Wright's comments came as he returned to the pulpit at the church where he was the pastor for more than three decades, the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side. The former pastor delivered the eulogy at Judge R. Eugene Pincham's funeral Saturday and fired back at some of his toughest critics while criticizing the news media. Audio of the eulogy was given to ABC7 Chicago by the Chicago Sun Times.
Pincham was a dear friend to Reverend Wright and a church member. During his eulogy, the former pastor and spiritual mentor to Barack Obama never mentioned the name of the Democratic presidential hopeful, but he did take the opportunity to fire back at those critical of some of his prior comments about America's promotion of terrorism and treatment of African-Americans.
"The founding fathers that gave birth to this nation planted slavery and white supremacy in the DNA of this republic, giving it what Condoleezza Rice calls a congenital birth defect. They had intelligence but no wisdom. Thomas Jefferson in his notes on Virginia said God would punish America for the sin of slavery. I guess that makes Thomas Jefferson unpatriotic," Reverend Wright said.
Controversy erupted weeks ago after video clips of Wright's sermons including his views on race and the September 11th attacks surfaced on the Internet. The statements caused a political firestorm for the presidential campaign of Senator Obama, who attended Wright's church.
The reverend appeared to defend his comments while talking about the honest and integrity of Judge Pincham.
"You don't change who you are because of where you are. You don't stop telling the truth because it is not politically correct or makes a racist uncomfortable. You don't sell your birthright," Wright said. "You don't blame other folks for not fixing some of the problems in our own community that we can and need to fix ourselves."
During the service, Wright also used the pulpit to take issue with Fox News personalities Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. When reflecting on how the late Pincham embraced those of all faiths, Wright slammed the political pundits, saying it was hard for them to understand how a person could love someone that does not believe as they do.
Sunday morning, Reverend Wright took the pulpit again inside a Virginia church and told the overflow crowd of worshipers, "Don't quote Jeremiah Wright. Quote Jesus."