Category Archives: michael pfleger

>OP ED: Obama is getting it right … and the left is feeling left out

>President-elect Barack Obama is off to a pretty good start. I know this – if for no other reason – because the so-called progressive (<– read that archliberal) radio gabbers are apoplectic. Just as the far right feared, the far left believed that Obama was a radical leftist who would initiate some sort of “age of socialism” by personal edict – a communist Camelot, if you will. The left wingers chose to forget that Obama (with Mayor Daley, left) was the product of old time corrupt Chicago politics. In doing so, they overlooked the fact that politically, the Democrat machine of his political upbringing is a bit right of center. Also, Obama and his people (the Chicago crowd) know that his legacy depends on being a centrist President. If he wants to be remembered for more than the first half black guy to work out of the Oval Office, he has to have accomplishments. Starting class warfare is not going to do the trick.

So, what has happened since Election Day that keeps my conservative anxiety in check?

First, his appointments have been pretty good … considering. Most of the Cabinet picks are moderates who have been hanging around Washington bars since the Clinton administration, waiting for the next meal ticket. Obama has won praise from such groups as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and televangelist Pat Robertson (right). Who would have thought?

His team of economic advisors, who will be the vanguard in setting down the economic recovery plan, are mostly free market guys. None have a history of supporting systemic socialism. America’s leading capitalist, Steve Forbes (left), gives the team pretty high marks. That’s good enough for me.

Obama has already let it be known that he will most likely not reverse the Bush temporary tax cuts as the progressives believed he would. They assumed that this was a slam dunk on day one. Instead, Obama has decided to allow those tax cuts to run their course. The left is clinging to a hope that when the cuts run out in 2010, Obama will let them die. I say … don’t be so sure.

The difference between his view and Bush’s view of the various corporate bailout schemes is negligible – though in this case, I think they are both wrong. Nonetheless, Obama is in the political mainstream of the moment on this.

Though he opposed getting into the Iraq war, Obama has proven himself to be quite malleable on the strategies to end it. He is not a cut and run appeasement guy. There is a general consensus that a phased pull out will occur. Bush, Obama and the Iraq government seem to be in general agreement on the timing.

On the other hand, Obama favors a kick-ass build up in Afghanistan. The fact that he is keeping both General David Patraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in place seems to suggest that there will be no dramatic change in the conduct of the war on terrorism. Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden is a very high priority for the President-elect.

When not focusing on the economy and the war, Obama took time to assure the gun owners of America that he is “no enemy of the Second Amendment.” He stated his belief in the right of gun ownership with responsible regulation – a view closer to the National Rifle Association than the Brady Bunch (<– referring to the Jim Brady, who was wounded alongside President Reagan and whose wife is our nation’s number one gun grabber). I recall hearing the squeals of disbelief and disappointment on (hot) Air America when Obama joined John McCain for a polite debate hosted by conservative Pastor Rick Warren (seen being embraced by Obama — literally and figuratively), of the Saddleback mega church. Now … Obama has passed over all those other reverends in his past life, Wright, Jackson, Sharpton and Pfleger, to have Reverend Warren provide the historic invocation.

Because of Warren’s opposition to gay marriage, the gay rights leaders are all a twitter over his selection. They feel betrayed. Hellooooooo. While mostly avoiding the issue — but when pressed — Obama was squarely in the ranks of those opposing gay marriage. He is not likely to jump on board the stupid anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, but he will not be out there pushing for gay weddings. Mostly he leaves that up to the several states – a good position constitutionally and politically.

Now, I am sure that Obama is going to give me a lot of reasons to toss a shoe or two in his direction over the course of the next four or eight years, but so far I am not even untying them.

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>OBSERVATION: Black churches … for the love of God.

>

As a one-time media advisor to the late Mayor Gene Sawyer and as a lover of Gospel music, I volunteered for a duty that others avoided. Sunday after Sunday, I joined the late Mayor in visiting black churches — hitting at least half dozen churches each Sabbath.

In the years since, I have occasionally attended African-American services with friends or been a visiting speaker. More often than not, my wife and young son would join me as the only white church mice to be found among the congregation.

When I traveled with Sawyer, I usually tried to stay inconspicuously in the rear of the church. I say “tried” because many times I was singled out by the preacher and invited to come to the alter to receive a “special” blessing. This usually was about the time for the offertory. I learned to come prepared with a dozen ten dollar bills to drop into the various collection plates.

In one case, my stash proved insufficient. As soon as I dropped a ten dollar donation into the basket, the pastor peered longingly over his glasses into my wallet. With each new Hamilton dropped into the basket I got a hardier “thank you, brother” until he was satisfied that I had tithed appropriately – at about the fifty dollar mark, as I recall.

