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6/3/2008
OBAMA’S FRIENDSHIP WITH PFLEGER

I’ve listened to several speeches over the last year by Barack Obama and read the transcripts to a few others and what strikes me the more I read and understand what the candidate is saying is the truly revolutionary nature of his campaign and that he is dead serious about turning this country leftward – radically leftward – in all areas of government and private life.

Now Americans by tradition are a mostly centrist bunch. We are extremely wary of politicians who promise dramatic change unless the times call for it. Even then, we rarely slip too far to the right or left – befitting a mature, responsible citizenry of a republic. Reagan may have been the most ideological president of the 20th century but no one can say he didn’t compromise to get most of what he wanted. Pragmatic conservatism was the order of the day with Reagan presiding over a revolution in the way people looked and felt about government.

But Obama comes from a different planet than Reagan. And you can start noticing the differences when Obama first graduated from college and, like many young people, began searching for something to give his life meaning:

He went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn and started lecturing his relatives until they worried he’d become “one of those freaks you see on the streets around here.”

They had good cause to worry about Obama’s radicalism. You can trace his journey to the hard left by looking at his early employment record. Graduating from Colombia in 1983, Obama went to work for the staid, establishment capitalist concern Business International Corporation.

He didn’t stay there long. He moved on to the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) – one of a network of Ralph Nader creations that boasts a consistent anti-business record of achievement – with mixed results.

But he must have been searching for something else – something that could get him more directly involved in radically altering the system. In 1985, he found just what he was looking for; he answered a help wanted ad for a position as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago.

There are several different takes on Obama’s experience as an organizer. This hagiagraphic piece in US News paints a saintly picture of Obama – a selfless, hard working, mainstream black man only wanting to help the poor.

The reality was a little different. Trained in the Saul Alinsky method of organizing, Obama became quite adept at bringing the resentments and rage felt by African Americans against the white establishment to the surface:

He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better.”

It was during these years as a community organizer that Obama apparently met and befriended (or was befriended by) a young, passionate, radical priest named Father Michael Pfleger who was making quiet a name for himself as the youngest pastor in the Archdiocese of Chicago, ministering to a mostly African American congregation at St. Sabina’s on the south side. The two struck up a friendship that continues to this day.

What is it about Pfleger that attracted the young Obama? Was it Pfeger’s attempt to bridge the black experience in the protestant tradition with that of the Roman Catholic Church? This piece on Pfleger from 1989 shows that 1) the good father hasn’t changed much; and 2) why Obama may have been drawn to the then young priest:

But St. Sabina on Chicago’s South Side is not the typical black Catholic church. Ebony wood carvings, Ashanti foot stools and kinte cloths make the altar area look more like an African art gallery. Banners of red, black and green, the colors of African liberation, hang from the rafters, along with excerpts from the Black National Anthem. A 20-foot mural of a black Jesus looms over the altar.

Mass usually lasts two and a half hours, in which Father Pfleger assails racism and intolerance.

Recently, he defended Father Stallings. ‘’The cardinals say, ‘You’re mad,’ ‘’ Father Pfleger said, his voice rising. ‘’You’re damn right I’m mad. And I need to be mad. We need to be mad. There comes a time when you can’t be satisfied waiting and waiting and being told changes come from within. You can’t change it from within if you’re not in the room that’s making the decision. If you got no power, you can’t do nothing.’‘


For a young man seeking to internalize his black identity in a white world, it is no wonder Pfleger and Obama hit it off.

But beyond what Pfleger could do for his soul, Obama recognized Pfleger as a comer in the Byzantine world of Chicago politics where preachers and moneymen hold hands with politicians and political operators to grease the wheels of commerce, charity, and corruption.

The power relationships in Chicago depend on two things; one’s ability to shake the money tree in order to get what you want and the equally important knowledge of where to go and who to see to shake that tree. There are literally dozens of foundations and community groups that dispense grants to help neighborhoods and Father Pfleger utilized this network of grant givers to slowly build something of a secular community empire that attempted to affect the lives of his parishioners and residents of his neighborhood at the most basic of levels. After school programs for kids, workshops on how to work with a landlord to fix the plumbing, a program for seniors on medicare – the list of good deeds done by Pfleger in the community – with a little help from his political friends – is nearly endless.

Pfleger’s political power base was his south side church and the network of community groups that dotted the political landscape of the nearly powerless African American ghetto in that part of town. His incendiary rhetoric had already brought him to the attention of radical preachers like Jeremiah Wright while he showed his political skills by tapping south side politicians for grants to fund his community outreach programs.

