'Real Change,' Says Obama; 'Real Change,' Says Obama's Former Pastor

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - All of the presidential hopefuls have talked about "change" in their campaigns, none more than Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who offers voters "Change You Can Believe In." In speech after speech in this campaign season, Obama has cast himself as the one who can bring "real change" to Washington.

On Monday, Sen. Barack Obama's long-time pastor Jeremiah Wright also talked about change -- "real change" -- specifically, "God's desire for a radical change in the social order that has gone sour."

The Rev. Wright, who presided at the marriage of Obama and his wife, baptized Obama's children, and preached to him for many years, was explaining the black religious tradition to an audience at the National Press Club in Washington.

God wants the kind of "positive, meaningful, and permanent change" that amounts to transformation, Wright insisted on Monday.

In his speech, Wright said God doesn't want some people seeing themselves as superior to other people, nor does he want "the powerless masses...to stay locked into sick systems" that treat some as being more equal than others.

"God's desire is for positive change -- transformation; real change, not cosmetic change -- transformation; radical change, or a change that makes a permanent difference -- transformation.

"God's desire is for transformation -- changed lives, changed minds, changed laws, changed social orders and changed hearts in a changed world," Wright said. "This principle of transformation is at the heart of the prophetic theology of the black church," he added.

"These two foci -- of liberation and transformation -- have been at the very core of the black religious experience" for many years." Wright also said liberation and transformation have been at the "very core" of the United Church of Christ, the church Obama has attended for 20 years.

Further, Wright said that if Obama is elected president, "I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people."

Wright announced his retirement as pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago earlier this year, after his controversial comments -- some delivered years ago from the pulpit -- invited questions about Obama's own beliefs.

Since then, Sen. Obama has been forced repeatedly to distance himself from what some see as Wright's racist and unpatriotic views.

Wright is now back in the limelight, defending the kind of preaching that has landed Obama and himself in the headlines. He insists a hostile media has taken his comments out of context for political reasons, to make Obama look bad.

"This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright -- it's an attack on the black church," Wright said at the National Press Club on Monday.

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