According to The Atlantic, Wright didn’t call out the commander-in-chief by name while speaking at the United Church of Chapel Hill on Saturday morning (Oct. 3), but it was obvious who he was referencing as when apparently accusing Obama of failing to take a stand against structural racism.
“My daughter and granddaughter call him our Halfrican-American president—he don’t want to talk about reparations,” Wright said. “It’s not personal responsibility. It’s not ‘pull your pants up.’ Don’t get on Fox News and lecture black men. You’re missing the point. Let’s talk about white-on-black crime. Until we have a hard dialogue, it’s all gonna be superficial, ‘Kumbaya,’ ‘We Shall Overcome.’”
From there, the former Trinity United Church of Christ pastor shared an extended metaphor about sheepdogs —once they’re trained to protect a flock, he said, they’ll fight against even dogs from their own litter — as he proclaimed, “We got a lot of sheepdogs in the African American community.”
Prior to going in on Obama, the Atlantic noted that Wright cited Luke 19 via the Caribbean in his response to an older woman who asked if black American’s should receive reparations.
“One of the reasons America has never confessed to its original sin is that confession means repentance, and repentance means you gotta pay,” he said. “That’s not black people getting a check next week—it’s structural issues” like housing covenants and redlining, he said before going in on Obama.
Wright’s relationship with Obama goes back to when the politician was a member of Trinity United. Their friendship eventually soured after parts of Wright’s sermons surfaced and were criticized in 2007. Among the things picked up by the media from the sermons was Wright saying “God damn America!”
Although he didn’t come down on Wright as a person, Obama denounced his former pastor’s remark in a speech titled “A More Perfect Union.” He later took a more forceful stance against Wright, saying he was “outraged” and “saddened” by the clergyman’s behavior.
Wright turned up in Chapel Hill to speak on racial reconciliation. In addition to Obama, Wright mentioned Donald Trump in his nearly three-hour speech as he weighed in on the refugee crisis in Europe and anti-immigration in the United States?
“I heard Donald Trump say if you’re here illegally you need to go back. Let’s start in the 1400s!” Wright said before quickly moving on to chat about the “the illegal state of Israel.” On the plight of Palestinians, he offered a Canaanite’s perspective: “What kind of God you got that promised your ass my land?”
From there, Wright brought Trump up again.
“You want to talk about thugs and rapists?,” he said. “Georgia was founded as a colony for criminals!”