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. Voters For A Fair Convention

    Too little too late, Obama has already polarized the voters and is about to learn you can win primaries with a 90% ethnic vote but not a general election

    May 31, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. terry

    He is hoping this is going to put an end to him being a radical liberal for over twenty years....not!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Obama is a creepy presidental candidate who really does not stand for anything. The democrats will not vote if obama is the choice.

    May 31, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Donna

    Mr. Obama hangs out with dangerous people. Twenty years is a long time and NOW he resigns. Wake up America!

    May 31, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. Rita

    Does anyone else think this is getting old? I was pretty repulsed by Father Pfleger's performance. I was raised catholic. What he did, does not reflect a christian attitude. But he is not alone. The Rev Wright belongs to the same christian family. My questoin is, why did a canidate for president also belong to that family? It took him twenty years to figure out that these people were not very nice. Or was it just that in Chicago, it was easier to be elected if he belonged to this church and now it's worth more votes if he is not. .How is that a NEW kind of politics? How is that good judgement?

    May 31, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. hpa


    May 31, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  7. Sylvia Johnsen

    Obama ran a smart campaign, negative but smart. He is still wrong. Hillary Clinton is the far better candidate on experience and character.

    May 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  8. joseph

    great job mr. President

    I suggest you write a bill that outlaws pastors from being involved in any political campaign

    May 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. Come on people!!!

    I must applaud and sympathize with Obama on this.

    May 31, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. Bill

    It's about time.

    May 31, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Dawn

    too little too late..this was only done b/c, poltically, he is in trouble for the general election.....

    May 31, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  12. ln

    Obama needed to get out of the Church, not only for his sake but for the sake of peace of the churche and its members.

    The media has dogged Obama so much, and continue to do so.
    There are still in his church. The demonds are something else. Always in the pews and sidelines awating when to strike.

    Lets see what else the Clintons and the Media will dig up and find or use of whaterve dirt they can come up with.

    The hell that Obama has put up with is like none other. Ms Clinton does not have what it takes to have withstood the crap that she, the media and the republicans have dished out on Obama.
    Yes she has run a long race.

    But Obama has endured a long ordeal of all she's said and done to him along her journey. Like the media as often said in giving fire to the fuel. "We can wait for something to happen, waiting for another Rev, or for Obama to screw up"

    May 31, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Don

    Too little, too late.

    May 31, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. blairg

    his resignation came a little to late and for the wrong reasons. he does'nt want the church subjected to the scrutiny that a presidential campaign legitimately undergoes." Doe not say any thing about the church being raciest. wonder why. he obama has divisive,backward looking rhetoric.

    May 31, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  15. freddy

    Absolutely fantanstic.I think this would finally put an end to the tag issue of church placed on Obama.However, I hope the brethen in the church could keep their heads up and vote for obama.Obviously the road is free with no obstacle.....delegates has been awarded to Sen Clinton and i expect she and her campaign to stop moaning.ITS ALL OVER NOW!!!!1

    May 31, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |

    don't worry obama, you can re-join you church after you become ditator of America. LIAR!

    May 31, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. Angenette Wilder

    Leaving the church was obviously a very hard decision the Obama's had to make. I feel sad that this day has come, but I completely support his decision. People who aren't members of churches don't understand the anguish and thought that goes into the decision of leaving a church community of which he has been a part for over 20 years. I hope that this step will be the end of scrutiny for the church and Reverand Wright that first brought Barack Obama to the Lord. I guess the rumors about him being a muslim will continue forever since this episode still leaves 10% of people with that mistaken believe. My prayers are with the Obama's as they go forward and find a new church home.

    May 31, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. Dimree

    Now will the Clinton News Network and all you no-life hacks get off his case already?

    May 31, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  19. 2012

    Getrtin' kinda crowded under that bus, ain't it, Barry?

    May 31, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  20. Can't wait to say President Obama!

    Good for you Mr. President. I look forward to voting for you in November and your inauguration in January.

    May 31, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |

    I am totally against the DNC ruling to seat the delegation and only count 1/2 the votes! All of the votes should be counted and stand as voted! The DNC caused the problems in the first place and should take their own responsibility!!!!

    I am very disappointed with the Democratic party and the way the leadership has handled this situation. This decision means that 1/2 of the voters in this presidential election in these states will not have their constitutional voice! The DNC now thinks it can decide how the votes should go – is this a precusor of things to come?????

    Talk about 4 more years of George Bush – what about 4 more years of the same ole DNC – National Committee!!!! We need some change – yes – in the NC!!!!

    Voters will not forget this decision!

    May 31, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Sure, now that it's politically expedient. Hypocrite.

    Just who the heck does he think he's fooling?

    May 31, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. Don

    Great, now the media can/will only hold him accountable for things said at his former church. The greatest devide of the 21st century was caused by, none other than, little men holding cameras and big men owning satalites. oh and we must not forget the editors whom only no how to boost ratings /sells by reporting on the negativity, devistation, and pure BS mainly. Are there any good things that have come out of that church? Hmmmmm..........Obama!

    May 31, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. Cooper

    It is a shame that Obama has to be responsible for everything that comes out of anyone's mouth, but I do think it was the best decision. Onward and upward!

    May 31, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. george

    Gee it took him this long to decide he should get of the church.Do you really think he should be the pres. of the usa if it takes him that long to make decision that would take any normal person would make quick

    We have one jerk in the white house do we need another one who takes this long to make the right dicision

    May 31, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
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