Presidential hopeful Barack Obama denounced as “inflammatory and appalling” statements by his pastor.
Remarks by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who recently retired as the pastor of the Afrocentric Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, that have been characterized as anti-American and anti-Jewish have aired on television news programs in recent weeks.
“I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue,” Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, wrote in a campaign statement Friday, The New York Times reported.
Obama, who is dueling U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the Democratic nomination, said he never heard Wright’s controversial statements in church or in private.
Later Friday, the Times reported, Wright quit the Obama campaign’s African American Religious Leadership Committee.
In a sermon delivered following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Wright said, “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards.”
Wright is also an associate of and an admirer of Louis Farrakhan. His church honored the Nation of Islam leader, who has made disparaging remarks about Judaism.