Obama Breaks with Radical Church - After Conservatives Question Patriotism?

Sunday's off-lead by Michael Powell delivered the news of Barack Obama resigning his membership from Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago. The last straw appeared to be the airing of clips of Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest, ranting from the Trinity United pulpit in which he "accused Mrs. Clinton of feeling she was entitled to the nomination because she is white."

Powell put a positive spin on the church's radical and often anti-American activism:

Mr. Obama rejected suggestions that he denounce the church, which is one of Chicago's largest and most socially active black churches, with a wide array of respected social programs. Several of the most prominent black theologians in Chicago attend the church.

"I'm not denouncing the church, and I'm not interested in people who want me to denounce the church," he said in response to a question. "It's not a church worthy of denouncing."


The church has proven to be a political albatross for Mr. Obama for many months. Earlier this year, television stations began playing an endless video loop of Mr. Wright damning the United States for its sins of slavery and genocide against American Indians.

Conservative critics lashed him for attending the church, and his membership fed into a line of criticism by some voters that he is unpatriotic and aligned with radicals.

Powell previously suggested without evidence that conservatives are attacking Barack Obama's patriotism in a February 25 story:

And conservative blogs and television commentators accuse Mr. Obama of all manner of unpatriotic derelictions....

Powell also co-wrote the paper's sorrowful account of the Obama-Wright split in early May, while assuming that Obama knew nothing about his pastor's radical views until the clips came to light.

At the end of Monday's story, you could almost see Powell throw up his hands, wondering what more the poor man could do to appease his conservative critics.

Now that Mr. Obama has addressed his ties to the church and pastor in a long speech and fully broken with both, it is not clear what else he can say or do to ameliorate the continued concerns of some voters about those associations.