Rev. Pfleger: Zimmerman verdict is 'Emmett Till all over again'

Chicago's Rev. Pfleger is calling for civil disobedience to protest the Zimmerman verdict. But is his rhetoric healing or hating? Photo: Twitter

CHICAGO, July 14, 2013 ― Rev. Michael Pfleger is stirring up the racial pot once again on Chicago’s South Side in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Pfleger, the activist pastor of St. Sabina in the troubled Auburn-Gresham district, is now calling for acts of civil disobedience to protest the verdict.

SEE RELATED: Outcry over Chicago Sun-Times headline is racial opportunism

“We can’t tell people be still, rise up, be aggressive, say what you are saying and then something like this (verdict) happens and (say) be quiet, be still, do nothing. We have got to give them a way to express themselves peacefully and nonviolently. Tomorrow, we are going to be announcing at church a way we can have people do a civil disobedience,” Pfleger said.

Pfleger qualifies his remarks with a call for non-violence, but he regularly entwines it with inflammatory rhetoric.

Over the weekend, Pfleger tweeted his 14,000 Facebook and Twitter followers that “he hoped people would pray for a conviction (of Zimmerman.)” Is encouraging the faithful to pray for a man’s conviction the role of a Catholic priest? Especially where, as in this case, there was strong evidence that Zimmerman acted in self-defense? Does Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George support Pfleger’s view?

SEE RELATED: Sen. Durbin needs refresher course on Constitution, First Amendment

Pfleger is not your run-of-the-mill Catholic priest. He is currently responsible for developing anti-violence initiatives for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In 2008, he resigned as a member of Catholics for Obama after he was criticized for mocking then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in hate-laced tirade against the “White establishment.”

Pfleger once  threatened to “snuff out” a gun store owner in 2007 and has been a passionate defender of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Obama’s former spiritual advisor, who is known for his racially-charged tirades against America.

There used to be a line between left-wing Democrat political activism and the priesthood. But, clearly, that is not the case in many areas of Chicago, St. Sabina’s being one of them.

After the Zimmerman verdict was announced, Pfleger clarified his disturbing tweet in an interview. “I’m serious about it because I don’t trust the justice system. I’ve seen the justice system fail over and over again,” Pfleger said. “I believe George Zimmerman was guilty and I believe he should have been convicted. I’m just very sad, disappointed, and angry about it.”

SEE RELATED: Funny business in Jesse Jackson Jr. sentencing?

Now that the trial is over, we might expect this to be a time for healing and forgiveness. Isn’t that what Catholic teaching would prescribe?

CBS2’s Suzanne LeMignot asked Pfleger a follow-up question about a story he had apparently told her previously: “You say that a lot of people at the congregation that they have phoned you. One woman in particular, quite a huge revelation from her said  that this (verdict) shows her that her two sons, two black sons, that their lives mean nothing.” 

Pfleger replied, “She called up crying and said America sent a message to teenage sons, that their life is worthless. I just talked with Emmett Till’s family a while ago and this is Emmett Till all over again. This is a horrible, horrible day for America.“ 

The casual arrogance of activist priests like Pfleger is astounding. Comparing the case of Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African American boy who was murdered and mutilated in Mississippi in 1955 after he was said to have whistled at a white woman is nothing short of despicable.

Pfleger has also been attempting to link the Trayvon Martin case with the high rate of incarcerations and death for African Americans.

“I’ve seen this (injustice) over and over and over with the Trayvon Martins all around the country the same way, in the mass incarcerations we have and the death rate we have,” said the activist pastor. “To see this 17-year-old boy’s life being told is worthless. When a guy gets out of a car with a gun, is told to go back to his car and he doesn’t do it and we see Trayvon Martin as the aggressor. I’m just saddened.”

So every incarcerated inmate and every murdered gang member of African American-descent is Trayvon Martin? There have been more than 200 murders in the City of Chicago this year, many of them in Pfleger’s own Auburn-Gresham parish. But in nearly all of the homicides where the victims were African Americans, they were victims of black-on-black crime.

Is Pfleger trying to incite a riot?

Who said Martin’s life wasn’t worth anything? That’s not what the outcome of this trial represents. What the outcome represents is that there are two sides to every story and that the American system of justice listens to both before making a determination of guilt.

The case also illustrates the new clear and present danger for America: a rabid, vindictive culture of media elites who seek to exact racial retribution for the sake of symbolism, regardless of the facts. The verdict also serves as a reminder to the mainstream media, who were just taught that the justice system does not operate at their behest.

The only reason the Trayvon Martin case is about race is because people like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rev. Pfleger have made it about race. These race hustlers peddle and profit from the race and division, and America is sadder and angrier for it.

More than anyone else, the self-appointed civil rights leaders have committed a gave injustice against the African-American communities they say they serve.

Angry that he was being watched, Trayvon Martin may have actually been the one to initiate the confrontation with Zimmerman. Why would he have done that? Because Zimmerman was a “creepy ass white cracker,” Martin felt victimized, and he may have reacted with force to that perceived victimization. He would have felt “entitled” to do so given the current racial climate.

Yes, the civil rights narrative of “perpetual victimization” may be more responsible for Martin’s death than anything else. 

What will be the result of Pfleger’s racially-divisive rhetoric? Will the Catholic Church continue to take responsibility for this man? Will they force him to resign? What if one of his parishioners decides to take the law into his or her own hands?

Like Jim Jones, Pfleger has a cult-like following in Chicago, and he can use his influence for good or for bad. But this is one-time that black America shouldn’t drink the kool-aide.

Read more from Chicago with Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad

William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from Bill Kelly's Truth Squad
blog comments powered by Disqus
William Kelly


Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit

Contact William Kelly


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus