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. jwilliams

    Just another way to please the people that he is wonting to gain in the election we don't need this kind of player in the White House!!!! If he wins the election I hope that all the people that Voted for him like the way he does things because The times in this country just will get worst .And for the Party become one in Nov. I really don't think Hillary's people will forget and forgive

    May 31, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. bob

    good for you man, these people where not speaking for you I give you credit for trying to find the good in everybody even giving them the benefit of the doubt, you are a good guy who is going to take us to the better days, you have weathered heavy storm from Clinton machine and you have made us see why you are as cool as a rock star, good luck man from here on its just easy with Mcsame there

    May 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    Now the Republicans don't have anything to bring up about him being a member of the church. Hopefully now we can have a real debate of the issues and not who goes to what church or what endorsement. Let's just stick to the issues.

    May 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Andre Weisz

    A wise decision.

    May 31, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. NoKoolAid4Me

    People Do you really think Obama has resigned from this church? The church, the pastors have been part of his life for 20 years; you just do not walk away from that. These are ideas that he supported and was a part of his life for 20 years. He said earlier, he could not deny Rev Wright any more than he could disown his grandmother. He threw Wright in the closest for a while, his grandmother under the bus; now he is no longer a member of the church, please. Will his militant wife be next? In the words of Rev Wright, Obama is a politician and if he wants to be President he will say or do whatever it takes to get there. In other words, after that he will do what ever is necessary to express "our time is now" with his radical followers. If there is any chance for the Democratic Party to win in November, super delegates better recognize that Obama is the same type of person that these pastors are and the pretense of abandoned them is just for show.

    May 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Mary

    He should have resigned from this church 19 1/2 years ago. His judgment was slow in making a rational decision and he wants to be our President. Can you imagine what that means in regard to making important decisions. Nineteen 1/2 years to make a rational decision.

    May 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Tapsiru

    Considering all the damages the leaders of the church has done to Barack, and future damages to come, I think it is a great decision for the Obamas' to resign from membership of this church. Clearly, they leave him and his family with no choice. I'm happy for you the Obamas' and good luck in your endeavors.

    May 31, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. A Combat Vet's Observation

    What took him so long?

    He will do anything to win.

    He sat through twenty years of this type of preaching and now since he wants to win another office, he quits his church.

    This man has no morals

    He shouldn't even be a US Senator

    May 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Pat

    Rev. Wright may have made what some consider controversial remarks, but I would consider him (only from the little bit I've heard) a good preacher – who teaches true scripture.

    What in God's precious name is this priest doing in this church acting like a moron and spouting political garbage that further hurts Obama? At this point, I feel it was sacrificial and correct for Obama to have resigned from the church.

    Things like this are pretty scary – mostly the fact that mainstream churches can be infiltrated and demonized by trying to brainwash their flocks. I refuse to sit in the pews of any church that has a verbose political persuasion.

    The churches should also not be allowed to donate to presidential campaigns. While the mainstream news hasn't reported it, along with the Hagee flap, McCain's campaign got $2000 from televangelist Rod Parsley – another controversial preacher who has a huge following. Since the churches are tax exempt, they should certainly be monitored for promoting political persuasions.

    May 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. California for Obama

    This is great news. Any church of God would be honored to have you and your beautiful family.

    Stay strong. I know it is not easy with all the negative people out there but YOU and YOU only will always own your thoughts and your soul.

    Keep the faith.

    May 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. wendy

    Sad he was put into this position. There are many good sides of this church moreso than controversial things. That church does alot for its community. Guess that's why Obama was attracted to it in the first place.

    May 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. God Bless America

    He and his family are moving to Washington D.C. in January!!!!!! They will need another church to attend if they so choose.

    May 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. mary

    Is fine,that`s politics, but still IdonĀ“t understand why obama shuold be responsible for what someone of age has said or done.

    May 31, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. jenkins

    Why does this guy have so many problems with his church? Has anyone ever seen such things? What is going on here?

    May 31, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Lizzy in TX

    If this stuff hadn't all been brought to light in the media, he would have still been sitting there listening to the same old racist bigoted unpatriotic rhetoric he has for the last 20 years, and never complaining or disagreeing one iota. There is just something about him that gives me an uneasy feeling.... like we're not getting the whole picture.... sort of like when George W. ran.

    May 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. california kid

    Obama is so naive. He leaves them after 20 years. The nomination is not over yet. I will never vote for him.

    May 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. RC Houston

    Well, Obama had to do what he had to do. His church left him no other options.

    May 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Danny Z.

    Too little, too late.

    Talk about political expediency! This guy better take his fingers that he's constant pointing at everyone else and point to himself.

    Everything is about this guy is as staged as it gets. Total fraud.

    McCain '08

    May 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Hal

    He isn't doing this because he wants to. The only reason he is doing this is because politically he has to. Its the same thing all the time. I do something that looks bad say I'm sorry or I'm leaving that organization. Why don't Obama admit he is wrong on many things.

    May 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  20. LaShana, Chicago

    Shame on you Obama for resigning from Trinity Church. It seems votes are more important to you than your religion and religious principles and your people. It seems like you want to do more for whites than for your bretheren just because they have more votes.

    May 31, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Good for You President Obama. We are with you all the way. Sometimes you just have to release the baggage and look to the future.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    May 31, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. supporter

    An other decision for political gain, I bet the Church is proud of you, now have your members stop bashing the Clinton's that they casted away as you came in the picture and oh by the way things for ruining the Democratic party

    May 31, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. uchman

    So much for the seperation of the Church and the State. Where is the dividing line?

    May 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  24. Brian

    There is nothing that Obama can say or do now to undo or explain away the fact that....HE WAS A 20 YEAR MEMBER OF THAT HATE FILLED "CHURCH".



    May 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. Kjetil

    Good for Obama. The church has said so many offensive stuff that its good too get away from them.

    May 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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