Monday, February 27, 2006

Deval in the Apse

Sometimes, they fairly post themselves. Yesterday gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick preached at an African American church in Dorchester. Same-sex marriage was -- ta da -- the non-issue.

Boston Globe reporter Scott Helman did his best to keep SSM the theme of the story. It was worth a mention, specifically Patrick said that he is for equality, including for gays, and there are far more important topics for the election and beyond.

However, what the article does not explicate is that he was both gutsy and smart (two traits seemingly lacking his is two opponents) by facing his vulnerability here directly.

From the pulpit, Patrick dealt head-first and quickly with the subject, "I'm going to step into sensitive territory here, because some have tried to discredit me and divide us over the whole question of gay marriage. Don't let that happen."

The Greater Love Tabernacle Church's Rev. William E. Dickerson II agreed to let Patrick speak. He said that this was not necessarily an endorsement of Patrick's candidacy and that personally he still believed "in traditional marriage."

However, from the outside, this was a refreshingly open-minded and equality-oriented attitude in contrast to the handful of charismatic and exclusionary ministers in the community.

Post Patrick's pulpit pitch, parishioners agreed that they saw far more important concerns, particularly to the Black community. They agreed with him that poverty, murders, AIDS, homelessness and others are far more pressing and poorly addressed.

As Patrick put it, focusing on small divisions while not hitting the real issues "has been one of the reasons why so little gets done in American politics today."

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