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Priest threatens to “snuff out” legislators

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, went way over the top this week. During a protest against Chuck’s Gun Shop, Father Pfleger twice threatened to “snuff out” the shop’s owner and threatened the same fate for legislators who oppose his position on gun control.

“We’re gonna find you and snuff you out,” Fleger said about the gun shop owner, likening the man to a “rat.” He later repeated his threat to “snuff out” the owner.

Fleger also had this to say to state legislators who vote against gun control measures.

“We’re gonna snuff out legislators who are voting [garbled] against our gun laws and we’re coming for you because we are not going to sit idly.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association, which has employed some pretty harsh rhetoric of its own but hasn’t, to my recollection, called for anyone to be “snuffed out,” had this reaction

“Certainly Fr. Pfleger has offered Absolution to a murderer or two during his tenure as a priest,” commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. “That’s why it’s shocking to hear him actually advocate the murder of a gun shop owner who has never committed a crime in his life. He then compounds the problem by calling for the murder of legislators who disagree with his personal political views — something I suspect is a felony in this state. Pfleger’s comments were disgusting and dangerous. And, I seem to remember that the Fifth Commandment frowns on murdering one’s neighbor.”


[Clip is fixed now.]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Greg - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    So let me get this straight. The guys without guns are threatening to kill the guys with guns. Is that wise? It seems to me their planning is flawed.

    Seriously, let’s hope the good father simply got caught up in the moment; recognizes his errors and seeks to rectify them.

  2. - Yikes - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:52 pm:

    Pfleger does not think. Many times, he insults the people he purports to champion by insinuating that they cannot think for themselves. He is a grandstanding fraud.

  3. - He makes Ryan look like a saint - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:02 pm:

    Very Christianlike.

  4. - A Citizen - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:03 pm:

    I’m sure he just meant “love them to death” afterall he’s a religious leader just brimming with brotherly love. However I think I’ll clean my guns just in case.

  5. - Skeeter - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    What do you expect from a guy who invited Louis Farrakhan to speak at his church, and apparently considers Farrakhan a friend?

  6. - Roger - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:10 pm:

    Another man of the cloth more interested in getting their name in the news than doing the Lord’s work…something we see way too often these days.

  7. - NRA Endowment Member - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    Sure am glad to see such a well thought out, balanced position on the part of the good father. It doesn’t take much thought to realize why gun rights advocates are not willing to compromise in the face of such hatred.

    One question - if the average gun owner was identified by the state police making a death threat to an elected official (much less dozens of them) how long do you think it would take before there was a very public arrest and prosecution? The evidence seems pretty clear in this case….where are the police?

  8. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    Father Pfleger is Pfoney.

  9. - i d - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:27 pm:


  10. - Pro-gunner - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:30 pm:

    The good father has been receiving threatening phone calls from anti-gunners posing as ISRA members. Anti-gunners have also been phoning our lawmakers in Springfield pretending to be ISRA members. In both cases the callers were quite rude and threatening. ISRA members do not use these tactics to gain support for pro-gun causes.

  11. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:34 pm:

    Extremists at either end of the spectrum can be scary people. It’s time my democrat friends had a few of their own again (where’s Jane Fonda when you really need her?). We have plenty on our side.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:50 pm:

    From the Random House Dictionary:

    snuff out:
    a. to extinguish: to snuff out a candle.
    b. to suppress; crush: to snuff out opposition.
    c. Informal. to kill or murder: Many lives were snuffed out during the epidemic.

    Father Pfleger’s word choice was confusing, but I don’t think he was literally threatening to kill anyone. Anyone who disagrees should press charges, but I think they’ be laughed out of the State’s Attorney’s office.

    This press push from the Illinois State Rifle Association is nothing more than an effort to distract folks from the real issue: the needless deaths that could be prevented by common sense gun laws. Well done by Todd Vandermyde, but still nothing more than a distraction.

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:51 pm:

    Hilarious Schnorf!!

