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Sweet: Wright's "character is being assassinated," his church says on Palm Sunday.


Despite the efforts of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to get beyond stories linking him to the fiery rhetoric of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retired pastor of his church, Trinity United Church of Christ, the matter is not going to go away soon. The new minister, Rev. Otis Moss III said in a statement issued this Palm Sunday that Wright’s “character is being assassinated.”

“Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe,” Moss said.

“Dr. Wright has preached 207,792 minutes on Sunday for the past 36 years at Trinity United Church of Christ. This does not include weekday worship services, revivals and preaching engagements across America and around the globe, to ecumenical and interfaith communities. It is an indictment on Dr. Wright’s ministerial legacy to present his global ministry within a 15- or 30-second sound bite.”

I asked Trinity spokesman Angila M. Faison if a lot of reporters came to the church today. “As you can imagine,” she said.

click below for full statement

Statement from Trinity United Church Of Christ
400 West 95th Street


Chicago, Il (March 15, 2008) – Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.

“Dr. Wright has preached 207,792 minutes on Sunday for the past 36 years at Trinity United Church of Christ. This does not include weekday worship services, revivals and preaching engagements across America and around the globe, to ecumenical and interfaith communities. It is an indictment on Dr. Wright’s ministerial legacy to present his global ministry within a15 or 30-second sound bite,” said the Reverend Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.

During the 36 year pastorate of Dr. Wright, Trinity United Church of Christ has grown from 87 to 8,000 members. It is the largest congregation in the United Church of Christ (UCC) denomination.

“It saddens me to see news stories reporting such a caricature of a congregation that has been such a blessing to the UCC’s Wider Church mission,” said the Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC General Minister and President, in a released statement. “ …It’s time for us to say ‘No’ to these attacks and declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends.”

Trinity United Church of Christ’s ministry is inclusive and global. The following ministries have been developed under Dr. Wright’s ministerial tutelage for social justice: assisted living facilities for senior citizens, day care for children, pastoral care and counseling, health care, ministries for persons living with HIV/AIDS, hospice training, prison ministry, scholarships for thousands of students to attend historically black colleges, youth ministries, tutorial and computer programs, a church library, domestic violence programs and scholarships and fellowships for women and men attending seminary.

Moss added, “The African American Church was born out of the crucible of slavery and the legacy of prophetic African American preachers since slavery has been and continues to heal broken marginalized victims of social and economic injustices. This is an attack on the legacy of the African American Church which led and continues to lead the fight for human rights in America and around the world.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached the Christian tenet, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Before Dr. King was murdered on April 4, 1968, he preached, “The 11 o’clock hour is the most segregated hour in America.” Forty years later, the African American Church community continues to face bomb threats, death threats and their ministers’ characters are assassinated because they teach and preach prophetic social concerns for social justice. Sunday is still the most segregated hour in America.


I believe that Rev. Wright is a decent and honorable man, but the things that he said, such as "God Damn America" are not good coming from a man who has a certain level of influence in his state. Many innocent people lost their lives on September 11th and he is, in essence, damning his own congregants, family members and so on. He also made reference to Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and that he did blacks wrong. Was that really called for? I think Rev. Wright has, by his statements, invited the investigation of the IRS on his congregation. He stated clearly, in some of his speeches (or sermons, depending on who you ask) that Obama was the right choice and he was good for the country. He is not the only preacher who needs to be investigated by the IRS for taking sides--Rod Parsley and John Hagee come to mind. I find it hard to believe that no-one in his congregation ever felt insulted by some of his incendiary statements and pointed it out to him. This is crazy that the words "character assassination" would ever be uttered, since Rev. Wright was heard and seen on these tapes using such divisive language. It is nobody's fault but his own. Barack Obama did the right thing and that was to separate himself from such garbage.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes three-strike laws and wants them to sing God Bless America.
“No! No No!
“God damn America ….

The Rev should have said that to my platoon in Iraq back in 2005 after we lost a good friend and buddy. Hmmm I have a feeling that God would not have had to "damn" the Rev Wright!

How can Obama get beyond this story you idiot! The Rev said this in 2003 and only now is Obama trying to distance himself from the Rev. And as for the Rev. Otis Moss III the new pastor. He thinks we're fools. He clapped when Rev Wright uttered those words.

