The Communist Party isn’t radical enough for Johnny E. Williams

During the last two days we’ve been looking at sociology professor Johnny EricTrin Williams, who, in June, over two decades after earning his Ph.D., finally did something to attract notice beyond the Hartford, Connecticut, campus of Trinity College, where he teaches: he wrote a couple of tweets in which he basically called for race war.

Johnny Eric Willams

One thing that’s interesting about working on this website is how you keep running into the same people. Googling away for clues to Williams’s past, we found very little – let’s just say he’s not exactly ambitious or prolific – but one thing we did run across was a document that linked Williams to a couple of our old pals on this site, namely world-class race hustler Cornel West, who is currently on the Harvard faculty, and Bob Avakian, head of the Communist Party USA. The document was a statement by an organization calling itself “Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia, of course, is a former Black Panther and cop-killer who was sentenced to death in 1982, whereupon bien pensant types around the world rallied to his support, presenting his conviction as a symbol of American injustice and racism and campaigning to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. That effort eventually bore fruit in 2001; Mumia is now serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison.

Bob Avakian

But on to the statement by the “Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal,” or EMAJ for short. The statement was critical of a November 15, 2014, event at New York’s Riverside Church, where Avakian and West discussed “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.” EMAJ, which noted that it had “supported the event beforehand,” was nonetheless unhappy with the discussion because of its “singular focus on one predominating voice, of its disrespect for black radical leadership and all leaders of color, and of its failure to uphold the radical democratic values needed in revolutionary movements.”

Cornel West

In other words, West and Avakian, the latter of whom, at least, is an advocate of violent, murderous totalitarian revolution in the United States, were not radical enough for the members of EMAJ. The EMAJ statement went on to quote an essay by Mumia and Angela Davis, who, as we’ve seen on this site, was an accessory to murder. The essay envisioned “a socialist future” that would involve “the abolition of institutions that advance the dominance of any one group over any other”; in writing their essay, they drew on “Black, indigenous and other traditions.”

Avakian and West at the Riverside event

This, complained the EMAJ, was something that West and Avakian, but mainly Avakian, had failed to do at the Riverside event. In the view of EMAJ, Avakian, who is white, had taken up too much time, which “was disrespectful of Dr. West,” who is black. To EMAJ, this amounted to “an implicit racism” and a sense of “white privilege and white supremacy.” EMAJ condemned “what we witnessed at Riverside: one white revolutionary lecturing for more than two hours while a Black revolutionary sat on the stage. This is not what revolution looks like in the U.S.”

The EMAJ statement was signed by fifteen individuals, most of whose listed affiliations with academic institutions – among them Evergreen State College, Columbia University, and Union and Princeton theological seminaries. Williams was one of them. This, then, is the kind of nonsense in which he has been involved in recent years when he might have been engaged in serious sociological research.

Matthew Hughey

Oh, well. The good news is that on June 26, the president of Trinity College put Williams on a leave of absence for his racist Facebook and Twitter posts. The bad news: the American Association of University Professors criticized Trinity for violating Williams’s “academic freedom” we suspect he’ll be back soon enough. Colleagues, too, rallied around Williams. From Inside HigherEd: “Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and friend of Williams’s, said he ‘was merely the latest target of a campaign by the right-wing white supremacist outrage machine with the goal of silencing academics’ working to eliminate oppression.” (We’ve previously discussed Hughey on this site, by the way.) Our guess: Williams will be back in the classroom soon enough, likely doubling down on his hatred and infecting heaven knows how many students with it.

Johnny Eric Williams, race hustler

Yesterday we met Johnny Eric Williams, a sociology professor at Trinity College in Hartford who in June posted some virulently anti-white comments online.

Johnny Eric Williams

Who is Johnny Eric Williams? His bio has been scrubbed from the Trinity College website, but according to a bio at the Springfield Institute, where he is a member of the board of directors, he received an B.A. from Ouachita Baptist University in 1984, an M.A. from the University of Arkansas in 1986, and another M.A. (1990) and a Ph.D. (in 1995) from Brandeis. Williams’s book African-American Religion and the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas was published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2003, and he’s written for “media outlets such as Black Agenda Report, Racism Review, CounterPunch, Ctnewsjunkie.com and The Mark News (Toronto, Canada).”

Trinity College, Hartford

Let’s just say that that’s a pretty unimpressive CV. Eleven years from B.A. to a Ph.D. in sociology? One book, published by a decidedly minor university press? A handful of articles posted at radical websites? Not a single publication in a serious scholarly journal?

