May 31st, 2008
06:22 PM ET
15 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. Keith Gober

    OK. Why now? Is it because his campaign is worried about the damage it HAS done to his upcoming general election LOSS against John McCain? Why did he decide to do it now?

    May 31, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. tiff


    May 31, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. hopefull


    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Joey

    Wise decision, Barrack. Good for you and for the church. The church can go their way and you can go yours. There's no reason you should have to take flack for a group of people you have no control over.

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. JohnE

    What about his family, have they resigned also? And how's he going to undo the damage done by his children listening to and believing the garbage being preached in that church?

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Proud American

    I feel bad for Obama, though what the Revevernd said was kinda true and very funny. Kids let this be a lesson "stay outta church".

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. giz

    Sen. Obama TOO LATE. You've been a member of that church for 20 YEARS and you're just quitting now? Don't say you're not aware of their sermons (and people from the backgrounds of the video are standidng, cheering and clapping). From the video Sen. Obama, your church teach hatred! You don't stay in the church for 20 years if you don't agree with their views. It shows you do have same views.

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. The American Way

    Democratic party needs to heed the second occurrence and urge Obama to step down. His kind is not fit for the White house.
    What a disgrace!!!

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. THE DNC IS INEPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They admitted that the Florida voters were NOT AT FAULT in violating the rules and that the REPUBLICAN leadership was at fault, YET the DNC FAILED TO PROTECT THE DEMOCRATS in Florida who went to the polls and voted, with BOTH candidates on the ballot, and allowed the Republican leadership in Florida to hurt Democrats who voted in the primary there!

    SHAME ON THE DNC!!! I think it is SHAMEFUL!

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Anna

    Happy now, Father Pfleger?

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Jeff

    20 years too late.... The "typical white person" in the "57 states" of the "US of KKK-A" will never forget. We are "clingers" after all.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. audacity

    We must acknowledge that a church, like any institution, is a live body. If Trinity has taken a turn away from which Obama fundamentally agrees, then it makes absolute sense for him to part with it. I wish more of our leaders would take inventory of their affiliations and follow his lead.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Andy

    Oh, he needs to do more than resign from his church... he needs to resign from the race.

    The Pied Piper of Change is going to change this country alright, and it's not the change all you suckers following him are hoping for. Will someone PLEASE tell me what Obama has done to justify even running for the highest office in the land? And just because he gives Morpheus (the Matrix) inspired speeches, that won't cut it. Ferrero had it right. The ONLY reason he is in this race is because he's black. Sure, call me a racist, but before you do, know that I was initially interested in supporting Obama until I realized the guy is shallow. He has NOTHING beyond his speaking ability-oh other than the fact that this is the first time in his wife's life that there is something to be proud about.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Diego

    what this guy needs to become a leader
    not a follower of what is being shown on the airwaves

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Gabby

    Obama, I applaud you! you did all you could in the light of the circumstances.
    Obama '08!!

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Maria

    Obama continues to be a fraud. He knew the anti-American rants and hatred that have occurred at his Trinity Church and congregation all these years and he condoned it by staying as a member for 20 years. His resigning now from that Church just clearly shows he'll DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to win this nomination and election. ...lie, cheat, fool the American public,, etc. , etc.
    Heaven help us if he does win.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |

    Nineteen years to late,but better than not at all,I guess.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Impressed

    Mr. President (Barak Obama), you did the right thing. Else that church is going to pull you down.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Dawn

    I have no doubt this was a very difficult decision for this family. Neither can or should they stay under fire for the services at Trinity nor should Trinity be blamed if Senator Obama would / should error.
    The Obamas needs to be under Watch Care and hopefully several churches will invite them during this transitional period. Watch Care is a church who keeps someone/ someones under prayer and in fellowship while they are transition.
    My prayers are with them. Get Weisbe's book Be Real and Be Strong in the mean while.
    You are loved.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Paul 43

    Most of us know a few idiots. I guess Obama is no exception.

    May 31, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Sable

    Mistake. Mistake, mistake, mistake...

    May 31, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  22. Ben

    Would this country please stop being so superficial!!!?? Let's get back to the issues, already!!!

    May 31, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. People

    One should not be judged by the company he keeps, look at Jesus. However, in the world we live in people rarely understand this. It is important to hear everyone out for a clearer view of the way things work in the world. I really don't think Obama thinks in the way these guys think but I think he understands where they are coming from.

    Obama 08!

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. Arya

    As the campaign has gone along we see Barack OBama is no more than the run of the mill politician.

    Isnt this typical washington politics .. disowning what ever that doesnt work in your favor and look at the timing just after all the primaries are over.. i think this was very much pre meditated move.. it worked for him to have this kind of radical support behind him in the primaries..

    So much for " I can not disown my pastor as i can not disown my church"

    A senator with not more than 2 years experience jumps into presidential race.. what are his accomplishments.. for he has been crowned the democratic nominee... if it was just his words.. now it appears he is not living to his words anymore..

    Imagine an inexperienced senator in whitehouse being played by the Nancy Pelosis , John Kerrys in his first years.. for there own liberal agendas.. leave alone the Jesse Jacksons ..

    Democratic party never learns.. what is required is a middle of the road candidate .. not a liberal who will scare .. major portions of electorate..

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. djia

    sure he did.........right........uh huh.........WRIGHT

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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