Obama throws in towel, leaves his church of 20 years

Late today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced he and his family had left the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The church’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had created considerable controversy for both Sen. Obama and the church with inflammatory remarks, and a guest pastor last Sunday added fuel to the fire with comments about Hillary Clinton. Obama felt he no longer had any choice and presented a letter of resignation to his church on Friday.

In his remarks today, reported by the Associated Press, Obama said:

This is not a decision I come to lightly … and it is one I make with some sadness …

I’m not denouncing the church and I’m not interested in people who want me to denounce the church … [the new pastor and] the church have been suffering from the attention my campaign has focused on them….

It’s clear that now that I’m a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my longheld views, statements, and principles.

“It’s about time” is the first thing that comes to mind. Obama seems to have run an excellent campaign aside from thinking that he could not, should not, and did not want to leave Trinity Church. He’s had a blind spot when it came to his church, or maybe his vision of change in America gave the public, the press, and his opponents too much credit for open-mindedness. Whatever the reason, we’ll know in November if he waited too long to make this move.

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Categories: Election 2008, Obama, Politics

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4 replies

  1. The letter sounds a bit contradictory.

    1. Is he resigning because the church is getting too much attention from the fact he is running for president. As such he is being kind to them…. Or….

    2. Is he resigning because the messages coming from out of the church, in which he dedicated 20 years of his life, is now clouding the message of his running for president.

    There seems to be a pattern of behavior happening here. Was this NOT the first thing he did with Jerimiah Wright; not distancing himself far enough to appear as if his beliefs are firmly contrary to what is said at Trinity.

    Let’s predict something just for kicks….There is going to be NOW a parishoner from that church who will come forward and say he/she has witnessed Barrack clapping during these rants of Wright. And that parishoner will come forward on the belief they want to “set the record straight.”

    By the way, in my view, there has been no candidate in this presidential campaign season who has run an excellent bid for the presidency. Gaining momentum simply means conditions were right for some kind of change in direction for this country through the White House.

    I am presuming people have grown tired of the war effort….only in Iraq…and see Obama as the opportunity to change that direction. However, the reality of international political situations will far outweigh any promises of withdrawal in the next four years. Hang in there we have only seen the beginning of this whole mess.
    ………………………….
    Although he sounds like he’s concerned about protecting the church from more negative scrutiny, that’s a convenient way to soften the fact that his association with Trinity has really been hurting him and he needed to sever those ties. He should have done it long ago.

    Love your prediction about the NOW parishoner. And I sure wouldn’t bet against it.

    “Excellent” wasn’t a great choice of adjectives. I was thinking well planned, well run, keeping everyone on message, etc.

    International politics have always been a volatile jumble. As fast as we pull one foot out of Iraqi quicksand, the other foot will be sinking deeper somewhere else. It will always be a balancing act, and we need a president who fully understands just how delicate that balance can be.

  2. When I heard this, the first thing came to my mind is “Obama will regret this”. People will point out the fact that Obama has been in this church for 20 years. He could have left the church 5, 10, 15, or 19 years ago. But he didn’t until now. He would have been much better off if he continues to stay with the church. This would show that he is a man of convictions and not a typical politician. So disappointed.
    ……………………..
    I, too, am disappointed that he didn’t have the foresight to do this before he started his campaign. I’m not at all sure that doing it now will change anything. The history is there, the videos are there, and they aren’t going to magically disappear.

  3. This is all very surreal! I consider myself an observer of politics more than a participant in the process. None of this makes much lick of sense to me. It is really odd!

    Let’s think this out! A man of Barrack’s ilk does not sit on the sidelines in any thing in which he chooses to become a member. So, it is easy to assume, behaviorally this man, who dedicated twenty years of his life participating in a faith community, dines with those in his faith community, dances with them at church celebrations and functions, and probably offers his take on God and spirituality in this faith community during group bible discussions.

    An interesting aspect of this story to consider in the why does Barrack stay in the church could be found in how much influence his wife might had with his remaining. Sometimes guys just put up with the religious experiences their spouses espouse.

    Yet, I still can not fathom how Barrack, with his wife and children in attendence sat there for twenty years when Rev Wright rants (even occasionally) were in hyper mode about his take on the world as he sees it.

    IS Barrack sitting idly by arms crossed or with his face buried in his hands as the rest of the congregation is rocking and rolling, clapping in agreement? Or does the pastor plan his views while the Obama Family is out of town? I don’t thiiiink so!

    Never before have we had such a clear insight about the spiritual journey of our president. We knew Nixon had a Quaker spiritual experience. We knew Kennedy was somewhat Catholic. We knew all presidents found counsel in the presence of Billy Graham….BUT, now Barrack brings to the fore a very odd and (even I must say) a disturbing spiritual experience for us to consider in our presidential choice; the down side of Black Liberation Theology.

    Yet through it all…we have crowds going wild, sitting on the edge of their seats, as Barrack delivers a speech about this being “our moment.”

    I am affraid this story is NOT going to go away anytime soon…There is soo much yet to understand about what drives Barrack Obama….Or maybe…we don’t want to know what drives Obama…because Obama fits the “Tiger Woods” mold of what we want from our politicians….A guy that looks good doing what he seems to do well….very very well….painting for us an image for what a “logo is supposed to look like.”

    You know….sort of what Ronald Reagan did for American politics.
    …………………….
    I frankly don’t know what to make of Rev. Wright, or of Obama for hanging around his church all these years. Certainly there’s a disconnect between Rev. Wright and the image Obama is trying to portray, and I agree, the issue is not going to go away. I wouldn’t be concerned about it at all if Bush hadn’t injected religion into his policymaking. Before that, I didn’t much care what the other guy believed as long as he didn’t try to impose it on me.

  4. … great convo here. I also don’t think his involvement with a highly controversial church it’s going anywhere, anytime soon- Obama seems to have attacked McCain immediately to take the spotlight off himself. He came out swinging… but he’s going to get the political beat down on this one. 20 years is a long damn time… And yes, it’s about time he came forward – a little to late for me.

    Now I have to go search out an article or youtube video on the guest pastor last Sunday that added fuel to the fire with comments about Hillary Clinton – I saw a little snippet on the news… gotta go see the whole story there.
    ………………………
    It will be interesting to see how much and how hard McCain attacks Obama on this issue. There are plenty of questions out there, but it’s a tough, delicate issue to go after someone about their (former) church. I wouldn’t be surprised if McCain left such attacks up to the 527s — and no doubt they are busily scripting such ads right now.

    As for Rev. Phleger, I’m embarrassed to say I was amused by his little performance. At the same time I was absolutely stunned to see a white Catholic priest carrying on like that in church. He said later he thought the video cam was turned off. Puh-leeze! In this day and age, if you’re in any group of two or more people, you’d better assume you’re being recorded by someone.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I haven’t set foot in a church in 40 years, except for a few weddings and funerals. So I’m really in no position to judge, other than to say Trinity doesn’t seem nearly as concerned about their negative press as Obama professed to be when he resigned.

"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." ~ Art Buchwald

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