Father Michael Pfleger, a fiery liberal social activist and a white reverend at an African-American church — St. Sabina’s Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago — is a longtime friend and associate of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, having known him since the presidential hopeful was a community activist. In September, the Obama campaign brought Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign.
Their relationship spans decades. Pfleger has given money to Obama’s campaigns and Obama as a state legislator directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at St. Sabina’s, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A new Youtube video making the rounds shows Pfleger speaking at Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, just last Sunday, mocking Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, for having cried in New Hampshire, suggesting that she wept because she thought as a white person and wife of a former president she was entitled to the presidency.
In response to the sermon, Obama issued a statement saying: “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.”
This is what Obama was responding to: After being introduced by Obama’s church’s new pastor — Rev. Otis Moss — Rev. Pfleger talks about the importance of taking on "white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head."
"Rev. Moss, when Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, I really don’t believe it was put on," Pfleger says from the pulpit. "I really believe that she just always thought, ‘This is mine! I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white, and this is mine! I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’ 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 then mocks her crying, much to delight of the crowd, many of whom stand up and applaud.
"She wasn’t the only one crying, there was a whole lot of white people crying!" Pfleger says to laughter.
The tape, which just shows this one controversial part of Pfleger’s sermon, then cuts to Moss thanking Pfleger: "We thank God for the message, we thank God for the messenger, we thank God for Father Michael Pfleger," Moss says.
The New York Times recently described Father Pfleger as having "long worked with South Side political leaders to reduce crime and improve the community. But he has drawn fire from some quarters for defending the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and inviting him to speak at his church."
UPDATE II: Father Pfleger writes to say, "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."