Almost everyone who knows him says he's a little nutty. And almost everyone forgives him. What we tend to forget in a lot of these public spats in which an individual is exposed to great scrutiny for a short period of time is that we are all a lot of things, good, bad and embarrassing. I'm not defending Pfleger's remarks, but he does not seem inhuman here:
Pfleger's about as cowed as I've ever seen him. He's reeling, really, from what he admits is a difficult predicament of his own making.
Over the weekend, he said that the days since his Trinity address had been the most difficult of his life, even more painful than when his foster son Jarvis was gunned down near St. Sabina on May 30, 1998. I've spoken to Pfleger many times about Jarvis' death and couldn't believe he said this. It sounded like the worst kind of narcissism, and I told him so. He told me that, when Jarvis was killed, he was angry with God and didn't understand why God had allowed it to happen. But he knew Jarvis' death was not his fault. He hadn't shot his foster child. The difference between that pain and this, he said, is that, essentially, he shot himself and his church.
"I've spent my life trying to, No. 1, serve God, and to build up this faith community. I felt all of that was at risk. I felt that I don't want to hurt this church; I've done everything trying to make this church strong. I don't want to hurt this church. I don't want to hurt these people who are at their jobs or workplaces having to defend their pastor. That shouldn't be what they have to do. I did not want to hurt this church's reputation."
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