These experiences in dozens of black churches cause me to now wonder. Were did the Jeremiah Wrights and Michael Pflegers come from? When did the angry racist homilies infect the body of Christ?
Though it was sometimes costly to the pocket book, I cannot recall a time that I did not enjoy and feel uplifted by my attendance. In every black church I attended, I felt the most gracious and loving welcome. My family was made to feel like the most special of guests — not part of some white oppressors. There was a perceptible outpouring of energetic love throughout the congregation. You could feel it in the music, the sermons and the interaction of the people. I never felt uncomfortable. Of course, I never visited Trinity or St. Sabina.
With all the press attention paid to the divisive screeds of Wright, Pfleger and a few other publicity seeking reverends, I hope the public in general will not assume that they represent all the black pastors.

>REACT: Father Pfleger’s return to his throne … ah … pulpit?

>Father Michael Pfleger is back at the pulpit. Cardinal George, who suspended the priest errant for two meaningless weeks of abstinence from the Saint Sabina sacristy, has given more evidence of his disappointing reign as the bishop of the Chicago Archdiocese.

The mini-banishment was the result of the brouhaha that followed Pfleger’s sexist and racist over-the-top performance at Obama’s former church, where “Trinity” refers to Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Michael Pfleger. The latter’s mockery of Hillary Clinton was only the vehicle for a larger rant against non-black America.

Shortly after his satirical impersonation of a black preacher hit You Tube, the very Arian looking Pfleger issued a less-than-apologetic mea culpa. I am sure Pfleger was sorry that he caused Barack Obama to resign from Trinity. I am sure he was sorry he received a personal rebuke from Obama. Even in regret, however, Pfleger never took responsibility for his actions, expressed sincere remorse, or demonstrated a firm commitment not to repeat his transgression – the three requirements for Catholic confession and forgiveness. He gave no evidence that he was sorry for the thrust of his message. His sorrow was more like the regret of a bank robber over getting caught — not the crime. The only people who accepted his apology were those who thought he was right to do what he did, in the first place.

It should have been the last straw, but Cardinal George treated like it was a unique lapse. The punishment was less than the slap on the back of the hand that nuns applied in the days of the old Catholic Church. Perhaps he was intimidated by the lavish media praise the press traditionally bestows on religious apostasy – especially by left-of-center preachers.

Oh, Perhaps it was the zealous demonstration of support from Pfleger’s followers at Saint Sabina, who each Sunday absorb and endorse Pfleger’s homilies of racial paranoia and divisiveness. Their You Tube-captured applauds, cheers and “amens” demonstrated a disturbing resonance with Pastor Pfleger’s anti white diatribes. It would appear that those who take up the pews function more like a cult than a congregation devoted to a good and greater God. Like many other narcissistic, egomaniacal and charismatic personalities, Pfleger has his following.

That is what is so disturbing about his triumphant return. Yes, triumphant. Pfleger returned to HIS throne to the rapturesque cheers and hosannas of HIS congregation. These are clearly HIS people. There was no sense of embarrassment over Pfleger’s statements and rebukes by both Obama and George. Absent was the humility of a true penitent. So powerful is his messianic message that many “members’ of Saint Sabina are not even Catholic. They are there for the political, not the priestly, Pfleger. Every exuberant alleluia was a proverbial fist in the face of Cardinal George.

Pfleger, has been allowed to remain pastor at Saint Sabina’s for more than 25 years – well past the time church policy normally requires a move. He is a good example of why that policy is a good one. It is designed to remind the parishioners that the pastor is NOT the church. It is designed to prevent the cult-ification of a congregation. George had a great opportunity to restore Saint Sabina to the communion of the Catholic Church. Carpe Diem! The Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago failed. Though his stature outside the parish may be deservedly diminished by his antics, Father Pfleger returns to Saint Sabina the clear victor.

>REACT: Father Pfleger finally flubs (see videos here)

>They applauded and cheered as Father Michael Pfleger, pastor the St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, whooped it up as the visiting sermonizer at Trinity United Church of Christ – the one-time home of the racist Pastor Jeremiah Wright and long-time congregant Barak Obama. You would have thought they had learned a lesson about spewing hatred from the pulpit by now. But noooooooo!

Thanks to modern techonology and You Tube, the words of Father Pfleger are no longer just repeated but are available for all to hear. His message of anger and hate is no longer limited to the confines of the black church. You can see both his improper and illegal attack on Hillary Clinton — and his admission that he is causing trouble. The “man of God” knows he is sinning.

