Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich has condemned Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan for labeling some Jews as “satanic” during an address at the St. Sabina Church on the city's south side last Thursday.
In a statement released by his office on Friday, Cupich said he was not informed by The Rev. Michael Pfleger that Farrakhan, who was recently banned from Facebook, would be allowed to speak at the predominantly black parish.
“Without consulting me, Fr. Michael Pfleger invited Minister Louis Farrakhan to speak at St. Sabina Church in response to Facebook’s decision to ban him from its platforms. Minister Farrakhan could have taken the opportunity to deliver a unifying message of God’s love for all his children. Instead, he repeatedly smeared the Jewish people, using a combination of thinly veiled discriminatory rhetoric and outright slander,” Cupich said.
“He suggested that ‘Talmudic thought’ sanctioned pedophilia and misogyny. He referred to Jewish people as ‘satanic,’ asserting that he was sent by God to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘satanic Jews,’” he noted.
Farrakhan, 86, declared at one point during his speech: “I’m here to separate the good Jews from the satanic Jews.”
Farrakhan, who had been invited by Pfleger to respond to his ban by Facebook, wasted no time in defending himself from what he described as an unwarranted attack on his freedom of expression.
“This is just the beginning. Banning me from a social platform? I used that platform with respect. I never allowed those who follow me to become vile as those who speak evil of us. So I am dangerous, not to you, unless you feel that Fr. Pfleger’s invitation to me may hurt St. Sabina,” he told the congregation.
“They don’t have the power to hurt St. Sabina if you don’t give them that power,” he continued to applause.
“I thank you for listening to me. I have not said one word of hate. I do not hate Jewish people. Not one that is with me has ever committed a crime against the Jewish people, black people, white people, no matter what your color is. As long as you don’t attack us, we won’t bother you,” Farrakhan added.
Over a week ago when news first broke that Facebook had banned Louis Farrakhan, high profile stars like rapper Snoop Dogg expressed outrage at the decision and encouraged his nearly 32 million followers to share videos of the Nation of Islam leader.
“If you’re down with it like I’m down with it, post your favorite Mr. Farrakhan videos on your Instagram and Facebook page,” the rapper said in an Instagram video Thursday. “Show some love to a real brother.”
In another video he asked, “How the f**k y’all gonna ban Minister Louis Farrakhan for putting the truth out there? I stand with him. I’m with him. Ban me, mother**ker.”
In his statement Friday however, Cupich said Farrakhan’s comments about Jews “shock the conscience.”
“People of faith are called to live as signs of God’s love for the whole human family, not to demonize any of its members. This is all the more true of religious leaders, who have a sacred duty never to leverage the legitimacy of their ministry to heap blame upon a group of persons, and never to deploy inflammatory rhetoric, long proven to incite violence. Anti-Semitic rhetoric — discriminatory invective of any kind — has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church,” Cupich wrote. “I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.”