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Gray vows to reestablish religious office

Eli Reyes

Striking a contrast to his rival in the mayor's race, Vincent C. Gray said Sunday he would reestablish an Office of Religious Affairs to "strengthen the bond" with the city's religious community that he said has been weakened under incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Gray's comments came during a worship service at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church service in Shaw, the first of three stops at churches throughout the District in the final weekend before Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Gray, the D.C. Council chairman, received a standing ovation from the congregation and its pastor, H. Lionel Edmonds. During the service, Edmonds made reference to allegations that a volunteer for Fenty's campaign offered young people jobs in exchange for their votes, an accusation the campaign has denied.

"We don't need to have anyone pay us to vote. We want to vote," Edmonds said.

After the service, Gray noted that Fenty, who finished the Nation's Triathalon Sunday, had not "had much of a relationship with the church in the last four years."

During his term, Fenty abolished an office of religious affairs and forwarded its duties to the community affairs office.

Later today, Fenty is expected to appear at the annual Adams Morgan Day festival before attending a premiere of a documentary film featuring schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and then heading to tonight's Washington Redskins game.

-- Ann E. Marimow

By Ann E. Marimow  |  September 12, 2010; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
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Comments

I've been told, Mayor Adrian Malik Fenty is an alleged Atheist and he doesn't have any beliefs in God nor does he belong to a church.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

who cares about the candidates' beliefs or lack thereof?

I'm voting for Gray for mayor, not pastor.

Ward4DC - I think you do your candidate a disservice when you bring religion and race into the discussion.

Posted by: efavorite | September 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Why???

Posted by: lacy41 | September 12, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I really like Vince, but this is a sign he does not understand the separation of Church and state. This can only be wasteful, inappropriate, and probably unconstitutional.

Vote for Vince, and Leave No Teacher Behind.

Posted by: axolotl | September 12, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think this is a good idea. I hope the re-establishment of this office can help to foster some cooperation between religious organizations themselves and between the city and those religious organizations. If they city could help to mobilize religious groups and provide incentives for them to work together yo provide more outreach and basic human services to the city's neediest that would be a great thing!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | September 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I am going to vote for Gray, but I'm not thrilled with him blurring the church-state line in this vote-pandering move. And the cheap innuendo about Fenty's religious beliefs was simply out of line.

Posted by: kcx7 | September 12, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Church and the lack of being affiliated with a church is very much apart of the fabric of our communities and government. When you question our politicians wonder about their character and morals, you question and make your political opinion about who you are going to vote for as a politician. A man who cheats on his wife, would think twice about that sin and the vows he made with GOD when he married would have to have a Soul. The late Minister Pastor Terry Wingate, may he rest in peace, headed this Office of Religous Affairs it was a benefit to the city, politicians was held accountable and churches help low income communities. Please re-establish this office to create unity across the city and restore good work ethics in our government . Satan get behind us, this city is moving forward. Vote Gray in 2010.

Posted by: drfields | September 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

axolotl wrote:

I really like Vince, but this is a sign he does not understand the separation of Church and state. This can only be wasteful, inappropriate, and probably unconstitutional.

Vote for Vince, and Leave No Teacher Behind.

*****
axlotl: You have made two things clear: 1) you have tick up your a$$ about teachers or is it the WTU?; 2) you do not understand that an office of religious affairs does not violate the separation of church and state.

kcx7 -- the proposal to reinstate an office of religious affairs is no more of a vote-pandering move than the Fenty administration announcement. You know the announcement about the teacher pay bonus plan?

Posted by: sheridaw | September 12, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama kept the Bush office of religious affairs when he became President, Obama has also met with atheist groups - the first president to do so.

Qualified teachers who opt in for the pay "bonus" plan also give up some of their job protections.

Posted by: efavorite | September 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

All of us have witnessed the progress the has been made in 1) improving public schools, 2) increasing public safety, and 3) enhancing city services over the last 4 years. No one has disputed this progress - not even the Mayor's challenger. Every DC resident benefits from better educated youth, safer streets and more responsive government services. And you would benefit to have this progress continue for 4 more years by voting for Mayor Fenty.
Personally, I have had the chance to interact with Adrian Fenty. From those experiences, I can attest to his sincerity in wanting all DC children and families to reach their full potential by having the same opportunities as his own children and family.
In any job you have, you want to be judged on your performance and the quality of your work. You desire that the substance of your work product be held in higher regard than flaws in your personality. I ask that you consider the job of Mayor in the same manner. Your vote for Mayor Fenty is a choice to promote performance, which leads to positive outcomes, as the true standard for elections.
-------------
[1] Data-based analysis on enhanced city services:
"We see substantial improvement in average response times. In 2000, it was taking the District upwards of 40 days to respond. By 2009, that figure was down to 11 on average." (excerpt from A Colorful Race)
[2] Endorsements for Mayor Fenty from the Washington Examiner, Washington City Paper, and Washington Post:
(a) "As a result, there is a disconnect between what Fenty has done and how he is perceived. But on matters of substance, which will determine whether Washington becomes a truly livable place for residents of all races and in all wards, Fenty has a decidedly positive track record. Under Mayor Fenty, Washington suddenly has a palpable sense that the city’s major institutions and neighborhoods are finally moving in the right direction. People haven't felt this way for decades." (excerpt from Washington Examiner Endorsement)
(b) "Making nice with the old guard, alas, is a key Gray [Mayoral challenger] tactic. He hasn’t argued that Fenty is a failure—to the contrary, he makes Fenty’s case by failing to criticize the mayor on substantive policy grounds. When we asked Gray to name three Fenty policies he’d overturn, he struggled to come up with one, dinging Fenty (politely) for giving short shrift to the University of the District of Columbia in his education efforts." (excerpt from Washington City Paper Endorsement)

