Sen. Barack Obama campaign today scrubbed from its official website a testimonial by a close associate and spiritual adviser who claimed Sen. Hillary Clinton cried in public because she thought being white entitled her to the Democratic presidential nomination.
WND broke the story of Chicago Catholic priest Michael Pfleger’s sermon Sunday at Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ, in which he implied Clinton was a white supremacist who believed she would win the nomination because of “white entitlement.”
Obama also denounced Pfleger, who reportedly represented the presidential candidate’s campaign at faith gatherings.
“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,” Obama said.
Pfleger previously was featured on Obama’s campaign site endorsing the presidential candidate.
“Obama is calling back those who have given up and lost hope in the political system both young and old in the belief that we can fix it. He has the intellect for the job, and I haven’t heard anyone since Robert F. Kennedy who is causing such an emotional and spiritual awakening to the political possibilities,” read Pfleger’s official campaign testimonial.
The controversy began after a video surfaced of Pfleger delivering a guest sermon at Obama’s church Sunday.
Pfleger, who practices black liberation theology, is a regular guest speaker at Trinity church. He was introduced at Sunday’s sermon by Obama’s new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss III, who called Pfleger a “brother beloved, he is a preacher par-excellence, he is a prophetic powerful pulpiteer.”
After Pfleger’s remarks about Clinton, Moss thanked Pfleger repeatedly.
Pfleger told the Trinity congregation, “We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head.”
He continued: “Reverend Moss, when Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, 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. I just got to 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 mimicked Clinton crying as the audience erupted into applause and gave Pfleger’s remarks a standing ovation. Clinton has become emotional during several interviews this year, and some media commentators have questioned her sincerity.
In his sermon, Pfleger added, “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people cryin’.”
Apparently realizing his remarks might attract media attention, Pfleger stated, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to get you into any more trouble.”
Moss then took the stage, stating, “We thank God for the message, and we thank God for the messenger. We thank God for Father Michael Pfleger. We thank God for Father Mike.”
Moss assumed the leadership of Trinity earlier this month following the retirement of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whose controversial sermons have raised questions about Obama’s judgment and beliefs.
Obama has said in media interviews he will retain his membership in Trinity under Moss, whom he lauded as a “wonderful young pastor.”
Pfleger is a regular guest lecturer at Trinity and has been featured a number of times in Wright’s Trumpet magazine, which drew some media attention after it honored controversial Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan.
Obama has appeared on at least three Trumpet covers and last year gave an exclusive interview to the magazine. Obama’s wife, Michelle, also recently talked with Trumpet.
Pfleger, an early supporter of Obama who leads a mostly black Chicago parish, has hosted Farrakhan a number of times, drawing the ire of the Catholic Church. The June/July 2007 issue of Wright’s Trumpet magazine describes Pfleger as “Afrocentric to the core.”
Obama identified Pfleger in a 2004 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times as a key source of spiritual guidance. The Sun-Times piece, which was among the first in which Obama outlined his faith, includes quotes from Pfleger praising Obama.
“Faith is key to his life, no question about it,” Pfleger told the Sun-Times. “It is central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father. … I don’t think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is.”
ABC News reported today Obama’s relationship with Pfleger spans decades. In September, the Illinois senator’s campaign flew Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign.
The Chicago Tribune reported Pfleger has given money to Obama’s campaigns and that as a state legislator Obama directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at Pfleger’s church.
Pfleger’s highly political remarks last week are unusual for him.
Wright’s Trumpet magazine reported last year Pfleger “manages to weave into the midday homily at Trinity … his deep and abiding dislike for President George W. Bush. And with this mostly African-American congregation, Pfleger is in good company.”
According to a profile of Pfleger in Trumpet, the pastor “counts the mighty as close confidants and friends,” specifically Wright, Farrakhan and Obama.
Earlier in Pfleger’s Trinity church sermon, he argued for slavery reparations.
“Honestly now, to address the one who says, ‘Don’t hold me responsible for what my ancestors did.’ But you have enjoyed the benefits of what your ancestors did … and unless you are ready to give up the benefits, throw away your 401 fund, throw away your trust fund, throw away all the monies you put away into the company you walked into because your daddy and grand daddy. …”
Shouting, Pfleger continued, “Unless you are willing to give up the benefits then you must be responsible for what was done in your generation, because you are the beneficiaries of this insurance policy.”
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