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Another Outspoken Pastor Supports Obama May 30, 2008

Posted by Reginald Johnson in African-American, Elections, Life, Minority Issues, News, Politics.

Barack Obama has a problem. The problem isn’t with him exactly; but with the company he keeps – or rather the company that supports him.

At Trinity United Church of Christ, the Rev. Michael Pfleger mocked Sen. Hillary Clinton from the pulpit. Rev. Pfleger, who is a strong supporter of Barack Obama, said that during the New Hampshire primary Clinton’s eyes welled with tears because she felt “entitled” to the Democratic nomination and because “there’s a black man stealing my show.”

“She just always thought that, ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white.’ … And then, out of nowhere, came ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.” And she said, ‘Oh damn, where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show,’” Pfleger said at Trinity United Church of Christ.

In the closing of his sermon, it is believed that Rev. Pfleger may have felt he went too far.

”Sorry . . . don’t want to get you into any more trouble,” he said, a reference to the controversial Wright, whom Obama cut ties with April 30, following what he called Wright’s ”rants” during a press conference at the National Press Club, I attended.

Rev. Oliver Moss III, Wright’s successor, took to the pulpit and said, “We thank God for the message and we thank God for the messenger.”

Pfleger’s sermon earned the reverend a swift reprimand yesterday from Sen. Barack Obama as his comments. The Obama Machine-O-Change says his remarks threaten to resurrect the politically radioactive Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue.

Obama said, “As I have traveled this country, I’ve been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn’t reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.”

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who I should also note is a political activist in Chicago, also apologized for last Sunday’s sermon at Obama’s church.

Pfleger, has always been viewed as outspoken by many who know him in the Chicagoland area. He is the pastor of St. Sabina in Auburn-Gresham, a predominately black church in Chicago’s southwest side.

“These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama’s life and message and I am deeply sorry if they offended Senator Clinton or anyone else who saw them,” Pfleger said.

In June 2007, Pfleger was arrested, along with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, during a protest outside of a south suburban Chicago gun shop. They were both charged with criminal trespass charges. The charges were later dropped.

In video circulating on the Internet, Pfleger said the former first lady expected to win the nomination before Obama’s sudden popularity. This is true; Clinton had the whole of the Democratic Party on her side and unbelievable resources. It’s funny to think about how this was just a year ago.

Reverend Pfleger also went on to parody Clinton, sobbing and wiping his face with a handkerchief.

“She wasn’t the only one crying,” he said. “There was a whole lot of white people crying.”

Pfleger, the white pastor of predominantly black Saint Sabina Roman Catholic Church on the city’s Southwest side, said he regretted his choice of words.

Clinton’s struggling campaign at first had no comment. Yesterday evening, Phil Singer, Clinton’s spokesperson, put out a statement:

“Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics. “We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn’t specifically reject Father Pfleger’s despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so.”

Pfleger is considered a longtime friend of Sen. Obama.

This past March, Pfleger invited Obama’s embattled former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to speak at Saint Sabina, embracing Wright in the church. Wright has always been a friend of Pfleger’s church.

He also has hosted Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, at St. Sabina and has called him “a gift from God to a sick, sick world.”

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Pfleger stepped down from a ”Catholics for Obama” committee a few weeks ago, but would not say why.

Pfleger is known for his passionate retort and has been a longtime supporter for down-and-out. He has fought tirelessly for the rights of ever person, regardless of social class. Why the reverend would want to make the remarks, knowing full well that they were being recorded – I don’t know.

But unlike Wright, Rev. Pfleger quickly apologized and the chance is good that you won’t hear much from him. He may learn from Wright’s mistakes.

What I think is odd – or at least funny – is the fact that Rev. Pfleger was in the audience at the National Press Club for that Wright press conference. I even had a change to exchange greetings with him.

Now I wonder, what he REALLY thought of Wright’s actions.

He was quoted by a CBS news station as saying “I don’t think he had any intention of hurting Barack. He loves Barack and I think that his pain and the moment took over,” over Wright’s actions.

