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

Obama resigns from controversial church

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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. Joe from NC

    I wonder how he'll explain that he didn't doi this for political reasons

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. J.

    It is about time!

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. William F.

    Why is he resigning now? Seems to me he knew this was going on there along time ago, so much for change seems like just another politician to me.

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Matt Canoga Park

    20 plus years too late. Good job. It took this long to figure out the people you were listening too every week were racists with the political views of a uninformed child.

    I am sure your sheep will still blindly follow you don't worry.

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. TaraLynn

    This is a publicity stunt. He attended and supported that church for 20 years.

    I support Hillary Clinton but will vote for McCain to keep him out of office.

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Judy from Fairfax, VA

    Had Mr. Obama done this 20 years ago, when the hate first became obvious, or even 2 years ago, when the hate was really obvious, or even TWO months ago (when it became obvious that this could cost him something) I MIGHT have been impressed.

    As it is, however, he tried to have it both ways, and he'll end up getting neither.

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Too little, too late. You attended that church for 20 years, were married there and had both of your daughters baptised there, where for there entire lives were filled with that type of hate speech. I'm sorry the president must have good judgement and that includes the company he keeps.

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. Amy OFlaherty Reno, NV

    I'm so glad that the media, Republicans and the Clinton campaign are such bullies that Obama had to leave his church. We have got to be the most judgmental nation in this world. For God's sake, get a GRIP, people. STOP judging people based on who they know, or who they had dinner with 15 years ago, or even who their friends of 20 years or more are. WHO CARES???? Now all that needs to happen is for Hillary to get her way and have all Florida and Michigan delegates seated (including NONE from Michigan for Barack) after she knew the rules going in. I am disgusted.

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. NJ


    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Rosalind Graham

    Sorry Barack!!! This dog doesn't hunt!!!

    You joined Trinty church for political reasons; you remained in Trinty church for twenty years for political reasons - absorbing and at the very least condoning the hatred preached there; and now you have righteously resigned from the church - again for political reasons!!!

    You have shown us your abysmal lack of morality and ethics in spades!!

    And you think we should give you the most important job on the face of this earth?? In your dreams!!!

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. bk

    Obama needs to get out of the race. We do not need a racist president nor a racist first lady. All that rhetoric about bring the country together and he has spent 20 years with all these racist friends and he expects people to believe he is not racist. Why wasn't he out trying to unite people before he ran for president. No, he stayed with the AA's and talked about typical white people. What a fraud.

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. MP

    Fake, fake, fake! All of the Obama supporters are going to say what a wonderful thing that Obama has done, and yes of course, he must be good and true, BUT it is way too late for this. He stayed, he befriended, he contributed, he pushed grant money, he formed bonds, had these people around his children, in his home, at their baptizms and rallied and supported them in their endeavors. People who believe that he is doing this for any other reason than that Obama is really the one who will stop at nothing to win the election are sheep. Bottom line: Obama got busted! Not once, not twice, not even three times, we are nearing uncontable times at this point!

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. xddy4u

    Obama should have resigned from that church right after Rev. Wright's news conference. It seems that both ministers are lacking the wisdom of God. After they got their, " Amens". Then what? Obama was left to damage control the mess. Now they can preach all they want. At least Obama doesn't have to answer to the sermons coming out of that church. Obama '08

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Bob

    Of course he's resigning, because he is the most guilty of political pandering of the three remaining candidates. Just because he doesn't go to that church anymore, what, are we supposed to believe that all of a sudden he doesn't share any beliefs of that church. Look at the video of the priest screaming. The congregation is cheering and hollering while he speaks. Tell me he went to a church for 20 years that obviously is as racist as most people say white folks are and doesn't share a single shred of belief with the congregation. Read Michelle Obama's senior Princeton thesis statement and you'll see who's really racist. Look at the way Obama ran his first Chicago campaign. Tell me that's the politics of unity, hope, and change? If a pastor at Hillary Clinton's church had gone around saying Obama shouldn't win because he's black, the media would pounce all over it and basically crucify her. Now the reverse is basically true, and people just let it go because Obama is the media's golden child who can do no wrong. Does he really think that resigning from that church is going to make people think that he doesn't agree with any of the views? 20 years has an impact on somebody, regardless of if they stay there or not.

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Sharon

    Too little too late.

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Charlotte

    Just when you thought that it was getting crowded under that bus, Obalegerwright, has just thrown his whole church under the bus. He will do anything to win the Presidency, and I mean anything. Wonder how that will set with all those black people who were jumping up and down and cheering when Wright and Pfleger were putting down white people, this country and especially Hillary Clinton? He might lose the black vote when they realize he was using them to get to point A. He knows they (a mere 12%) cannot carry him to the White House. Wonder how Oprah feels, now that her popularity is waning? Loyality is not his forte! Anything to win is now evident, is it not?

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. UNITED states

    i love you obama because you do the right thing at the right time.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. CacklingHillary

    Too bad. Is it the church or the people in the pulpit?

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. terry

    what a politically motivated move. BO shows, once again, he is just another typical politician.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Flick Wilkerson

    Now he should go all the way and become an atheist runner.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. David Okafor

    It looks like some people are really working against Obama's Presidential goals.

    First Wright, now Pfleger. Those two must be wolves in sheep's skin.

    I hope people don't hold Obama responsible for these folks.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. The Real Patriot

    Too little too late. The cat is out of the bag and we know what kid of pole cat came out. You can't erase 20 years of sitting in the Church and absorbing the hate and vitrol coming from the pulpuit by resigning because of any potential damage to your campaign.

    We know the truth and the truth will prevail in November.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Carol

    Too much too little too late!

    TWENTY YEARS he knew both "preachers" Both were part of his religious "ring" in the beginning of his campaign.

    Just another "I'll do and say whatever I have to, to get elected, then I'll go back to my old ways"

    And he says he's about CHANGE??? What a crock!!

    Wake up you idiots, you are as dumb as GW's Christian cult! Fanatics who choose not to see the truth!

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. flip-flop

    How many hypocritical flip-flops from this opportunist does this make?

    He will become whatever is needed to steal the nomination.

    Ever hear of too little too late.

    The damage is done.

    Our votes are NOT coming back.

    Wright was right. I knew it all along.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. hillary 08

    too little too late that's doesn't fix the fact that he was brainwashed by these people for 2o years

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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