Father Pfleger has been stirring controversy in Chicago for a long time. The Obama mentor is a close ally of Jeremiah Wright and his radical leftist politics are about as ugly. Like Wright, he’s associated with Farrakhan. And while he’s largely been forgotten, Farrakhan’s Facebook ban and the resulting rally has touched off more controversy. Now yet another cardinal is forced to grapple with a Pfleger controversy.
Cardinal Blase Cupich apologized to “my Jewish brothers and sisters” in a lengthy statement issued Friday, the night after Minister Louis Farrakhan “smeared the Jewish people” at Fr. Michael Pfleger’s St. Sabina Church.
Cupich laid the blame at Pfleger’s feet, saying the South Side priest did not consult Cupich before inviting the controversial leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam into his church.
“Minister Farrakhan could have taken the opportunity to deliver a unifying message of God’s love for all his children,” Cupich’s statement read. “Instead, he repeatedly smeared the Jewish people, using a combination of thinly veiled discriminatory rhetoric and outright slander.”
Cupich, leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, made no mention of possible disciplinary action against Pfleger; he did “encourage” Pfleger to visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum “to meet with their leadership and dialogue with survivors.”
“Such statements shock the conscience,” the statement read. “Antisemitic rhetoric — discriminatory invective of any kind — has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church. I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.”
This time around, Pfleger defended Farrakhan’s line about Satanic Jews.
“I’m here to separate the good Jews from the satanic Jews,” Farrakhan preached at the end of what up to then had been a largely uncontroversial speech.
“He said there were good Jews and there are bad Jews, true. There are good Catholics and bad Catholics,” Pfleger said. “I’m doing what I believe the Gospel calls me to do and continue to try and bring people together and try to speak truth.”
“It is dangerous to me when we begin to stop free speech and seek to silence prophetic voices,” Pfleger said. “There are many who say they do not like Minister Farrakhan because all they have heard is various sound bites. Perhaps that is why Facebook wanted to ban him — to keep people from hearing his whole talk, his entire message and the truth that he seeks to teach us.
The “truth” that he seeks to teach us is that white people, presumably including Pfleger, were created by an evil Jewish mad scientist.
While Pfleger didn’t consult Cardinal Cupich, at this late date, it can hardly be a surprise. The announcement was public and Pfleger’s association with Wright and Farrakhan isn’t news either.
I was one of the first to write about it back in 2008.
Father Michael Pfleger ministers to Saint Sabina, an African American Catholic church a short distance from the Nation’s main mosque, Mosque Maryam.
I’ve known the minister (Farrakhan) 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. We’ve worked together on issues not only for this community but in the city and in the nation.
So hardly any kind of surprise.
And this is far from the worst problem with Pfleger.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, went way over the top this week. During a protest against Chuck’s Gun Shop, Father Pfleger twice threatened to “snuff out” the shop’s owner and threatened the same fate for legislators who oppose his position on gun control.
“We’re gonna find you and snuff you out,” Fleger said about the gun shop owner, likening the man to a “rat.” He later repeated his threat to “snuff out” the owner.
“We’re gonna snuff out legislators who are voting [garbled] against our gun laws and we’re coming for you because we are not going to sit idly.”
Pfleger’s antics aren’t news. And they’re not a surprise.