This really pisses me off, I voted for Obama and gave his campaign $50.00!

Lack of culutral understanding does not allow people to see accurately through another lense. If we start asking every elected offical about the preaching of their pastors, we will be in big trouble. This segments of the sermons can be viewed as offensive, but that is not the entire message. The gospel is about truth and grace. I feel condident that after rev wright spoke the truth, he would have applied the grace to the matter that Jesus Christ requires.

This is way we need a change agend for President, because race is still real in American

Obama 08


I thought the whole probe into Dr. Wright's sermon was because of the church's tax exempt status. But in the press the only thing you hear about is Dr Wright's connection to Obama. Its ironic the timing of this "negative" press, along with the upcoming trial of Rezko. It looks like Dr. Wright is not the only victim of a character assassination.
With the slowing economy, a war with no end in sight, we do not need to be sidetrack with political tactics that diverts our focus from the real issues.

"pastor Wright has no character. Anyone who suits there sunday after Sunday and listens, giggle and claps has none either

Let me ask you a question, are you responsible for what other people say? if not, all you can do is apoligize for them. Isn't that what Obama has done. We have no control over other people, places and things.

All well and good. But does Wright believe that America deliberately invented and spread the AIDS virus or not? Why is it an "attack" to point out the ignorance, hatred, and malice that lie behind such nonsense? And it's not only Wright: when the Pastor said that America had imprisoned Mandela and when he sneered that Hillary was an unworthy "white woman," he was greeted with raucous shouts of approval, foot stamping, and loud applause. The people who attend this church behaved more like a racist Anti-american mob than a community of Christian believers. How could the Obamas deliberately expose their innocent chidren to such hatred, ignorance, and bigotry?

I knew MLK. Wright is no MLK. (Lloyd Benson on JFK)

This totally contradicts Obama's theory of Unity. The video's of Reverend Wright in the media are appalling. Then for Obama to say he wasn't aware of this is insulting. Just like when Obama also said he did not know that people were living in deplorable conditions because of what Rezko did is unacceptable as well. How can Obama be able to lead the United States of America if he doesn't know what is going on in his own city?

One more thing, Obama I want my vote back. I regret ever to have voted for you.

Let me get this straight: Barack and Michelle Obama chose to be involved in the Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years where their well-known pastor, Jeremiah Wright, built a reputation for himself saying racist, hatemongering things in sermons. The Obamas supported this church financially and Obama himself used Wright as inspiration for his book The Audacity of Hope, as well as anointing him his Spirtual Advisor. Even the biggest Obama apologist should recognize that if the tables were turned, and a white candidate was linked to a church where hatemongering preachers spouted off racist, Anti-American remarks, that candidate would be finished. Why is there a double standard for Obama, especially when Obama paints himself as the candidate of Hope and Change?

Most Caucasians just don't understand the black experience. I once counseled with a caucasian minister in a few sessions. I never met with him again after he referred to my problems with my wife as good stuff. His remark to me was insulting, because I was not meeting to entertain him as some type of cartoon character.

I am still waiting on Bill Clinton to answer the letter that I wrote to him while he was in the White House. It was delivered to the White House mailroom. I guess he haven't gotten around to responding because he is busy eating soul food, and playing his saxophone with the brothers, and sisters in Harlem.

He did have time to visit my church here in Los Angeles to hustle votes for his Wife,and tell us how nice his uncle who once operated a mom and pop grocery store in Arkansas treated me and other Negros when he let us have double priced food on the tab.

Thanks for taking the time to read this comment.

George E. Walker
Whittier, California (Richard Nixon's Hometown).


Your newspaper and journalists have no respect for truth and integrity of journalism. You complicity with Sen. Obama to brush under the rug his dealings with the corrupt Rezko is disgraceful and a disservice to the nation. Just like Sen. Obama your editorial board had no judgement in endorsing his candidacy. Now his chickens are coming to roost in corrupt Chicago.

Just because Wright is retiring doesn't mean that church will stop being a racist church. I'm sure the new guy, Moss, is a racist as well. And I'm sure the members of the church are still racist. Although, this church crying character assassination is terrific news. This makes Obama look like the "black" candidate. This turns it into an us against them, or black vs. white. And Obama doesn't stand a chance if that's the case.


