March 21st, 2008
06:33 PM ET

The full story behind Wright’s “God Damn America” sermon

Editor's note: CNN Contributor Roland Martin has listened to several of the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Portions of the sermons have been excerpted in recent stories. Martin says listening to the full sermons help put the excerpts in context.

I just finished listening to the nearly 40-minute sermon Rev. Jeremiah Wright gave on April 13, 2003, titled, “Confusing God and Government.”


For those of us watching and listening to the media in the last week, it is better known as the “God Damn America” sermon.

Wright’s scriptural focus was Luke 19:37-44 (reading from the New Revised Standard Version).

In this sermon, Wright spoke about the military rule during biblical days, led by Pontius Pilate. It was clear, through his language, such as “occupying military brigade” that he was making an analogy to the war in Iraq.

“War does not make for peace,” he said. “Fighting for peace is like raping for virginity."

“War does not make for peace. War only makes for escalating violence and a mindset to pay the enemy back by any means necessary,” he said.

He then gets to the thesis of his sermon, saying, “y’all looking to the government for only what God can give. A lot of people confuse God with their government.”

Wright criticizes the Bush administration and its supporters for using Godly language to justify the war in Iraq. He equates using God in America as condoning the war in Iraq to the same perspective of Islamic fundamentalists.

“We can see clearly the confusion in the mind of a few Muslims, and please notice I did not say all Muslims, I said a few Muslims, who see Allah as condoning killing and killing any and all who don’t believe what they don’t believe. They call it jihad. We can see clearly the confusion in their minds, but we cannot see clearly what it is that we do. We call it crusade when we turn right around and say that our God condones the killing of innocent civilians as a necessary means to an end. WE say that God understand collateral damage. We say that God knows how to forgive friendly fire."

“We say that God will bless the shock and awe as we take over unilaterally another country, calling it a coalition because we’ve got three guys from Australia, going against the United Nations, going against the majority of Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout the world, making a pre-emptive strike in the name of God. We cannot see how what we are doing is the same thing that Al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag – calling on the name of a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem.”

He continues on his thesis of equating government with our God, saying that God sent the early settlers to America to take the country from Native Americans; ordained slavery; and that “we believe that God approves of 6 percent of the people on the face of this earth controlling all of the wealth on the face of this earth while the other 94 percent live in poverty and squalor while we give millions of tax breaks to the white rich.”

He also criticizes the “lily white” G-7 nations for controlling the world’s capital.

Then Wright speaks to:

1. Governments lie.

“This government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women. The government still thinks a woman has no rights over her own body, and between Uncle Clarence (Thomas), who sexually harassed Anita Hill, and a closeted Klan court, that is a throwback to the 19th century, handpicked by Daddy Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, between Clarence and that stacked court, they are about to un-do Roe vs. Wade, just like they are about to un-do affirmative action. The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie.”

“The government lied about Pearl Harbor. They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Governments lie. The government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin. They wanted that resolution to get us in the Vietnam War. Governments lie. The government lied about Nelson Mandela and our CIA helped put him in prison and keep him there for 27 years. The South African government lied on Nelson Mandela. Governments lie."

“The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis. Governments lie. The government lied about bombing Cambodia and Richard Nixon stood in front of the camera, ‘Let me make myself perfectly clear…' Governments lie. The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme orchestrated by Oliver North, and then the government pardoned all the perpetrators so they could get better jobs in the government. Governments lie."

“The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. Governments lie. The government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9.11.01 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Governments lie."

“The government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq being a threat to the United States peace. And guess what else? If they don’t find them some weapons of mass destruction, they gonna do just like the LAPD, and plant the some weapons of mass destruction. Governments lie."

2. Governments change. He said long before the United States colonized the world, so did Egypt.

“All colonizers are not white. Turn to your neighbors and say that oppressors come in all colors.”

He then went back to the Bible and spoke about the changing of kings in Babylonia.

“Prior to Abraham Lincoln, the government in this country said it was legal to hold African in slavery in perpetuity...when Lincoln got in office, the government changed. Prior to the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, government defined African as slaves, as property. Property, people with no rights to be respected by any whites anywhere. The Supreme Court of the government, same court, granddaddy of the court that stole the 2000 election. Supreme court said in it’s Dred Scott decision in the 1850s, no African anywhere in this country has any rights that any white person has to respect at any place, any time. That was the government’s official position backed up by the Supreme Court – that’s the judiciary; backed up by the executive branch – that’s the president; backed up by the legislative branch and enforced by the military of the government. But I stop by to tell you tonight that government’s change."

“Prior to Harry Truman’s government, the military was segregated. But governments change."

“Prior to the Civil Rights and equal accommodation laws of the government in this country, there was backed segregation by the country, legal discrimination by the government, prohibited blacks from voting by the government, you had to eat and sit in separate places by the government, you had sit in different places from white folks because the government said so, and you had to buried in a separate cemetery. It was apartheid, American style, from the cradle to the grave, all because the government backed it up."

“But guess what? Governments change. Under Bill Clinton, we got a messed up welfare to work bill, but under Clinton blacks had an intelligent friend in the Oval Office. Oh, but governments change."

“The election was stolen. We went from an intelligent friend to a dumb Dixiecrat. A rich Republican who has never held a job in his life; is against affirmative action (and) against education – I guess he is; against healthcare, against benefits for his own military, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest contributors to his campaign. Governments change. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad.”

