Rev. Michael Pfleger, the Catholic priest who sparked controversy for making racial remarks about Hillary Clinton at Barack Obama's Chicago church in 2008, will be honored at the Broadcasting Board of Governors "Diversity Day" program on May 14 in Washington, D.C.
Janice Davis-Roan, a staffer for the BBG, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday that Pfleger is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the Diversity Day event at BBG headquarters. Davis-Roan said she did not know if Pfleger would receive an honorarium. The BBG is the federal agency that promotes freedom of the press through organizations like Voice of America.
While speaking at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church in 2008, Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton for crying prior to the New Hampshire primary and said Clinton's tears were caused by her sense of racial entitlement.
"When Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on – I really don’t believe it was put on,” Pfleger said. “I really believe that she just always thought, 'This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white. And this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.' And then, out of nowhere, came ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.’ And she said, ‘Oh, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!'”
At the time, Barack Obama said in a statement that he was "deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric."
Pfleger has also courted controversy by threatening to kill a gun-store owner and by inviting anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to speak at St. Sabina's Catholic church in Chicago, where Pfleger serves as pastor.
According to a source, Pfleger's controversial remarks were recently brought to the attention of senior management at the BBG, and they are considering dropping him from the program.
Update 2:20 p.m.:
Lynne Weil, the BBG's communications director, calls to tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Pfleger has been disinvited. "The Office of Civil Rights has reached out to Rev. Pfleger—I don’t know that they’ve gotten hold of him yet, but they’re letting him know that the decision has been taken to have a different kind of program and that he is not being invited to speak," Weil told me. “This event is supposed to be a celebration of inclusion and there is a history of divisiveness in Rev. Pfleger’s public remarks."