Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is a raucous place. Not long
ago, during the Christmas season, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright—stepping
back from his repeated proclamation that “God d--- America!”—paused to
damn the former president of America: As he gyrated and thrust his hips
about the pulpit, Wright mocked Bill Clinton for “riding dirty!” with
Monica Lewinsky. It was a curious way of expressing the spirit of the
With the good reverend having taken permanent
leave of absence, the new pastor—who, we have been assured, is no
Reverend Wright—last week called upon Father Michael Pfleger, a radical
Catholic priest from Chicago’s Southside, to mock not the former
president but the former first lady. The priest gave his own version of
“God d--- America” when he proclaimed, “I also believe that America is
the greatest sin against God.” Yet, like Wright, denouncing America was
not enough for Phleger. He had a Clinton who needed mocking as well.
Thus, he pursed his lips, rubbed his finger into his eyes, and imitated
a sobbing Mrs. Clinton, eliciting howls of laughter from the
I’m familiar with Father Pfleger, having profiled him among various Catholics supporting Obama in an article for the current Catholic World Report.
In the past, Pfleger took aim at Republicans like President Bush, of
whom he protested: “I have no interest in living in a theocracy.” Now,
suddenly, Pfleger has turned on a Democrat—Hillary Clinton.
For both Clintons, such treatment, in a house
of God no less, must be quite a shock—and especially for Hillary, given
that she learned her lifelong religious sensibilities at a church in
nearby Park Ridge, Illinois. Both the Clintons took to the Christian
faith in large part as a reaction to racism, which had appalled them as
Bill Clinton fondly recalls how Billy
Graham—cut of a different cloth than Rev. Wright and Father
Pfleger—played a pivotal role in his spiritual formation during the
de-segregation struggles in the 1950s. Clinton remembers a moment in
1958 when his Sunday-school teacher took a few of the boys to Little
Rock to attend a Billy Graham crusade at the University of Arkansas
football stadium. Authorities had just closed Little Rock’s schools in
a last-ditch effort to prevent integration. Segregationists from the
White Citizens Council recommended that Reverend Graham restrict
admission to whites only. The preacher said no, stating that Jesus
loved everyone, and all people of all ethnicities needed to hear the
word of God and were invited to his crusade.
As Clinton remembers, Graham was “the living
embodiment of Southern Baptist authority, the largest religious figure
in the South, perhaps in the nation.” What he said carried enormous
weight, and the segregationists backed down. “I wanted to hear him
preach even more after he took the stand he did,” said Clinton, “and
the Reverend Graham delivered a powerful message…. I loved Billy Graham
for doing that.”
Hillary had similar experiences in her youth,
starting at Park Ridge United Methodist Church. She has never forgotten
the moment in April 1962 when her youth minister, Don Jones, took her
class to Chicago to hear a rousing speech by a man named Martin Luther
King, Jr. at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, where the civil-rights pioneer
preached a sermon titled, “Sleeping Through the Revolution.” In his
talk, King said that too many Americans were like Rip Van Winkle,
snoozing through the historic changes happening all around them.
That night was one that Hillary would never
forget, particularly because Jones stunned the teen and her friends by
arranging to have them briefly meet King.
As Hillary moved from high school to college,
the civil-rights struggle became an enduring cause of her social,
political, and spiritual life.
Now, alas, after lives molded by such
experiences, the two Clintons are forced to endure humiliating video
clips from the pulpit of the man who will likely deny Hillary her dream
of the presidency. Such moments did not impel Barack Obama to leave the
church at anytime over the past 20 years—only now does he distance
himself because of the political fallout. Obama’s responses to this
outrageous behavior are obviously not believable, and would be
comical—akin to the antics of Rev. Wright and Father Phleger—if so much
were not at stake.
And yet, the Clintons watch in horror as their
friends on the left sit in silence, letting their pro-Obama biases
dictate whether they grant media attention to these obscene
outbursts—leaving it to FoxNews, conservative radio, and YouTube to do
what CNN, NPR, and the New York Times should be doing, and
would be doing 24/7 if Obama were a Republican. (Sean Hannity was
covering Rev. Wright literally a full year before the mainstream press
could no longer ignore him.)
The Clintons must be beside themselves. This is
their reward for lives spent fighting racial injustice? They now
understand what it’s like to be a conservative Christian Republican.
They should have a chat with George W. Bush.
The left, it seems, is like Saturn: it eats its
own children. The Clintons stand in the way of the anointed one, and
they are thus being devoured by their erstwhile allies. They are, in
the end, expendable.