June 2, 2008
Worship After Obama's Announcement
The day after Obama leaves, Michael Pfleger apologizes, Jeremiah Wright steps down from senior post at Trinity.
One day after Sen. Barack Obama announced that he and his family were leaving Trinity United Church of Christ, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the politically outspoken, white priest of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in Chicago's South Side, apologized for comments he made last Sunday, May 25, as Trinity's guest preacher. Among those comments, made public last week in a YouTube video, were that Hillary Clinton's infamous tears were from her fear that a black man might take the presidency, and that "America is the greatest sin against God" for its perpetual racism.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the firebrand priest showed an "unusually contrite and cautious" attitude at yesterday's Mass as he appealed to his parishioners for forgiveness:
"I apologize for the words that I chose. I apologize for my dramatization that was, for many people who do not know me, simply typical dramatics I often use in sermons. . . . I apologize for anyone who was offended and who thought it to be mockery, that was neither my intent, nor my heart."
Meanwhile, Trinity UCC's Sunday service saw the passing of the baton from Jeremiah Wright to the Rev. Otis Moss III, who has been preparing to take Wright's role for over a year. As some 2,000 worshipers entered the sanctuary, they received pamphlets penned by Moss titled "The Declaration of Interdependence." The pamphlet was in part meant to provide emotional support after a wearying six months for Trinity's members. It read:
"We, the community of Trinity, are concerned, hurt, shocked, dismayed, frustrated, fearful and heartbroken. . . . Our hearts break at this moment and my limited vocabulary is inadequate to describe the range of emotions flooding our spirits at this time. We are caught, it seems, in a strange Greek tragic-comedy. In the words of Jean Paul-Sartre, with ?no exit.' We are a wounded people and the bruises from our encounter with history have scarred our very souls."
Neither Sen. Obama nor the two pastors' incendiary sermons were mentioned in Trinity's service yesterday.
Obama announced Saturday that he was leaving the church in part because "every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views." The 20-year member of Trinity is now about 65 delegates short of receiving the Democratic nomination.