Briefly put, Williams doesn’t seem to have left much of a mark on the world prior to the current controversy. We did manage to track down an account of a previous controversy in which he figured. In 2008, an anonymous blogger wrote about being a guest lecturer at Trinity “some years” earlier. During the time the blogger was at Trinity, a controversy erupted there over a racist remark that appeared on a campus-related website. The blogger recalled that Williams, an “oh-so-PC prof,” took the lead in organizing a protest. Williams claimed, according to the blogger,

Williams’s book

that because he is black “I’m uncomfortable all the the time on this goddamned campus.” To prove how uncomfortable he feels he referred to a handful of minor incidents over a 13 year period. There was some racist graffiti left on a tennis court, rude messages written outside some dorm rooms and students in Halloween costume which Williams found offensive. None of this comes close to a real violation of rights. But apparently it is enough for Prof. Williams to feel uncomfortable “all the time.”

The blogger noted that Williams, at the time, was teaching a course entitled “Race, Racism & Democracy,” which examined “ethnicity and race as reactionary and revolutionary ideologies,” and another course, “Race and Ethnicity,” in which he discussed “persistent and perpetual forms of racial oppression” and illuminated how “the structure and process of politics govern…the everyday lives of oppressed racial groups in capitalist democracies.”

What emerged from the blogger’s recollections of Williams was a portrait of a classic race hustler. (Incidentally, the blogger noted that the online racist comment that had triggered the campus controversy turned out – as is so often the case in such situations – to have been the work of a black student – who claimed that she had posted the comment in order “to ‘test’ the real racial feelings on campus.”)

We’ve found out a bit more about Williams. We’ll get to that tomorrow.

Hating whites at Trinity College, Hartford

Another day, another American professor who turns out to be consumed with a hate-filled ideology that threatens to poison the minds of his students.

Johnny Eric Williams

On June 16, Johnny Eric Williams, who teaches sociology at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, shared on Facebook an article from the Medium website entitled “Let Them F***ing Die.” The article (written by someone styling himself “Son of Baldwin”) consisted of a set of reflections inspired by the attempted mass murder of those Republican Congressmen by a former Bernie Sanders volunteer. Noting that Steve Scalise, the wounded GOP whip, is an opponent of gay marriage and that one of the two cops who saved his life was a lesbian named Crystal Griner, “Son of Baldwin” pondered the question: “What does it mean, in general, when victims of bigotry save the lives of bigots?”

Crystal Griner, the hero cop who saved the GOP congressional baseball team from a would-be assassin, threw out the first ball at the game

“Son of Baldwin,” who is apparently a gay black man, chided people like Griner who, despite being members of groups that are the objects of widespread bigotry, “think being the kind of thing that would sacrifice our lives for the very people who would reflexively slit our throats to create a fountain from which to drink our blood is noble.” Such minority-group members, he wrote, “imagine…that by becoming a shining example of this ‘righteous’ behavior, we might, somehow, guide these cannibals into becoming upright beings capable of following the very rules they enforce upon us.” This, “Son of Baldwin” asserted, is a misguided view. Instead of saving bigots, he wrote, people like Griner should let them die. He spelled out his point at length:

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

If you see them drowning.

If you see them in a burning building.

If they are teetering on the edge of a cliff….[and so on]

Do nothing….

Let. Them. Fucking. Die.

And smile a bit when you do.

Sharing this article on Facebook, Williams used the hashtag “#LetThenF***ingDie.”

Chapel at Trinity College, Hartford

Two days after posting the link, Williams returned to his computer and banged out a couple of tweets in the same vein:

I’m fed the f*** up with self-identified ‘white’s’ daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslims, and sexual and racially oppressed people. The time is now to confront these inhuman assholes and end this now.

It is past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system. #LetThenF***ingDie

Williams’s actions caused so much uproar that the powers that be at Trinity felt compelled to close the campus for the day on June 22.

Who is Johnny E. Williams? We’ll answer that tomorrow.

Otto Warmbier: Blaming the victim

Otto Warmbier under arrest

We wrote last year about Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who went on a tour of North Korea only to find himself sentenced to 15 years at hard labor for supposedly stealing a propaganda banner from a corridor in his Pyongyang hotel – and who, last month, in a horrific denouement, was returned to the U.S. in a coma only to die several days later. In our account of the Warmbier case last year, we took a look at the firm, Young Pioneer Tours (YPT), that arranged the group trip in which he took part – but that, in the aftermath of his tragic experience, has ceased organizing vacations to the Hermit Kingdom.

