Rev. James Meeks is a former Democratic member of the Illinois Senate and founder of Chicago’s 20,000-member Salem Baptist Church. While in the Senate, he also served as chairman of its Legislative Black Caucus. Meeks even briefly ran for the Democratic Party nomination for mayor of Chicago in 2011.
But, according to AllChristiannews.com, the good reverend has “had enough with the Democrats making promises which they don’t keep, to the faithful African-American community who keep voting for them.”
However, rather than sit out the upcoming elections, or challenge both the Democrats and Republicans via a new, localized (Chicago-based) political party, Meeks has jumped the Democratic Party ship altogether and gone over to the other side.
Indeed, Meeks has thrown his rather heavy support to the Republican Party candidate for Illinois governor, Bruce Rauner.
Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is Illinois’ current governor, and he’s a man with whom Meeks has locked horns over many issues, especially as they affect Chicago.
Thus, Quinn would do well to take serious note of Meeks’ defection because he is a wildly popular figure among Chicago’s nearly 1 million black voters.
A cursory glance at his church reveals Meeks’ “A” personality. He founded Salem Baptist in 1985 as basically a “storefront” operation. As stated, it is now one of Chicago’s largest (and richest) “mega-churches,” clocking in at 20,000 filled pews each and every Sunday God sends us.
Meeks’ switcheroo, though, is not that particularly surprising, because – quiet as it is kept – he is (as are most black people) rather “conservative” on certain “social issues.”
A case in point was Meeks’ vigorous fight against same-sex marriage in Illinois. The Chicago Phoenix reported that Meeks led a broad coalition of black churches that had “threatened to take away their congregations’ support and even bar the lawmakers from attending their churches if they vote to approve gay and lesbian nuptials.” (Meeks and company lost that one: Same-sex marriage has since been legalized in Illinois).
Meeks argues that Quinn and the Democratic Party have had more than enough time and chances to actually follow through on their many promises to the black community. He notes that 97 percent of black people — locally and nationally — consistently vote for Democrats, but have nothing to show for their votes. He says that Democrats are only seen in “the hood” near election time, after which they retire to City Hall, the state capital in Springfield or the national capital in Washington to figure out ways to cut badly needed programs which directly affect black lives.
Fox News-Chicago quotes Meeks thusly: “Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable. And we still get the same promises from the Democrats, but we don’t get any deliverable [results]. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.”
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