Pastor attacks media’s election smears

BARACK OBAMA’S former pastor has complained that the media used him as a “weapon of mass destruction” in an attempt to derail Obama’s campaign for the US presidency.

Speaking at a forum about race and religion, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright accused the media of taking out of context videotaped clips that showed him making anti-American statements from the pulpit of the Chicago church where Obama had worshipped for 20 years.

The videos, which included Rev Wright thundering “God damn America”, dominated cable television for weeks.

The public outrage that followed caused the president-elect to sever ties with his longtime spiritual leader.

Rev Wright told an audience of about 200 people at the forum that he was trying to convey the anger and desire for vengeance that people felt after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Their intention was to use me as a weapon of mass destruction, to tear down that man’s integrity,” said Rev Wright, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

In a question-and-answer session with the audience, Rev Wright said he didn’t believe Obama shared his opinions publicised on the videos.

“Do you agree with everything your pastor says?” he asked. “Ninety per cent of the people sitting in church don’t agree with everything their pastor says.”

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