Warmbier in court

A quick recap on YPT: according to its own website, it was founded by Gareth Johnson, a Britisher who has a great “love for the people and culture” of North Korea. The site also quoted from a YPT official, Shane Horan: “I’m passionate about travel to so called ‘rogue nations’ and changing people’s often incorrect perceptions of them.” YPT’s promotional materials directly addressed potential vacationers’ concern about safety in North Korea: “How safe is it? Extremely safe! Despite what you may hear, North Korea is probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit. Tourism is very welcomed in North Korea, thus tourists are cherished and well taken care of.”

Warmbier and fellow tour members in Pyongyang, prior to his arrest

Far from being cherished and well taken of, however, Warmbier was arrested at the airport in Pyongyang when he was about to return home. He was put on trial and, on March 16 of last year, sent to prison. YPT issued a statement to the effect that it was “continuing to work closely with relevant authorities to ensure a speedy and satisfactory outcome for Mr Warmbier.” Well, that didn’t exactly work out. 

La Sha

Far from showing any remorse, YPT kept whitewashing North Korea. And meanwhile Warmbier was undergoing – well, no one outside of Kim Jong-un’s empire knows exactly what he underwent. It now seems clear that he was savagely abused. Nobody remotely familiar with the reality of North Korea should have been surprised at the thought that the incarcerated American was undergoing brutal treatment. But that thought didn’t stop many appalling people in the U.S. from blaming Warmbier for his own fate – and, in effect, taking the side of the North Korean regime. At the Huffington Post, for example, a writer named La Sha took palpable pleasure at the news of Warmbier’s prison sentence, writing that “the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.” The “reckless gall” Warmbier had demonstrated in North Korea by supposedly snatching a propaganda poster, argued La Sha, was “an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country.”

As a “benefactor…of all privilege,” suggested La Sha (she later referred to his “alabaster American privilege”), Warmbier had developed an “arrogance,” a “subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.” But there was more. As we’ll see tomorrow, La Sha actually compared Warmbier to the Aurora, Colorado, mass murderer. 

 

Is George Bridges being cowed by student bullies – or covertly directing them?

Bret Weinstein

Today is the last day of our week-long virtual stay at Oregon’s Evergreen State College, the setting of one of the latest – and craziest – episodes demonstrating that student radicalism has gotten way out of hand on many campuses, representing a threat to many people’s freedom of speech and personal safety.

This week’s story of collegiate Cultural Revolution has centered on Bret Weinstein, a professor of biology at Evergreen whose refusal to cooperate with a student initiative he (quite rightly) considered racist – in this case, anti-white – led to his demonization as a racist.

Naima Niambi (Naima Lowe)

Weinstein wasn’t just targeted by students. In a two-hour interview on Dave Rubin’s widely viewed podcast, Weinstein mentioned Naima Niambi (aka Naima Lowe), a fellow professor who during at least one faculty meeting, he said, accused him point-blank of racism. When Weinstein replied calmly that somebody should look objectively into evidence of whether or not he was, in fact, racist, he was chided by the chair of the faculty, who told this this was not the time or place to defend himself from such charges. When Weinstein asked where and when he could defend himself from those charges, Niambi said that he should not expect there to be a venue for such self-defense.

George Bridges

During this entire exchange, the college provost sat silently. So did the college president, George Bridges. Now, during this week we have examined details of this story which suggest that Bridges is the very personification of cowardice, giving way to student demands with pathetic alacrity and actually issuing a statement of praise for them that appeared to break all records for sheer cravenness. But Weinstein, in his conversation with Rubin, suggested that Bridges, far from being cowed by these kids, was, along with Niambi, perhaps the real power behind their movement. But Weinstein wasn’t consistent: he alternated between depicting Bridges as having been intimidated by the students and as directing their actions.

Evergreen State College

Weinstein had more to say about Niambi. At faculty meetings, he told Rubin, she routinely insisted that there is intense racism at Evergreen, and would say “vile” things (he wasn’t clear about what things they were and whom she said them about). When she was doing making these accusations, said Weinstein, fellow faculty members would “reflexively” thank her. After the present chapter began, moreover, Niambi tweeted an explicit threat to Weinstein’s wife, Heather, also an Evergreen faculty member, suggesting that somebody do her harm. So far, Niambi (a B.A. in Africana Studies and an M.F.A. in Film and Media whose so-called academic work consists overwhelmingly of race-fixated “performances,” “exhibitions,” “installations,” and “experimental films”) has apparently received not a whisper of criticism from any college administrator for any of this.

