June 26th, 2008
09:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Pfleger: I don't 'apologize for being passionate'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/30/art.pfleger.gi.jpg caption="Pfleger has apologized for his comments."]

(CNN)—Rev. Michael Pfleger, the controversial Catholic priest who mocked Hillary Clinton in Barack Obama’s former church last month, said Thursday he does not “aplogize for being passionate,” or for “being free.”

"But I apologize when my passion or my freeness and my flawedness of character get in the way of a content which is much more important to me," Pfleger told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Watch: Pfleger mock Sen. Clinton during a sermon

The controversial comments came during a May 25 visit to Barack Obama’s former church, when Pfleger described Clinton as a white elitist who felt entitled to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. He also mocked the New York senator for becoming teary-eyed at a New Hampshire campaign stop in January. Shortly after the comments, Pfleger was asked by his church, St. Sabina Church in Chicago, to take a temporary leave of absence.

“And then out of nowhere, came ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,” Pfleger said during the sermon last 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!”

Pfleger initially said he regretted the words he chose for his sermon.

"These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama's life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them," he said in a statement.

Pflegers sermon, as well as the controversial comments of Jeremiah Wright, ultimately led to Barack Obama’s resignation from the church late last month.

"We don't want to have to answer for everything that's stated in the church," Obama said of his resignation then. "We also don't want the church subjected to the scrutiny that a presidential campaign legitimately undergoes."

Pfleger said Thursday he promised leaders of the church he would not mention the presidential candidates ever again by name, but insisted there is a place and should be a place for the church in the political spectrum.

"The church has to be the one to be the voice of conscience to the world and can't be afraid to be that," he said. "It has to speak to politics and the policies and the politicians and to raise those questions, or we're not faithful to what our mission is."

soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Tyrone

    The man is a loon,

    There is absolutely NO WAY THAT YOU ARE A PRACTICING CATHOLIC!......

    If you were, you would have left the CATHOLIC CHURCH a loooooooooooong time ago! So Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease,

    I don't know if/why you go to church, but I can tell you straight up, that this Catholic, goes to church to pay homage and to listen to JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD not necessarily to listen to a Priest, if a Priest says something I don't like or agree with I just IGNORE IT AND CONTINUE TALKING TO MY SAVIOUR, I ASK HIM TO HELP THE PRIEST TO SEE MORE CLEARLY, BUT, I DON'T STOP GOING TO CHURCH! So Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease crawl back under that hole you just crawled out of, it must be really dark and cold there!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Change is Coming

    Who cares what he thinks?

    Only the media has a stake in what Plager has to say.

    How do you spell RATINGS?


    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. John in Iowa

    Why don't you apologize for frauding God? You are no man of the cloth, but a simple, wanna-be politician. You sir, are a pathetic little loser.

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Catholic Voter!

    Where in the heck is my comment?

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. An Independent Hillary

    Geez, make these idiots like "Rev." Michael Pfleger and "Rev." Jeremiah Wright dissappear from the news. Let's start trying to focus on the more positive aspects of this election. I do think Obama is trying to rise above all this and be a politician for the people.

    Of course I would rather have Hillary, but we all need to work together to keep McCain OUT of the White House.

    On the other hands, there are a few do-nothing Dems such as Nancy Pelosi that I've like to see voted out as well. Hopefully Cindy Sheehan will be successful in removing her.

    Obama/Clinton or Obama/Feinstein '08

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Tammy - KCMO

    If churches want to be involved in politics than I think it would be a great idea for them to start paying taxes.

    June 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Vanessa

    He's entitled to his opinion. Just as I'm entitled to the opinion that it's kinda fishy that the Catholic Church would ask Pfleger to take a leave of absence for commenting on Sen. Clinton but do nothing to reprimand child molesters for nearly half a century except transfer them to new churches where they could prey on more children. I mean, America, let's get a little perspective.

    June 26, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |

    I am a catholic and I can tell you this priest needs to calm down and think about pastoring his sheep instead of being a national political attack dog. I am sure his bishop is going to demand that he quit trying to preach politics from the alter. He was in a black church and so I believe he was practicing a different brand of Christianity in that Trinity Church out of respect for their tradition but he has no justification in letting his pride conquer his will at this point in the dialouge.