There are supporters of Pfleger. People in the South Loop neighbourhood of Chicago strongly support the Roman Catholic reverend; and Obama too.

One resident of the area said, “Father Pfleger is just bringing the truth to light about people, and all he’s doing is just accenting the positive, and the positive is Obama.

People in the South Loop who support Obama said Pfleger’s comments should not be associated with Obama himself.

“Y’all need to separate the two. Obama didn’t say anything like that about Hillary. Rev. Pfleger said them. Y’all don’t do a good job of separating the two,” said a Washington D.C. resident who is originally from Chicago.

Advocacy Hits Capitol Hill May 29, 2008

Posted by Reginald Johnson in Afganistan, Education, Family, Government, Homeland Security, Immigration, International, Networking, News, Politics.
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The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is looking for a few good souls!

On June 13, 2008, the ADC is hoping for a good turnout for a day of what they refer to as ‘political empowerment and mobilization.’ The ADC will be hosting their annual national convention.

They have a day of political workshops. Another item on the menu will be lunches with Members of Congress and congressional staffers. All of this and fundraising for an Arab American political action committee.

The highlight of the conference itself will be a keynote address during their dinner on Fight night by one of the community’s favorite congressmen and former presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Congressman Kucinich has consistently supported a just and balanced US foreign policy with the Middle East. His office remarked that they are excited that the congressman will be be taking part in showing his support of the ADC.

The June 13th events kick off at 11:00 A.M. with an overview and Q&A of Capitol Hill basics with ADC Government Relations staff at a briefing at the downtown Grand Hyatt Washington. Immediately following the briefing, participants will board buses for the ADC Capitol Hill Luncheon.

The luncheon is scheduled from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. in the historic Cannon Caucus Room on the third floor of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress will address their Arab American constituents. Senator John Sununu (R-NH) is the lone person on the senate side that has confirmed their attnedence. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI); Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); and Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) on the House side have committed to attending. The ADC also expects congressional staff from key committees and offices to attend.

Following the luncheon, ADC members will fan out across Capitol Hill and lobby their Members of Congress and congressional staff. ADC members will discuss the foreign and domestic policy issues outlined in the ADC Capitol Hill Day Packet, but will also take the opportunity to elaborate on any policy issue most important to them as Arab Americans.

The ADC believes these meetings are critically important in illustrating to Members of Congress and their staff the political priorities of the Arab American community.

“It is the civic responsibility of all Americans to let their elected officials know how they feel about the votes cast and policy positions taken by their elected representatives in Washington,” the ADC said in a press release.

Many people find the alleged un-American and ill-advised legislation and administrative actions to target the Arab American community have made these visits more important than ever. Democrats and Republicans can expect a strong presence of Arab Americans on Capitol Hill.

The NAAA-ADC PAC (political action committee) will hold a fundraiser reception at the Grand Hyatt as part of the ADC National Convention. NOTE: Only ADC members are eligible to attend this reception that will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 P.M.

During the PAC reception, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will address members on the importance of political involvement through voting, volunteering on campaigns, and even contributing to parties, candidates, and PACs.

If you have questions on ADC’s Capitol Hill Day, email the ADC Legislative Director Christine Gleichert at christine@adc.org

Find your Washington representatives

Getting a meeting with a Member of Congress

Preparing for your Meeting


11:00-11:30: Capitol Hill Orientation ADC Government Relations Staff will Review Capitol Hill Day Packet and Answer Questions About Capitol Hill Visits.

12:00: Buses depart hotel for Capitol Hill from 10th Street Entrance of Hotel

1:00-2:00: Capitol Hill Luncheon, Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building

2:00-5:00: Scheduled Constituent Meetings with Congressional Offices.

5:00 Buses Depart Capitol Hill from Maryland and 3rd Streets, S.E.

6:30-7:30: NAAA-ADC PAC Fundraiser: Keynote Speaker Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB)

7:30-10:30: ADC Friday Evening Dinner, Keynote Speaker Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and performance by Chantal Chamandy

11:30-1:00 AM: Hafleh with music by DJ Bassam


The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

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