It was really just a matter of time.

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Sen. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have resigned their membership from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, their longtime place of worship, according to an aide to the senator. The campaign said it would release a statement shortly, once the Illinois senator has finished a campaign appearance here.

When you run for office, let alone this office, you have to give up much of what you are. It’s part of how race works that white people are seen as individuals, and black people are seen as representing one another as a whole. It’s also true that the black church has always been radical, and that black radicalism has been seen as a threat in a way white radicalism hasn’t. You look at Pat Robertson and company and you realize white radicalism is utterly mainstream in a way that black radical politics never could be, whether they’re even close to as extreme.

But these are the rules we play by in America, and Obama knew that when he signed up.
UPDATE: More from the Post
The resignation came in a letter Obama sent to Trinity United Church of Christ’s Rev. Otis Moss III on Friday, saying, “We are writing to make official our decision to end our membership at Trinity.”

“We make this decision with sadness. Trinity was where I found Christ, where we were married and where our children were baptized,” the letter said.

“But as you know, our relations with Trinity have been strained by the divisive statements of Reverend Wright, which sharply conflict with our own view.”

Obama’s unexpected decision comes after a second controversy involving incendiary remarks from a pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, this time the Roman Catholic Rev. Michael Pfleger, who sharply ridiculed Sen. Hillary Clinton in a sermon last Sunday.

Obama scheduled an unplanned news conference Saturday evening here in Aberdeen, after news of the resignation began to spread.

In his news conference, Obama said he and Michelle had been discussing leaving the church since his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s theatrical and controversial appearance at the National Press Club in late April.

“It’s not a decision I came to lightly, and it’s one I make with some sadness,” Obama said. But, he added, now that he is a presidential candidate, opponents were using the church’s pastors’ words to criticize him.

He also said his heightened profile was drawing unwelcome attention to the church. “It’s also clear that Reverend Moss and the church have been suffering from all the attention my campaign has visited on them.”

“Our faith remains strong,” Obama said. “I suspect that we will find another church home for our family.”

“I have no idea how it will impact my presidential campaign, but it’s the right thing to do, for my church and for my family,” he said.

Just a few weeks ago, Obama was forced to distance himself from Rev. Wright, after videotapes surfaced of Wright making critical comments about the United States and suggesting AIDS was a U.S. government plot against blacks.

Wright had introduced Obama to Christianity, and one of Wright’s sermons was the inspiration for Obama’s book title, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Trinity Church also released a statement today, made available by Obama’s campaign and signed by the pastor, Rev. Moss, that said, “Though we are saddened by the news, we understand that is a personal decision.”

“We will continue to lift them in prayer and wish them the best as former members of our Trinity community,” the letter said. “We ask now for God’s peace to be with them.”

I know a lot of folks are upset about this, but I don’t see how this isn’t the best decision for all involved.  

UPDATE II: From ABC News, Via DKos:

Sources tell ABC News that Obama felt that as the campaign continued, the media would continue to focus on the church, to the detriment of the church community, that Obama would be held responsible for what happened in the church, and that the Church would be held responsible for his campaign. It would be best, Obama felt, to simply cut ties. He has not yet joined a new church.

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