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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.
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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.

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