Rev. Thomas (Pastor of Mainly White Congreation of UCC) denounces e-mail smear campaign against UCC’s largest congregation - Written by J. Bennett Guess, Jan. 11, 2008

Obama, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, has been a member of Trinity UCC for 20 years." "Trinity UCC is rooted in and proud of its Afrocentric heritage," Thomas said. "This is no different than the hundreds of UCC churches from the German Evangelical and Reformed stream that continue to own and celebrate their German heritage, insisting on annual sausage and sauerkraut dinners and singing Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve. ." While Trinity UCC is predominately African American, it does include and welcome non-Black members. The Rev. Jane Fisler-Hoffman, Illinois Conference Minister, who is white, has been a member of the congregation for years.

"Trinity is a destination church for many members of the UCC, a multi-racial, multi-cultural denomination that is largely Caucasian," Thomas pointed out. "When in Chicago, many UCC members flock to Trinity to share in and learn from its vibrant ministries, dynamic worship and justice-minded membership. Contrary to the claims made in these hateful emails, UCC members know Trinity to be one of the most welcoming, hospitable and generous congregations in our denomination." [...]

Rev. Steve] Gray, a member of First Congregational UCC in Indianapolis (mainly caucasian), has worshiped several times at Trinity UCC and is most impressed by the overflowing sense of welcome it extends to visitors. "When you're Euro-American, (White) the people [at Trinity UCC] are so exceedingly gracious, warm and welcoming. They hug you and say, 'Welcome to our church!'"

This ramped-up smear campaign against the UCC's largest congregation and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's home church — Trinity UCC in Chicago — has raised the ire of the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, who called the e-mail-driven claims "absurd, mean-spirited and politically motivated."

The Main Stream Media has been filled with images and video of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial statements for the past four days, 24/7, which Obama has strongly condemned. My concern, however, relates to equal time. When Senator Obama, who, after all , is actually the Candidate, gave a speech in Indiana, addressing his faith, diversity, and unity, and Invoking Robert Kennedy, it has gotten such a tiny percentage of coverage in comparison to Rev. Wright's controversial statements shown every hour in the hour. The main stream media has asked the questions how is Obama to deal with this controversy and when he does they give very little air time to his Answer, which he spells out beautifully in this Indiana Speech. This is just not Right.

Here is the link to the transcript/video of Obama's speech. Let's urge our friends in the blogosphere, and in every level of media, to Air this and to tell the whole picture, not just a part of it, regarding The Trinity Church which Obama belongs to.

It is true that political personalities put their lives in public for scrutiny by choosing to serve the public. But do they have to answer to every personal opinion that each one of their supporters say and do! They can distance themselves from the words their supporters say but they should not be blamed for what the supporters say. I am certain that in almost all the cases the politicians have no personal contact with all their supporters and tell them what to say or do!

I don't even think that it matters if Obama attended the service where Rev Wright gave his anti white comments. How would have Obama known the contents of the service or topic to be preached about before hand? Don't we all show up at the church with any preconceived ideas on what the sermon is going to be?

If the man Obama says he doesn't agree with what Rev. Wright says I think that it should stand! Our words should mean something; it is the only thing we can be judged with and about because it bears our take on things and has our seal of approval!
We have been doing pretty well lately, let us continue to judge the man and the politician Obama on his credentials, on his word and his explanations and take on things. It is all we can do if we were fair human beings. Obama though exudes much confidence he also and abundantly exudes humility and has on several occasions admitted his mistakes when he has realized them. Let's give him the chance, the benefit of doubt and put him to the test, see if indeed he will deliver. My take is that he will. So far he has exercised good judgments. It is as if he was positioning himself to work with and for the people after he came to terms with his troubled teen years.
People will say anything and everything but ultimately it is the individual who chooses what is right and good for him/her.

Enough is enough! Do all your friends agree with you? Do they all love and regard you on the same scale! Let's not all be so self righteous, the pastor said the words not Obama.

The press and many who have posted here have not done due diligence to verify their claims of racism! Has anyone checked the facts of what Rev. Wright said? Has anyone even listened to the WHOLE sermon?

Here are some facts which back up what Rev. Wright was stating in this sermon:

- African-Americans make up over 50% of people incarcerated, but make up less than 20% of the US population!