“Where governments change, God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. That’s what his name I Am means. He does not change."

"God was against slavery on yesterday, and God, who does not change, is still against slavery today. God was a God of love yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of love today. God was a God of justice on yesterday, and God who does not change, is still a God of justice today."

“God does not change.”

3. He then speaks of the government in his Bible text and said the Romans failed. Then he said the British government failed even after it colonized the world. He said the Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed.

“And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations."

“When it came to putting her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in interment prison camps."

“When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them scientific experiments. Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness."

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme."

“The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Think about this. Think about this. For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you’ve got 5 million blacks that are out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you’ve got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condi-Skeezer Rice, you’ve got 1 million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters, with his Cablanasian hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women, God has this way of brining you up short when you get to big for your Cablanasian britches. For every one Tiger Woods, we’ve got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.”

“Tell your neighbor he’s (going to) help us one last time. Turn back and say forgive him for the God Damn, that’s in the Bible though. Blessings and curses is in the Bible. It’s in the Bible.

"Where government fail, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you better get out the way, cause God never fails. When God fixes it, oh believe me it’s fixed. God never fails. Somebody right now, you think you can’t make it, but I want you to know that you are more than a conqueror through Christ. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”

He then went on to talk about the salvation of Christians through the death of Jesus Christ. The sermon ended with a song proclaiming, “God never fails.”


– Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. charlene

    Thank you Cooper for finally putting the truth out about this sermon in its entirety. While reading it brought back memories of how I felt when 911 occured and the decision that our President later made to go to war and my fellings were exactly the same. You have to take your time and understand the theology and the religous parts of it as you read it. Very Very powerful, and the majority true. My admiration and support for Obama has only grown more. Thank You for helping me to understand and clearing up the TV five second blogs.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:46 am |
  2. Gwendolyn levene

    Thanks Mr Martin for giving us further information on this important matter. I am a black woman with sons and would love to support Obama because listening to his speeches I thought he was a good motivator for especially the young blacks. But reading all these blasting hate sermons of Obama's minister of 20 years it made me realize that he speaks just like him. I believe Obama thinks just like his spiritual advisor and this minister has captured his soul without he (Obama) himself knowing it. It is very clear that he cannot make a decision without consulting this man. So when Obama becomes President he will be his constant advisor on all domestic and foreign affairs because it appears Obama is not capable to make up his own mind on important issues. Now I know why he was against the war and boasting that he was against the war on day one. I wonder if I am the only one that noticed the same theme in Rev Wright's sermons and Obama speeches with the constant call for change. Mark my comment there will be great change but not the way we will love it if Obama is elected. One thing I am sure of he will win without my vote. I cannot support anyone that stand ,sit or lying down that hates America. We are so privileged here that this minister can stand before a large congregation and say 'God dam America' so many times and gets away saying it. He should be put on trial for the things he is preaching to all these young people messing up there minds and don't think Obama's mind is not mixed up also He cannot see himself apart from this Minister. He can only compare his white grand-mother or anyone else that says racial slurs with Rev Wright only if they hate and curse America like him. This is serious matter that should not be dropped here. I listened to Obama's speech and just knew that so much was missing when he spoke about his minister. The Rev may not be there now but his footprints are left there and not in sands but carved in the minds and hearts of those he touched. I am an emigrant to this great country and I pray for it every day. I have done well for myself, two of my children served this country in the Army and the Marine and I am very proud of them. I love America.And God bless America and please tell this to Michelle Obama. Now I know that I will in no way vote for him he is not strong enough because he cannot make up his own mind. Gl

    March 22, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  3. Karen

    For people for whom headlines, video snippets and taking reporters editorials and so-called "experts" opinions for the gospel truth and then laying claim to understand an issue fully has become the norm for a majority of people. Independent thinking and trying truly to understand nuances are taken up too much time for many people ... call it instant gratification on which many base their opinion . Only those who are truly want to learn and listen can claim to understand ... ignorance will keep you in the status quo of ignorance.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  4. Dave

    All this parsing and analyzing ridiculous. Either you believe the basic precept of Christianity or you don't. Rev. Wright was simply making a point that the government is not God.

    Many people pray at the alter of the almighty dollar, for others it's drugs, and for still others it's nationalism. Rev. Wright was making a case that there is only One True God.

    That's all.

    Most sermons are variations of this same theme. At the time this sermon was given, nationalism was reaching a fever pitch in this country so I'm not surpried that he would choose it as the example of something we mistakenly substitute for God.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  5. Cheryl in WA

    How many people on this blog consider themselves to be Christians? A few, but also a lot of people who simply are angry and hateful and fearful. They choose judgement rather than compassion and understanding. Oddly enough, Mike Huckabee has had a response to all of this that I think is characteristic of a true Christian, and he is undoubtedly in opposition to the political views of Obama. Christ told his disciples that they could recognize true followers this way: "By their works shall ye know them." You cannot look at Obama's work, his words, and his life and deem him other than both a true Christian and a patriot. That doesn't mean he would make a good president. It doesn't mean you have to vote for him. Seriously, folks, we must hold ourselves accountable for the level of political debate we engage in. The politics of hatred and fear will destroy this country. We are well on the way. So let's get real and debate the issues, and go and vote our preferences when it's our turn, and stop this nastiness now!