Because Father Plfeger is a raging left winger – more interested in a political platform than the pulpit — he has been allowed to be outrageous for years without much criticism from the fawning press. In fact, even the unavoidable criticism of his latest over-the-top stunt is tempered by the media with countervailing reporting on all the alleged good he has done through his ministry.

Methinks that he would not even now be criticized if his racist character and inappropriate comments had not turned out to be detrimental to the most important liberal sacred cow of the day, Barak Obama. This is the same song sheet the media choir have used in the past for Pastor Wright, Jesse “Hymie Town” Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the racist reverends who play partisan politics from the pulpit – flagrantly violating the laws that affords them taxpayer subsidies. You and I pay for the venomous attacks on the non-black communities.

It is reported that Francis Cardinal George (left) has had enough of the bad boy Father Pfleger. I certainly hope so. He should be summarily booted … defrocked … excommunicated. He is the secular wolf lurking beneath the lamb (of God) skin.

Oh sure, Pfleger has apologized – said he is sorry if his brutal, sleazy racist mocking of Hillary Clinton and all non-black people offended her … and all non-black people. If course it offended her, and most likely a lot of us non-black people. It was ugly and vicious. It was about as unChristian as you can get short of bodily harm. It offended anyone with fair judgment and honest heart. I am convinced that Pfleger apologized only when it became obvious that his partisan verbal slashing was going to backlash on his beloved Obama. When has he ever apologized in the past for his bombastic attacks on white people?

The performance on the stage at Trinity was not an exception, but the norm for Father Pfleger. For those who are familiar with Pfleger, his history of radical extremism and abuse of his pulpit privileges are historic and pervasive. Though white, he is a promoter of black liberation theology, often a theological euphemism for racial hatred in the name of God. He uses the same sort of religious contortions that had those long-ago southern white pastors (and a few still hanging around) denouncing the God-given humanity of blacks – using the burning symbol of a loving Christ to convey fear and hatred.

To add a weirdness to his viewpoints, Pfleger takes pride in mimicking the extreme edge of the flamboyant style of black ministers. His imitation is so complete, it borders on psychotic. He channels the most radical black preachers. Pfleger’s black “act” is so out of context with his white boyish looks and carefully coifed blond hair that unless you listen to the scurrilous content of his homilies you might think it a Saturday Night Live skit.

In his ethnic self hatred, Pfleger allies in common cause and friendship with the likes of Louis Farrakhan (left). Like Jeremiah Wright, Pfleger embraces and promotes the misguided Muslim minister. Instead of repudiating Farrakhan, Pfleger praises him and invites him to desecrate the sanctuary of St. Sabina’s with his racist rhetoric. Pfleger finds it impossible to call out anyone who speaks ill of the white community.

I am also more than a little bothered by the reaction of the congregation at Trinity. The congregation’s chortles, guffaws and amens to Pfleger’s message of racial animosity were almost as offensive as the Muslims dancing in the streets as the New York Trade Towers crumbled. After years of Pastor Wright, it would appear that those in the pews have been so drawn to, or indoctrinated by, the extreme preaching of racial victimization at the hands of the evil white majority that they cannot see the wrongness of Wright and Pfleger. It is chilling to think that until recent days the potential President of the United States was among them in holy communion.

What seems to bridge racial lines, however, are the many infamous ministers in America — black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew – who seem to be the most out of touch with a loving God. Preachers of this ilk seem to find large congregations who prefer to have their prejudices comforted rather than challenged.

I am not sure how much harm Pfleger does to Obama. The candidate does not have the two-decade intimate relationship with Pfleger the he once claimed to have “treasured” with Pastor Wright. He did not spend Sunday after Sunday at the foot of Pfleger’s pulpit. On the other hand, they have been close friends and comrades-in-arms since Obama first appeared on the civic/political scene. Pfleger has been a donor to Obama campaigns. Until recently (post Wright flare up), he served as an official advisor to the campaign. He can be listed, along with Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko, as another close and influential friend who has become radio active — who raises legitimate concern about Obama’s friendships of choice.

There are a goodly number of godly black ministers, and Martin Luther King can be looked at as the role model. King preached consistently and forcefully against racial prejudice and hatred. He never found it necessary to seek justice through retribution. He never proposed inverting the scales of justice to compensate for past inequities. He never demanded special treatment as compensation for past injustice. He sought mutual respect and equality. He envisioned a true post racial world in which the color of a person’s skin was irrelevant.

Credit where credit is due. Thanks to Obama, the issue of black racism and the historic politicization of the black churches has been drawn into the sunlight of public scrutiny. If there is to be a national discord on racism, this is not a bad place to start. Black racism is no longer the protectorate of political correctness. Amen, brother!