Rev. Jeremiah Wright addresses the NAACP

April 27, 2008 8:54:06 PM PDT
A lengthy and loud standing ovation greeted the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Detroit Sunday, as the gave his first major public speech since becoming an issue in the race for president.Wright, candidate Barack Obama's former pastor, addressed thousands of people at a NAACP Freedom Fund dinner.

For the second time in one day, at venues more than 1,000 miles apart, Reverend Wright was welcomed with a standing ovation. The South Side minister got a roar from his audience of more than 10,000 people in Detroit when he reminded them that he is not the candidate running for president.

"Many in the corporate-run media have made it seem like I have announced that I'm running for the Oval Office. I'm not running for the Oval Office. I've been running for Jesus a long, long time and I'm not tired yet," Wright said.

Hours earlier, the reverend delivered a sermon at a Baptist church in Dallas.

"Two churches in uninvited me because they were afraid of what the Klan would do to them," Wright told the Dallas congregation.

For the past several weeks, Wright has been at the center of controversy surrounding his criticism of U.S. foreign policy and the treatment of African-Americans at home.

Senator Obama, who has publicly disagreed with some of Wright's sermons, called the political concern over them "legitimate."

"I go to church not to worship the pastor but to worship God," he said in an interview with Fox News.

Detroit's NAACP branch president called any attempt to muzzle Wright, a civil rights issue.

"We must not allow anyone to dictate what can come from the pulpit of the African-American church or any church in America," said the Rev. Wendell Anthony.

" I describe the conditions in this country. The conditions divide, not my description. Somebody say amen," Wright said.

The overarching theme of Wright's address was that the black church has always been different, but that doesn't mean divisive.


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