Once, in the early 1990s, when I first became aware of Michael Pfleger in a Catholic theology course, I thought, "Finally, someone in the Catholic Church apart from scandal, who feels his faith, yet thinks his faith, while living his faith." What would the Catholic Church look like if someone as keyed in as Billy Graham was speaking out?
As the years went on, we in Chicago learned that he, like Jeremiah Wright, was a pompous neo-racist. We watched him devolve. No, neither is racist in the way the Nazi Party was. Both men believe they are doing the right thing, but both men have put social justice before Jesus Christ.
Before I go on, I believe Jesus Christ likes social justice. He wants us the fight for babies to be, widows, orphans, and the alien. He wants us visiting those in jail and feeding the hungry. It is also true, many Christians have failed here. Many have also stepped up and done the right thing. Which motivates which?
Michael Pfleger has used his pulpit much the way conservative Christians are accused of doing so, to take a social gospel into being a political gospel.
Sorry, Mike. I don't swing that way.
What should Cardinal Francis George do? Not my business. What should Mike Pfleger do? Look back to the beginning, remember who you serve.
Should I remember what my ancestors did? Why not? My ancestors were in Ireland and Central Europe until recently.
Michael Pfleger unashamedly supports Barack Obama. Fine. That's not it. It is not his political leanings that should disgust us. Many respectable people are Obama fans, just as many equally respectable people prefer Hillary or John McCain. My problem is not his politics, nor his views (farther left than what the Catholic Church supports, but that's Rome concern, not mine). It is his abuse of the pulpit, and, more importantly, his leaning away from the saving grace of Christ. Lean toward Jesus, and vote for whomever you like.
Conservatives (of which I'm not) will jump on this to yell foul, as if they ever supported Hillary Clinton in the first place. Liberals (of which I'm not) will scream back, claiming that this kind of leadership is justified.
In the end, just as Jeremiah Wright incendiary comments made no impact on Obama's campaign, nor will this controversy. By November, this will be forgotten. Look for a Wright-Pfleger book within the year.
Listen and find out what Pfleger said.