- African-Americans convicted for similar crimes under similar circumstances receive harsher punishment than their white counter-parts!

- AIDS is spreading out of control in Africa, and has a higher occurrence rate in African-Americans in the US, but the Gov't does nothing to address this disparity!

- Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into effect which lead to the flight of many American jobs over seas.

- Bill Clinton was NOT the first Black-President!!!

Caucasians often get angry when someone mentions the past (and present) wrongs that they as a race have committed. The US government, which has been the leader in oppression since it's inception wants African-Americans to be happy with where they are and what they have! Why must it be a battle to just be equal? Here's why - people in power don't want to lose power; they don't want to split the pie! Until someone can understand and empathize with what African-Americans have gone trough (and are still going through) they cannot understand the love/hate relationship that African-Americans have with America!

Rev. Wright doesn't only speak for African-Americans, he speaks for the oppressed no matter what their race. It's just that when an African-American speaks out he is a hate-monger or racist!

Please look up the words RACISM/RACIST and notice that it states the belief that race determines ones status over another. When/where has Rev. Wright stated that African-Americans are inherently better than another race? Maybe it was confused with the message that RIGHTEOUS people (of any race) are favored by God over EVIL people!

Please point out anything he said that was not TRUE and FACTUAL after LISTENING TO THE WHOLE SERMON! If someone would do that I will sincerely apologize for my misstatements.

Does anyone believe someone could attend a church for 20 years and have a very close relationship with the Pastor and not know the Pastor's true feelings about his country, his fellow citizens,
the events in the Middle East and the rest of the world? I don't
think I want someone leading my nation who's only excuse is I was not there at the time the statements were made and I reject the statements.

jerry ask those of his generation in philadelphia, where he spend his youth, about him. although the son of a preacher, the rev. came late in life to calvary and the cloth. but let further lessons be learned from this. it is always others who are injured by the conduct of such fellows. for whom does wright speak? oprah, who left his congregation? his current wife, whom he met during "pastoral couples counseling"? how on earth can places like trinity maintain it's tax free status while conducting such flagrant partisan, political activity?

Why single out Rev. Wright, white preachers have been preaching
hatred from their pulpits far longer than Rev. Wright. Why didn't
anyone say something when Rev Falwel was preaching his brand of fire?

Obama as a national politician seeking the highest political office in America should be put to the same scrutiny as the other candidates. Romney was under scrutiny for his religion and it's controversial history and theology. JFK,Guliani,Kerry (Roman Catholic) each asked how the RC and it's doctrine as well as it's hierarchical (papal) structure would affect policy formation and implementation. Lieberman (Jewish) as VP candidate, had to confront and educate americans on Zionism and how this could affect american foriegn policy. Huckabee's evangelical background as well as his credentials as a denominational preacher was in question to the point where he had to remind potential voters that he had been a politician longer then he had been an active pastor. For Obama's campaign supportes to decry as unfair this scrutiny is both disingenous and insulting to the voter, as these concerns in the political arena have a long history and given the current climate, are not going away any time soon. This is where character and judgement come into play, and so far his response(s) have not come across as authortative or authentic. They come across as mildly reactionary and politically expediant. He is affirming what many in the democratic base suspect and that is that there isn't substance we can identify and that he performs as he needs to in a manufactured way to appease to a particular audience. While most politicians do this to a degree, this is politics after all.... His campaign was structured on a foundation of a new era of politics. The hypocrisy is so evident in both word and action. I would hope that his supporters would take the time to look up the definition of hypocrisy in the dictionary. The Obama Rules and it's insistance on a double standard are so glaring as to be frightening to any member of the democratic party. If nominated, this man and his campaign will represent the party. Most seasoned democrats in the base do not like the tactics and know these will not win the day against the GOP machine. This is why there is the percieved split in the democratic party. Despite what Obama's campaign and it's supporters say, to most of the base this isn't about the candidate's race ( he's half white ) but who has the best chance at party representation and beating McCain. While the MSM touts Obama's ability and appeal for crossover voters, the base sees this for what it is. It is a MIRAGE and will disappear in Nov. There is a history of Reagan democrats, but not much of one in the reverse.