Weinstein talked about faculty members other than Niambi, though he refrained to name names. Some of his colleagues, he noted, had openly turned on him, joining in the chorus of “racist,” either out of sheer lack of guts or for cynical careerist reasons. Others have remained publicly silent while lending him “private support,” too scared to speak out on his behalf. In other words, Evergreen – like so many U.S. college campuses today – is experiencing developments not unlike some of those that have been familiar features of totalitarian nations.

The tyranny of Evergreen’s brats

Bret Weinstein

It’s Day Four of our account of the recent madness at “progressive” Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist, was tormented in late May by a radical student group for failing to take part in a “Day of Absence” that would compel white students and faculty to stay off campus for a full day. His criticism of the idea, which he considered racist, led (unsurprisingly) to charges that he was racist. It also led to student harassment of the college’s president, George Bridges, who unlike Weinstein buckled in record time, not only giving in to the students who pressured him but, as we’ve seen, praising them for pressuring him.

Evergreen State College

As we noted yesterday, one of the ways in which Weinstein responded to his demonization was by going on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast. As evidence of his lifelong abhorrence of racism, he recalled an event that took place thirty years ago. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he attended a party thrown by a “wealthy Jewish fraternity” at which the members “enacted a ceremonial rape” of black female strippers using cucumbers and other such objects. Weinstein had been so appalled by this event, which he considered (among other things) profoundly racist, that he wrote a furious op-ed about it in the college paper. This led to a scandal, to a trial at which Weinstein testified, to the banning of the fraternity for a couple of years, and to Weinstein’s own temporary departure from the university, the whole experience having soured him on the place.

Dave Rubin

Since then, as Rubin noted, Weinstein had established a “track record” of fighting racism. But none of this mattered to the livid, out-of-control students who wanted his head for refusing to bend to their authority. Weinstein noted that even though he disliked the idea of compelling whites to absent themselves from campus in accordance with some student initiative (which, he explained, had been conceived of as a response to the election of Donald Trump), he might have along with it, except that, as he put it, “It’s possible that my reaction is different than it might be because I’m Jewish, and alarm bells go off when I’m told I’m not supposed to be somewhere.” Nor did he like the stipulation that any white person who actually turned up on campus on the designated day would therefore be understood to be a non-ally of people of color.

George Bridges, apparently in one of those staged college PR photos

When he circulated a letter complaining, in careful, tactful terms, about this demand, Weinstein was besieged. A group of students materialized out a classroom in which he was teaching and chanted, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Bret Weinstein has got to go.” When he tried to talk to them, they told him to resign. When he expressed the opinion that students of color were not being “targeted” at Evergreen, some students erupted in rage. One girl called him “useless” and told him to “get the fuck out.” When he tried to reason with them and elevate the level of the conversation, he was mocked and insulted. “Resign!” one boy insisted.

More tomorrow.

George Bridges: caving in to student terror?

Evergreen State College

This is our third day of recounting the remarkable recent events at Evergreen State College, an institution in Oregon with which we at this site were previously unfamiliar but that acquaintances of ours have described as a choice school for spoiled, privileged kids who are used to being pampered, who don’t want a particularly challenging university experience, and who don’t have very much in the way of serious ambitions. In late May, as we’ve noted, Evergreen made headlines because of the targeting by a vicious student group of a biology professor, Bret Weinstein, who refused to comply with an explicitly black-supremacist demand. After failing to intimidate Weinstein, the student agitators threw themselves at the college president, George Bridges, who proved to be, shall we say, remarkably cooperative.

Among the student demands met by Bridges: he agreed to make the position of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Officer a full-time job. But he didn’t just cave in to a litany of demands. He actually praised the students:

George Bridges

We are grateful to the courageous students who have voiced their concerns. We understand that the demands presented are evolving. We have worked intensely on this in the past two days. Our responses, too, will evolve to ensure we are attending to the needs you present. Our documents must live and be living, changing with additional issues and concerns as they arise. This work never ends.

We have heard from students very clearly that they experience racism on campus that interferes with their education. We acknowledge that the status quo isn’t acceptable. We don’t know all the answers. We want to come together with you to learn from your experience, to build solutions, and to take action. We are grateful for this catalyst to expedite the work to which we are jointly committed.

