Father Pfleger, the controversial priest who shot to national prominence for his defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, has taken up a new cause: the crusade against toy guns.
Below are selections from a letter Pfleger wrote in a March 9th Chicago Sun Times piece in which he railed against the inclusion of toy guns in Easter baskets at Kmart :
“I am writing to express my concern and outrage that Kmart is selling Easter baskets, which are obviously for children, with toy guns in them.”
Pfleger didn't leave any doubts about his feelings, as he astonishingly tied gun violence in Chicago directly to children's' familiarization with weapons through pop culture:
“With the increasing gun violence in Chicago and across this country, I am amazed that you would choose to offer toy guns to our children to make them comfortable with playing with them. I am asking you to remove any baskets with toy guns in them from your store’s shelves immediately."
Some of you may be wondering, how realistic are these toy gun replicas?
About as fake as fake gets.
The guns in question are neon colored, styrofoam shooting, Nerf guns. According to Hotair.com, the Easter baskets that have received Pfleger's ire contain nothing more than:
"Plastic water guns or Nerf dart shooters in sizes ranging from pistol- to nearly rifle-length, contained in Easter baskets sold by the retailer for prices starting at $9.99."
Pfleger went ever further, laying out his case that a child who plays with a Nerf or water gun will inevitably grow up to be an adult who also points real guns at people.
"But equally important is that any psychiatrist will tell you a child who gets comfortable playing with toy guns and pointing them at people as a child becomes comfortable picking them up as an adult."
Ed Morrissey of Hotair.com takes Pfleger to task for making such outlandish comparisons, all the while failing to address an issue where the priest could offer more constructive thoughts.
"As a Christian, he’s offended by the inclusion of violent toys in this 'celebration of life,'" Morrissey writes, "but as a Catholic priest, shouldn’t he be more offended by Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, and the commercialization of the holiest day on the Christian calendar? Isn’t that his day job?"