From Barack Obama’s speech this morning on race:
…weâ€™ve heard my former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation and that rightly offend white and black alike.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy, and in some cases, pain.
For some, nagging questions remain: Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely, just as Iâ€™m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagree.
The church (Trinity United Church of Christ) contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in America.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding and baptized my children.
Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.
He contains within him the contradictions â€” the good and the bad â€” of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.