In 2004, Barack Obama gave an interview to Cathleen Falsani with the Chicago Sun-Times about his faith. You can read it here.
Here’s part of what the interview captures:
Still, Obama is unapologetic in saying he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” As a sign of that relationship, he says, he walked down the aisle of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ in response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s altar call one Sunday morning about 16 years ago. . . .
Friends and advisers, such as the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the Auburn- Gresham community on the South Side, who has known Obama for the better part of 20 years, help him keep that compass set, he says.
“I always have felt in him this consciousness that, at the end of the day, with all of us, you’ve got to face God,” Pfleger says of Obama. “Faith is key to his life, no question about it. It is central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father…. I don’t think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is.”
Another person Obama says he seeks out for spiritual counsel is state Sen. James Meeks, who is also the pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church. The day after Obama won the primary in March, he stopped by Salem for Wednesday-night Bible study.
Well, we all know about Jeremiah Wright, but what else is there about Pfleger and who is James Meeks?
Here’s something I did not know. Remember when Harry Belafonte, to quote the Chicago Tribune, “likened Secretary of State Colin Powell to a slave who had sold out his principles for the privilege of living in his master’s house”? According to the Chicago Tribune (Hamill, Sean, Metro Section, Pg 1, January 20, 2003 via Nexis) “St. Sabina’s activist pastor, Rev. Michael Plfeger, introduced Belafonte as ‘a voice for freedom and a voice for justice.'”
Keep in mind, Pfleger’s “voice for freedom” also said in the same speech that September 11th “wasn’t just Bin Laden. Bin Laden didn’t come from the abstract. He came from somewhere, and if you look where … you’ll see America’s hand of villany.”
This is perfectly consistent with Pfleger’s own views and this Pfleger-Bellafonte incident came out **before** Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times Pfleger was one of his spiritual counsellors.
And what of Reverend Meeks? He’s got his own problems. From one of his sermons:
“We don’t have slave masters, we got mayors. But they are still the same white people who are presiding over systems where black people are not able to be educated. You got some preachers that are house n——. You got some elected officials that are house n——. Rather than them try and break this up, they’re gonna fight you to protect that white man.”
But you would think Obama would have distanced himself from these controversial remarks. Not exactly.
Sen. Barack Obama’s private breakfast meeting with a group of local ministers on Monday morning showed why a lot of people are hoping the freshman senator will seek a higher office sooner rather than later. His ability to feel comfortable in any setting, and to put others at ease while wading through the muck of partisan politics, has made Obama an attractive candidate to a broad base of voters.
Who was in the audience?
Powerful clergymen crossed denominational as well as geographical boundaries to hear Obama’s comments. Among them were the Revs. Clay Evans, Leon Finney, Mildred Harris, Willie Barrow, Tyrone Crider, Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright, Al Sampson, Michael Pfleger and Bishops Larry Trotter and Claude Porter, founder of the Proviso-Leyden for Community Action Inc.
And what did Obama call for? No, it wasn’t spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, well . . .
The church’s focus has to be economic development, Obama said, acknowledging that he may have stepped on a few toes when he pointed out that more and more churches are raising money to build bigger churches.
These people have been useful to Barack Obama’s rise. A year after Michael Pfleger joined Harry Bellafonte on stage to condemn the United States, Obama cited him as an advisor. He’s done the same with Meeks and Wright. Only when the vast majority of Americans realized how noxious Obama’s spiritual advisors were did he repudiate them.
But once he’s in the White House, what’s to stop him from bringing them back?