May 30th, 2008
04:32 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama takes heat from Catholic League over Pfleger

Pfleger has apologized for his comments.
Pfleger has apologized for his comments.

(CNN) - The Catholic League sharply criticized Barack Obama Friday for his ties to controversial Catholic minister Michael Pfleger, saying in a statement the Illinois senator should have severed ties with him long ago.

The criticisms come after wide circulation on the Internet of Pfleger's recent sermon, in which he mocked Hillary Clinton for becoming teary-eyed before the New Hampshire primary in January.

"And then, out of nowhere, came 'Hey, I'm Barack Obama,'" Pfleger said during a sermon Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. "And [Clinton] said, 'Oh damn, where did you come from? I'm white! I'm entitled! There's a black man stealing my show!' "

Barack Obama said Thursday he was "disappointed" in the comments, and Pfleger later issued an apology for the remarks.

"Why is it that of all the wonderful Catholic priests in the Chicago Archdiocese, Obama long ago chose Pfleger to hang with?" Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement. "Truth be known, Pfleger has a very troubling history."

“Senator Obama says he wants to bring people together. Then why does he choose as his clerical friends people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger?" Donohue also said. "They are two peas in a pod, both equally divisive, separated only by the color of their skin.”

The Catholic League is an influential non-partisan organization that says its mission is to protect the free-speech rights of Catholics "whenever and wherever they are threatened." The League was an early critic of the Rev. John Hagee, the controversial evangelical pastor whose endorsement was sought by John McCain but later repudiated.

Pfleger is a priest at St. Sabina's Catholic Church on the south side of Chicago. He had served on the Catholics for Obama committee until recently and the two have known each other for 20 years. As a state senator, Obama once directed a $100,000 grant to a community center affiliated with Pfleger's church.

Watch Pfleger's controversial comments here.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (621 Responses)
  1. Tim MN.

    Lets see if we get the same negative comments like Ferarro got! i bet not.

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Pfleger was right about one thing; Obama did come “out of nowhere.”

    I just read “OBAMA PLAYED HARDBALL IN FIRST CHICAGO CAMPAIGN” on this site and still can’t believe we have yet another revelation about this totally unknown character.

    “[Obama’s] move [in his first race for office as state Senator in '96, when used the rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of his three Democratic challengers] denied each of them, ... a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democratic district.”

    This is just the latest in a string of revelations about Obama, a self-serving lightweight who is playing presidential candidate. There are more revelations on the way. Count on it. Obama is bait for multiple October surprises if he should get the nomination of the Democratic Party.

    Unfortunately, as too often is the case, general consensus on just how awful any person or how misguided any action was usually doesn’t coalesce until after failure is complete (see invasion of Iraq). The obviousness of just how horrible a candidate and disgraceful a weasel Obama has been won’t be generally accepted—won’t be something that pundits will say as a matter of fact—until soon after he loses the general election.

    HILLARY WILL LEAD THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, EITHER AS THE NOMINEE IN '08 OR AS _THE_ LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE WAKE OF THE MOST HUMILIATING DEFEAT OF THE OLD DEMOCRATIC PARTY YET WHEN OBAMA LOSES IN THE FALL.

    Never underestimate the ability of the leaders of the Democratic Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No one can do it the way they can.

    It’s not too late…

    HILLARY CLINTON ’08

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. EDW

    Everybody knows that she thought she had this wrapped up, otherwise she would have been better prepared after Super Tuesday. She would have financed her endeavor better. She thought this nomination was going to be a cake walk.

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Chris

    What i find disturbing about this the the congeration standing up and cheering this .... person .. on. The new voge messeage i seem to be seeing on race relations is about entitlement .. what is ment by entitlement? ..

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. linda-Texas

    Senator Obama is a lying, racist, fraud.

    Enough is enough!

    He will not be, nor does he deserve to be the next President of this country.

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Patty

    This is totally ridiculous. What does that have to do with the real things that matter, like the economy, the war, health care, etc., etc., etc.

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Truth hurts

    It is true. Ferraro can say her comments, why can't this guy.

    Clinton is not owed anything from no one!!

    NO MORE CLINTONS

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Tee

    FATHER PFLEGER'S STATEMENTS WERE NOT RACIST. HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH. WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR THE TRUTH. IT WAS VERY FUNNY. NO APOLOGY NEEDED.

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. HILLARY HAS THE POPULAR VOTE!!!!!!

    WHY IS IT THAT ALL OF OBAMA'S FOLLOWERS ARE SO HATEFUL?

