ABC: Is former Reverend a liability for Obama?
Sen. Barack Obama's former preacher has delivered some controversial sermons in which he said the US invited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and he has said African Americans should sing "God damn America" instead of God bless America.
ABC News has reviewed dozens of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons, and the network aired some of his most inflammatory rhetoric in a segment Thursday on Good Morning America. Wright was Obama's pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for the last two decades, until his retirement earlier this year.
The Democratic presidential candidate credited Wright for the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope," and Wright performed Obama's marriage and baptized his two daughters. But Obama has described the preacher as "like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with."
The latest statements unearthed by ABC, which reviewed videos of the sermons the church offers for sale, could cause more headaches for Obama during a campaign in which supporters' comments have increasingly drawn scrutiny.
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," Wright said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
It's unclear whether Obama was in the audience when Wright gave that sermon, but he has previously told the New York Times that he did not attend a service in which Wright implied that the US invited the 9/11 attacks.
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.
"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans," Wright said, "and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Obama religious adviser Shaun Casey appeared on Good Morning America to defend Obama saying he had already repudiated Wright's controversial remarks. Casey said other candidates were not getting the same scrutiny.
"I mean, it's interesting to me you haven't vetted Hillary Clinton's pastor's sermons, you haven't vetted President Bush's pastor's sermons," he said. "You haven't vetted John McCain's pastor's sermons. So, you're not holding them to that standard, which I think is very interesting."
This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast March 13, 2008.