Barack Obama's Church is Committed to Africa, not the U.S., and only African Americans are Admitted for Membership-Truth! & Fiction!

Barack Obama’s Church is Committed to Africa, not the U.S., and only African Americans are Admitted for Membership-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor says that the Trinity Church of Christ in Chicago, Senator Barack Obama’s home church, has a “non-negotiable commitment to Africa” and that only African Americans are admitted for membership.

The Truth:

Senator Barack Obama was member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ from 1998 to 2008.

As a result of Obama’s candidacy for president, Trinity United Church came under scrutiny.  Critics accused the church of being racist.  Supporters said the congregation was proudly black and with a strong linkage and commitment to its African roots.  That’s a matter of heritage, they said, not a lack of commitment to being Americans.

The “About Us” page located at the church’s website said the church is “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian… Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.” 

It also said that it is a “congregation with a non-negotiable commitment to Africa.”

(Note: In response to email rumors that have circulated about Obama, his campaign has created a page to respond to the rumors.  CLICK HERE for the “Fight the Smears” page.)

Because of its black emphasis, the church was overwhelmingly black but there was no requirement to be African-American for membership.

In March, 2008, the church’s recently retired pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., became a campaign issue for Senator Obama.  Controversial sermons by Wright began appearing on the Internet.  That prompted news organizations to start reviewing some of Wrights sermons of recent years and several of his statements were branded as anti-American and racist.

In a 2003 sermon Wright told his congregation to damn America in God’s name and said the United States was responsible for the Attack on America on 9/11 by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II and for supporting Israel since 1947.

In January, 2006, Wright termed America as the “Number one killer in the world” and blamed the U.S. for the appearance of the AIDS virus.  In an earlier sermon shortly after 9/11 he said “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.  The government lied.”

There was also criticism of Wright for praising racist and anti-Semitic Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan and giving him a humanitarian award.

In the midst of the furor over Wright’s sermons, Obama issued a statement that was given to the Christian Broadcasting Network.  Obama said “Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy.  I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.”  Obama also said that he had never personally heard any of the controversial statements by Wright.

Obama said that he first became aware of some of Wright’s controversial statements at the beginning of his presidential campaign.  He said, ‘I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments,” Obama said. “But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.”

Wright stepped down as pastor of Trinity United Church in February, 2008.

Obama resigned from the church in 2008.

CLICK HERE for a list of other related stories about Barack Obama

Updated 11/05/08