Have we got to the place where sermons must be politically correct? Are pastors placed under the same scrutiny as political candidates?
Barack Obama said Saturday he has resigned his 20-year membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago "with some sadness" in the aftermath of inflammatory remarks by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and more recent fiery remarks at the church by a visiting priest.
"This is not a decision I come to lightly ... and it is one I make with some sadness," Obama said at a news conference after campaign officials released a letter of resignation he sent to the church on Friday."I'm not denouncing the church and I'm not interested in people who want me to denounce the church," he said, adding that the new pastor at Trinity and "the church have been suffering from the attention my campaign has focused on them."
Obama said he and his wife have been discussing the issue since Wright's appearance at the National Press Club in Washington last month, which reignited the furor over remarks Wright had made in various sermons at the church.
"I suspect we'll find another church home for our family," Obama said."It's clear that now that I'm a candidate for president, 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, statements and principles," he said. "I have no idea how it will impact my presidential campaign but I know it was the right thing to do for me and my family," he said."
Trinity released a statement Saturday night saying: "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."
Earlier this month, John McCain rejected endorsements from two pastors, saying there is no place for their incendiary criticisms of other faiths. McCain spurned the months-old endorsement of Texas pastor John Hagee after an audio recording surfaced in which Pastor Hagee supposedly said that God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land. McCain called the comment "crazy and unacceptable."
John McCain also repudiated the support of Pastor Rod Parsley, an Ohio pastor who criticized Islam and called the religion inherently violent.
Is it wrong to say that Islam is at war with Christianity? Is it wrong to say that God's divine plan sometimes includes allowing wicked men to impact history? Or, is the media starting to plant an expectation in the minds of America that pastors must be politically correct or their congregations should leave?