“The white Jeremiah Wright”

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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:

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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.

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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.”

Michael Pfleger, living saint?

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Fr. Michael Pfleger

For four decades he’s been the priest in charge at “Chicago’s largest African-American Catholic church.” He’s led more than his share of demonstrations and been arrested dozens of times. Barack Obama has praised his “heroic work.” His name: Father Michael Pfleger.

In February of last year, Evan Osnos wrote a love letter to him in the New Yorker. A sample:

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Spike Lee

Last year, when Spike Lee was preparing to make “Chi-Raq,” about violence in Chicago, he asked Pfleger to introduce him to gang members, parents of slain children, and others. “Father Pfleger is the great facilitator,” Lee told me. “He’s the point guard, with everything coming through him.” Lee copied sentences from Pfleger’s sermons in creating the character of a white priest played by John Cusack. “That character,” Lee said, “is a cross between Father Pfleger and the father that Karl Malden played in ‘On the Waterfront.’ ” When the film came out, Vic Mensa, a Chicago hip-hop artist, criticized the “white savior concept” as “hurtful to our power as dark-skinned people.” Lee responded that that might be true if Cusack’s character didn’t exist, and added, “He would not be there forty years if he’s not the real deal. He’s a living saint, and they’re lucky they got him.”

To be sure, a few paragraphs into the profile Osnos admitted that some Chicagoans “dismiss Pfleger as a huckster who is more interested in getting attention than in working to find solutions.” One top cop calls him “Pfather Pfaker.” Others say he’s “too cozy with City Hall, a moderate posing as a radical.”

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Jeremiah Wright

But there’s nothing fake about Pfleger’s longtime friendships with two notorious Chicago-based racists and anti-Semites: Obama’s former minister, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam. Wright, it will be recalled, became nationally famous during the 2008 election campaign, when the media pored through years of his sermons and found such statements as this: “White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” The Sunday after 9/11, Wright preached: “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye….America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” Wright accused white scientists of creating the HIV virus in order to commit genocide against people of color. After Obama became president, Wright said his former parishioner hadn’t contacted him because “Them Jews aren’t going to let him talk to me.”

(Caption Information) Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Leader, Nation of Islam is seen during his speech.Rosa Parks Funeral at Greater Grace Temple Church.Detroit, Mi, November 2, 2005, Detroit, MI. (The Detroit News/Clarence Tabb, Jr.)
Louis Farrakhan

As for Farrakhan, this is the man who famously called Judaism a “gutter religion” and has frequently referred to Jews as “killers.” “These false Jews,” he has preached, “promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength and making evil fair seeming. It’s the wicked Jews, the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It’s wicked Jews, false Jews.” In 2015, Farrakhan called on his supporters to murder white people. Addressing Jews in one speech, Farrakhan said: “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” Even the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center considers the Nation of Islam a hate group.

Asked on TV about his two friends, Pfleger said: “I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back while you tear down Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. How dare you. How dare you. How dare you seek to reduce Jeremiah Wright, who’s one of the greatest Biblical scholars this nation has, to a 30-second sound bite and try to demonize him and trivialize him. You cannot do that.”

More tomorrow.