Election Will Change Nothing, Says Obama-Backer Fr. Pfleger

September 2, 2008 - 1:58 PM
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(CNSNews.com) - Fr. Michael Pfleger -- long-time friend of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who he endorsed for president early on – said nothing will change in America no matter who is elected in November, apparently contradicting Obama's famous campaign slogan, "Change We Can Believe In."
 
“If you are silly enough to think that a new person in the White House can change the situation,” said Pfleger in an Aug. 3 sermon, “that's like saying we got good food in prison now but you're still in prison, stupid. Yeah, you got a new menu but you're still behind bars in case you didn't notice."
Pfleger is the pastor of St. Sabina’s Catholic Church in Illinois. On May 25, Pfleger spoke at Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama worshipped for two decades, and attacked Obama’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, with mocking remarks and innuendos. Obama resigned from Trinity United several days later.
 
In his Aug. 3 homily, Pfleger warned his congregation of "a danger" looming in America because people are "looking for some knight in shining armor to save us all." He essentially preached that people should not rest their hopes, their faith on a president or a political issue but on God.
 
Pfleger, under a directive from his bishop not to identify political candidates by name, told his congregation on Aug. 3 that, by reference, they would know who he was describing. 
 
"We're looking like somebody's going to do it if we get that man--that don't look like the one on dollar bills,” said Pfleger, referencing a comment Obama had made about himself. “Or maybe if we get the older man [McCain] who has history and been around for a long time."
 
Pfleger continued: “If the Republicans can get in, it will be all right. If Democrats are to get in, it will be all right.   They can do it. He can do it.  That one can do it!  And we’re putting all our hope on some man to do what God already did and told you how to do – you feed them! Not Democrats, not Republicans, not a black, not a woman, not a white –you!”
 
On July 17, The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Obama's list of earmarks while he served in the Illinois State Senate included $100,000 in 2000 to the ARK Community Center, attached to Pfleger's church, for renovations. Obama’s association with Pfleger goes back to at least 1988, when they were both community organizers. 
 
In his Aug. 3 remarks, Pfleger also said: "I love these people who say things like, 'if the guy who doesn't look like the people on dollar bills; if he gets elected we will be post-racial; we’ll show that we are past racism. I hate to wake you up from your Disney dream but a person--a woman or a black man or a brown man in the White House--is not going to change racism in America. It's still real, baby."
 
Pfleger also remarked on how some people had left St. Sabina’s because of the political controversy. “Some folks, you know, have left this Church and said, ‘Well …you’re always talking that justice stuff; always talking about that political stuff,’” said Pfleger.  “God bless you; don’t let the door hit you on the way out cause the God I serve is a God of justice. The God I serve is a God who speaks about the conditions of his people.  The God I serve cares about the one laying on the side of the road. The God I serve said the spirit of the Lord is upon me. He’s anointed me! Free the captives! And if you are not dealing with justice, you are not dealing with my Jesus cause my Jesus is a just God.”
 
Pfleger also told his congregation that he would not stop talking about politics from the pulpit.
 
"Boy, I can't wait until November 4,” said Pfleger. “I ain't going to shut up after November 4th. I'm going to make up for lost time.”
 
Excerpts of Fr. Pfleger’s Aug. 3 homily are below:
 
“And let me say this to you. Please receive this right.  I see a danger. I hear a danger taking place right now across this nation.  A danger of that we are repeating what we have done in history over and over again, looking for some knight in shining armor to save us all.
 
“When Malcolm got killed, who's the next Malcolm? When Martin got killed, who is going to be the next Martin Luther King? When Harold died, who's going to be the next Harold? Looking for somebody to come in and save us from this mess that we are in, who's going to do it?
 
“There’s a fear in me about this coming election—I know I’m on punishment and I can’t say names, so you have to catch me in the way I’m saying this. Boy, I can’t wait until November 4th.   I ain’t going to shut up after November 4th. I am going to make up for lost time, Michael. … But in the meantime, Ricky’s out of town so he’s not able to pull me…you should’ve been here, Rick.
 
“But we're looking like somebody's going to do it, oh, if we get that man--that don't look like the one on dollar bills. Or maybe if we get the older man who has history and been around for a long time.
 
“If the Republicans can get in, it will be all right. If Democrats are to get in, it will be all right.   They can do it. He can do it.  That one can do it.  And we’re putting all our hope on some man to do what God already did and told you how to do--you feed them! Not Democrats, not Republicans, not a black, not a women, not a white – you!
 
“If you are silly enough to think a new person in the White House can change the situation--that's like saying we got good food in prison now but you're still in prison, stupid. Yeah, you got a new menu but you're still behind bars in case you didn't notice. You just got a good appetite but your –
 
“There is a danger…and then I love these people who say things like 'well, if the guy who doesn't look like the people on dollar bills; if he gets elected we will be post-racial; we’ll show that we’re past racism. I hate to wake you up from your Disney dream but a person, a woman or a black man or a brown man in the White House is not going to change racism in America. It's still real baby. The plant of justice only has a sprout, it ain’t even begun to grow yet. It may just have a little sprout; it may be just be poking its head up above the ground, but it ain’t no plant yet! Don’t look for a party, don’t look for a President; Jesus says, ‘You’”