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Michael Pfleger

Michael Louis Pfleger is a Roman Catholic priest who has been the pastor of Saint Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago since 1981. Pfleger is white, and his congregation is composed mostly of African Americans. Pfleger views America as a nation infested with "classism and racism," and he identifies white racism as "the number one sin in this country."

In September 2002 Pfleger led a rally at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago condemning the Israeli army's recent destruction of Yasser Arafat's compound in the city of Ramallah.

Pfleger is a great admirer of Louis Farrakhan: "I've known the minister [Farrakhan] both as someone who I have great respect for as a prophetic voice, as a mentor but also as a friend and as a brother," said Pfleger.

Pfleger has had a longstanding friendly relationship (since the late 1980s) with Barack Obama and has played a significant role as a spiritual advisor for the latter. Between 1995 and 2001, Pfleger contributed a total of $1,500 to Obama's various political campaigns -- including a $200 donation in April 2001, approximately three months after Obama (who was then an Illinois State Senator) had announced $225,000 in grants to St. Sabina programs. After Obama's 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, he would earmark an additional $100,000 in federal tax money for Pfleger's work.

In January 2007 Pfleger said that Obama, who recently had announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency, "is the best thing to come across the political scene since Bobby Kennedy." "I think Barack Obama is in a class of his own," Pfleger added. "… When anybody comes with that much hope, whether it's a Bobby Kennedy or whether it's a Martin Luther King Jr., they do become vulnerable. They become vulnerable because they tell the country and the world that we can be better and we don't have to accept what is. And unfortunately, we live in a world where not everybody wants it to be different." Obama's campaign would later feature Pfleger's enthusiastic endorsement on its website.

Pfleger's support for Obama consisted not only of words, but also of action. He hosted a number of faith forums for the candidate.

In March 2008 Pfleger invited Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's longtime pastor, to deliver a blessing at Saint Sabina Church during a visit by the poet Maya Angelou. Wright at the time was embroiled in controversy over a host of virulently anti-American remarks he had made in numerous sermons. "I invited Dr. Wright because he is a friend, mentor and hero of mine and because he is someone for whom I have great respect," said Pfleger.

To view a comprehensive profile and numerous supplemental resources about Michael Pfleger, click here.

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