Hate speech and sexism, combined with big doses of race-baiting, seem to permeate Barack Obama's church. We listened to Rev. Jeremiah Wright for weeks while Obama was "thoughtful" about how to handle the fallout from Wright's fiery and hateful sermons.
Now we're subjected to Round II - Father Michael Pfleger, a South Chicago Catholic priest, appeared at Trinity United Church of Christ (yes, it's Obama's church... again...). Pfleger thought it was funny to subject Hillary Clinton to his brand of white guilt and sexism. He also told the audience that we need to give up our 401s and our "Trust Funds" and all the other "benefits" we have accrued, because we (like Hillary Clinton) are guilty of "white entitlement."
And Rev. Otis Moss, Trinity's new preacher said after Pfleger's incendiary and gratuitous comments: "We thank god for the messenger; we thank god for Michael Pfleger."
Here's the video of Pfleger's pathetic rant:
ABC's Jake Tapper nailed it with this observation:
I just have to say, as someone of faith, I have never before heard a cleric engage in such disdainful mockery from a pulpit. Have you?
And the Archbishop of Chicago had the good sense to quash Pfleger, noting that the Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates:
Statement of Cardinal Francis George concerning remarks of Fr. Michael Pfleger about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton during an address at Trinity United Church of Christ on Sunday May 25, 2008
"The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates. Consequently, while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning."
"Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged. Words can be differently interpreted, but Fr. Pfleger’s remarks about Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret that deeply."
"To avoid months of turmoil in the church, Fr. Pfleger has promised me that he will not enter into campaigning, will not publicly mention any candidate by name and will abide by the discipline common to all Catholic priests."
Hillary Clinton also issued a statement through Howard Wolfson, her communications director:
"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics. We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn’t specifically reject Father Pflegler’s despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so."
We're still waiting for Sen. Obama's rejection...
While we're waiting, here's something else to think about:
I don't think Democrats (or progressives) do ourselves any favor by mixing religion and politics. So far it has turned out to be damned toxic and this season it seems more toxic than ever, with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Fr. Michael Pfleger, Obama's "god" flyers in North and South Carolina, and John McCain's endorsement/non-endorsement by Rev. John Hagee.
Do we really need such unsavory and unseemly pandering to prove we believe in a Higher Power, god, The Divine, The Universe?