As my mom said when CNN was doing a story on Obama, calling Jeremiah Wright (paraphrasing) "the story that nearly derailed Obama's candidacy".
Sol's MomThe Rev was off the chain.
I think Wright can be a baffoon at times but I think his missteps and mistakes can be attributed to simply being human...qualities that doesn't dismiss many true things he say.
Obama pastor backs gay rights
Rev. Wright supported gay ministry, but failed to adopt ‘affirming’ status for church
By LOU CHIBBARO JR., The Washington Blade | Mar 20, 10:12 AM
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s controversial ex-pastor in Chicago has largely supported gay rights and has welcomed gays into his 8,000-member congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ, according to activists who know him.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently retired as the Trinity Church pastor, has been hit with a firestorm of criticism after news media outlets began airing video recordings of some of his fiery and racially charged sermons, including one in which he blamed U.S. foreign policy for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Obama distanced himself from Wright’s strident political positions but refused to “disown” his pastor of nearly 20 years, reiterating his praise for Wright as his spiritual mentor.
With Obama competing with rival presidential contender Hillary Clinton for gay votes in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, revelations of Wright’s controversial sermons have raised questions among some activists about whether Obama’s longtime pastor was among the preachers who delivered fire-and-brimstone sermons attacking homosexuality.
“Absolutely not,” said Rick Garcia, political director of Equality Illinois, the Chicago-based state gay rights group.
“Trinity has been among the strongest supporters of LGBT rights,” Garcia said. “I have the highest regard and admiration for Rev. Wright.”
Gay Chicago resident Ronald Wadley, a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, said Wright enthusiastically backed suggestions by gay church members to create a gay and lesbian singles ministry as part of the church’s existing ministry to heterosexual singles.
“We call it the same-gender loving family ministry,” Wadley said. “It’s a ministry that was formed to allow people to have an outlet to reconcile their sexuality with their spirituality,” he said.
“He has always been supportive on gay issues,” Wadley said of Wright. “He has a stance that we all go by, under the credence of John: 16 — that we are all created by God.”
Wright could not be reached for comment for this story. Spokespersons for Trinity United Church of Christ, including the Rev. Otis Moss II, the new pastor, and the Rev. Stacy Edwards, an official with the church's community ministries, did not return calls by press time.
‘He stuck up for me’
Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks, pastor of Washington’s Inner Light Ministries, which has a mostly black gay congregation, said Wright has given him strong support and encouragement in Cheeks’ role as an openly gay minister in the 17 years that the two have known each other.
“When I was on a panel with him at a religious conference [in Alabama], some ministers expressed anti-gay views,” Cheeks said. “He stuck up for me. He defended me and spoke out on my behalf.”
Cheeks noted that Wright started one of Chicago’s first church-run AIDS ministries at Trinity and has boasted about having a sizable number of gays in his congregation.
But the Rev. Ruth Garwood, executive director of the United Church of Christ Coalition for GLBT Concerns, said that while Trinity Church has the reputation of being gay-supportive, Wright and other church officials never accepted an invitation from her office to become an official UCC “open and affirming” congregation for the GLBT community.
At least three other UCC churches in Chicago have adopted the “open and affirming” status and more than 100 UCC churches throughout the U.S. have adopted the status, as have churches in other denominations.
Wadley said he doesn’t know why Trinity has yet to follow the other UCC churches in adopting the “open and affirming” status. But he said Trinity is clearly following the spirit of the declaration based on the support he and other gay church members have received.
“It has truly been wonderful,” he said.
Yet not all gay members at Trinity agree with that assessment, according to Rev. Irene Monroe, a religion columnist for gay media and a doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School. Monroe said some gay members of Trinity expressed disappointment over Wright’s response to a controversial 2005 decision by the United Church of Christ’s national governing body to endorse same-sex marriage.
About 80 percent of the church’s General Synod voted to approve a same-sex marriage resolution giving all United Church of Christ congregations authority to perform same-sex marriages. The resolution explicitly allows each church to decide on its own whether or not to endorse or perform such unions.
Monroe said Wright spoke out against the Synod’s position, which she said prompted “LGBTQ parishioners to leave” the church.
She points to an article written at that time by Wright in The Trumpet, his church’s magazine, calling the same-sex marriage issue a distraction that diverted attention from other, more important issues such as health care and poverty.
“Are 44 million Americans with no health care insurance less important than ‘gay marriage?’ he wrote. “Why aren’t Black Christians in an uproar about that? Maybe I’m missing something!”
In a column slated to be published this week in the gay press, Monroe said Wright’s comments in the church magazine highlighted what appeared to be his decision to break ranks with “his liberal denomination to stand in solidarity with a more conservative black church position.”
Tracy Baim, editor of Windy City Times, a gay newspaper in Chicago, said Wright has never carried any religious objections to same-sex marriage into the political sphere in Illinois, where the City of Chicago and the state legislature have passed far-reaching gay rights laws.
“He has never been a barrier to gay rights at all,” Baim said.
Baim said any hint that Obama’s support for gay rights has been curtailed because of his affiliation with Wright or Trinity Church would be completely false. She noted that Obama has been a strong supporter on gay issues since he first entered politics as a candidate for the Illinois State Senate.
With the exception of same-sex marriage, which both Obama and Clinton have declined to support, Obama has backed virtually all other gay-related issues pushed by gay rights organizations, Baim said.
She noted that both Obama and his wife, Michelle, have regularly attended gay community events in the state.
“There’s been a great comfort level,” Baim said, that Barack and Michelle Obama have shown in their encounters with both gay men and lesbians.
Ben LaBolt, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign, said Obama recognizes that Wright and Trinity Church have an inclusive policy toward gays and people with HIV.
“Sen. Obama has made it clear that he views Rev. Wright as a religious adviser who introduced him to his Christian faith, not a political adviser,” LaBolt said.
‘Good News for Homosexuals’
Cheeks, of D.C.’s Inner Light Ministries, said Wright has championed gay rights causes by speaking out on behalf of gays in religious forums for nearly two decades, a development that Cheeks said provides a counterbalance to claims by critics that Wright has delivered divisive sermons.
In one of his sermons of the early 1990s, titled, “Good News for Homosexuals,” Wright told of how he believes God does not limit his love to