liaison in the White House for Jerry Falwell to "advise" George Bush on major issues such as the war, supreme court justices, etc. Not to mention Bush and GOP's relationship with Pat Robertson. Nobody even batted an eye or even hammered Bush on any of this and our TAX MONEY went to support HIS so called "spiritual advisors" and their relationships. Mit Romney, belonged to a sect of the Mormon Church when they would not ALLOW Black clergy; McCain, Bush and other GOP have consulted and been supported by John Hagee. The CURRENT President and other hopefuls have had controversial religious relationships, but all of the sudden, Barack and Rev. Wright's relationship is held to another standard???????? What the heck is going on? It's BS.....

    It's ridiculous, a total double-standard and I am tired of seeing it dominate the airwaves. Why are we talking about "church and state" anyway? My issues are: going to pay $4 a gallon at the pump; trying to buy a house this year and lowering my healthcare costs, etc. Why is all of the focus on this "dog and pony show," which is really benefiting nobody but the media? Yeah, you guys are making money "hand over fist" but in the meantime, the rest of us are going broke and struggling to survive! And you wonder why we are so divided...

    I'm with Rangel, which is a change, these days...we need to get on to the issues! And decide WHO is going to be the next best Commander in Chief; and if Rev. Wright is NOT on the ticket (which last time I checked, he WASN'T), THEN I DON'T WANT TO FOCUS ON THIS WASTE OF TIME ANYMORE! Stop giving him a platform, following him around with the camera and wasting our airtime! Shame on ALL of the networks – we have REAL problems to solve! Let's get on with it!

    May 4, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. MD in OK

    You know what's ironic? The republicans have the backing of the conservative Christians. These conservatives (Sean Hannity and pastors on his show) profess to be Christians; yet ,they are unforgiving. Whatever happened to forgiveness? I have not heard this word once from any Christian on the right. Barack denounced his pastor; now aren't we (as a Christian nation) supposed to forgive him? What sin has he committed that is unforgiveable? Oh, ye hypocrites!!!

    May 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Caroline, North Carolina

    Gov. Rendel must have just figured out that Hillary just won't have the
    numbers to win and is trying to get on Senator Obama's good side to get
    his name on the Obama delegate roster while there is still room.

    Obama 08.

    May 4, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. John

    Religion has always been at the root of mankinds problems. Just think, they promote hate by blessing people going into war to fight against their brothers in other countries. If they would practice what they preach – geniune love for your brother – you'd have far less wars in the world. Relgion is bloodguilty! Those who have adopted their views and practices will be held accountable – yes, indeed, religion will come back to haunt thousands!

    May 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Paula in WI

    Lewinski will haunt us equally

    May 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Charlotte

    Rev. Wright will play into the general election big time. No more caucuses, little private box where you won't be labled a racist if you don't like Obama. I'm sure the Obamas will say he lost because he was black. He will lose because he sat around listening to anti-american sermons for 20 years and then lied about even hearing them. Threw his grandmother under the bus, then threw Uncle Wright under the bus when it became politically necessary. Missed 40% of the US Senate votes including the one about Iran. Never held a meeting on Afghanastan in over 15 months of being the chairman of the committee on Al qaeda in Afghanastan. A real go getter this Obama…

    May 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. JN

    Thank you Charles Rangel! You are a bright spot in this awful issue that should have never been covered as it was. I am supporting Barack Obama but I just wanted to say that I have a lot of respect for you and your honesty! Thanks again!

    May 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. John Wa

    Heage has insulted the entire catholic church and beleives babies in New Orleans were punished by God. Hillary belonged to a secret right-wing fellowship in the White House. Both HIllary and McCain voted to kill innocent children in Iraq. Hillary has never apolgized for voting for this war. You think these issues won't come up in the general election ? Where are those Clinton Library papers?

