Photo caption: Dr. Cornel West hugs his friend, Father Michael Pfleger (Photos by Chinta Strausberg)
West: “Nobody can tell me who to love”
Father Michael Pfleger and Dr. Cornel West on Sunday, February 5, explained their love for each other with West blasting haters of the popular priest who continually lie on him.
In introducing West, Pfleger said West has written 20 books, edited 13, including “Race Matters,” “Democracy Matters, and “Black Prophetic Fire.” He said West has partnered with masterclass.com, providing teachings on several intellectual courses and a multi-instructor class on Black history, Black freedom and Black love. “He’s a smart brother,” Pfleger said after reading all of West’s degrees.
Pfleger urged people to click on www.cornelwest.com then click the master class.” It’s amazing,” Pfleger said.
In praising West, Pfleger said, “What I love about this man is that he has the boldness of Malcolm. He has the faith of Martin. He is wrapped in the truth and love of Jesus Christ. He is unashamed about his faith, and he is uncompromising about the truth that he seeks.
“He has been in my life for all these years, a mentor, a friend, someone who gives me hope when I feel hopeless. He’s indeed a prophetic voice of these times of which we need him so much,” Pfleger said as he introduced West.
Returning the love he has for Pfleger, West told the congregation, “I want the world to know that God is not finished with him, yet. God is not through with him, my brother.
“I want the world to see my love for this brother, and you can try to come after him if you want to, but he’s got a fire inside of him that the water at the well can’t put out. He’s got a light inside of him that no darkness can put out,” said West.
“Most importantly, he surrenders to a mighty God and the world cannot touch the God in him,” he bellowed. “Brother Pfleger, I love you, brother,” he said to a deafening and lengthy applause.
West said of Pfleger’s enemies, “They’ve been coming at my brother. All of these different establishments trying to crush him like a cockroach, trying to destroy him, lying on him, mendacity across the board. Yes, he’s a cracked vessel. This is a sanctuary of love. Nobody called that into question.
“All in America, if you fall in love with Black people, it’s hard to keep track of the love if you love somebody else, they’ll lift you up. Well, we start on the chocolate side, and then we get to the vanilla side,” he said, getting a round of laughter and applause from the diverse audience. “That’s very real.”
“Me and Brother Pfleger have been washed in the blood at the cross, and the blood at the cross says Jesus loves everybody….”
West referred to the time when he was in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 where Unite the Right white supremacists held a rally. He said one of them came up to him and said, “You’re the one who is always on TV always taking about this brother, that brother.” West said he told him, “Yes, brother.” “Sick white brother, Klan, Neo-Nazis to the core and then I went on and bore witness.
“I said, and Jesus loves you just like Jesus likes me. You choose to be a gangster. I was a gangster before I met Jesus and now I am a redeemed sinner with gangster proclivities,” he told the racist.
“Me and Brother Pfleger washed by the blood at the cross,” he said. “It means nobody has the authority to dictate to us. We don’t have to ask anybody’s permission as to who we love, and it is crucial to all the people to purport to hate themselves and regulate their love in such a way that they try to just fit in.”
In America, West said when he calls Brother Trump brother, everybody gives him a standing ovation, but if he calls Minister Louis Farrakhan a brother, they figure I’ve joined the Nazis party or something.
He told them, “You are dealing with a Jesus-loving, free Black man. I love everybody. I might have disagreements with Louis Farrakhan, very deep disagreements. We fight over it. My love is deeper than the disagreements because I stand in that same blood, and nobody is going to ask or tell me or dictate to me who I can love.”
“Louis Farrakhan has some challenges now. No doubt about that,” West said. “We wrestle with it, but he’s not the only one. I know some vanilla brothers and sisters that haven’t got the memo that Black people are still human beings to be treated with dignity.” Referring to several religions, West identified himself as being a “hang loose Baptist.”
“All of us have challenges, that includes some of our precious Jewish brothers and Jewish sisters, too. We are all made in the image and likeness of a God that gives us a sanctity and a dignity. It is the choices that we make. It’s the commitments that we have and the convictions that we put forward that define who we are,” said West.
“It is not a function of our skin pigmentation or our own religious identity or orientation. It’s human all the way down,” he said. “I am convinced why one of the reasons they are coming at my brother is because they are trying to contain the flow of his love. Think about that,” he said.
“That’s always the case for those folk who would not just fall in love with everybody but fall in love with the least of these, the poor, the orphan, the widow, the motherless, the fatherless and our precious Jewish brothers and sisters with the Hebrew scripture, ‘do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God.’ Thou must spread the loving kindness, love to the oppressed and the persecuted no matter who they are.
“You get in trouble when you try to be consistent, morally, politically, spiritually, solidarity with anybody who is suffering.” West said no matter where they are, “discipleship will cost…,” West said referring to the sign at the back of Saint Sabina that says, “Discipleship costs, are you willing?