Pfleger is a very serious Christian and takes the words of Jesus Christ at their most literal. I have speculated before that one thing that attracts Obama to radicals like Pfleger, Wright, Ayers, Dohrn, and James Meeks is their utter and total certainty in the righteousness of their cause. And if you listen to Pfleger for five minutes, there is no doubting the man’s sincerity about making whitey pay for centuries of oppression.

I will have more on Pfleger in an article I am writing for another publication. But for now, we can simply ask ourselves why we should think Obama has changed his stripes from the radical community organizer, admirer of radical priests and preachers, to this supposedly centrist, non ideological creation of the presidential campaign.

I find it hard to believe he has altered his basic political beliefs from the far left idealism of his youth. And I find it equally difficult to believe that eventually, someone in the media is going to ask him to reconcile the two faces of Obama – the radical agitator and the smooth, adroit “post partisan” candidate for president.

By: Rick Moran at 8:19 am
19 Responses to “OBAMA’S FRIENDSHIP WITH PFLEGER”
  1. 1
    jambrowski Said:
    9:35 am 

    rick,
    you know, it is downright scary how many people think we are about to fold as a nation, and even more chilling to think how many people will vote for change for changes sake, the radical Pied Piper is very slick this time around (and Internet savvy). the Pied Piper that is who voted ‘present’ 130 times as a state senator. how much change can one make if one is unable to simply make a choice or a stand?

  2. 2
    roland Said:
    12:03 pm 

    Please aren’t voting for change for change sake

    People in this country are not happy. Over 70% of them feel we are on the wrong track

    they are voting for change because they don’t like the administration and rightly so, it has done a piss poor job of governing

    I feel we will get out of this hole a lot faster if we have the courage to accept the fact that Bush killed the Republican Brand

    George Will and Ronald Reagan are dead, All we have left are people ( and I use that term loosely) like Gayle “We did SO find WMDs in Iraq you dirty hippie” and Retire “If you vote for Obama you’re voting for a terra ist”06.

    sad.

    but true

  3. 3
    Don Said:
    12:44 pm 

    I can remember how sure I was about what I believed and wanted as a conservative in 1994 when we had the Contract with America. Gingrich was brilliant…then became a weak and disappointing Speaker. House leaders were speaking each night on C-Span. Voters obviously agreed, and we swept the liberals out. I just wonder : Where are the leaders who can articulate their views. It’s like all of a sudden, the people who usually speak up and lead, DON’T !

  4. 4
    jambrowski Said:
    12:58 pm 

    roland,
    the change people want is going to happen no matter what in january, no matter what anybody says or does, bush is gone, if you want, the witch will be dead. big friggin deal, he is lame duck anyway. but you and your ilk have to admit, if you instill all the social programs savior obama wants, especially if you do it during an economic downturn, you will send us to the stone ages. you talk about tax breaks as if they are evil, think about it for a second, what will your taxes go up to if bush’s cuts are rescinded? if the senate passes the climate change bill? if socialized health care is mandated. i mean really you look at corporations and business as if they are the problem, yeah they are the problem that gives you, me, and everyone else jobs, they are the ones that are taxed second highest in the world and y’all wonder why they are going overseas, wake the f*&k up. oh and for the love of god please quite switching the subject, what the heck did gayle have to do with this, and why do y’all live in the past, wmd’s?

  5. 5
    DrKrbyLuv Said:
    1:43 pm 

    One good thing, Obama’s preference for race dominated religious theology is bringing the whole issue of racism front and center in this election. I was very surprised to see the amount of anger and resentment in the black community towards white people.

    Slavery and racism are morally and fundamentally wrong by Christian-Judea morals and common sense. Slavery was a terrible tragedy in the history of America. Like most European, Latino, Asian, Arab, etc., Americans; I do not feel personally responsible for slavery since it happened hundreds of years ago. But, the amount of racial driven resentment needs to be discussed because there is indeed racism in America.

    Racism has become institutionalized and adopted as Government policy through reverse-discrimination. Why are whites discriminated against in America?

    Obama said “the anger and resentment of white folks, about affirmative action, crime and forced busing are born of misperceptions—and of “bogus claims of racism.” Like Wright, Pfleger and the Trinity Church; Obama cannot understand that the anger and resentment of white America is legitimate.

    Blacks have legal, preferential treatment over whites in college admissions, employment opportunities and professional advancement (and firings). Many Government contracts have “minority” clauses that give black businesses an unfair advantage. And maybe the worst racism exists in the “politically correct” censorship that whites endure every day.

  6. 6
    Increase Mather Said:
    3:32 pm 

    This is the first place I’ve seen Barry’s early history posted…think we ought to tell SIXTY MINUTES?

    ...nah.

  7. 7
    Gayle Miller Said:
    3:46 pm 

    Barack Hussein Obama is Jimmy Carter #2 – incompetent, unqualified and highly dangerous to this country’s security. What the heck – we’re still paying the price for 4 years of JEC in 1976 some 34 years later!

  8. 8
    jambrowski Said:
    3:48 pm 

    DrKrbyLuv,
    so true, with my mixed blood (black, am. indian, german) the resentment is lost even on me. the idea that all white america is responsible for the ignoble things that have happened in the past is ridiculous. yet my brothers and sisters hold the whole of the nation responsible. it is easy to look at someone like bill cosby or juan williams and say why can’t every person of race move on as they have, but the problem is, it is ingrained in us from our births, and to get past it, you have to actually make a choice to see reality. it really is so much easier to put the blame elsewhere instead of on our own choices. i don’t see it going away either as modern society (thank you lbj) has told us that we are entitled or owed something.

  9. 9
    Gayle Miller Said:
    3:48 pm 

    Roland – where do you get your numbers?

    In point of fact, the current House and Senate are LESS popular with the American people than the President. And that’s established in the mainstream media who don’t print it in BIG letters – but nonetheless, they do print it.

    So maybe that 70% of people who aren’t happy – really aren’t happy with the U.S. Congress of which Barack Hussein Obama is a barely-functional member.

    Quit drinking the damned Kool-Aid people!

  10. 10
    jambrowski Said:
    4:17 pm 

    pfleger suspended see drudge
    wow, guess he isn’t all that powerful…
    http://cbs2chicago.com/local/pfleger.suspension.church.2.739534.html

    Don’t kid yourself. This is a HUGE gamble by the archdiocese. Pfleger isn’t just some priest. He has the most powerful friends you can imagine. Watch over the next 24 hours as Daley, Durbin, and other local Dem heavyweights rush to his defense.

    They have shielded him for decades because he is able to reliably deliver the black vote in that part of the South Side. Pfleger adopted 3 kids in direct contravention of archdiocese (and catholic clergy) policy. He has let his mouth get him into trouble dozens of times since 1981. He has been a constant critic of the catholic heirarchy. He has been threatened so many times with disciplinary actions it isn’t funny.

    And now the boom is lowered. Do you hear that? That’s the wailing and gnashing of teeth of African American pols on the South Side – Pfleger was their benefactor. And now he’s toast.

    As I said, this is a bid deal.

    ed.

  11. 11
    Our Paul Said:
    4:26 pm 

    Two things about Obama have always puzzled me; (1) The elegant hard edge his campaign has in their rapid response to criticism and personal attack. (2) How his political organization has maintained tight control over what many have describe as a bottom up (A.K.A. distributed) structure.

    Partial answers may be found in your link to Ryan Lizza article, titled “The Agitator” published 03/19/07 in The New Republic. It was a shame that the link was hidden in the paragraph which couples him to Father Pfleger, ie:

    “The reality was a little different. Trained in the Saul Alinsky method of organizing, Obama became quite adept at bringing the resentments and rage felt by African Americans against the white establishment to the surface:

    There may be some in your readership who may wish to get a better feel as to why Obama has climbed the political ladder so fast, and how his skills were developed. The article by Lizza provides a good start, and further information can be found at TNR’s Home page search engine using Lizza’s name. That will bring up the Obama folder with more material.

    It strikes me that Center Right folks have forgotten George Allen’s “Maccaca” moment. Screeds linking Obama to really, really bad people such as Father Pfleger, Wright and others, the old guilt by association game, may actually be counter productive.

    The Center Right has got itself a monster problem. Behind the Hillary / Obama cat fight are the untold thousands of people that were registered during their political struggle. For McCain to succeed, he has to peal some of these folk away from Obama. I do not think it will be done by silly guilt by association attacks, look at the terrible things Michelle Obama has said, or saying he is radical in sheep clothing.

    When the bells toll in November, it will be for the candidate that has failed to convince the populace that he has solutions to our many problems. Smearing somebody with silly labels may motivate the base, but it won’t cut the mustard with those who are looking for solutions.

  12. 12
    roland Said:
    5:41 pm 

    It’s a great night for America. Finally there is a Black presidential candidate and likely will be a Black president.

    Celebrate the fact that it is our diversity that makes us strong.

    By the way, this is not change for its own sake.

    It’s change that the majority of Americans want. Americans have come out in record numbers to vote. They are voting for Barack Hussein Obama because they do not want the status quo. I know how difficult it might be to find yourself on the losing end of history.

