Saturday, May 31, 2008

Barack & Michelle Obama Resign From Trinity UCC


Obama Resigns Church Membership
Updated 9:15 p.m.
By Keith Richburg

ABERDEEN, S.D. -- Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, resigned their membership in the South Side Chicago church that had been their spiritual home for two decades but which, in recent months, had become a political liability in Obama's campaign for the presidency.

The Obamas announced their decision in a letter to Trinity United Church of Christ's Rev. Otis Moss III on Friday, saying, "We are writing to make official our decision to end our membership at Trinity."

"We make this decision with sadness. Trinity was where I found Christ, where we were married and where our children were baptized," the letter said. "But as you know, our relations with Trinity have been strained by the divisive statements of Reverend Wright, which sharply conflict with our own view."

Obama's unexpected decision came after a second controversy involving incendiary remarks from a pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, this time the Roman Catholic Rev. Michael Pfleger, who sharply ridiculed Sen. Hillary Clinton in a sermon last Sunday.

Obama scheduled an unplanned news conference Saturday evening here in Aberdeen, after news of the resignation began to spread. In the half-hour news conference, Obama said he and Michelle had been discussing leaving the church since his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.'s theatrical and controversial appearance at the National Press Club in late April.

"It's not a decision I came to lightly, and it's one I make with some sadness," Obama said. But, he added, now that he is a presidential candidate, opponents were using the pastors' words to criticize him.

Obama said he never anticipated the storm of controversy his membership in Trinity Church would ignite. "This was one I didn't see coming," he said. "I did not anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subject to such challenge and such scrutiny."

He also said his heightened profile was drawing unwelcome attention to the church. "It's also clear that Reverend Moss and the church have been suffering from all the attention my campaign has visited on them."

"I have no idea how it will impact my presidential campaign, but it's the right thing to do, for my church and for my family," he said.

Asked about choosing a new church, and whether he would more carefully vet his next pastor, Obama said, "I'm not going to approach this as a political exercise." He said in "whatever church you join," pastors may say things that members disagree with. But, answering a question, he acknowledged that joining another black church might be equally problematic. "There's a different religious tradition, or a worshiping style, in some of the African American churches," he said.

"I'm confident we're going to be able to find a church we're comfortable with," he added.

"Our faith remains strong," Obama said. "I suspect that we will find another church home for our family."

Rest of story at link above.

Can't say that I'm happy about this, but after the Father Pfleger incident, I'm not surprised. Just went through all of this yesterday listening to the radio, and still didn't know how I felt about it. I'm just sad about it, but I'm not sure when it would have been the ' right' time to leave the church.


Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

I hear you, Rikyrah. I hear you.
I also have mixed feelings about this. I think that it is sad that he felt so inclined to make this move. I feel sad that he felt that he needed to make it now.
Honestly, I don't think it was a good decision. But, that's just me. I'm on the outside looking in.

Brian said...

Obama should have done this earlier. His first mistake was joining the Black Church in the first place. A Unitarian or mixed Church would have been a better choice. There are too many issues with the Black Church IMO. He waited too long to try to resolve this situation.

That being said....

I find it incredible that Obama has to be held responsible for the words of every preacher on the South side of Chicago. Pastor Pflegler is not Obama's Pastor.
No other politicians are held to this kind of standard. No other Presidential candidate is scrutinized this closely.

But what Wright said was not far from the absolute truth, although he wrapped it in a package that some people didn't like. And Pfleglers comments were actually true in the eyes of many. He simply stated that Hillary Clinton felt entitled to the nomination, although he put it in dramatic terms. This is the same thing that Governor Bill Richardson (former member of the Clinton inner circle) and many other prominent politicians have stated over the last several weeks. So why is Pflegler vilified for repeating what others have already stated publicly? Both of these men- Pflegler and Wright- were offering their own opinions and they should be entitled to them.

The only issue with Pflegler's comments has to do with the timing. There was a call put out by Obama supporters, and i'm sure by Obama's staff, for Wright, and the new young Pastor of Trinity to cool it. They had caused enough problems even before Pflegler's comments and they were not helpful. But they didn't listen. They just couldn't stop with the pulpit antics...just for a few Months.

It's a sensitive time because Obama will need the support of the Clinton supporters, especially women, and working class whites, if he is going to have a chance of defeating John McCain (chances that are already slim at best IMO). This incident came just as the primaries were winding down.
This is why I say that his first mistake was joining the Black Church. I'm sure his wife may have had something to do with that choice. But in these situations, it can come back to haunt you.
They are undisciplined.... (as much as I have enjoyed some of Pfleglers speeches). I always thought that if White bigotry didn't defeat Obama, the traditional "Not Black Enough" Black folks definitely would. Now I see that it's not either/or. But it has been both who have been giving him Hell. Ironic... you join a Church to find God, but in Obama's case, he has been catching nothing but Hell for that choice. Now he's trying to run from the Church. But the media won't let him run from it. This will be a main topic in the first General Election Debate. This will follow Obama to his grave. One of the goals of the media (and McCain and Clinton have been behind this) has been to create a rift between Obama and his Black support base... They tried it with the Farrakhan ambush...that didn't work. Now they are trying it again, by pressuring Obama so much that he is forced into this position of repudiating popular Black preachers and splitting from Churches. No other politician in the race has been given this much grief from the media and these high paid idiot News Pundits.

Timing is sometimes everything with these kinds of incidents. Not only does this harm Obama's chances at uniting the Republicrat Party, But now the neo-Conservatives will have more ammo to use in the General Election.

I heard Obama at the South Dakota News Conference say that he didn't see any of this coming. This is the naivete that I have been talking about w/ Obama. He's naive for believing that he won't be lynched (politically speaking) and chewed up and spit out by this Country....whether he wins the election or not... it won't be a clean race or clean election by any stretch of the imagination. That is what this Country does to good men... lynches them... chews them up and spits them out- Lincoln, J. Kennedy, R. Kennedy, King, John Kerry...the list is quite long. Not all are assassinated...but in general terms... many have been destroyed...or passed over for lesser men, to the great detriment of the Country. By the time this Campaign is over, Obama won't have any energy left. He will be exhausted just from defending himself from nonsense, lies, racism, threats, you name it. Obama will have a good helping of American love & hospitality by the time its over. Hopefully...between all of the nonsense, Obama and McCain will have a chance to discuss the actual issues that concern the vast majority of Americans.

But what bugs me the most about this is the lopsided media coverage. Where is the parity? Obama's FORMER Pastor gives his opinion (which is not much different from what others have said.... I don't know why whites are so shocked)...and Obama has to answer for another man's opinion. Then another Pastor from Chicago says something that is by all accounts plausable and probably truthful, although dramatic...and Obama is in trouble again. This time, for the words of a man who is not even his Pastor. Yet, the media completely leaves McCain alone for the comments of three Pastors that he has been closely tied to- Rod Parsley, John Hagee, and Jerry Falwell...two of which actually endorsed McCain... endorsements that McCain sought and stated that he was happy to recieve. And the comments of these three men dwarf anything stated by Rev. Wright or Father Pflegler. Yet the media gives no negative wall-to-wall coverage to McCain. The media bias is so obvious and so enormous that Obama will have his hands full defending himself over the Summer and Fall. This is the kind of media bias that leads to unfair elections. This is precisely why the U.S. needs a revamped political system, and a revamped election process. There needs to be an election commission that could oversee the election coverage to make sure that there is parity, so that one candidate is not benefited or harmed at the expense of or to the benefit of another. This is why I have zero faith in the American political process. It's always been a farce and an undemocratic spectacle to me.