- Letters signed by Barack Obama 25 years ago and obtained by The Daily Caller, show the future president approaching Chicago’s then-mayor Harold Washington in 1987 about a community organizing project whose advisory board would include his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright; the controversial leftist Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger; and [John Ayers,] the brother of Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
As Boyle reports, in 1987, Obama headed the Developing Communities Project. In fact, Obama served as DCP’s Director June 1985 to June 1988.
However, although the 1987 letters are a great find, I reported over four years ago that Obama’s “political”/community activist relationship with Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, and Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church, date earlier, to 1985 and the days when Obama first came to work in Chicago.
I wrote in August 2008 at RezkoWatch:
As with most things said by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), they need be digested with a pinch of salt, particularly if they pertain to something said in his not-so-distant past and spoken on the record. Let’s take for example his three hateful pastors — Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Sen. Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ; Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of Chicago’s St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church; and Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church and an Obama superdelegate.
The most recent controversy regarding Sen. Obama and his pastor, Rev. Wright, emerged on April 24, 2008, when Rev. Wright made his return to the media stage with an interview with PBS’s Bill Moyers.
After an appearance before the NAACP, Rev. Wright followed up with an April 28, 2008, “performance” — Sen. Obama’s word for it — at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Within short order, Sen. Obama threw his pastor under the bus, claiming that he was “outraged” and “angered” at the things Rev. Wright said and told the media, “He was never my ‘spiritual advisor’ … He was never my spiritual mentor; he was my pastor.”
At issue here is the nature of Sen. Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright in particular, as well as those with Father Pfleger and Rev. Meeks. Fortunately, via the RezkoWatch Wayback Machine, we can listen in to the April 5, 2004, interview Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times had with Illinois Democratic senatorial nominee Barack Obama about his faith.
Falsani asks how he became a “churchgoer”, then reports it “began in 1985, when [Obama] came to Chicago as a $13,000-a-year community organizer, working with a number of African-American churches in the Roseland, West Pullman and Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods that were trying to deal with the devastation caused by shuttered steel plants.”
- I started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job-training programs, or after-school programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to underserved communities,… And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened.
I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and its importance in the community. And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.
When Falsani asks about his friends and advisers, Obama talks about Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the Auburn-Gresham community on Chicago’s South Side, “who has known Obama for the better part of 20 years” and helps him keep his “compass set”:
- “I always have felt in him this consciousness that, at the end of the day, with all of us, you’ve got to face God,” Pfleger says of Obama. “Faith is key to his life, no question about it. [It is] central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father…. I don’t think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is.”
Obama tells Falsani that another person he seeks out for spiritual counsel is Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church. In fact, Obama says that the day after he won the Illinois Democratic senatorial primary on March 16, 2004, he “stopped by Salem for Wednesday-night Bible study.”
- “I know that he’s a person of prayer,” Meeks says. “The night after the election, he was the hottest thing going from Galesburg to Rockford. He did all the TV shows, and all the morning news, but his last stop at night was for church. He came by to say thank you, and he came by for prayer.”
Oh, and about his relationship with Rev. Wright? Well, about twenty years ago, in response to Rev. Wright’s altar call, Obama walked down the aisle.
Using basic math, that “about twenty years ago” — based on a March 2004 interview — would be sometime in 1985, would it not?
How often does Obama sit in the pews of Wright’s church? He “attends the 11 a.m. Sunday service at Trinity in the Brainerd neighborhood every week — or at least as many weeks as he is able.”
What kind of a relationship does he have with Rev. Wright? He “has become a close confidant.”
Uh huh! And didn’t Sen. Obama tell the media on April 29, 2008, that Rev. Wright was “never” his “spiritual advisor”, he was never his “spiritual mentor”?; that Rev. Wright was his “pastor”, implying that they did not have a personal relationship?
Perhaps Cathleen Falsani should have asked Sen. Obama what he meant by “close confidant”. A lot of people would certainly like to overhear that answer.
A key observation posted in the comments section of an October 2008 RBO article was made by commenter Mel:
- The most important find is Obama’s DCP Director, June 1985 – June 1988 part of his resume where he states: “parent initiatives to reform public schools”.
This part of his resume places him in complete contact by Obama’s own admissions with Bill Ayers and the ABC Coalition that began in the fall of 1987 and finished its program after railroading every other coalition (likely visa vie ACORN) in the spring of 1988.
The find solidifies Obama and Ayers timeline to that date and time and is far more important than the [Chicago Annenberg Challenge date] because it give[s] [creedence] to everything that has been theorized about Obama and Ayers and the CAC appointment of Obama by Ayers as chairman of it!
Obama’s involvement with the Ayers’ family dating to 1987, or perhaps earlier, is old news. My co-author, Aaron Klein, and I have been writing about it in great detail since February 2008 in blog posts and in two of our books, The Manchurian President and Red Army.
I highly recommend that “researchers” and writers stop wasting time while trying to reinvent the Obama wheel — especially since they refuse to give credit where credit is due.