WMBD/WYZZ-TV (and others) reported on Friday that:
"A Chicago pastor says Governor Blagojevich has told him that he is innocent and will be vindicated. Reverend Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church says the governor prayed with several ministers before going to work Friday morning."
I have to say I winced when I heard about this. I mean, I get why the guy who gets caught red-handed might want to stage a photo-op with some ministers, but who are the ministers, for heaven's sake, who allow themselves to be used like this?
Ok, so according to the AP, one of them did say this:
"I look at it like this: Everybody that's hurting needs hope, and the family needs hope, and that's what our jobs are as pastors," said the Rev. Steve Jones, one of the pastors. "Nobody should be left hopeless. Nobody, no matter what the circumstances."
I absolutely agree with Pastor Jones. Nobody should be left hopeless. The thing is, is Blagojevich without hope in this situation? And if so, what sort of hope did they offer?
"From Reverend Leonard Barr of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church also met with the governor. Barr says they prayed that Blagojevich would "continue to be a great governor for the State of Illinois."
Not sure this is the kind of hope we would want to offer in this case. If the allegations are true, Blagojevich is in some deep trouble, both legally and spiritually. Perhaps the offering of hope then should have taken the shape of prophetic truth-telling, rather than enabling comfort? Sometimes the pastoral duty is to withhold comforting words, if those words justify the wrongdoing and permit its continuance. There's no sign that Blagojevich has any notion of what the problem is here. It seems the pastoral response would have been to help him come to some understanding of that. Instead, it looks like the Christians got themselves co-opted by the state again. Uncomfortable, to say the least.
Fortunately the church in which Blagojevich has his religious roots seems to be taking a dimmer view. Take a look at this posting on Kate Shellnutt's blog.