    DID THEY GO TO WRIGHTS CHURCH OF HATE TOO?

    THIS SHOWS THE KIND OF PERSON THAT OBAMA REALLY IS!
    YOU ARE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP!
    I WAS NOT SURPRISED TO SEE TODAY THAT MCCLELLEN SUPPORTS OBAMA!
    I WONDER WHAT HE GOT FOR WRITING THE BOOK!
    THEY ARE ALL CROOKS WITH OBAMA AS THE RING LEADER!
    GO HILLARY! 08

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Daryl from Seattle

    This is getting ridiculous! So at first, it was reverend Wright's so called 'racist rant' and now it's this pastor who happens to be white saying something in regards to race and Obama is taking heat for both of them??? I'm so confused :-/

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Tammy - KCMO

    Well if they are going to have issues with this priest and what he said then they better also say something about the one that was at the New York State Republican Party dinner last night. Religion and politics just don't mix. Maybe the issue is church in general (Catholic more specifically) between the remarks the priests made, pedophiles that they just keep moving from church to church so they don't have to go to jail and the bill you get at the end of the year if you don't put enough money in the collection plate.
    However, I don't think Obama should have to apologize for remarks that aren't being made by him. While I still support Obama, it wouldn't hurt if he found an alternative church to attend so that the media would start concentrating on the issues that affect all of us for a change instead of this BS.

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Christoffel van Vuuren - Montreal - Canada

    Obama 'Deeply Disappointed,' Had No Idea, Shocked!
    This seems to be a constant excuse from O-blah-blah.
    If the fellow doesn’t know what has been going on around him for the past twenty years, how will he know what is going on around him when he is President?
    And they say Bush is clueless!

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Henri D. Kahn

    The mystery/ies surrounding Obama are being solved little by little
    and the "real" Obama story is coming out of his divisive past as a
    serious, discretely dangerous person.
    Henri
    Laredo, Texas

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Bubba

    God himself is pissed at another "preacher." Hell has a special bleacher section just for "preachers" and its reservations are filling up very fast ! ! !

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Unite Behind Obama

    If the guy's so bad, he wouldn't be part of the church. The Catholic Church has much bigger problems than Obama's loose connection to Pfleger. Just because they know each other doesn't make them friends.

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Olivia

    Obama has too many ties to these radicals.
    This fact is screaming at us for notice yet we are making excuses for Obama. What will it take for us to take a serious look at this accumulation of people/radical rhetoric/strange behavior patterns all linked to Obama. Why is he the messiah? Why is he getting so much support from senators and superdelegates whose states voted for Hillary? I have questions!! I am not sold.

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Adam FL

    I can make this statement with confidence, I will never vote for Barak Obama. The tactics his campaign, and the people he surrounds himself with are unacceptable, no matter who is on the other side of them. Had it not been clinton, it would be edwards these comments are made about. This is gross, and I will never support this man.

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Kyle

    And another thing... Does Hilliary Clinton attend church? Someone please research her church and her pastors/priests. Let's see what we can find. She may not though considering how much she like's to sip on that wine. She probably takes communion 5 times a day. Grapes are a blessing aren't they Hilliary!

    Democrats 08

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Peased OFF

    This is so ridicoulous!

    -tam

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Vicki

    Why is CNN becoming Fox News? Gotcha politics and innuendo to keep talking about Obama instead of McCain and the rubber stamper he has always been to Bush/Cheney. Now the white women issue for Obama when I know the AP just reported that Obama is doing well with all voting blocs. McCain is not doing well with any one in America who has a brain and wants a better country. Clinton is a republican in many ways. She acts like one and votes like one. Give me an honest Obama over these two liars any day.

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. CONNIE

    THIS GUY IS A MORON

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. JA Cook

    Can we scrutinize every preacher and priest that every candidate has had contact with?

    May 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Rob

    Why are people getting offended by this stupid stuff? So an American has an opinion.......doesn't the constitution allow freedom of speach?

    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Mirta

    I am ashamed to be a Catholic today after hearing this outrageous sermon.

    Once again, Obama just says he is unhappy, but does nothing to else. READ BETWEEN THE LINES! He knows exactly what goes on in his church and he has not left after all these years. He is racist and so is his church. God help us if he is elected President. I am scared for the future.

    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Bud Curtis

    O.K. Supers... Has enough? This crap with Obama will only become worse before he is absolutely not electable in this country, if it is not already too late.
    Bud Curtis

    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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