Barack Obama Quits Church

Barack Obama officially resigned from Trinity United Church of Christ, the former home of Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

From ABCNews:

Sources tell ABC News that Obama felt that as the campaign continued, the media would continue to focus on the church, to the detriment of the church community, that Obama would be held responsible for what happened in the church, and that the Church would be held responsible for his campaign. It would be best, Obama felt, to simply cut ties. He has not yet joined a new church.

The church has responded:

“Trinity United Church of Christ was informed that Senator Barack Obama and his family will no longer be members of our church. Though we are saddened by the news, we understand that it is a personal decision. We will continue to lift them in prayer and wish them the best as former members of our trinity community. As in the prayer for the ephesians, our entire trinity family ask that the nation entrust Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, to God’s care and guidance, so that Christ may continue to dwell in their lives, in their hearts, and in their work. We ask now for god’s peace to be with them. ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more and all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.’

Ephesians 3:20″

- Rev. Otis Moss III

All this raises a few important questions (some of which are raised by Dave Silverman):

  • How long will Obama be “unchurched”?
  • Which church will he join now?
  • Will his new church be the same type? Same denomination? Black church? White church? Multiracial church?
  • Is there any church he can join where offensive things are not said?
  • Who’s more grateful that he’s leaving: Obama himself or the other churchgoers at Trinity who had to deal with the media frenzy firsthand?
  • Does his leaving the church help him politically at all at this point? (In other words, hasn’t the Rev. Wright scandal already had its full impact?) Shouldn’t he have left twenty years ago?
  • Where on earth will his morals come from now?!

I wonder how large the exodus would be if other people left their church when their pastor said something offensive — now or in the past — on multiple occasions. I can’t imagine everyone agrees with everything they hear in church…

Wouldn’t it be nice if Obama just didn’t go back at all?

That’s unrealistic, of course. (You can bet there are people in the South who currently think he’s an unchurched Muslim.) He’ll join another church shortly. And then we’ll find out all the crazy things the new pastor has said…

And the cycle will go on.

(via the wonderful georgia10 at Daily Kos)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Jeff Satterley

    He’ll join another church shortly. And then we’ll find out all the crazy things the new pastor has said…

    Actually, according to the NY Times, Obama said he probably won’t choose another church before the November election. This is most likely because he doesn’t have the time, while campaigning, to select a church.

    I think it’s a good political move on his part. Leaving the controversial church will show that he does not support Rev. Wright, and not that he is against the church. Obviously some will suggest this shows that he is a Muslim, but these people already believe this garbage to begin with. Taking your time to select a new church seems reasonable, and it relieves him of more controversy of some other crazy pastor.

    I know it’s rather unlikely, but imagine if he decided to not select a church after the election. If he does win the election, do you think whether or not he selects a church will be of interest to the press or the public? Personal religious affiliation seems to be less important, particularly for Democrats, once a candidate elected to office.

    I doubt that this move is a tacit denouncement of Christianity or religion, but it’s a pleasant thought that it is a possibility, however remote.

  • Darryl

    It’s too bad that Obama had to do this, but it seemed as if his church was determined to wreck his chances at the White House. With all the media scrutiny, the pastor had to know that everything they did was being closely monitored by the press. How egotistical and self-serving are these people that they would do this?

    I could care less what Obama does now about a church. All those idiots that think he’s a Muslim are not going to be persuaded by his joining another church. After all, he’ll still have the same middle name–Hussein.

    Last but not least, I am thoroughly disgusted with the press, or should I say, the media, since ‘press’ implies the respectability of a profession, which is now in short supply. They’re a bunch of gossips and muckrakers, filling the hours when nothing is happening with worthless blather. I don’t know which is more dysfunctional the federal government or the media. Of course, they cannot compare to our people themselves. They are a reflection of us, sorry to say.

  • http://www.heathenz.com Kevin

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if Obama just didn’t go back at all? ”

    That would be awesome if he did, although it would political suicide. What that would accomplish is to bring the issue to the attention of many people that may not have cared otherwise. Alas, this will never happen. He will find another church to join. I wonder if the next one will screw him like the last…

  • Travis McDermott

    Hemant,

    You left out one question: should it matter?

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  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Is there any church he can join where offensive things are not said?

    I guess it depends on whether you think what Rev. Wright said was offensive in the first place.

  • Aj

    Wright said that HIV was invented by the US government and deliberately spread. How damaging can that type of lie be?

    It’s possible that you could form a utilitarian argument, saying that while the church does bad, it does more good. The bad things coming out of Trinity are predictable from religion and nationalism, his inability to reform them is also predictable, they’re not enviroments friendly to dissent or criticism. Religion is not necessary to do that good, the utilitarian argument fails. I hope Obama shows what can be done without the use of religion in office.

  • Karen

    Barack Obama officially resigned from Trinity United Church of Christ, the former home of Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

    Hallelujah!

    # How long will Obama be “unchurched”?

    # Which church will he join now?

    # Will his new church be the same type? Same denomination? Black church? White church? Multiracial church?

    # Is there any church he can join where offensive things are not said?

    As Jeff mentions, he won’t choose a new church until after the election, which makes sense. He may be moving to DC (yes please!) and neither he nor Michelle will have time to attend church between now and November anyway.

    In terms of what church he chooses, the Times also points out that black pastors have a tradition of speaking out in controversial fashion about national and world events. So if he joins a traditional black church, he’s more likely to have to sit through “offensive” sermons, though hopefully not as off-the-wall as the stuff Wright was spouting.

    Of course, if he wins the election, he’ll be in office and I think he’ll be judged according to how he governs at that point, not what his pastor said on a particular Sunday morning. The hyper-scrutiny of election season is something of an anomaly, thank goodness!

    Who’s more grateful that he’s leaving: Obama himself or the other churchgoers at Trinity who had to deal with the media frenzy firsthand?

    The most grateful are we atheist and non-religious Obama supporters, hands down! Like the huge numbers of Oregonians who voted for him and marked “no religious affiliation” on exit polls. I think it was something over 30%, which is incredible. And encouraging! (Now I know why I have such good vibes about potentially moving to Oregon.)

    Does his leaving the church help him politically at all at this point? (In other words, hasn’t the Rev. Wright scandal already had its full impact?) Shouldn’t he have left twenty years ago?

    If he was purely a calculating political animal, he would have left 20 years ago because he would have recognized that Wright’s nuttiness could hurt him in the long run. But he’s not like that, he’s far more authentic a person, which I’m very glad for.

    In terms of does it help him now – yeah, I think it will. At least in the sense that when McCain and Co. bring it up all summer and fall, he’ll have a standard answer for them: “I’ve resigned from that ministry.”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Obama just didn’t go back at all?

    Oh, it would be lovely. And even more wonderful if he does achieve a lot in office and become a well-liked political figure, thus raising the possibility with the general public that sincere, honest and effective people can be non-religious. (Sigh … we can dream, right?)

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  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I think Obama should join Mike Clawson’s church…

    If Obama attended two or three worship services, that would be more than Reagan attended in his entire presidency. Reagan wasn’t a church goer… for security reasons he said…

  • http://www.bolingbrookbabbler.com William

    If he’s elected President, I’m sure he’ll have ministers coming to visit him. So he can say that he gets “churched” in the White House. If he attends a church every so often, he should be fine politically. If he doesn’t, then some in the media will make an issue of it. Which is silly, but that’s politics today.

    Speaking of silly, my web site, The Bolingbrook Babbler, has the inside story on churches trying to recruit Barack Obama.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    I think Obama should join Mike Clawson’s church…

    I don’t think his entourage would fit in my living room… :)


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