    But rejoice my friends for tonight we make history.

    “I know how difficult it might be to find yourself on the losing end of history.”

    Um…I’m an American too, lout. I think its wonderful an African American is a major party candidate. The fact that he is a radical, socialist leaning, naive, weak sister is what I despise.

  13. 13
    Gayleisamoron Said:
    5:55 pm 

    Gayle

    my numbers?

    Resmussen, Zogby, Fox News, and WSJ.

    Sorry friend, but the respondents said they were tired of Bush and wanted new leadership. Go online, google these guys and read their results free of charge.

    WE are suffering from JEC? Who is suffering from Carter? I see you guys trying to blame today’s ills on FDR. Come on Gayle, take a deep breath. Smile. Thank God that Democrats are about to right this listing ship we call the US of A

    Yaaaay

    Celebrate Gayle. Celebrate girly. A Black man is going to be a presidential nominee, and likely the next President. I hope we see at least another 16 years of Democratic ascendancy.

    Celebrate my friends.

    President Barack HUSSEIN Obama!

  14. 14
    fusil Said:
    6:16 pm 

    You should read the blogs from other countries.

    Everyone is so proud of America for finally allowing a minority to compete for the chief executive position.

    I am so proud to be an American today.

  15. 15
    HE HATE ME Said:
    8:59 pm 

    #12 yes, indeed. It does make great sense to make the euroweenies happy by choosing a farleft/marxist part- black pied piper of hope! and change! for a Carter Redux presidency. Pity it couldn’t be a black marxist lesbian muslim female for even more inclusiveness. Sure seems like history repeats itself over and over. Maybe this time the forces of darkness WILL win out and we can ask ourselves why so many Americans are dead from WMD attacks since we tried to understand and empathize with the needs of islamofascism. Let’s hope it isn’t a blue city since they tried the most to accomodate our enemies and hate America itself. Give Peace a Chance, Imagine and war-what is it good for? The Quakers and Mennonites have it right- turn the other cheek, no blood for oil, yadda yadda Kumbaya

  16. 16
    Bald Ninja Said:
    11:57 pm 

    I think that all you Obama lovers are going to be sorely disappointed if Obama is our next president. Then he’ll actually have to do something – instead of just preaching “change blah blah blah hope blah blah blah”. If the Democrat controlled Congess’ First 100 days (and every day since) is any indication you’d better brace yourself for 4 years of ineptness. He has dangerous ideas and even more dangerous friends.

    If the rhetoric I’m seeing here from his supporters is any indication of the kind of ‘dialog’ that can be expected then I don’t think I’ll need to worry too much about Obama being elected. If all you can say to convince the unconvinced is that we need a change from Bush and that ‘everyone else’ just loves Obama and believes in the change he will bring then the independents who will determine this election will not buy it.

  17. 17
    mannning Said:
    10:03 pm 

    The perfect unknown emerges from his Chicago cocoon and wins the Leftist candidacy for president. Enough people are for him to rate him as a probable winner. Just about everything discovered about him, including his wife, is odious and pitiful, except his oratory. He has no sound plans for anything. His roots are Black Liberation and Marxist. And fools will vote for him in November, too.

    This whole catastrophe has a major cause—-Bushomania, or BDS—-that the Left has practiced for the past 7+ years. Well, Bush will be gone, as will his minions.

    America will not be gone, and neither will 300 million citizens that deserve leadership far, far better than can ever be expected from this Obama person. So you vote for “change” and never ask “what changes will he foster off on the citizens?” How very stupid!

  18. 18
    Dan Said:
    1:46 am 

    What the devil are you talking about, saying Pfleger is a “serious Christian.”

    What he is, is something you may have forgotten, but that is a “serious” fricken Heretic.

    He’s seriously pushing heresy, specifically liberation theology, which heretically blends the gospel of Marx, class struggle, with the words and the kingdom of the second person of the Trinity.

    That heretic should have been defrocked and excommunicated years ago, cast into the outer darkness, “where there is wailing, and gnashing of teeth.”

    Nor should he have been accepted back into the fold, not until he pulled a Henry at Canosa, outside the castle doors for three full days, in the snow.

    And even then he should have been shipped off to the Roman Catholic equivalent to St. Helena’s, stripped of the privelege to publish, stripped of the privilege to so much as communicate with anyone off the island. There, in silence, and anonymity, making reparation for the many poisions and heresies he preached to the unwary.

  19. 19
    Colleen Said:
    9:44 am 

    The catholic church is all about the money. That is why pfleger will eventually be back at Sabina. Money…always has been and always will be.

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