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. praying for you

    Now I hope this is a dead issue. There is no more Obama can do.

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Steven Gower

    I think this was a wise decision with the heat Barack Obama has been taking with his church taking advantage of his political status with their Guest pastors. While yes Obama has been in that church for 20 years we can't let McCain go unnoticed as he took the support from Hagee who has some skeletons in his own closet and they have both been rejected by both candidates.

    Obama 08!

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. tom

    ...its about time he left that loony church.

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Leo

    This is the CHANGE we were promised. Except this one comes as a political calculation. Oh, Obamaniacs, you may try and justify this or that action of his for as long as you want, but this shows he has not a person of "good judgment" for the last 20 years. And that was his main claim of "superiority" over Clinton. And, by the way, Obama did have experience - the kind one gets by having Wright and Pfleger as spiritual mentors.

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Shane

    20 years too late

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


    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. DMH

    It seems he joined the church for political gain and now he's resigned from the same church for political gain. Hmmmm.

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. amir

    As an african american....I'm very well aware of stupid statements made by some of my former pastors and those connected with my church. I got up and walked out..and now obama has.

    good job.

    Obama or Hillary in 08!

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. Nicholas G

    It is good for Obama to do because he has different view on things

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Sherria

    Ok, I admit that I felt the that the Trinity church had done a lot of good in their community but I suspected that it would be just a matter of time before Obama had to get that increasingly huge monkey off his back. There will be a media frenzy over this but hopefully he'll be able to move on without wondering when the next Trinity side show would return to town. Obama 08

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Obama's November Loss

    What a freakin joke.

    How bout that other DNC meeting vote..........................another BIG JOKE.

    Obama will lose in Nov.

    Us Hillary Dems will see to that.

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Emmanuel

    That is the right decision Obama has taken..and it shows that he is realy a symbol of unity.. I wish him all the best and i hope he will move forward to become the Democratic nominee.

    May 31, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. KA

    he seems to be too good to be true.. he is resigning only after it started costing him politically.. flip-flop............... not again..

    May 31, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. martin

    good,religion has no place in politics.obamb '08

    May 31, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. B.

    He has not made a valid decision on his own... NOTHING. This was once again, forced by the media...

    This is WRONG and it will get swept under the rug... I am quite sick of it!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. KM

    I don't care what church he goes to, that's not the reason that I am voting for him. I want him to be my next president, not my pastor.

    May 31, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  17. Jessica, GA

    I will continue to pray for you Senator Obama

    May 31, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. Lisa M

    Too little, too late. If he truly felt this way, he would have done it long ago. He's pandering to voters because he knows this is going to explode in the fall.

    May 31, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. angela

    He just now figures out that being connected to a church that holds controversial views are bad for his political campaign???
    I don't think his resignation will be viewed as anything else but political and manipulative. He' s a shrewd operator, but a little slow.

    May 31, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. Jeff in CA


    what sickens me most in those videos are not so much the horrible divisive words of the speakers but the despicable reaction of the crowds and audience behind them–

    i dont know what goes on in those churches but i believe by the reaction of the crowd its anything but inclusive and kind

    Their reaction kind of makes me sick!

    Im not voting for Obama~ NO WAY!

    May 31, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. linda from South Dakota

    ok, lets move onward,,, the two religous guys had their fun at someone elses expense,, hope they are happy,,, and they call themselves leaders,, ( of what i wonder).

    May 31, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. For McCain

    He only did it because he had to.

    May 31, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. Tera

    It's sad for Barack Obama that it had to come to this. This couldn't have been an easy decision for him. I believe that his church commits far more good deeds than bad, and it's unfortunate that the outlandish comments by two people are enough to mar both the Senator and the church.

    May 31, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Lola

    He i a fraud, a liar and far more dangerous to this country then even Bush.

    May 31, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Jonathan H

    Crazy preachers...

    May 31, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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