Obama resigns from Trinity church

May 31, 2008 at 9:06 PM
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CHICAGO, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama says his decision to resign his membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago came with "some sadness."

Obama and his wife, Michelle, left the congregation days after the latest controversial sermon from the church pulpit hit the Internet in a YouTube video, Fox News said Saturday. The video showed a Catholic priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, mocking Hillary Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and indicating that he thought Clinton felt she was "entitled" to the presidency because of her race.

Obama -- who previously rejected remarks by the church's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- said this week he was "deeply disappointed" in Pfleger's "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric." Pfleger has apologized and promised Chicago Cardinal Francis George he will refrain from politicking for the remainder of the presidential campaign.

Obama made his resignation official in a letter sent Friday to the Rev. Otis Moss III, The Washington Post reported.

"We make this decision with sadness," Obama wrote. "Trinity was where I found Christ, where we were married and where our children were baptized."

Speaking Saturday evening in Aberdeen, S.D., Obama told reporters he and his wife had discussed leaving the church since the Wright controversy erupted last month.

"It's not a decision I came to lightly, and it's one I make with some sadness," he said.

"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.

Trinity Church issued a statement wishing the Obama family "the best as former members of our Trinity community.

"Though we are saddened by the news, we understand that is a personal decision," the statement said.

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