    March 22, 2008 at 12:43 am |
  6. Mike

    Simply. Simply Amazing, that people can read but not understand. The essence of this sermon was social justice and based on one of two commandments expressed by Jesus Christ himself. As a Christian, who follows Christ should know, "Do unto others as you would want them to do to you," and "Love no gods before me," – the greatest one being the latter.

    (See Matthew 22:36-40). These religious leaders had made almost an art form of classifying all the various laws and giving them relative degrees of importance, so in asking Jesus this question, their aim was to test Him. His answer stunned them: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

    This sermon was based on "loving your neighbor as yourself." If you can sit there and call yourself a Christian and not hear this message in the Wright sermon then you need to get up and walk out of your church, because your Pastor or preacher is doing you a disservice by not explaning this commandment.

    This sermon is not a song being peddled on a street corner asking for a government handout. What it is an indictment for our inactivity in our government, for our less than compassionate approach for people who are not American.

    For those who say the past is the past, put this in context of today's events. Led by the goverment, we've run into a country on false premises. Back in 2006, according to a CNN article, 655,000 Iraqi deaths were attributed to the war. We've had 4,000 US military deaths. We've had the total disruption of the lives people in two countries... Where are children playing safely in Iraqi? Where are women getting together for a girls night out in Iraq? Where are guys getting together to compare brackets in sports bars in Iraq? What is a day in Iraq for those living there?

    If you've spent your life moving from SUV to Work, to SUV to the burbs and not attempted to reach out to someone else or understand someone's elses life then you've missed a lot of opportunities.

    For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, 42 ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, 43 ‘I tell you the truth, 44 just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’

    March 22, 2008 at 12:43 am |
  7. Star

    Ok let me make sure I have these chain of events correctly....

    first we were to dislike him or hate him because he's muslim because of his middle name.

    Now, we're suppose to dislike him & think he's a racist because he belong to a church for an extended period of time where the pastor or should I say spiritual advisor said some inflammatory things about America's government. (curious were these comments true or false)

    Let's not forget the other silly comments!!!

    I want to know have any of you seem a picture called "Wag the Dog"?

    America is indeed a great place to live but the politics in America's government SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! America's trying to help others find democracy and in our own country WE AMERICANS are soo disfunctional is unreal!!! We hide behind our doors and our untruths while we're sooo quick to jump on the band wagon to have hatred for each other and criticize each other!!! We are arrogrant and divided!!

    And for all of you who think that he's racist, or he's a phony please base your opinions on something that more substantial than the comments from a grown man he had absolutely NO CONTROL OVER!!!!! I'm sooo sick of people everyday trying to find every little thing not to like this man!

    If you really needed a reason not to like him just find one better than what the MAIN STREAM MEDIA is FEEDING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My goodness we as a people, blacks, whites, jews, all have issues with each other as a community and within our racial groups!!!!


    Find something else to be angry over!!!

    March 22, 2008 at 12:42 am |

    GOD BLESS YOU for this great service to America. This is what people want to know, and don't have the means to find out themselves. The absence of knowledge breeds insecurity and fear, and fear breeds hate. Let's not make emotional investments based on question marks. Let's make them on facts and reason. A great big THANK YOU Roland, from this 49 yr old white guy (what I am doesn't matter, but folks need to know that people who aren't black care about this).

    March 22, 2008 at 12:41 am |
  9. peaches

    Race is an issue.
    The fact that we want to pretend that it is not an issue is in fact an issue.
    Unless people like Cooper bring them to the table; issues don't get answered.
    Thank you Cooper.
    I wish everyone could learn to put the cards on the table and deal with them or at least stay home America and clean our house first. Racism is America's civil war.
    In addition: Rev. Wright is a man who lives in a democracy with the right to express his views. His followers are people living in a democracy with the right to listen to them. It is not our business until he runs for president.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:40 am |
  10. Rich

    I have just finished listening to the audio of this sermon, and being half-Hispanic and half-white, you would think that I would be offended, as, I admit, I was after listening to the sound bites we've been exposed to over the last few days.

    But the truth is I LOVED THIS SERMON! It was so energetic and insightful, I found myself praising AMEN!

    My church is a "typical" catholic church – where you stand when you're supposed to stand, sit when you're supposed to sit, kneel when you're supposed to kneel, and speak only when you are spoken to. Very orderly and quiet most of the time.

    It's very clear that anyone offended by this sermon simply does NOT understand the very significant differences that exist between churches of different cultures (white/black), even though they preach the same message, and they do.

    This sermon is saying that God would not approve of injustice, intolerance or war in any fashion, and that we (as a people, a country, or a president), should not justify such things in his name – Jeremiah Wright is simply saying it loud and forcefully. I wish I had some of this at my church!

