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Ministers misplace faith in Jefferson endorsement

Am I missing something here? A collection of black ministers has endorsed embattled Rep. Bill Jefferson, who is black, for reelection despite the fact he is under indictment for influence peddling, against political newcomer and non-black Helena Moreno for the Democrat nomination.

As regards someone accused of dishonesty in government, one might think ministers in particular would shy away from that candidacy. But apparently not, as Jefferson is touted as the best choice because they believe him to be “effective.”

Ministering to the faithful requires some degree of wisdom, yet in remarks made about the endorsement leads to wondering whether they possess the good judgment needed to lead their flocks. Their spokesman, for one, believes in Jefferson’s innocence. While this certain adheres to the power of faith, after a certain point faith becomes wishful thinking. Besides the mountain of evidence and Jefferson’s associates, friends, and relatives singing like birds about his role, just last week former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd plead guilty to a separate crime which implicated Jefferson. Legally, anyone not yet found guilty of a crime is innocent of it, but at a certain point when giving political direction credulity must factor in.

But let’s really give Jefferson the benefit of the doubt beyond what he deserves. Regardless, there must be great doubt about whether he is “effective” as a member of Congress. He has been stripped of committee assignments where most influence is attained and is shunned by the Democrat leadership, desperate to deflect attention from other scandals such as those concerning Reps. Barney Frank with improper influence and Tim Mahoney with hush money.

All right, let’s concede that, somehow believing Jefferson still could have more pull that a new representative unencumbered by all of this baggage. Yet this brings us to the most baffling aspect of the endorsement, where the spokesman argued even if Jefferson were found guilty and subsequently removed, “I would rather at least go back and have a special election than put the wrong person in.”

Silly me, but if that happened, wouldn’t that prove that Jefferson himself was the “wrong” person? So wouldn’t it make more sense to put someone in office initially that could build up some seniority and not have to go to the trouble of a special election in the first place? And thus avoid the risk of starting over and dealing with a felon?

(“Wrong” is a poor choice of words in this instance; I hope it isn’t being used as a synonym of “not black.” Further, it bears noting whether these ministers also favor Sen. Barack Obama at the presidential level who bleats incessantly about the necessity of “change,” couched in illusory terms. Would that not be inconsistent with their support of a nine-term incumbent?)

Why should men of God recommend such a flawed specimen and with odd reasoning? These spiritual leaders sound like they have let too much of worldly concern affect the electoral advice they implicitly give their congregations.

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