For a long time, we’ve been working on the concerns you’ve raised and acknowledge that our results have fallen short. We should have done more to engage students in our work on equity and inclusion. This week, you are inviting us into the struggle you have taken up. We share your goals and together we can reach them.

While most of the mainstream media ignored the story – and Bret Weinstein was widely savaged on the left for going on Fox News (even though it was apparently the only national news operation that was interested in talking to him) – Weinstein didn’t let himself be cowed. On May 30, he went on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast and spoke for two hours not just about this controversy but about his professional and personal background, many aspects of which underscored the absurdity of labeling him a racist.

More tomorrow.

Under mob control: Evergreen College

Bret Weinstein

Yesterday we started to discuss one of the latest outrageous campus episodes, this one at hippie-dippy Evergreen State College in Oregon. Bret Weinstein – a bio prof at Evergreen who describes himself as a leftist who supported Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for presidency – ended up in the crosshairs of enraged students for standing up to a demand that white students and faculty members stay off campus on a so-called “Day of Absence.” In Weinstein’s view, their demand represented “a show of force and an act of oppression” – language one might expect a platoon of spoiled, angry contemporary college kids, marinated in the ideology of oppression and power, to understand.

Evergreen State College

But nope. Weinstein’s refusal to be banished from campus for his skin color evoked a chorus of rage. In an article on the campaign against him, Inside Higher Ed quoted a Facebook posting in which one student called the prof out for “putting his job security ahead of the safety of the students (particularly those who are visibly of color, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, etc.) on our campus. And when I say safety, I am not referring to someone’s feelings getting hurt. I’m referring to the very real, very close neo-Nazi/white supremacist/alt-right/whatever-you-wanna-call-white-people-who-think-non-white-people-should-die presence in the Pacific Northwest.”

The local chief of police counseled Weinstein to stay off campus – not to comply with the student demands, but for his own safety. He did so. But this doesn’t mean he didn’t stand up to his tormenters. On May 26, Weinstein went on Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News. Carlson introduced the interview by showing a video in which a group of rude, bullying, foul-mouthed student brats attempted to intimidate Weinstein by screaming hysterically about “white privilege,” calling him “useless,” and ordering him to “get the [expletive] out.”

Asked by Carlson to contextualize the video, Weinstein explained: “They imagine that I am racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom.” He further recalled that after the encounter shown in the video, the police turned up – whereupon the students moved on to the office of Evergreen’s president, George Bridges, whom they “corralled” and from whom they “extracted” certain “concessions” including a promise that he, Bridges, would meet with them later in the day to discuss their so-called grievances.

George Bridges

“Why is he allowing a mob to threaten one of his professors?” Carlson asked about Bridges. Weinstein said it was worse than that: “Dr. Bridges is allowing this mob to effectively control the campus.” The mob had presented Bridges with a set of demands, and had told him that if the demands were not met in full “there would be violence.” Bridges, instead of standing up to the mob, had ordered the campus police to “stand down.” While wanting to restore order on campus, then, the campus police had been “hobbled” by Bridges’s insistence that they do nothing and had, in effect, been “barricaded in the campus police station” for the past several days.

Bridges later announced that he would go along with all of the student demands – of which there were many. He began a public statement by informing his audience, in accordance with the expectations of many college-based gender activists nowadays, of where exactly he falls on the supposedly broad and complex gender-pronoun spectrum: “I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns,” he said. Pathetic.

More tomorrow.

Student fascism at Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College

Founded in 1971 and boasting an acceptance rate of 98.9%, Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, has welcomed fashionable radical thinking from the outset. Its official motto (we kid you not) is that tired Sixties mantra “Let it all hang out” (in Latin, Omnia Extares). It calls itself a “progressive college,” whatever that means. It prides itself on not giving out grades, on not requiring students to declare majors (it doesn’t have conventional academic departments), and on not having any required courses.

Mumia Abu-Jamal

In 1999, the commencement speaker at Evergreen’s graduation ceremony was cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose salvation from the death penalty was a trendy left-wing cause at the time. (In 2001, his death sentence was commuted to life without parole.) Among the college’s most famous alumni, meanwhile, is Rachel Corrie, the pro-Palestinian activist who, in 2003, while engaged in an aggressive International Solidarity Movement effort to prevent the Israeli Defense Forces from destroying a tunnel used by terrorists to smuggle weapons, was accidentally run over by a bulldozer. Her death under these circumstances made her an instant martyr to the anti-Israeli movement, and turned a photograph of her, screaming with rage and tearing up an American flag, into an iconic image.

Anyway, that’s the kind of student Evergreen produces.