    May 4, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. sheep

    why dont they cover every catholic preast that sets in the church having molested children year after year ,,hagge WHY only the BLACK church????do women who dont work outside the home like the ellitost comments MS.CLINTON coontinues to say ::well she could stay home and bake cookies ..isnt that just as ellitost to millions of women who think its important about reserching just how many years OBAMA was in town not at college not in congress to actually attend ..and what about the thousands who are and have attended your attacking every one of them ...right on PAUL VS. CLINTON its current news ..the media is using WRIGHT TO ATTACK THE BLACK CHURCH ..And im white from wa. state and a women ,,54 ...P[eople are not dumb

    May 4, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Ron

    If you read Sen Obama's books he goes to great lengths to give credit to Rev. Wright regarding his influence in his thinking both spiritually and on a more personal level so obviously when the Rev. said Obama says what he as to say to get elected you have to accept that as being said by someone who probably knows him better than anyone including his wife.then you factor in why the good rev as been gaged you have to naturally wonder what else he could tell us about the elusive past of SEN.OBAMA

    May 4, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Bill-S

    The Clintons, Bushes, and McCains have been fine upstanding churchgoers for many years, and they have had pastors who for all appearances are kind, upstanding, patriotic, and not angry. So how come Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar, Bill Clinton is a serial adulterer, George W. Bush is a war criminal and casual torturer and McCain is a divorcee? Just how much influence do you think the pastors of these people really have on their lives?

    May 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. NObama and NOWright!!!

    Bravo! You said brother and most of the country feels the same way. Dems have to come together and give the party a nominee who stands a chance of winning in November.

    Vote Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Janet in KC

    Thank YOU God.. Its about time someone speak up for Obama.
    He has been raked through the coals on Rev wright..

    Goodness, I can finally see the sun!

    May 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. james

    god bless america

    May 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Donald from SC

    See! Even Senator Clinton's long-time supporters are saying enough is enough to the news media about the flood of coverage on Rev. Wright. How many times do we need to hear the opinions of the media and not the news.

    May 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Happy for Obama

    Can you believe this! WOW, someone is speaking up for Obama, Finally. Great Job!Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York

    I'm glad you came aboard!

    First Kerry, then Dean, Andrews, now Rangel..
    Yes, Yes, Yes We Can!

    May 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Allen

    The gas tax is nothing but fluff and political pandering. What is much more critical is the sleazy conspiracy between the Clintons,Rev. Wright and the news media. I have listened to the Rev. Wright speech that sparked this manufactured controversy. Guess what I heard. The Rev. Wright gushes with love for the Clintons. Don't believe it? Listen to the speech. Rrev. Wright Loves the Clintons! The speech never mentions Obama once. Rev. Wright was a confidant of the Clintons during the Bill Presidency and he still loves and supports them This whole Rev. Wright contoversy is a plot by the Clintons,Wright and the media to discredit Obama. If the truth comes out. Rev. Wright would become a Clinton controversy as it indeed should be.

    May 4, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. That's Reality

    It is a legitimate political issue and for Rangel to say the Democratic candidtes's beliefs are completely different from those of his pastor is rediculous. Why else would anyone sit under a pastor he didn't agree with for 20 years? Our theological beliefs are what shape our ideologies or vice versa.

    May 4, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. LMAO

    Rangel is a posturing idiot who became irrelevant long ago. He needs to pry his lips off from the Clintons' derreires and come up for air.

    May 4, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. nannie bouroughs, Kenosha, WI


    This is a “legitimate political issue!” Even the boy Senator understands that!

    The American people really do want to discuss and learn more about Senator Obama, and Michelle, and their relationship with Rev. Wright. This will NOT be buried in the GE IF Senator Obama gets the nomination... and a 20 year relationship of this magnitude simply must be brought into the light of day!

    May 4, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Andrew

    Well gee Rangel, how the hell do you think this issue blew up in the first place? Hillary should have slammed this the moment it came up. But alas Hillary doesn't actually have any party loyalty, and the concept of putting the party before the Clinton name is completely lost on her. A party leader she is not.

    May 4, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. woman from south

    This is so True Obama is the right man for the Job and I support him
    and you guys should wake up.

    OBAMA 2008 !

    May 4, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. justobserve

    Of course Obama was stupid to say it's "legitimate political issue". We can debate about religion but we don't have to link it or pastors to anyone. But isn't too late for Randel to say it now? Where was he during all those weeks of this madness?

    May 4, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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