    March 22, 2008 at 12:40 am |
  11. Peter Bissoondath

    I wonder if the Obama camp put some clips of Rev. Wright's good religous inspiring messages that drew the Senator to him on the air if the media includng radio talkshow hosts will give those clips as much attention as they are doing now.
    I also wonder if by the media constantly showing these present clips constantly is going to impede any progress of the racial healing that the Senator wants or is the media trying to prevent that racial unity from happening.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:39 am |
  12. Ishmael Jackson

    I am dumbfounded that the majority of those who are still dwelling on Rev. Wright's issues continue to channel them unto Senator Obama! If we were all to be judged for the words of those in our families, our close friends, our churches etc...we would all be damned! Being a 'typical' young man myself I took exception to the words as originally broadcast. Thankfully I have the wisdom to withhold judgement until I have the facts in their entirety. Senator Obama, like every presidential candidate should be judged and held accountable for their direct actions/words. Please discontinue the divisive tactics which CNN has seemingly adopted since the Feb Super Tuesday Primaries!!! Objectivity really seems to be lost in today's news media. That said, Thank you Roland for your attempt at providing an objective view of the events. It is sad that your colleagues at CNN devote so little time in illustrating a balanced view! Ferraro's comments were obviously more acceptable although they originate from a place of deep resentment and misunderstanding of our diverse American landscape.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:38 am |
  13. John Mayers

    to Monika.

    Why do you not tell the Jewish people to move on and forget the Holocaust? You are telling black people to forget slavery

    March 22, 2008 at 12:38 am |
  14. Azora Irby

    I agree with comments from those that indicated that Sen. Obama has not demonstrated any racism or unpatriotic behavior and is not responsible for the comments made by his minister. As a matter of fact Sen. Obama is no more responsible for the words of his minister than Sen. Clinton is responsible for the countless extra marital affairs made by her husband. As she initially indicated, she was not responsible for remarks made by Farraro; additionally, remarks made by her husband that proclaimed Sen. Obama a fairytale or her husband’s attempts to marginalize Sen. Obama’s big wins starting in S.C., where he went on to politically beat Sen. 13 times in a row—and most recently win the primary in Texas, and made additional gains in California and Ohio. Think, Ed and Caroline Kennedy endorsement of Sen. Obama were garnered because Sen. Obama is intellectually and politically qualified and because the Clinton’s were race baiting. Some how or another I pray that descent people regardless of their race, creed, religious, color or sexual orientation will continue to judge Sen. Obama on his record,that illustrates that he's been faithful to his wife and children, his family overall, to his constituents and he’s proven to be a hard and dutiful worker. His diverse background and intellect makes him the most likely candidate that is capable to restore America to its place as leader of the free world.

    Americans I encourage you please do not get caught up in the cynicism and negativity and words that Sen. Obama had no control of, and to help keep the movement moving by keeping our eyes on the prize and become partners in actualizing that American dream to make Ameica, “a more perfect union,” and we can do that by electing Sen. Obama to the office of President of the United States of America!

    Love, Peace and Blessing

    Azora, Washington, DC

    March 22, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  15. NyarObango

    CNN should be ashamed of playing Rev. Wright's sermon everyday. Mr. Obama can only be judged by what comes from his mouth, his writing, and his actions. He is not responsible for Rev. Wright's sermon.

    Most people have stopped watching CNN because of the abuse on a piece of Rev. Wright's sermon which was taken out of context to be used as a smear campaign against Mr Obama.

    People who have listened to Mr. Obama's speaches know the kind of man he is. He has the ability to imagine possibilities above and beyond current reality. He is intellegent, wise, mature.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:36 am |
  16. Tony

    To be honest, I really do not have much of a problem with what the Rev. said. Honestly, if we live in a free nation, we should be free to speak our mind. He should be free to believe what he wishes to believe. Moreover, a pastor's job in part is to give his own opinion, be it that of the majority or not.

    I feel part of being patriotic is being able to criticize the government when it is at fault. It's one thing to want to support your government's ideals and another to follow along like tame sheep to everything that people tell you to do. Government is not perfect and if there are faults, they should be pointed out and dealt with.

    With that said, if one believes that Sen. Obama is more than just a sheep following the rest of the flock, then he has no shepherd leading him around and telling him where he should go (at least with respect to government and law). Sen. Obama should not be held accountable because it was not Sen. Obama's own actions (or perhaps thoughts) that were so controversial.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:36 am |
  17. Damond

    I am a 29 year old black man from Michigan. I represent a demographic that isn't always given attention in the many polls and commentary in the media. I just got done reading what Rev. Wright said and for those of you who don't know, a lot of what he said, many black people agree with. I think to be fair CNN and other media outlets should let their viewers see and hear the whole of his sermon on TV instead of posting it online– and reporting just specific, controversial parts. It is no secret that the history of this country is filled with injustices against people of color (Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc).

    Lets not forget slavery was real. For 400 years in this country black people did not have any freedom. We did the work and built this country, while white people were free and able to attain an education and live in good areas, and go to good schools, and eat good food. Even after slavery lets not forget that black people were still treated as second class citizens. Remember people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X who had to fight for our civil rights. That was in the 60s. My parents were born in the 40s. This country is not that far removed from the disgusting practices in unjust treatment of black people. And black people are not too far removed from the experience and anger and detrimental social affects of that time.

    Many people Rev. Wrights' age, like my parents, lived through those times. And I don't know what white America thinks but the pain and consequences of that treatment is real. The residual affects of that time are REAL. Black people were and still to this day are treated like second class citizens. Of course white people are generally, but not absolutely, blind to this.

    There seems to be a subconscious stigma towards black people by white people in this country. Why aren't we talking about McCain's Endorsement by John Hagee with such passion, disgust and anger? A person who mocked the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina victims by saying it was God punishing them (gays, sinners, etc.). A person who called the Catholic Church "The Great Whore." The media hasn't jumped on that. Why? To many black people the answer is clear. McCain is not black. Could Obama get away with that same type of endorsement? No. What's even worse Obama denounced the Pastor's comments. Which were the PASTOR'S comments. Senator McCain hasn't denounced Hagee. Furthermore there are many people in churches around this country who don't always agree with their pastors who still respect their pastors and love their church. What makes Obama a liar or questionable when he displays the same sentiment?

