Religions and Spirituality

Before Assaulting Bishop, “The Fightin’ Preacher” Makes Divisive Political, Religious Beliefs Known

Charles Miller in a photo posted on Facebook.
Charles Miller in a photo posted on Facebook.

NEWARK, NJ — Charles Miller, who was charged with punching the auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark during a Saturday afternoon Mass, is a former professional boxer who calls himself “The Fightin’ Preacher,” according to his Facebook profile.

The 210-pound, 48-year-old South Ward man has been charged with one count of aggravated assault after delivering a blow to the face of the Most Rev. Manuel A. Cruz, who fell backwards and required medical attention after the attack. Miller will appear in Essex County Superior Court tomorrow.

While the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to comment on Miller’s motive, his Facebook profile offers a glimpse into the alleged assailant’s state of mind shortly before he was caught on video bopping the bishop.

Miller, who also goes by the name “Dog Time,” wrote in his social media profile that he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His lengthy social media history paints a picture of a man who has grown bitter over race relations in the nation and what he considers to be a white hijacking of Christianity.

At 9:04 a.m. Saturday, just hours before he drove his pink Cadillac with zebra-print interior to Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Miller posted an expletive-ridden rant against the “white hoe ass” Virgin Mary, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and others.

Much of the writing is nonsensical and without punctuation, referencing what appears to be various portions of the Bible. What’s clear, however, is that Miller was boiling with anger, vowing that he was, in all capital letters, “coming up in there to get yawl once upon a time called right mutha f— now.”

That line—“once upon a time called right now”—appears throughout Millers’ Facebook post history, seemingly acting as a battle cry against perceived injustices.

The Fightin’ Preacher also shared a number of images railing against the treatment of African-Americans in the U.S.

Trump’s ascent to the presidency apparently stoked more anger in Miller, who at one point shared a doctored photo of Trump embracing Ku Klux Klan members near a burning cross.

In a note published on Jan. 26, Miller again typed a profane, rambling decree against business and government leaders like George Bush and Warren Buffett. As he went on, Miller wrote about unpaid reparations for slavery and an ongoing battle between Jesus Christ and the devil.

“Fighters to the center of The ring,” Miller commented.

But his apparently extreme beliefs might only be matched by his eccentric sense of style.

After police tackled Miller inside the cathedral, officers surrounded his pink Cadillac outside. A parking tag for Foster Street, in Newark’s South Ward, hung in the rearview window.

Miller’s Facebook profile photo shows him standing against the 1970s-era vehicle, wearing a matching pink vest, open down the chest, and a black hat with a pink band.

Several other photos portray Miller wearing flashy suits, similar to the red-and-white one he donned on the day of the assault.

A nearly 12-minute video he posted last September, apparently from the King Kennedy Projects in Cleveland, shows a black screen as Miller delivers another sermon.

Although the recording itself is choppy and difficult to hear, at one point Miller clearly said, “Personally, I believe heaven is going to come to Earth.”

Attempts to reach Miller’s relatives and fiancée were unsuccessful.

Her Facebook page hosted content similar to that found on Miller’s. TAPInto Newark reached out to her place of employment. A person answering the phone said she is no longer employed there.

Prosecutors may discuss Miller’s motive in court tomorrow, when he is set to be arraigned. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Central Judicial Processing Court, on the fifth floor of Veterans Courthouse in Newark.

Miller is expected to appear via a live video stream. He remains in custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility, according to the prosecutor’s office.

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