(CNN) -- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's speeches to the NAACP and the National Press Club have inspired a passionate debate between CNN.com readers.
Janet J of West Virginia called Wright's speeches "a powerful commentary by an extremely well read, well educated individual."
But Curt disagreed, calling Wright a "racist hate-mongering hypocrite."
Others, like iReport.com cartoonist Jim Brenneman, wondered how Wright's comments would affect Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
The following is a selection of comments on Wright's comments. Some have been edited for length or clarity.
Apryl: "I am a white female, age 56. I owe Rev. Wright an apology, and Sen. Obama. I am so sorry. I looked at the entire video of all the sermons shown on the news. I agree with what the man said. Although I think he should have said condemn instead of damn, and instead of saying America as a whole, he should have been more specific and said the government. Let's face it: Our government has done horrible things. It's the truth. We might not always like to hear it, but it doesn't change the fact."
iReporter smokieyob: "Where does the healing start?"
Chipster: "Rev. Wright isn't doing Obama any favors. He preaches anger and hatred of decades-old injustices, yet no appreciation for the progress that has been made. Certainly, we can do better, but it doesn't help to incite so much anger in generations of black youth who never experienced slavery or the harsh discrimination of Wright's youth. Today, they have opportunities that Wright could not have imagined then.
"His ridicule of Jack Kennedy is particularly offensive because Jack and Bobbie sacrificed everything in their fight for justice for all minorities. They had wealth, education, and privilege. They didn't have to risk their lives, but they did. For Wright to ridicule their accents and compare it to broken English does a disservice to their sacrifice and to black youth who are capable of more than he gives them credit."
Ed: "Very educational, informative, and impressive overall. It's important for America to hear that different doesn't mean deficient; just different. I believe if more White Americans were accepting of this truth, Mr. Obama would have wrapped up the Democratic nomination long ago. This is, however, not to say that Rev. Wright was alluding to Mr. Obama when he made this statement."
iReporter krystal68: "Stop living in yesterday. My children have been raised to love and be loved. If people like Rev. Wright continue to live in a hateful past, we as a people will never be able to enjoy our present and our future."
Kati: "Rev. Wright is a very accomplished man. 2 masters, a doctorate, an Egyptologist, a linguist, a pastor, an author and military Veteran. He has received many prestigious awards from institutions in and out of his fields. His style is flamboyant and outspoken. By seeing the speech in it's entirety, we can make up our own minds. Thank you CNN for raising the bar on televised journalism. An apology is due to the pastor, the people, and Barack Obama."
Seattle Sue: "I just watched Rev. Wright speak at the NAACP dinner. I thought he bordered on the loony side. How Obama or anyone for that matter sit through twenty years of his sermons is more than I imagine."
iReporter matthewmilam: "Rev. Wright should be left alone."
Bethany: "Wow, this conversation is hilarious. Would any of you question the soldiers serving in Iraq and call them un-American? This man served 6 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, served in Vietnam, and has done great things in his community. What is wrong with that? I love how white people get so indignant when a mere black person would question their judgment, leadership, and past actions.
"Oh, that's right, white folks can't be questioned, that's it. This administration can't be questioned. Remember, how this nation was founded. We are a nation of anarchists who left England and founded this nation. There is nothing more American than the questioning of our government and demand for them to act responsibly."
Suze: "This is a first for me. I just changed the channel as I find Rev. Wright to be highly offensive. Any thoughts I had of voting for Senator Obama are over."
Yony: "I find it shocking and disconcerting that people are willing to dismiss Rev. Wright's controversial speech as a "sound byte". Listening to to the entire speech reveals no further truth or justification. I'm not sure how one reads the part about the U.S. injection of African Americans with the AIDS virus as 'out of context.' Regarding Obama, it may very well be that Rev. Wright does not speak for him, but let us not forget that Obama attended this church for 20 years (proudly, according to him). I would expect a half decent man to have left such a place, where values are formed and solidified, long ago."
iReporter Seanjo: "I respect Rev. Wright as a man and a pastor. I also respect his right to defend himself. But to suggest that the fallout from remarks that he has made in the past is not an attack on him personally, but an attack on black churches in general, is inflammatory and unproductive.
"When someone makes divisive and controversial comments, he/she can and should expect a backlash of criticism. That's not an attack, it's a defense. You can't expect to offend me without invoking defensiveness from me."
Tony: "The stuff this guy says doesn't belong in a church -- period. It's classless, demonstrates a pure racial agenda, and undermines much of what Christianity is based around."
Sarah: "Finally, somebody is BRAVE enough to speak the TRUTH! We all know what the man is saying is the truth, but some people will rather bury their heads in the sand, like that will make things disappear. Wake up, America, if you want to hear the truth about the oppressed and the least among us, go to a good BLACK church and you will hear the TRUTH is the zeal and compassion and yes the anger that is really being felt in our communities. Preach what is going on in our world. THE TRUTH HURTS."
Jon: "Plain and Simple -- the guy is a racist and uses the 'African American' church to cloak himself in self-righteous bigotry."
Katzooks: "Americans are so unaccustomed to hearing straight-talk that, when a man such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright speaks, it stuns and outrages our sensibilities. The audacity of this man to just say what he believes!
"When was the last time we heard a public figure, politician or not, speak his or her own truth on such sensitive topics as race, independent from concerns over future electability, political fallout and political correctness. The 1960's? 1970's?
"I find Rev. Wright's straight-talk refreshing, and I trust it more than a busload of politicians, whose every word has been carefully couched, so as not to ruffle anyone's feathers. (Remember folks, the nail that sticks up gets hammered!) The fact that Rev. Wright's words shock the sensibilities nationwide, says more about our estrangement from free speech than the most controversial of his statements. Those among us whose voices carry weight (e.g. politicians and other high-profile figures) would be serving our country well to speak up at this time, in support of the First Amendment and in support of those who practice freedom of speech." E-mail to a friend
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