Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:52 AM
Adsos Letter (17,006 posts)
In Race to Fill Jackson’s House Seat, Candidates Court Chicago’s Black Clergy
The New York Times
By STEVEN YACCINO
Published: January 6, 2013
CHICAGO — Facing a primary election last year, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. was taking no chances. He gathered dozens of local pastors for a news conference here, where they prayed against “political demonic forces” and fiercely endorsed the 17-year congressman for another term.
“They’ve known my highest moments, and they’ve known my lowest moments,” Mr. Jackson said of the mostly African-American ministers who surrounded him. “And on some Saturdays and on every Sunday each one of these pastors prays for somebody just like me.”
It is not surprising that a crowded field of candidates is courting the same kind of clergy support in a Feb. 26 special primary election to replace Mr. Jackson, who resigned his Second Congressional District seat 15 days after winning re-election in November. Now facing a short campaign sprint, those candidates say the backing of ministers and invitations to stump at multiple church services each weekend remain the sacraments of any good election ground game in the district, which includes parts of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs.
Like in many districts across the country where African-Americans are the majority, the Second District has counted black ministers among the most influential voices for decades. Their endorsements, trusted by many churchgoers, are traditionally seen as an indication of how those congregants may vote on Election Day.
Here is Americans United for Separation of Church and State's take on a particular aspect of this:
Partisan Pulpits?: House Race In Chicago Brings Candidates To Church
Jan 7, 2013
by Joseph L. Conn in Wall of Separation
The American people overwhelmingly tell pollsters that they do not want houses of worship to be politicized. And federal law forbids churches, like other tax-exempt nonprofits, to intervene in partisan campaigns.
Yet some misguided clergy keep bending the rules. According to today’s New York Times, candidates for a vacant U.S. House seat in Chicago are targeting churches to win support, and some pastors seem to be misusing their positions to help favored office seekers.
The House seat in question is in a predominantly African-American, Democratic-leaning part of Chicago. Until his recent resignation, the seat was held by Jesse Jackson Jr.
Now there’s a vigorous contest under way in the Democratic primary to grab the post. Nine candidates have already filed to run, and more are expected before today’s filing deadline.
The Times reports that some clergy are letting their personal biases guide their actions, instead of adherence to fairness and federal tax law.
I haven't done a close reading on either of these articles yet. Just putting them out there for your discussion.
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