Posted on November 5, 2008

Obama’s Former Pastor to Speak in Milford

Noelle Frampton, Connecticut Post, Nov. 4, 2008

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose racially charged sermons engulfed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in controversy last spring, will speak here Thursday night.

Wright, retired senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago, and Obama’s former pastor, will discuss issues with the Rev. John C. Rankin, an evangelical scholar and founder of the Hartford-based Theological Education Institute, at a forum titled, “The Bible, Race and American History: What are the Issues?”

R. Chad Rankin, the institute’s business manager and John Rankin’s son, said the forum, which will start at 7 p.m. and last roughly two hours, will delve into questions like, “Can we overcome the racial divide in our country?” It will be held in the Kingdom Life Christian Church Cathedral, 1455 Naugatuck Ave., but is not sponsored by the church.

The two ministers have very different views, Rankin said, but, “It’s going to be interesting to see what they do see eye-to-eye on.” He said his father has been working on the Wright event for about four months, after the Chicago minister gained national media attention in March over excerpts from his sermons about race, government and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Critics said that Wright’s comments seemed to indicate he felt the United States may have deserved the attacks because of past injustice to blacks and other minorities. Although Obama at first distanced himself from Wright’s statements, but not the minister himself, as controversy mounted over their relationship and threatened to swamp Obama’s candidacy, he later left the church and severed ties.