Pfleger: “Whitney Houston brought the world to church"


Warns: ‘Don’t judge. We all have closets’ 


By Chinta Strausberg


The acclaimed Whitney Houston “brought the world to the church,” said Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger who said last Saturday’s worldwide coverage of her funeral was the “best of what real church was supposed to be, authentic, real, faith and Christ centered.”

“Everybody said that the one thing you had to say about Whitney was her faith was key from her beginning to her end,” Pfleger told his members during the 11:15 a.m. worship service. “ I know people wanted to get focused on her drugs, but ain’t nobody here that don’t have a closet. Some of us got walk-in closets. Ain’t nobody here that don’t have a closet.”

Referring to the 48-year-old singer’s growing up in the public eye and always being under Hollywood’s microscope, Pfleger added, “It’s difficult to grow and mature under public scrutiny.

“Most of us have the opportunity to grow and get your scars, get your lumps and learn privately…,” said Pfleger. “I am just glad that we can center on acknowledging her faults and our faults none that are righteous, no not one. It’s difficult to grow in the public. “

Referring to Houston’s homegoing and the star-studded performers that included Dionne Warwick, who was the masters of ceremonies, Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, Donnie McClurkin, Clive Davis who discovered Houston, the “BB’s and the CC’s,” he said referring to Bebe Winans and  CeCe Winans, Pfleger said, what he admires most about Houston was that “she was bad and she could sing, too.”

What Pfleger appreciates most about Houston but making it clear he was not condemning other singers is that “today we got to have all the smoke and screens. We got to have all the stuff going off and dancers jumping down and falling off and things happening and all that stuff.”

Referring to the Whitney Houston’s of the world, Pfleger added, “Those kinds of singers all you had to have was a good voice and they blessed you because what those folks did they sang out of their heart.

“It was not to entertain because there are a lot of great singers in entertainment, but I want somebody who can touch me on the inside to create something on the outside of me. Singers in the day, they didn’t have all of that stuff. They had a microphone that worked and sometimes it didn’t but all they could offer was a voice out of a heart and a spirit of which they sang.

“I wish we’d get back to that. That is the stuff we want to hear. That is the stuff we need in churches and even in the entertainment secular world. Give me something that comes out of your love, your spirit and your heart. I thank God for Whitney because she was a gift. She had troubles and I got troubles and you got troubles,” said Pfleger.

Pfleger said he loved her songs especially the one entitled, “I Love The Lord,” from “The Preacher’s Wife.” When Pfleger hears those words he said,  “It reminds me in the midst of my own difficulties that there is a place I can go…that there is a throne I have access to and there is a God who says come to me. My burdens are light and my yoke is easy.” He asked Saint Sabina’s choir member Theresa McCall to sing this song.

He called Houston “a gift” and said “Yes, she had trouble” and looking out over the congregation said “and so do others.”

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. attended the funeral and while he sat in a prominent place, he did not speak.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: