Mea Culpa: Rev. Michael Pfleger Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Sermon

Sen. Barack Obama is dealing with yet another screed from a long-time associate and preacher, Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest. In the video below, Pfleger attacks Hillary Clinton and notions of white entitlement. It is yet another example of the perils of faith-based politics now practiced by both the Republicans and Democrats. What is most annoying, however, are these religious leaders who pander to racial hatred or intolerance — only to immediately apologize when those words become public.

On the video below, Pfleger says:

When Hillary was crying … I really don’t believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white. And this is mine. 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’!” . . . She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying … I’m sorry. I don’t wanna get you in any more trouble. The live streaming just went out again. . . . America has been raping people of color and America has to pay the price for the rape. “

Obama’s connections to Pfleger go back for years, including contributions from him and earmarks from Obama worth $100,000 earmark for the ARK Community Center, a center attached to Pfleger’s St. Sabina church.

In his mea cupla, Pfleger says the following:

“I regret the words I chose on Sunday. 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.”

This stuff always reminds me of the statements one hears at sentencing hearings. I do not see any hesitation in Rev. Pfleger when he was being roundly applauded in this church. I do not believe it is far to blame Obama who has rightly denounced the comments. The Wright matter had more of a connection. However, people like Rev. Wright and Rev. Pfleger are doing their very best to guarantee that we do not see the first black president in our history. It is incredibly ironic and could prove incredibly tragic for the many Americans who want to see Obama elected. I only wish that such scandals would make Obama, McCain, and Clinton re-think the role of faith-based programs and attestations in their respective campaigns.

For the video, click here.

For the full story, click here.

14 thoughts on “Mea Culpa: Rev. Michael Pfleger Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Sermon”

  1. You can’t be facetious with misspelled words!

    I just heard that the cable guy who installed the cable in Sen. Obama’s church went off on Sen. Clinton.

    Has Obama apologized for that yet?

  2. I just heard that the cable guy who installed the cable in Sen. Omama’s church weht off on Sen. Clinton.

    Has Obama apologized for that yet?

  3. From the article:
    What is most annoying, however, are these religious leaders who pander to racial hatred or intolerance — only to immediately apologize when those words become public.

    This points out again what Sen Obama talked about in his speech denouncing Rev Wright. He said that we don’t see the outward signs of bigotry and prejudice very much anymore. We don’t see police dogs or water cannons or Jim Crow-era Whites or Coloreds Only signs. What hasn’t stopped, though, is the dinner table, church sermon, coffee and/or barber shop or golf course conversations and jokes and snickers that feed mysogyny and racial bias. These things happen in white homes and churches as well as black ones. My sincere hope for President Obama is that he can merge these two races as they are merged inside him. I hope he can prove a shining example for young people of both sexes and all races to strive and to believe in the promise of America.

  4. Sorry about the off-topic comment, but I didn’t see any contact information, and thought you might want to blog this story. From

    The U.S. military judge presiding over the trial of Canadian terrorism suspect Omar Khadr has been fired, said Khadr’s lawyer.

    In a news release issued Thursday, Lt.-Cmdr. William C. Kuebler said the judge, Col. Peter Brownback, was replaced after threatening to suspend proceedings in the case earlier this month.

    Brownback told prosecutors they had to provide Khadr’s defence lawyers with records of his confinement at the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or he would suspend the proceedings.

    I would think that it’s a pretty big story in legal circles when a judge is removed from a case after making a ruling the government doesn’t like. I haven’t yet found any mention of it in the American media. The Khadr case is a focal point of the Bush administration’s total disregard for all legal conventions domestic and international.

  5. The attack on Clinton was factually false and in very poor taste, but his broader point about some white people feeling a sense of entitlement is accurate and unoffensive.

    The notion that Pfleger is a “hateful, sexist, bigot” is beyond preposterous. We can’t say he hates women just because he doesn’t like Hillary Clinton. He calls her a crybaby, but that label can be directed toward either gender. If he’s a bigot, I’m not sure which minority group he is supposed to hate here.

    His remarks above were an attack on one single politician. It is ridiculous to compare them with Rev. Hagee’s much more offensive attack on an entire faith.

    Or for that matter, Pfleger’s comments were, in my opinion, less offensive than the “puking for Jesus” post below. The post says, “When reading the article below, keep in mind that these people are allowed to vote, drive, and have children.” This all because a few churchgoers chose to participate in a (admittedly silly) ritual that harmed no one and affected only themselves.

    I don’t mean to say that Prof. Turley has anything to apologize for. I merely mean to put Pfleger’s comments in perspective with other comments that people make on the subjects of religion and race.

    I suppose my point is that we need to think twice before demanding apologies for this type of “offensive” comment.

  6. Jill:

    Maybe we need an apology template? How about: “I am very sorry that my words were offensive to you and you were right to feel that way. I apologize for any harm or distress I caused you and those close to you. It will never happen again, and I would appreciate your forgiveness.” That really wasn’t so hard to write. I wonder why it is so hard to say.

  7. Mespo: Yes I would be doing damage control – I just don’t see it as a matter that is going to be dealt with at anything other than a local (Church – parish – community) matter. That has been my experience and my observation.

    I also won’t be holding my breath to hear Donohoe from the Republican PAC camouflaged as the Catholic Defense League – stepping up for Pfleger either.

  8. And that appears to be a fact – a delightful fact that means that, at the end of the day, we’re improving as a society and our young people are going to make most of us very proud.

  9. binx101:

    I agree that an individual priest does not speak for the greater faith, but if you had an employee or agent who made such remarks would you stand idly by and allow it to fester or would you repudiate the remarks immediately. I have heard nothing from the Church as of today, and in my book, qui tacet consentit. I do not think that Wright and the good father were unwitting fools either. The goal of getting on television and establishing some temporary celebrity is a powerful force and when the opportunity presents, even god’s own can be tempted.

  10. It appears in Obama’s followers that younger people don’t see skin color…only a human being.

  11. I’m going to take heat for this post.

    We are a society of labels. Someone wears a collar – and instantly – he’s representative of a brand, when in fact and deed, he doesn’t actually represent that brand. He belongs to it. Catholicism is a little more complicated because the brand comes with an indelible “tattoo,” as it were. But, Priests do not speak for the greater faith – they may in fact be in charge of their Church (Community).

    It also doesn’t mean that their words are actually reflective of their intended message. In fact – Had this man not been preaching but talking this over with a beer – we wouldn’t be discussing it, and, there would be a lot of people nodding their heads in assent. We are racists – itss still in our DNA as we continue to develop.

    I’m not so critical of his apology – I think it is reflective of how he felt – and I’m almost angry that people are confusing his apology with the non-apology of others. I believe his greater message was about racism NOT Hillary. The kind of racism that doesn’t need more than a shrug of the shoulders, a pursed lip and a quick eye roll. The kind of insidious racism that was exploited and incited by Hillary’s words in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Anyone that doesn’t believe that she spoke in code by referring to White workers – is truly kidding themselves. Remember the obese woman with the “we’ve had enough Hussein”, wanna see some Hillary literature from West Virginia exploiting Obama’s middle name just like the GOP’s hit patrol on the news shows?

    I’m thinking the Priest knew better but couldn’t help himself. Just like Reverend Wright – I give these guys a pass. They shot off their mouths. There’s no reason to believe they were doing anything besides being political. They don’t have consultants and they don’t have security.

    I’ve heard more offensive language from the President of the United States in his disregard for the Constitution, rule of law, and the welfare of our military in a single news conference than one can manufacture from this less than newsworthy “gotcha” event.

    We are a racist, classist society. It’s unfortunate if it offends people – but I believe that Pfleger’s comments to be more reflective of that truth than they are deserving of his scorn. It’s understandable that Hillary supporters would be miffed, he was as poor a communicator as I am – but I believe that was the purpose of his apology – not a retraction of his ultimate message.

  12. Another apology that’s not an apology. He said nothing about being sorry he had made hateful, sexist, bigoted remarks. He was only sorry if Clinton or others were offended. Why bother?

  13. “I only wish that such scandals would make Obama, McCain, and Clinton re-think the role of faith-based programs and attestations in their respective campaigns.”

    I wouldn’t count on it. These wackos vote don’t they, and their population seems to be growing with religiosity serving as the fertilizer. Forgive the not quite so unintentional pun.

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