    If Obama is going through this spectacle for any other reason than the color of his skin ( his mother is a white woman and he was raised and admittedly loves his white grandmother who raised him as a Christian), I would invite someone to tell me what is.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  18. Davey Dee

    I noticed somebody put up a comment, the preacher (I use that term lightly) is in no way
    racist, and I thought about it and I came up with this:
    Anybody who says G.D. America is racist toward mankind and his/her country, skin color has nothing to do with it, of course it seems to me
    those type of activists nine times out of ten are the only ones worried about skin color to start with. How often does a white person bring up his skin color?
    An oriental person, a person from India, etc.. you do not hardly ever hear them complain about skin color.
    But of course if a white says something just slightly off toward blacks and has decent job, Rev Al Sharpton is ready to get them fired,
    And furthermore, If Hillary Clinton would have been involved in the
    same scenario. The black activists would have wined and complained until she was forced to drop out of the presidential race,
    just because of her skin color.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  19. Tracy

    Happy Easter eaveryone,

    I am sure God is watching and Jesus is weeping.

    The context of Reverand Wright's message was spoken in truth. Our nation is in danger of being damned by God; if not for our pride in believing the nation is superior to God (which is a definite fast lane to damnation according to the bible) but also because of our attempting to put a bandaid on cancer (being politically correct about the effects of slavery and racism).

    Jesus says '..the Truth shall set you free." Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life..." - (CLUE: God likes truth; he hates lies)

    God says people like their ears tickled (CLUE: Another way of saying people hate to hear the truth and would rather hear a lie. PC is another word for lie).

    God says His people shall not fear man who can only kill the body, but His people shall fear God who can kill the body and cast it into hell. (CLUE: Rev Wirtght nor Obama should apoligize for Rev. Wright's sermon; if it was grounded in truth)

    Jesus was hated for telling the truth–he was murdered for it (thank God He is risen), John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and every prohet throughout the bible was hated for telling the truth. The truth hurts–especially if you find yourself guilty.

    Any person who knows the scripture knows that what Rev. Wright stated was historically factually accurate (with the exception of his HIV comment which hasn't been proven but is plasuible considering that other germs were intentionally injected into blacks by the government in the past.)

    I pray for the healing of our nation. I pray that we will 'turn form our wicked ways' so that God may heal our land.

    Does this sound too politically incorrect? If it does, take it up with God. He will surely take it up with you.

    Happy Easter.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:34 am |
  20. MARY

    We have got problems. It is sad that we are no longer able to discuss the real issues that can get Democrats elected. We need to look at some real problems for the general election. This is sad. I am a preacher's daughter and the pastor had the opportunity to discuss the issues in an intelligent constructive way. God d**** America is a gift to the Republicans. On this issue the Republicans will attack again and again is his judgment. If Obama wins the primary, the Republicans have found a gold mine and they will mine it. They will make Obama one with the words, and they will find more words. The pastor went over the line and Obama should have said this years ago. It was wrong of Obama not to let us know about the church sooner. The speech will not stop the Repbublicans. Obama and the DNC not supporting a revote in Michigan & Florida will kill us in the general election. The republicans will remind these 2 states on a daily basis of this.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  21. Will (working in the Middle East)

    For everyone that can't look at themselves and say that they have never had a friend, family member or otherwise, say something that may have offended many, Shame On You. People focus on the little things, such as letting one man dictate, what you may feel is best to unite our country. Of course race is still a HUGE problem in America and everywhere else.

    Of course the MEDIA make this seem as if Obama said it and some people want to take it as his words, not the Reverends word. (Until this article) These are Reverend Wright's words and his sermon, no matter what you believe. They say guilt by association. OK, then I guess everyone is guilty. Everyone has heard, or told a racially backed joke, and didn't say anything to that person and you may have even laughed. Maybe you heard an off color comment and didn't say anything. Does that make it any different? Does that make you or everyone racist?

    Maybe you aren't running for office, but your vote puts a person there. Think about it..

    What we need is a way to get our country back together, where family values are key. Where a Father/ Husband, Mother/ Wife doesn't have to take a job in the Middle East to support their family and miss out on the good years, or put their life at significant risk.

    Being of mixed race, I see all sides of racism. It is shameful, to be treated differently or to be not accepted. Where you are considered to Black or to White. Come on now!!!! I have to do my best everyday to step away from the feelings of inequality to make my son and daughter, both mixed, see that they are better than this. That they will hear these things one day and to let it go and rise above it. Why can't we as grown ups learn from all out past failures and move toward a better future for all, none of us are going away any time soon.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  22. Mike

    You people white or black or latino or asian are dumb!!


    I'll bet you that if I find out who YOU associated with, I'll find some friends of yours that are more dumb than you and say stupid racist words as well.