  14. - Downtown - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:02 pm:

    Yellow Dog is absolutely right. Rich, Im surprised you’re so willing to give the gun guys the free publicity. Do you really believe Pleger was threatening to kill anyone. The ISRA has been throwing around garbage like this all year. They sent out a release earlier this month that said anyone who voted against the high capacity mag bill would pay at the ballot box next year, even though they haven’t won a significant race in years. Last year alone the ISRA endorsed Topinka, Terry Parke, Sue Simpson, Billie Roth and Terri Wintermute in trgeted races and they all lost. The gun lobby’s bark is clearly bigger than their bite and election results prove it. Why give them the ink, Rich? Clearly there’s more important stuff to cover


  15. - Pro-gunner - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:17 pm:

    Yellow Dog Democrat: Please define “common sense gun laws.”

  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:18 pm:

    That’s right, YDD, obfuscate and then attack the messenger. Good ploy.

    He said it and it wasn’t taken out of context. You can’t defend it, so you hit the dictionary looking for a loophole. Cute. Won’t work for me.

    Just the other day, I had a piece on ISRA’s goofiness in the Capitol Fax. I call ‘em as I see ‘em and this one deserved the ink… er, Internet space. Whatever.

  17. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:18 pm:

    We have laws for this, and they should be enforced.

    Pick him up and take him in.

    He is inciting bodily harm against elected officials.

    He should be made responsible for his words.

  18. - evil dan l - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:30 pm:

    Somebody ought snuff out everybody who thinks like YDD. He’s a threat to a civil society.

  19. - dan l - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:30 pm:

    Evil dan l, isn’t that a little over the top, even for you?

  20. - evil dan l - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:31 pm:

    Ha! I didn’t mean it like that.

  21. - Southern Man - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    Interesting that Pfleger is so self-righteous on guns, but he has nothing to say about the drastic health care cuts–affecting mostly poor African Americans—that his friend Todd Stroger is carrying out. More people are going to die because of those closed clinics and shuttered hospitals than from the guns sold by Chucks.

  22. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    Maybe he was trying some Dubbya speak…”Smoke em out”

  23. - Wow! - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 3:12 pm:

    You said early you were a history major, have learned anything yet?
    Your comments are quite laughable.

  24. - NRA Endowment Member - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 3:36 pm:

    YDD / Downtown:

    I just KNEW the first defense would be the ‘out of context’ argument followed closely by the ‘other side does it too’ defense. It’s all so predictable.

    His statement is contemptible as quoted and he certainly did not mean ‘at the ballot box’ as the ISRA did. Heated rhetoric? Perhaps….but ill-advised just the same. If the pro-gunners would have made this statement verbatim I would be willing to bet that it would be interpreted only one way.

  25. - WTF! - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    Me thinks the good farder has touched a wee bit much of the devil’s brew.

  26. - Father Crime - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 4:02 pm:

    Dear Father:

    It appears that your statements are confusing the radical anti-gun movement as to your intent. Might I suggest in the future that you substitute any of the following for the phrase ’snuff out’:

    drop the hammer on
    blow away

    This should avoid further confusion by the faithful as to your intent.

    Seriously Mr. Pfleger - get yourself some professional help before you incite someone to do something really stupid. There is NO place in society for this type of garbage and it shouldn’t be tolerated any more than yelling fire in a crowded theater. A statement disavowing yourself of the violence aspect wouldn’t hurt, either.

  27. - Papa Legba - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 4:21 pm:

    Father Pfleger has to be one of the biggest loud mouthed goofs. If I had a shiny new dime for every stunt he has pulled like this, I could retire.

    Cardinal George really has control of his underlings - NOT!

  28. - Father Crime - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 4:27 pm:


    You mean this isn’t the first time this guy has pulled a stunt like this? I’m not from the Chicago area and I had never heard of him before today.

  29. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 4:44 pm:

    Two 16 year old girls got arrested for a hate crime in Crystal Lake for handing out fliers with a boy’s picture and the phrase “God hates fags”.

    So, should the good Father P be thankful he didn’t say that in McHenry County?

    Or should he be arrested?

  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 4:57 pm:

    I’m not saying that Pfleger was misquoted, but I do think its being taken out of context.

    The phrase “snuff out” means either “to crush the opposition” or “to murder”. Now, if it’s said by a gangbanger in a private conversation that is wiretapped, reasonable people might likely conclude it means one thing, while when said by an ordained priest at a political rally, reasonable people usually conclude it means something else.

    Likewise, Tony Soprano and your marine biology professor mean different things when they say “I’m going to send you to swim with the fishes.”

