From Alex Mooney
(CNN) — A Chicago minister who delivered a fiery sermon about Sen. Hillary Clinton having an advantage over Sen. Barack Obama in the presidential race because she is white is no longer a part of the Obama campaign.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no longer serving on the African American Religious Leadership Committee, campaign sources told CNN.
In another sermon, Wright had said America had brought the September 11 attacks upon itself.
Obama denounced some of Wrightâ€™s sermons on Friday, telling CNNâ€™s Anderson Cooper: â€œThese are a series of incendiary statements that I canâ€™t object to strongly enough.â€
Earlier Friday, before the announcement of Wrightâ€™s departure from the Obama camp, the Illinois senator denounced some of the ministersâ€™s sermons, calling them â€œinflammatory and appalling.â€
â€œI categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies,â€ Obama wrote on the liberal Web site Huffingtonpost.com about recently surfaced sermons from Wright — his longtime pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ.
â€œI also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether itâ€™s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit,â€ Obama continued. â€œIn sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.â€
Obama, during the CNN interview, said, â€œI just donâ€™t think itâ€™s necessary to talk about Senator Clinton or anybody in those terms.â€
And, even though he has been a member of Trinity United for the past 20 years, Obama said he had never witnessed Wright making such statements.
â€œHad I heard those statements in the church, I would have told Reverend Wright that I profoundly disagree with them,â€ Obama said, adding, â€œWhat I have been hearing and had been hearing in church was talk about Jesus and talk about faith and values and serving the poor.â€
The sermons in question became the subject of scrutiny earlier this week after being highlighted in an ABC News report.
At one December service, Wright argued Clintonâ€™s road to the White House is considerably easier than Obamaâ€™s because of his skin color.
â€œHillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home. Barack was,â€ Wright says in a video of the sermon posted on YouTube. â€œBarack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary! Hillary ainâ€™t never been called a â€˜nigger!â€™ Hillary has never had her people defined as a non-person.â€
Wright, who retired from his post earlier this year, also says in the video, â€œWho cares about what a poor black man has to face every day in a country and in a culture controlled by rich white people?â€
Still, Obama defended his 20-year relationship with Wright, saying that the pastor has served him in a spiritual role — not a political one.
A sermon from Wright shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks is also under scrutiny. In it he said America had brought on the attacks with its own practice of terrorism.
â€œWe bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,â€ he said. â€œWe have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant. Because the stuff we have done overseas has now brought right back into our own front yards. Americaâ€™s chickens are coming home to roost.â€
In his statement Friday, Obama said he had not personally heard the controversial sermons.
â€œWhen these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments,â€ Obama wrote. â€œBut because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.â€
And in a 2003 sermon, Wright said of Americaâ€™s treatment of African-Americans: â€œThe government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing â€˜God Bless America.â€™ No, no, no, God damn America, thatâ€™s in the Bible for killing innocent people.â€God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.â€
Obama and Wright have been close for years. Obama has been a member of Wrightâ€™s church since his days in law school, and Obamaâ€™s best-selling book, â€œThe Audacity of Hope,â€ takes its title from one of Wrightâ€™s sermons.
But Obama also has long maintained he is at odds with some of Wrightâ€™s sermons, and has likened him to an â€œold uncleâ€ who sometimes will say things Obama doesnâ€™t agree with. He has also specifically denounced Wrightâ€™s 9/11 comments.
Chris Welch contributed to this report.