Rachel Corrie

In recent months, U.S. campuses have been the center of a great deal of discord, with vociferous and sometimes violent groups of left-wing or anarchist students trying to shut down speakers they don’t like or have professors fired for making politically incorrect statements. In the process, these students have often caused harm to the targets of their wrath and committed acts of arson and vandalism. In late May, it was Evergreen’s turn to make national headlines. At the center of the story was biology professor Bret Weinstein. Now, one of the annual “progressive” traditions at Evergreen is something called the “Day of Absence,” when black students and professors voluntarily stay off campus and instead hold meetings and discussions elsewhere to discuss racism and tolerance.

Bret Weinstein

This year, however, the organizers of the “Day of Absence” decided to switch things around – instead of allowing blacks to skip class, they ordered whites to do so. Weinstein refused, and explained why: “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles…and a group encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness, which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” He added that he would be on campus that day doing his job and that he would encourage other whites on campus to do the same. “On a college campus,” he wrote, “one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color.”

Weinstein has also come under fire for opposing a recommendation by Evergreen’s Equity and Inclusion Council that all faculty hires be defended by the administration on ground of “equity,” a vague term apparently referring to racial balance or some such thing. Weinstein’s attitude toward this policy proposal was that it’s a mistake to place such emphasis on superficial attributes. “The most important thing,” he said, “is that the person in front of the room knows something about the subject and has insight in teaching.” In response to these thoroughly reasonable positions, Weinstein became the target of absolute rage on the part of a large group of Evergreen students. What exactly happened? Tune in tomorrow.

“The white Jeremiah Wright”

fathermichaelpfleger
Fr. Michael Pfleger

Yesterday we met Father Michael Pfleger, a prominent Chicago priest and ally of Barack Obama’s who has been celebrated in The New Yorker and elsewhere as a crusading civil-rights hero. As we noted, he’s also a close friend of Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.

“You can think of Father Michael Pfleger as the white Reverend Jeremiah Wright,” wrote Daniel Greenfield in 2008. “Not only does Father Michael Pfleger have a longstanding association with Wright and his Church, he has longstanding ties to Louis Farrakhan.” Indeed, Pfleger has said the following about Farrakhan:

pfleger_far
Pfleger enjoying a friendly moment with Farrakhan

I’ve known the minister both as someone who I have great respect for as a prophetic voice, as a mentor but also as a friend and as a brother. We’ve become very close friends over the years. Our families have been close; he’s shared dinner at my house as I have at his many, many times. He has preached from our pulpit here at this church on three different occasions.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In 2015, Pfleger wrote on Facebook:

Looking forward to getting on the bus tomorrow night to go to DC for the Anniversary of the Million Man March….and hearing my Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan….There is no leader in America who can draw the attention and hearts of millions of people seeking Justice and Truth like him……I thank God for his friendship and his Prophetic and courageous Voice….we never needed it more than right now…….Love my Brother.

In 2010, Pfleger, Wright, and Farrakhan came together on a single stage. The occasion: the presentation to all three of them of “Living Legends” awards. Who gave out the awards? Wright himself. Yes, he gave himself an award – just like some tinpot African dictator.

Of course, Wright and Farrakhan aren’t Pfleger’s only friends. He has a lot of them – many of whom are quite famous. In 2015, Matt C. Abbott called Pfleger a “well-known instigator who often panders to liberal politicians and celebrities.” And the celebrities who call Pfleger a friend are nothing less than multitudinous. Among those to whom Pfleger has gladly played host are the race hustler Al Sharpton and the radical singer Harry Belafonte (who, like Pfleger himself, took to Pfleger’s pulpit to blame the U.S. for 9/11). Kareem Irfan, a leading Chicago imam who has excused terrorist beheadings and has close links to terrorists, was also invited to speak at Pfleger’s church – on a 9/11 anniversary, no less.

297589_1280x720
Pfleger leading an anti-gun protest

What else is there to say about Pfleger? Well, one thing is that the list of protests he’s led would fill a small book. In 2002, he “led a rally at the Dirksen Federal Building condemning the destruction of [Yasir] Arafat’s compound” in Gaza. Once he led a gun-control protest outside a gun shop, telling the shop owner: “We’re gonna find you and snuff you out.” (He also said he’d “snuff out” politicians who oppose gun control.) In 2014, he led his parishioners in a street protest against violence – not against the gang murders that have made Chicago the murder capital of America, mind you, but against the Chicago police, whom Pfleger accused of “genocide.”