    March 22, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  23. Christopher Tedor, Chicago

    This preacher needs to get his facts straight because his speech is filled with historical inaccuracies. I would like to point out a few of them, one being that the Equal Rights Amendment never passed or came close to passing. Second in the Tuskegee Experiment the men already had syphilis, the government did not infect them with it. Third, since we haven't yet found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it goes without saying that the government could not have planted any. Fourth, as far as treating citizens of African descent fairly when they first came over they were slaves, therefore they obviously did not hold citizenship :P. Fifth, in describing the Dred Scott decision he gets the date right but demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of American government by stating that the US military enforces the laws. In fact the executive branch (that would be the President) enforces the laws that Congress passes. I could sit here and do more but I don't really feel like it right now.

    I didn't even have to look any of this information up, I already knew it because I am intelligent and I read. However, I do not preach and try to influence the opinions and attitudes of large groups of people with inaccurate information. I believe this preacher is dangerous because he lacks the discipline to study history and he lacks the intelligence to understand it. Barack Obama does, however, and I wonder how he could sit in the audience and not laugh at this caricature.

    PS – Maybe this guy is the reason why Barack doesn't wear a flag lapel pin *_*

    March 22, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  24. steve

    You can not excuse Obama for not being in the Church while remarks were made by his pastor . Obama had been in that Church for years and was very close to his pastor . Any logical , educated guess would tell you This was not a surprise to Obama by any means .

    The real question is that if Obama deep inside agrees with his pastor ? You had heard him with his remarks about his grandmother , and now he says that "I meant a typical white person" . When you put adjective with any race , in my book you are being prejudice .

    March 22, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  25. ray

    Hi Roland,I'm a black man originaly from Cuba.I amazed by pastor Wright's love of GOD,and I believe now better, that Obama would be that kind of president we all need to save America,from it own wrong doing pass and bring this country with all races together avoiding America get divise as it happen in the soviet union , 'cause it can happen here too,we united all together or some day our different go to be out of control and another civir war or call it a new revolution go to divide our geography in e few diferents countries with diferents races or political believe, or religion. As a cuban poet said, the sun have bean that bring live to our planet, but at the same time the sun have black spot on it self, the glad people focus on the light of the sun'beans, but the bad folks they can only see the black spot, that's why people see mr.Wright's comments in to differents way.
    I say GOD BLESS AMERICA but I can not ignore the pass.thanks for the opportunity to share my view.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  26. Wife of Winkzilla

    I do not see this (personally) as an issue with Barack Obama. If he held the sediments of Rev. Wright, he wouldn't be a Senator or running for President. He would have been consumed with hate and it would have been displayed to the public long ago. Rather, his ability to walk with all different types of people is a testament to his ability to be a full human being.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  27. Carol J

    Thank you for sharing this. It helps immensely to see the discussion in context. If anyone wants to hold this against Barack Obama, they need to be ready to hold John McCain to the same standards. Rev. Wright's speech does reflect some anger that has spun too far. His anger is not attractive but his underlying points are less offensive to me than those of Hagee, whose endorsement was sought by John McCain. My analysis of Rev. Wright is that he mentored Barack Obama and planted some of the seeds of his passion for social justice. And then Barack grew beyond him, while Rev. Wright grew more bitter and angry.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:30 am |

    One last thing, I am book smart. But I have just as much street smart. I have not studied much on sociology, and prior to this election, I was not really the political type. But I took a special interest in this because I want a change. But is you talk to someone who is a sociology major, they will tell you what Rev. Wright was talking about, for those who really do not understand. Before you continue to think what Rev. Wright was saying was so bad, do some research on the bible, history, and sociology, and I gurantee you, the bulb will come on that he is merely speaking the truthon issues that most are in denial of or really don't know.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  29. melody, Snohomish, wa

    what mr wright forgot to mention is that slavery was present during biblical times. It was not made up by the white colonist. It sounds and looks to me, that this man has been preaching hate toward white people and our government. If he hates the United States, maybe he should really think about moving to Pakistan to live with Usama Bin Ladin. And shame on the obama's for sitting there for over twenty years listening to this man or beast may be better. I know for certain i would not have stayed in a church that shouted hate for other nationalities. WAKE UP AMERICA SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JESUS WOULD NEVER OF PREACHED HATE LIKE THIS.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  30. Penny, British Columbia, Canada

    Abraham Lincoln expressed it perfectly, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

    March 22, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  31. pete

    I listened to the sermon and am wondering how different are these sermons from those made by preachers on the christian right? It seemed to work just fine as they supported our present president, who, I might add, served 2 terms. Per my experience, if people do not like you, they'll find a reason not to....

    By the way, why do Americans continue to try to "coerce" other Americans into believing that they are unpatriotic because they just happen to not agree with them. Why do I have to wear the flag on my lapel to be a true patriot? This has happened in the last 2 elections and is unacceptable as well as unAmerican....well, as far I am concerned.

    Barak Obama offers an alternative. He comes across as a thinker, and quite honestly, civilized in every sense of the word. He's not perfect...but who is? If it makes some uncomfortable (and I know it does), that is unfortunate. Get a life. You do not have to vote for him. The truth is, if you choose to vote for McCain, God Bless You. At least you voted. In the end, Obama would have given a run at the presidency a shot...like we (as Democrats and some Independents) did with Gore and Kerry. We lost back then, but it was honorable. And I don't miss a night's sleep over my decisions then. Considering what has happened to date, I think I did my part well by voting for the right people. They both seemed to have proven me right (post election). God bless them.