    And Rich, I’m not trying to obfuscate, and I certainly am not attacking ISRA — I have nothing but respect for Todd Vandermyde.

    Pfleger’s choice of words was foolish, to be sure, but does anyone HONESTLY believe he was threatening to kill people, or inciting others to do the same?

    P.S> Someone asked about common sense gun laws — how about requiring all commercial gun dealers to be licensed, even the guys who are selling guns in the classified ads every week?

  31. - Pro-gunner - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 5:14 pm:

    YDD: That’s it? Is that what the protest was all about? Talk about overkill!

  32. - Todd - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 5:57 pm:

    Guys if you don’t mind, I represent the NRA not ISRA.

    ISRA did this on their own.

  33. - A Citizen - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:06 pm:

    ydd. . . “the needless deaths that could be prevented by common sense gun laws.” . . . We already have them, just enforce them. I hate to break it to you so bluntly but law abiding citizens aren’t the problem. IT’S the illegally gun carrying CRIMINAL! Stop trying to punish and blame lawful gun ownership and excuse the failure to enforce the already more than sufficient gun laws. Even an idiot can understand that.

  34. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:30 pm:

    I bet if a victim of a pedophile priest said they should all be “snuffed out” the church would prosecute.

  35. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:36 pm:

    Wow-learned to sign my own name when I say something I believe.

  36. - A Citizen - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:12 pm:

    Congrats Steve, you and Cal make quite a couple. Give up on the real name gambit - it is becoming boring and frankly phoney.

  37. - OAD - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:51 pm:

    “Pfleger’s choice of words was foolish, to be sure, but does anyone HONESTLY believe he was threatening to kill people, or inciting others to do the same?”

    It doesn’t matter what his motives were, if the end result is a dead legislator or gun dealer.
    When you have a flock, you have to be more responsible. Something like that is really open to misinterpretation.

    If something goes bad on this, put him in a cell with Matt Hale.

  38. - Papa Legba - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:18 pm:

    Father Crime,

    Pfleger is always trying to incite groups of people to make a point, and is usually successful, to a point. Most of his causes are silly issues, a perceived slight or a made up issue.

    Just Google “Father Pfleger” and get ready to read for a few hours.

  39. - Father Crime - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 8:10 am:

    Papa -

    Did what you suggested…this guy seems to be the textbook definition of opportunist. I especially enjoyed the article about how he finds Jerry Springer ’sleazy’ but thinks what he says and does is Gods’ word. I am sure the Catholic church must be so proud.

  40. - Sahims2 - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    Yellow Dog - his words were to “snuff out” - not taken out of context - that is simply a threat - and threats like that are not taken lightly by the police coming from John Q. Public, so why is he given a break?

    As far as gun dealers, they do have to be licensed. If someone is acting as a gun dealer and not licensed, then they’re breaking one of those “common sense” gun laws - that all criminals break. That is what makes them a criminal. Pass all the laws you wish, you still have crime and criminals - and more harassment and interference upon the law-abiding gun owners out there. Christians out there, which many of the criminals profess to be have laws handed down from God in the form of the ten commandments - thou shall not kill, steal, or lie - yet these are broken each and every day. Now, these were handed down by the very God to which these criminals claim to worship, what makes anyone think the criminals will obey any law laid down by mere man? Obviously they don’t - guns are not the problem - criminals who use them are - the penal system in this country is no deterrent to crime - that’s where the real problem is. Fix that first and you will actually have an impact on the very crime you wish to stop.

  41. Pingback Roman Catholic by Choice » Blog Archive » Fr. Pfleger of St Sabina on Jeremiah Wright - Saturday, Apr 19, 08 @ 8:42 am:

    […] Fr. Michael Pfleger, famous for encouraging the murder of a gun shop owner , got some face time on Fox News recently, talking about how Jeremiah Wright isn’t racist, bigoted, hateful, or nuts. Pfleger recently had Wright speak at his parish. Stinks when you find content for your blog on DailyKooks, but they seem to think that Pfleger handed the reporter’s hinder to him on a plate…personally, I think the video serves to show how Pfleger should be in a monastery somewhere. In the background you can see the Father’s goons (I mean, bodyguards.) […]

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