Mika: Whites Shouldn't Judge . . . White Preacher?

Mika Brzezinski realizes that the latest looniness emanating from Barack Obama's church poses political problems for the presidential candidate. But as a person of pallor, the ever-so-PC Morning Joe-er doesn't want to judge a black church—even when the most recent rantings come from the mouth of . . . a white preacher.

Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Father Michael Pfleger guest-preaching this past Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Pfleger, a fixture on the radical Chicago scene whose endorsement of Obama [h/t Michelle Malkin] until recently appeared on the official Obama campaign website, mocked Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears as a sign of her frustrated sense of white entitlement. The screencap shows Pfleger making like Hillary wiping away those tears.

(Watch video above, context included, fast-forward to 3:40 for Brzezinski's humorous comment.)

But while acknowledging the headache Pfleger poses for Obama, Mika was oh-so-loath to comment on the substance or tone of the remarks themselves. Excerpts from her discussion with Tucker Carlson, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist:

MIKE BARNICLE: If I were in the church, I mean if he were a Catholic priest in my parish and started doing that, I and everyone I know would get up and walk out: there'd be no second collection that day, by the way, Father.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: But Barnicle, they'd be awake at least. I mean, there's the other argument: this is a theatrical presentation, but I gotta tell ya, the political ramifications, let's ask Tucker. Tucker, where do we begin?

TUCKER CARLSON: This is a sermon preached in Barack Obama's home church, and we know it's very much like a lot of other sermons preached in Barack Obama's home church over a long period of time, and yet Barack Obama is shocked, shocked that this sermon was preached. I mean, this exact guy, who was a close friend of the Reverend Wright's, was out defending Louis Farrakhan in the most aggressive possible terms recently, so it's not like we just learned he's a creep. And by the way, look at the congregation as he says this.


CARLSON: They love it! They're on their feet. Now this is, again, Obama's home congregation. I'm not saying that for partisan reasons. I'm saying it because it gets to an unanswered and I think burning question which has never been resolved, which is: what the hell were you doing in that church for 20 years? Didn't you notice that?

BRZEZINSKI: It's a good question. I also think there are questions about these churches and the differences between certain churches, but right now what we can talk about --

CARLSON: What does that mean?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I mean, you know, when it comes to this, I think the thing we ought to look at is potential political ramifications, and there will be some. Whether they are long term or short term, I don't know.

CARLSON: Well I'm interested in the spiritual ramifications.


CARLSON: If you describe this church as your spiritual home, the place that shaped you as a man, morally, and the congregation is on its feet cheering this kind of crap, what does that say?

BRZEZINSKI: I want to hear from them.

CARLSON: I want an explanation.

BRZEZINSKI: I want to hear from them. I certainly don't want to sit here—four white people—assessing this church.

CARLSON: Oh, I do! I think that's totally fair. By the way, the preacher was white! I don't think this has to do with race: it has to do with hatred.

BRZEZINSKI: I noticed that. Oh, God. [The screencap shows the flummoxed Mika ducking her head.]

This is the liberal mindset that says whites can't condemn bigotry in a black setting—even when it comes from the mouth of a white preacher. The same mentality that in the context of Rev. Wright's remarks led Time's Rick Stengel to condemn whites for their "incredible ignorance" about black churches. This is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

UPDATE: Roland Martin Comments to NewsBusters on Father Pfleger

CNN contributor Roland Martin [who back in April, while praising Rev. Wright for his remarks at the Detroit NAACP, gave him an 'F' for his comments to the National Press Club] and I have been exchanging emails on related matters this morning. Martin, also a radio talk show host, has offered NewsBusters his comments on the Father Pfleger flap:

What makes this truly a hot media story has nothing to do with Father Pfleger's comments. It is the fact that Sen. Barack Obama is running for president, the comments were made in the pulpit at his church, Trinity United Church of Christ, and were made by a white Catholic priest who is an ardent supporter of him.

Had Pfleger made his comments in his church, and wasn't an Obama supporter, folks would summarily ignore what he said. Look at that fool Pastor David Manning out of Harlem. He has said some of the most vile comments imaginable about Obama, even alleging a gay relationship with Rev. Wright, and although he has often appeared on conservative radio shows —and even Hannity & Colmes TV show—he has largely been ignored.

Pfleger made his comments during a more detailed sermon at Trinity on the same day the United Church of Christ wanted to have a dialogue on race. Will there be a broader discussion on what folks think is white entitlement? Nope. This will be caught up in a major political discussion.

What I'm shocked at is how Pfleger didn't realize that even mentioning Obama, Clinton or McCain would somehow be ignored. This is nuts. Absolutely nuts. I don't get why pastors who have chosen to get involved in the political process—knowing full well the toxic mixing of race, religion and politics—would even go there.

The comments were dumb to even make, even if he thought them! Have I heard them said before by whites and blacks about Clinton? Yes! Have I heard whites say blacks feel entitled to the president? Yes! But do you say it publicly? Of course not! The emails I've gotten from whites, blacks, males and females that are far worse than what Pfleger has uttered would never be said by a public person who has endorsed either candidate.

If he had referenced Clinton feeling entitled to the nomination, no one would have gotten upset. Why? Because that has been discussed for months on television and radio. But the mere mention of her being entitled to the nomination because she's white? Oh, yea, this was easy to see would blow up.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.