    You do not have to like Obama. As far as I'm concrned, he's taking a shot against the odds, fighting an election battle on two fronts. He is doing something you and I will never, ever have the balls to do. Actually, he's doing something you and I, and I daresay Hillary never thought would happen. Get over it Hillary and supporters. Do you guys really need the presidency to consider yourselves successful in life? Wow....may I suggest therapy. You lost!! Grow up and be graceful. Is the game worth playing only when you win?

    Most recent bloggers feel qualified to condemn someone who has sacrificed so much. Probably widely read and appropriately schooled in the nuances of culture and religion, and how they intersect. Dollars to doughnuts, they have never set foot in an African American church.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:29 am |
  32. jan57

    Senator Obama does say the Pledge of Allegiance in the Senate. When the picture of him was shown on TV without his hand on his heart, it was mistakenly said that the candidates were saying the Pledge of Allegiance – I believe it was Fox news who ran that story. It was later corrected because the scene actually took place while the National Anthem was being played. Commentators have pointed out that most people no longer put their hands over their hearts while the Anthem is played. In all fairness, Fox news or the person who started the false "Pledge of Allegiance" rumor should replay the correction every single day until Nov., at least as many times daily as they played the false info. There are sooo many people who didn't see that original correction.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:29 am |
  33. Kimberly

    Ok, I sat here and read the whole sermon and I see nothing racist.. (comments from those that aren't comprehending the message) and truly he's not saying anything over the top. What I do see is a man comparing the power of the Gov. vs the power of God. He's just stating how the Gov. has let certain groups down. The Gov. is not God.. God is everything and the Gov. SHOULD follow and fear the power of God but America thinks she's a power all on her own. If you really know the Bible... the Gov. is not of God but God uses it to do His will. We are a sinful people and we are going to fall in this country... people have no love in there hearts for each other... prophesy is being played out right in front of you. Not the races but sometimes the Human race makes me sick.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  34. LLFJ

    Call me a typical white person if you like; this pastors comments offend me deeply.

    And I am amazed of the sophistry Obama/Wright peddle. Of course war is bad. It doesn't take a genius to be "against going to war," but the world is much more complex that his solution to simply pull troops out.

    I could beat Obama in a debate by asking him questions like this: "If the terrorists followed our troops to Saudi Arabia, would you advocate pulling them out of there, too?"

    March 22, 2008 at 12:26 am |
  35. Janet

    This video with Rev.Wright is very upsetting to me. What does it matter if it was only a clip of a video. The fact of the matter is, Rev.Wright preached it in his sermon, whether or not it was his own words is besides the fact. And I don't believe Senator Obama sat in that church for 20 years and didn't hear those words or something similar. For Obama to be that close to someone like that is shocking! This is not being a UNITER it"s being a DIVIDER. One of my first thoughts after watching this video was, " Is what black americans still think about white people? Is that what goes on behing closed doors" And also, Obama doesn't back pedal well.

    March 22, 2008 at 12:26 am |
  36. John Hamilton

    Enough of the coverage on the sermons cnn. They are incredibly unimportant at the end of the day, and are simply a waste of time. Focus on issues that matter.

    March 21, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  37. helen from Maryland

    I don't think Roland should try to justify Rev. Wright's remarks. I think they were simply over the top for Church. He is a former Marine and nurse to Lyndon Johnson, but I believe something has happened in his personal life that has brought him to this anger. On the other hand, I think it is ridiculous to try to hold Barack Obama responsible for his pastor's sermon. We have heard two or three sermons over the span of years. The United Church of Christ which is overwhelmingly a white Christian demonination, speaks highly of Reverend Wright and has been associated with him for many years.

    Obama states he was not present during these remarks and no one has shown that he was. He clarified that he had heard some controversial remarks from his Pastor, but they were primarily about family life. This is the man who lead him to Christ and its not so easy necessarily to walk away from that especially when the conversion occurs as an adult.

    Obama has not demonstrated any racism or unpatriotic behavior in his words, deeds, actions or legislation. At what point does the news media stop showing the clips and bringing this up. Let the Right wing do its dirty work. They will be showing the clips ad nauseum forever and a day, but CNN and the main stream media need to give this a rest.

    They used to teach us that using God's name in vain was a sin, thus I guess the Reverend Wright, the right wing commentators and all of the main stream media who have fallen in love with these clips are headed straight to Hades.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  38. Selasmommy

    Thank you Anderson Cooper for giving us the true contexts from which these sound bites were taken. While the sermons are fiery and politically charged, they are in no way as "threatening" as many would have us believe. I truly believe this movement to discredit Obama is from the same people who keep sending out those emails laced with lies about his refusing to pledge allegiance to the American flag. We have come too far in this country to blindly believe in a government to the point of ordaining all the acts of its president as "God's will." My thought is that in order to keep from being labelled as racist by opposing Obama, people are trying really hard to find another angle...like proving he is anti-government or God forbid...unpatriotic as defined by those who drape themselves in the American flag and the divine cloth of God in order to further greed and enforce their own religious beliefs...which may or may not be Godly.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  39. Phil of Guadalupe, Ca.

    You know what, I believe that the damage has already been done and it is irreperable. Bottom line.
    Every time people see Obama the first thing they will think will be the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It's sad.
    The worst thing of all, is that he could have gone a long way to have prevented this hemoraging.
    The Clinton camp did not even need to speak out. Obama was self destructing himself.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  40. B

    Thank you Roland. You have given the information as it should have been presented in the first place...in its entirety. I am sure people don't agree with the sermon, but at least they now have given the full context of the sermon, not just a sound bite.1/40th of a sermon–knowing my minister, that would not be giving his Sunday morning discussion any justice.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  41. Judy

    I wish everyone would stop asking why Obama didn't walk away from his church. I think he explained that adequately in his Philadelphia speech.

