The Rev. Jesse Jackson said that recent attacks on Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of President Obama's Chicago church, have been a personal "source of pain" for him.
“I know it’s a source of pain for me to see him used as an object of degradation and manipulated the way he’s been used the media as if he’s some sort of enemy of the state. It’s not fair and it’s not true,” Jackson said Monday on MSNBC. “It pains me to see him used as an object of degradation.”
Wright became a household name during the 2008 campaign when then-Senator Obama was running for office. Video of some of his sermons, in which he cursed America and made negative comments about Jews, became a source of major focus, prompting Senator Obama to publicly break ties with his spiritual adviser and deliver his now-famous speech on race in America.
Jackson said that Wright's work for marginalized groups is being overshadowed by many of his comments.
“I remember when parents were kicking their youth out of houses, called AIDS a kind of leprosy, he had a ministry," Jackson said. "I remember when gays were being in isolation and committing suicide, he had a gay ministry. So his ministry has been a most profound one. That’s why people like a young Barack Obama and Michelle would go to that church, because it was such a well-ministered church."
Added Jackson," "It reminds me so much of Dr. King [becoming] a 'communist,' he was kicked out of his own convention. The attempt to use Dr. King as an object of degradation was real too."
Wright, the former pastor of the influential Trinity Church of Christ in Chicago, resurfaced in the news recently after billionaire Republican businessman Joe Ricketts' plan to run a series of negative ads connecting President Obama to Wright became public last week in a New York Times story. (Ricketts said the ads were not going to run.)In a book called "The Amateur," which debuted last week, Wright claimed to author Edward Klein that he was offered $150,000 by the Obama campaign to stay quiet during the 2008 election.