Recalling a mantra from the late Judge R. Eugene Pincham, a longtime member of Trinity United Church of Christ, Wright reminded the more than 600 lawyers gathered for the annual banquet of the Cook County Bar Association, "You can't be what you can't see."
The 15-minute address before the oldest African-American bar association in the U.S. was the first time Wright has spoken publicly since Obama withdrew from the South Side church last month.
That controversy began when sound bites of Wright's sermons, including a critique of America's foreign and domestic policies, surfaced on the Internet, causing some to question the pastor's patriotism. In a sermon delivered at Trinity last month, Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church, revived the controversy by mocking Clinton.
On Thursday, Pfleger introduced Wright as his hero, friend and pastor and a "gift to this country, whether it realizes it or not."
Both men received standing ovations.