    June 26, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Glennis, PA

    This man is offensive. Man of God he is not; spawn of the devil, perhaps. And no, that is not like any church I have ever attended or would attend. That is more a hornet's nest of rabble rousing, self agrandizing, middle America hating malcontents. There is no excuse for Pfleger or his friends in Trinity UCC.

    June 26, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Shasta

    Did this REALLY have to come out now, months later, and at the beginning of the Charlie Black controversy? REALLY?!

    June 26, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Neal of Atlanta, Ga.

    Every day I'm read more and more praise and worship for Barack Obama. If he wins the White House you guys had better pray he lives up to your expectations. It will be far easier for him to win the White House than to do the job. He hasn't seen anything yet.

    June 26, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Donna in ID

    Why is it that these hate mongers go by the title "Reverend"? Preaching Hate against other races or country is not Holy or practicing the word of God the way I was taught. We have way to many hate monger Reverends in this country and some are in politics. As long as we have that way of thinking and thin skinned we will never get race relations straightened out. We seem to be going back ward and that is a shame after as far as we have come in the last 60 yrs.

    June 26, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Linda1234

    Just another example of Obama's poor choices and lack of sensitivity to women. Who ist this Pfleger? He looks alot like whitey to me!

    June 26, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Mike

    Pfleger is just out for his 15 minutes of fame.

    I think that it is a shame that Obama got this guy over $200,000 worth of government funds.

    June 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Jlove

    and now we'll focus on the issues at hand....

    Too bad you conservative white right-wingers have absolutly no idea about the experiences that some African Americans have gone through in this country...is it a great country absolutely, is it a perfect country...absolutely not....so with that said, those who have endured and continue to endure the most imperfect aspects of this great country will have sermons and conversation that many of you will deem "imperfect"...honestly, I believe the bunch of you are full of BS and scared to death about the history of a country that have done so many wrong, that you can't bear the thought of the ultimate leadership position being held by someone other than the ones look like you, think like you and act like you....pay back is a mother...

    June 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. faye, NV

    The whole sermon should have been played and you will see what lead to Pfleger statement. Yes it was hard and perhaps to strong, however there is some truth.

    Sen Clinton should not have been used in his illustration to some that racism does exist. There are those who think because of skin color they should be awarded some special right. This thinking is in all races.

    June 26, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Ariana

    This guy is hilarious. I agree with alot of things he says however, I dont think Hilary felt entitled to be president because she's white. She felt entitled because she's a Clinton.

    June 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Obama Loves Us

    Trinity United Church....Rev. Jeremiah Wright...Rev. Meeks....Father Michael Pfleger....Michelle Obama....Minister Louis Farrakhan....Nation of Islam....Black Panthers....Tony Rezko....William Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn....Ahmas Yousuf....Hamas....Frank Marshall Davis....Saul Alinsky....ACORN....George Soros....Raila Odinga....Abongo Obama....Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades....Fidel & Raoul Castro....Socialist Party....New Marxist Party....Nadhmi Auchi....Rashid Khalidi....Daniel Ortega....Muammar Kaddafi....Kim Jong Il....Larry Sinclair....Donald Young....

    Come on, guys, is that all you got???

    June 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. FLORIDA Voter for Obama

    Don't sweat it,

    I AGREE with what you said. It's just that some folks find it hard to swallow truth.

    June 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Tyrone

    Democrat For McCain!

    Do you really want to know where Rev. Wright has been hiding?

    Gosh I thought that EVERYONE knew where he was!

    Rev Jeremiah Wright has been hitting the beach with his BEST FRIENDS, Hillary and Bill! No? Sorry but you must not have been invited to the WHITE HOUSE BREAKFASTS, when Bill was in DIRE NEED OF CONSOLATION DURING THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF IMPEACHMENT!! YES, BILL ACTUALLY HAD HIS FRIEND OVER TO HELP HIM THROUGH THESE VERY TRYING TIMES

    June 26, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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