Page last updated at 03:04 GMT, Sunday, 1 June 2008 04:04 UK

Obama breaks with Chicago church

Barack Obama (left) with the Rev Jeremiah Wright (undated picture from 2005)
Mr Obama earlier distanced himself from the church's pastor (right)

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has announced his resignation from the controversial Chicago church he attended for 20 years.

Sermons by preachers at the Trinity United Church of Christ have dogged his election campaign, especially those by the Rev Jeremiah Wright.

The church's motto is "unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian".

Mr Obama told reporters he was resigning for the sake of both his campaign and the church itself.

He had taken the decision "with some sadness", he added.

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is listed by the church's website as the "Senior Pastor" while the Reverend Otis Moss is the "Pastor".

Mr Obama said he had consulted Mr Moss before taking his decision.

'Legitimate scrutiny'

Obama says he made the decision to break from the Chicago church "with sadness"

"We don't want to have to answer for everything that is stated in the church," Mr Obama said, speaking in South Dakota, which holds its primary election on Tuesday.

"On the other hand, we also don't want a church subjected to the scrutiny that a presidential campaign legitimately undergoes."

Mr Obama's campaign was rocked by his association with Mr Wright, who officiated at his wedding and baptised his daughters, after some of his controversial sermons emerged on the internet.

In one, he said the 9/11 attacks were an example of "America's chickens coming home to roost".

Mr Obama eventually distanced himself from the church's senior pastor.

Last week, a guest preacher at the church, the Reverend Michael Pfleger, mocked Mr Obama's party rival, Hillary Clinton, with racial references.

Mr Obama reacted by saying he was "deeply disappointed" by such "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric".

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