- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2012


Are you bearing witness to the social revolution? The Bible-thumping and the Koran-burning?

The affirmative-action stirrings and the gospels of same-sex marriage?

The rhetoric of politicians who are being damned if they do and damned if they don’t acknowledge the intersection of religion and politics?

Well, welcome to another corner of the world in which Adrian M. Fenty, as D.C. mayor allowed the Interfaith Council to dissolve but signed a gay-marriage bill into law inside a church, while his successor, Vincent C. Gray, resurrected the Interfaith Council but hasn’t met with the collective body.

Forget, for now, the unforgivable actions of Mr. Fenty, who relished in rubbing noses in liberal Democratic manure that continues to gag the Fat Lady.

The issue at hand right now is Mr. Gray’s intentions.

Last July, Mr. Gray, also a Democrat, announced his appointment of 26 members to the Interfaith Council, which he said would “advise him and his staff on religious affairs and serve as a liaison between the mayor’s office and the District’s faith communities.”

Saying “religious affairs are an integral part of the public life of any community,” the mayor went on to add that he was thankful that the District has a large group of intelligent, committed and compassionate faith leaders who dedicate themselves to ensuring the well-being of all Washingtonians. These 26 leaders will represent D.C.s faith community well.”

He is absolutely right on one hand. Those faith leaders are and continue to represent the faith community well, and praise the Lord they do.

I certainly don’t want to imagine a capital without houses of worship or where dwellers do not believe in God.

Yet, here we are, seven months later, and Mr. Gray has yet to convene his own interfaith advisers.

So who are he and his Cabinet and department heads listening to?

Surely the panel isnt spiritually biased. Though Catholics (four), Baptists (nine) and Protestants (eight) hold the overwhelming majority of seats, there also are a Muslim, a Scientologist and a non-denominational Christian on board, and Jews hold two spots. (No atheists or agnostics, for obvious reasons.)

But what is the point if you do not meet with your own board?

“He has not met with us once,” Interfaith Council member E. Gail Anderson Holness, pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, told me on Saturday, following a Ward 7 candidates’ debate.

The minister said she was glad the mayor undid what Mr. Fenty had done and that she will continue her pastoral responsibilities with or without a meeting with Mr. Gray.

“I have to do what I do,” she said. “I’m dedicated to spreading His word.”

Makes you wonder: Did Mr. Gray empanel the Interfaith Council for religious advice and humanitarian reasons, or is there a new stench emanating from the city hall?

Is that donkey dung? This weekend, at the Ward 7 Democrats’ candidates’ forum, I turned to fellow panelist Sam Ford of WJLA-Channel 7 and whispered, “When did we start depending on the government to get us out of every fix.”

And later, as News Channel 8’s Bruce DePuyt, the other panelist, and I chatted, it seemed to be one of many tough questions every resident should ask candidates as the junkyard-dog-like economy bites the behinds of people of color.

True to form, the candidates sang and danced like Rockettes, two-stepping to “I’ll make sure you get your fair share, sister” and “Ill make sure the government can spare a dime, brother” in their appeals to the young, the old and the in-between packed inside a hall at Antioch Baptist Church.

Democrats worth watching: There are true education reformers making a name for themselves this election season, and one of them is Kevin B. Chavous, son of the former Ward 7 council member, who is running for his dad’s old seat. Another is Kenyan McDuffie, also a Democratic upstart, who is trying to stand out from a pack of more than a dozen Donkey Kongs in the Ward 5 race.

Both young men, who have their feet firmly planted in the school-choice camp, soon will have to join the final leg of a foot race, where Fenty supporters, independents, Republicans and D.C. newcomers are anxiously awaiting with a baton to hand off.

Hee-haw, hee-haw.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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