Dear Father Pfleger:
Over the years, I've heard an array of opinions about you. Some people, especially members of your church, St. Sabina, love and admire you. Others aren't so crazy about you, having described you an attention seeker and a fraud.
Me? I was in your corner. But those days are over. How can I be in your corner when you obviously are not in mine?
In the past, I've thought you've been on the right side of most issues. I've respected the way you have spoken up about drugs, guns, poverty, injustice and racism.
But last Thursday night, you invited Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a longtime anti-Semite, to speak at your church. True to form, he didn't miss a beat, asserting, "I'm here to separate the good Jews from the Satanic Jews.”
Just a reminder, but here are a few more of Farrakhan's recent gems.
As I said, Farrakhan's anti-Semitic rhetoric goes way back. The Jewish Virtual Library has documented it here if you want to see more of Farrakhan's vitriol.
Farrakhan may be a lot of things, but he's no dummy. He knows that when he spews hate against Jews, he riles people up. Social posts about him go viral. Without the hate talk, Farrakhan's mostly ignored by the media.
I understand some of the Farrakhan appeal. You just have to look at the Nation of Islam website to see how respected he is. In truth, he has done a lot to uplift his own people. But so did Hitler. The Germans were riding high with him in charge--at least for a while.
Father, I've seen photos of you and Farrakhan at St. Sabina. You two look like BFFs (see above) , and I'm appalled. Imagine for a moment if you replaced the word "Jews" in the sentence "The powerful Jews are my enemy" with another ethnic or religious group.
How do the following sentences sound to you? "The powerful Blacks are my enemy." Or: "The powerful Catholics are my enemy." Sounds ugly and awful, right?
Father Pfleger, I can't believe I have to say this to a man of God in 2019, but do you get it now? By inviting Farrakhan to speak at your church, you helped legitimize his words.
It is not only a slap in the face of every Jewish person, but it's terrifying to those of us who know the Holocaust could happen again, and especially, to those who survived it.
People like Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall, president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, who said what Pfleger has done is to give Farrakhan "a platform for hatred — hatred he has spoken about for many, many years.”
I thank Cardinal Cupich who said,"“I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.”
The Cardinal encouraged Pfleger to accept the invitation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center to meet with their leadership and talk with survivors.
Great idea. But you probably discount the feelings of the Jewish people as overblown nothingness. Still, know this: a Tennessee judge--a judge!-- posted on his Facebook page a link that Jews should “get the f**k over the Holocaust." (He also posted racist articles. Maybe you'll care about that.)
Father, you said you invited Farrakhan to your church after he was banned from Facebook because you're a defender of free speech. Unless you tell or show me otherwise, I say you're a defender of hate speech.
You may not be anti-Semitic, but you, sir, have shown yourself to be no friend of the Jewish people or those who care about all of humanity.
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