It is my opinion that Barack Obama should resign his seat as United States Senator and disqualify himself from being a presidential candidate. No one could have stayed in a church for 20 plus years unless he align’s himself with this pastor who is apprently a bigot. I also do not want the wife of my president to feel the way Barack’s wife feels about my country the United States of America. Thank you for allowing me to make a comment.

I get upset when I read comments about what other preachers may or may not have said. I don't really care personally one way or the other what Mr. Wright says or thinks. What I am concerned about is the fact that a man that looks up to him, sat in his congregation for over 20 years and openly says he was and still is his mentor and Christian advisor may be the president of a country that I think is the greatest country in the world, USA. This is not something new to him. But I think people have been so caught up in the hype that is "Obama" that we forget all this is why he doesn't salute the flag or any of the other controversial things he has done....He was taught by his mentor, Rev. Wright, whom he still holds in high regards. Come on America, open your eyes and wake up and quit being snowballed by another hypocritical politician. Shame on you if you vote for Obama just because he's a man of color. He has been trained to speak well but he has no qualifications and has been proven does not have the American values needed to be president of this country.

"...born out of the crucible of slavery...", that pretty much says it all.

I do not stand by the inflammatory language that Rev. Wright used and I believe that the effectiveness of a revolutionary mindset holds no water in today's world; common sense does. Common sense says that we should embrace inclusiveness and diversity and common sense says that we should be culturally sensitive and aware. But as we all know, we don't all possess common sense.

This mindset of Rev. Wright's is a concious development shaped by his own natural defenses to his witnessing of oppression and slights throughout his years. Who wouldn't develop similar sentiments or defenses given the same circumstances? We are human and we feel but we have a choice. When some people feel slighted, they withdraw. Others go the opposite route and become extroverted and it is usually those extroverts that make a difference in the world. Rev. Wright is actually somewhere in between because the regrettable use of anti-social rhetoric can actually have negative consequences on the weak minded of his congregation (introvert affect) while actually spurring the catalyst (potentially, Mr. Obama).

I am a 28 year old African-American and I attend a non-denominational and wonderfully diverse Christian church, The Believers Church in Matteson. When I look at the faces, I realize what real change can do for this country. Whether that change comes at the hands of Clinton or Obama is immaterial so long as we reap REAL and positive change, a better standing than the current one.

Listen to the entire sermon. Please do not judge Obama on the belief of his pastor. I sometimes don't agree with everything my pastor say. There is an old saying you eat the meat and spit out the bones, in other words everything that you don't receive or agree with. Also, look at what Pastor Wright has done in the past and all the good he has done in the community and then judge him.

I guess they got something on Obama and they are trying to run with it. All in all as a black female, I must say I have experience racism on an ongoing basis but still I chose to love. Sometimes it is hard but I must love my enemies, neighbors, family and friends.

Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968:

"God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place." King then predicted this response from the Almighty: "And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
If today's technology had existed then, I would imagine the media playing quotations of that sort over and over. Right-wing commentators would use the material to argue that King was anti-American and to discredit his call for racial and class justice. King certainly angered a lot of people at the time.
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, March 21, 2008; Page A17
Washington Post

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.

Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements and rejections of his comments and him.

We've seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright's many sermons.

Some of the Wright's comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling him "unpatriotic," let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country.

How many of Wright's detractors, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to name but a few, volunteered for service, and did so under the often tumultuous circumstances of a newly integrated armed forces and a society in the midst of a civil rights struggle? Not many.

While words do count, so do actions.

Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism.

Lawrence Korb and Ian Moss are, respectively, Navy and Marine Corps veterans. They work at The Center For American Progress. Korb served as assistant secretary of Defense in the the Reagan administration.

He gave of him self for this great country, he has earned the right to critize all he wants too. What have you done for our county, nothing but being a--h----. Take that and smoke it.

For arguement sake let's say that Mr. Obama who as a member of Reverend Wright's congregation attended service for 20 years, but doesn't remember any of the hatred verbalized by Reverend Wright. If this is true, do you really want someone like this as our president? Someone who attends the same church for 20 years, but doesn't remember, or never discussed this with his wife or other congregants. Give me a break, he is either extremely incompetent or a bold faced liar. I'll bet on the latter

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 16, 2008 6:45 PM.

Sweet: In Indiana, Obama calls Wright wrong on rhetoric, blames "pent-up anger." Urges unity. was the previous entry in this blog.

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