    I belonged to a church for years that was part of my neighborhood; my friends were there; my family grew up in the Church; together the church family did great things for many people in need. But we had a succession of ministers who were true disappointments. One of them actually murdered his wife when he discovered she was cheating on him; another turned out to be involved with young boys. I could go on and on. I didn't leave the church. The church is larger than its minister, or pastor. The church family is a unit that survives the pastor.

    Personally, from what I have seen and read about Pastor Wright, I find Obama's explanation credible and I'm tired of being beaten over the head with these sound bites. Most people who are part of a church understand.

    If people were required to "walk out" of Church in the face of embarrassing or upsetting behavior of their pastors, then there would be very few Catholics attending Mass in light of the scandals with pedophile priests. There would be a lot of fundamental Christians walking away from hate speech against gay people.

    Can we move on to other subjects? Barack Obama is not responsible for his minister and he has adequately displayed his love of his country and his disagreement with the most extreme of Pastor Wright's pronouncements.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  42. Christina`

    Roland Martin, you need a medal. I love the way you make the media tell the truth. We should always get the entire story on CNN but FOXNEWS and other networks continue to show on clips and not the entire story. I had something simliar happen to me years back, where I said " I love women so much" everyone thought I was gay. After a while my entire speech was shown and showed that i said " I love women so much. Women are the carriers of all human beings. Women are the care givers and mothers of all beings. I love being a woman. People are so judgemental like they have never done anything wrong. We have a right to say we don't like the things America is doing, it's free speech. A lot of my friends are anti american while being american and loving certain parts but they hate the fact that we are killing our enviroment. 🙂 This is an democracy, free speech, freedom of thought, freeddom of expression, freedom to like or dislike anyone or anything.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  43. Mary

    I really wish themedia would do some fact checking before they rush out with thes stories. Thank you for the context.

    Now, can we talk about issues?

    March 21, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  44. typical white person

    Mitt Romney was personally responsible for everything anyone in his religion said or did for the past 100 years, and you're telling me we shouldn't care that Obama has rev Wright in his 'inner circle' ??

    March 21, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  45. Ruth Kessler

    Thanks for sharing this though I think people seem to care about the sound bite snippet more than actually listening to the whole sermon, unfortunately. I listened to the whole thing before this was here and in context it's a pretty powerful speech. Personally, I'd like to attend one of his services.

    This all just deflects us from the message that Senator Obama (very eloquently) sends to us all. Of all people, Senator Obama, with a white mother, raised by white grandparents, and possessing an African heritage would not be where he is today if he didn't embrace the concept (though sadly I see it's still a concept) of racial equality.

    Ruth Kessler
    Burlington, MA

    March 21, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  46. Jeri from PA

    Thank you so much for getting to the truth. While I don't agree with some of his view, it's certainly a different perspective than from the tiny soundbite that is hurting him, his church, and Obama! I think it's outrageous that the media hasn't applauded you and reported on your findings. I can find no other news site showing your information. Thank you for perservering in your efforts when no one else bothered. I hope America learns we can't choose a president based on soundbites. Go Obama, we need your honesty and leadership.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  47. Stacey Ellis

    Roland, thank you again for researching and revealing. I am black. I am woman. And I love my country. Sadly however, most of what Wright said about the U.S. was fact (except for the HIV thing). The fact that these things are true is much worst than saying it. I, for one, do not like to mix politics with religion. That is why I don't attend Trinity, here in Chgo. But no matter what church you choose, you are going to hear some stuff that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe that is only true for the black community. My church is anti-gay. I don't like that, but it is my church home. It is my perception that blacks are more used to accepting fault in things that we still love. Maybe that is because we have had to love this country even when it did not love us back.

    March 21, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  48. Betty

    I wonder what would've happened if Hillary had said "typical black person'–we all know!! It's Rev.Wright & Obama's views that continue to fuel racisim in our Great Country. How can we elect a man who talks about his own Grandmother–no matter what color she is–with such disrespect & subject his own childern to such hate & anger??

    March 21, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  49. Michelle

    It is really easy to take a person's words out of context and make what they said sound extreme. Rev. Wright's words are passionate. I've heard equally intense sermons in pentecostal churches. There are Christian churches that are more passionate, or sprit-filled, than other Christian churches.

    Rev. Wrights sermon is powerful and passionate. His sermon is also angry *BUT* it is righteous anger. How ironic this issue of race has occurred at Easter.

    After his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Christ overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple in righteous anger. Was he a coo coo? Was it wrong for him to be angry because people in his country were using the name of God to extract money and make a profit from the poor? I see no difference when a pastor who has devoted his entire life to helping the poor, weak and undefended becomes angry about the way the poor are mistreated in this country and by corporate greed allowed by this country. Is it wrong to speak out against injustice? Maybe we need a little bit more passion in our churches. Maybe we need to be a bit more passionate about what is righteous and just. Or have we lost sight of what it means to be a true Christian?

    March 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  50. ben two

    ...as if the Clintons and McCain don't have radical and corrupt associations...pullleeease. What's your REAL reason?

    March 21, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
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