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. susie

    He only resign from the church so he could get more votes. The values he learnt from that church for 20 years are instilled in him and Michelle.

    May 31, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. mr. reality

    the ultimate measure of a man is not were he stands in moments of comfort and convenience. but where he stands in times of challenge and contreversy.... by that measure i think obama did the right thing

    May 31, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. jon

    Barack will be destroyed in november becuse of not counting all the votes in mighigan and Florida

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Zac

    A shame a shame. Obama should've gone to his church and taught them all a lesson in unity and civility. Ya know, shown some leadership instead of taking the politically convenient route.

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Desmond Sequeira

    I really appreciated OBAMA's spirit of kindness in rejecting the messages put forth in his church but not the messengers. That is a very Christ-like disposition. That is the same disposition he appears to offer the "enemies" of the USA by being prepared to talk with them. That is what Jesus did. He said, "Love your enemies" and actually meant it. And he entered their homes and sat and ate with them even while challenging them to CHANGE.

    He has finally found it necessary to resign from his church so that the recent venom coming out of it is not confused with his own forward-looking spirit of peace. He is the kind of person that the USA and the world needs as President of the USA.

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Tom

    Showing that he really WAS wrong all along – right decision but 20 years too late and only after the pressure of TWO racist speakers and an incredibly racist crowd hurt HIS political ambitions – NOT because of his own recognition of the horribly divisive nature of these people. It's still all about him. Loser.

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Robin

    You should have done that long ago. you really expect us to believe this?. Are you also going to give back the hundreds of thousands of dollars both preachers gave you. isn't that considered lobbyists? Just another lie you expect people to believe. No kool ade drinking here.

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Attorney in Florida

    Too little, too late! I've have two words for you: POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY!

    He didn't resign b/c he thought the comments were so horrible, racist, sexist, and degrading....he resigned because the church was getting too much bad press (boo hoo), and he knows the GOP are going to pounce over and over and over again on his Pastor problems. News flash....they're STILL going to use this against him, and chances'll work! Look at what they've done to their opponents in the past elections. History repeats itself folks!!! He is a VERY flawed candidate.

    May 31, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Voice of Reason

    Religious leaders are notoriously egomaniacal. Wright and Pfleger are cut from that same cloth, as are the monsters that McCain recently had to distance himself from.

    ALL religion out of US politics/government... NOW!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Andy in ATL

    Too little, too late.

    To ask us (the public) to believe that he only just found out what this church is all about stretches the limits of incredulity.

    He has been a member for 20 years. He had no problem with what was being spewed from the pulpit until it became a problem for his campaign.

    May 31, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Linda

    What a joke that he decided to let 20 years go down the drain because his personal values are show to the people of the United States of America. This is job to show what a job he will do with the United States of America in his decision. What are people thinking.

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Gene

    Resigning after 20 years of attendance? Is this a church or a political organization?

    Rev Wright was a spiritual mentor, pastor, close friend and paid staff member! Is Obama flip-flopping?!

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN

    Good. He needs to leave that church.

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. Yola

    What's controversial about the church? Give me a break! What is discussed in the church should stay in the church – I hate the fact that all these ministers are being mocked in the media!

    Point is – Wright, Hagee and the others have done more good than bad, give me a break!

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Obama '08

    WOW!!!! That's all I got to say about that. I still support you man but I didn't know that you wanted to be president that bad.

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. You Lose Again!

    Obama did this NOT because it was the right thing to do - he could have done that a LONG time ago - but because there was "unwanted attention for the campaign." And he did this at the very moment the DNC rules committee was meeting - and the last pastor rampage would certainly have been a negative for him!

    Obama is NOT a decision maker. He is a REACTOR. He will NOT be president!

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

    I am an avid Obama supporter. However, I must say in this case, he showed lapse in judgment. He should have resigned from the church right after the wright controversy.

    May 31, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    What happened to all those conservative Christians who were so certain that Barack Hussein Obama was a Muslim?

    Don't hear much from them now, do you?

    Of course in the Bush/McCain way of the world, they still refuse to admit that they were worng.

    May 31, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. George Henry

    What Obama needs to understand is that people will clearly see that this is simply a PR stunt. A move like this isn't telling voters that he truthfully disagrees with the mentality of the members of this church, it's just telling everyone that he will do whatever it takes to clear his image. There are surely better ways to handle situations like this one, which proves that Obama's team isn't quite in the game just yet.

    May 31, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. Kevin

    god....i am tired of these more pastors pls...

    McCain 2008

    May 31, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. phyllis M. Phillips

    He can't handle this do we want him ans the phone at 3am

    May 31, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  22. Robin Wagner from ct

    SAD he should not do this because he is a good man . He cant help what other said .

    May 31, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Duop Chak, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Good move.

    May 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. I used to be a Democrat

    Too little too late, Obama. You are stuck with Trinity for the rest of your days.

    Do we Americans really want to put up with four years of Trinity being in the news?

    Obama is Wright.

    May 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Tamara

    To late!!!! Why now. Wake up America!! What a question of Judgement. I guess the Superdelegates said "Get rid of the church or we will get rid of you". Obama stand up against the far left or you will lose in the election in November. Hillary Clinton as your VP is your only hope. How many other people will Obama have to drop out of his life before this is all over.

    May 31, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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