By Chinta Strausberg
Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday told his haters he would not be intimidated by the hate messages he has been receiving in the form of e-mails, calls and faxes because of his strong stand against George Zimmerman who was acquitted for murdering 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin and his call for justice.
Standing his ground, Pfleger, who had posted on his Facebook page a request to pray for the conviction of Zimmerman, said he will not apologize for likening Zimmerman’s acquittal by an all white jury to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till—an act that sparked the Civil Rights movement 58-years ago or anything else he said about this controversial issue.
“We have to go beyond the Trayvon Martin…to the deeper issue of race, racial profiling. We have to have courage in this country to get to bottom of” incidents like this when they raise their heads and cause so much pain and cause so much turmoil in our country.
“I received an enormous amount of hate this week,” he said after Fox News aired a story. A number of people called for Father Pfleger’s resignation and wrote to the Archdiocese seeking his dismissal.
To all his haters and Fox News, Pfleger said, “I do not intend to surrender,” he said noting the importance of a prophetic in the choice is critical in these troubling times.
Father Pfleger said he received a call from the Archdiocese. “They just wanted to give me a snippet of the kind of stuff they were getting,” he said holding up numerous pages of hate e-mails that accused him of “race-baiting.”
“I will not become a watered-down…preacher…. I believe the role of the church is to wrestle with our conscious, and wrestle with righteousness and truth. I will not apologize for anything I said.”
Saying he will not be intimidated, Father Pfleger said Trayvon Martin’s death “is real. The people killed in Chicago last night are real. The violence is real. Racism is real.”
Pfleger is calling on President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to not only open a civil rights case against Zimmerman but to design a new civil rights bill and to restore the voting rights the U.S. Supreme Court recently watered down by striking down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Pfleger also called on President Obama and the congress to declare violence a public health issue so that federal funding can flow to urban areas that are being besieged with violence.
Referring to the acquittal, last week Pfleger said, “Yesterday, we watched the justice system fail miserably again. Trayvon Martin was murdered again by an injustice system.” He said America “is full of Trayvon Martin’s.”
“The murder of Trayvon Martin reminds us of America’s travesty that race, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, is still a defining and crippling reality in America. It reminds us that though we are 150 years past the Emancipation Proclamation Black men are still not free in America,” Pfleger stated.
“It reminds us that the dream of Dr. King articulated 50-years ago next month in Washington, D.C. is still an unrealized nightmare.