Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, has defended controversial comments in his sermons that sparked accusations he was anti-American.
Wright blamed the media for sensationalising his sermons, which were recently posted on the internet.
Wright said that people who had accused him of being unpatriotic were wrong.
"I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did [vice- president Dick] Cheney serve?"
Wright, who was Obama's pastor for more than 20 years, officiated at the Illinois senator's wedding and baptised his daughters.
Obama, however, has distanced himself from the reverend's comments after they emerged in March, describing them as "wrong" and "divisive".
Wright, who has retired from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, also resigned as an adviser from Obama's campaign.
'Attack on church'
Wright refused to withdraw comments he made in a sermon shortly after the September 11 2001 attacks that the events were the result of US foreign policy, or "America's chickens are coming home to roost''.
"You cannot do terrorism on other people and not expect it to come back to you," he said.
"God damns some practices and there's no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done."
"That doesn't make me not like America or unpatriotic.''
Wright also said the attacks on his comments amounted to a misunderstanding of the African-American church and its development through years of slavery and repression of the US black community.
He said his church had a long history of helping the downtrodden and that members of his congregation had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"This is an attack on the black church," he said.
However, the reverend acknowledged that his comments had caused minor damage to the Obama presidential nomination campaign.
"He had to distance himself because he's a politician,'' Wright said.