Posted by: jmc39 | September 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with having an office of religious affairs as long as it doesn't favor one religion over the other. Doesn't Obama have something like that? The churches represent a powerful sector of this community, and it is not a good idea to ignore the influence of the charges.

I am non-religious and agnostic. When I first came here 30 years ago, I didn't understand the importance of the churches in people's lives. Ignoring church leaders is just one of the ways that Fenty messed up.

Posted by: tacard1 | September 12, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

efavorite, how dire you to tell me what I should say or not say by having an opinion. Most black politicians do attend a church as President Obama did for 20 years in Chicago. I have never heard of King Fenty attending a church, but he should up at Shiloh Baptish Church to honor the late Dorothy Irene Height, the same one he was alleged to refuse to meet with twice. To heck with King Adrian Fenty. All the bad karma is coming back on him for the way he disrespected or was nasty to citizens and D.C. Government workers. I know first hand how nasty he can be and how he treated me 2 years ago on a walk thur of my neighborhood.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 12, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Correction:

efavorite, how dare you to tell me what I should say or not say by having an opinion of the Mayor of the District of Columbia where I live, pay taxes, and vote. Most black politicians do attend or belong to a church. President Obama belonged to a church for over 20 years in Chicago and so did former President George Bush. Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams is Catholic like me and he too attended Mass. I have never heard of King Fenty attending a church, but he showed up at Shiloh Baptist Church to honor the late Dorothy Irene Height, the same woman he was alleged to refuse to meet with twice. The heck with King Adrian Fenty. All the bad karma is coming back on him for the way he disrespected or was nasty to citizens and D.C. Government workers. I know first hand how nasty an arrogant the King and some of his young white arrogant Agency Directors can be. I told the King, no one is going to belittle or disrespect me regardless of their race. Yes race and racism exist in D.C. and in the United States. I witness every time I visit the new Georgetown Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue, NW in Ward 2 and the Whole Foods on Wisconsin Avenue, NW in Ward 3. Young 20 and 30 something whites act as if they are God's gift to the planet and they don't have a care in the world. Blacks will always be marginalized in this country and in Europe. On the issue of race, white liberal United States Senator Harry Reid stated, whites in America feel most comfortable with light skin or mulatto articulate Negroes. These are not my words, but the words of a U.S. Senator.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 12, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

sheridaw - you must live in Chevy Chase and go to the e church. May the Lord help you. But no thanks, we don't need Him in DC agencies, including DCPS. The union on the other hand, needs a little something....

Leave No Teacher Behind.

Posted by: axolotl | September 12, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

ward4DC - I told you what I thought, not what you should do.

I'm trying to help you out - so are others.

You are free to reject what we say.

I think the a person's ancestry or a person's religion or lack thereof is not a good basis on which to make a voting decision.

Posted by: efavorite | September 12, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I have already voted for Gray but would hope that he has counsel that clearly explains to him the importance of the separation between church and state. I'm not a big fan of pandering to pastors and preachers.

Posted by: LoveTheCapitol | September 12, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

efavorite, I don't need you are any other white person to tell me what I should do. Whites have been telling blacks what they should or shouldn't do all their lives since slavery. Yes, I am Catholic, but I stop attending the Catholic Church because the Catholic church is a racist institution that supported slavery. Whites in America continue to think, they are the superior race and people like King Fenty has pander to whites treating them better than he treats blacks.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 12, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Correction:

efavorite, I don't need you or any other white person to tell me what I should do. Whites have been telling blacks what they should or shouldn't do all their life's since slavery. Yes, I am Catholic, but I stop attending the Catholic Church because the Catholic church is a racist institution that supported slavery. Whites in America continue to think, they are the superior race and people like King Fenty has pander to whites treating them better than he treats blacks.

As I stated in a previous comment, white liberal Democratic Senator Harry Reid admit, white Americans feel more comfortable around articulate light skin or mulatto Negroes. These are not my words. They are the words of a so called liberal Morman Democratic United States Senator. Apparently, he knows what goes on in all white settings or whites in power. Don't hate or attack me for telling the truth. Adrian Fenty is a jerk and his parents did a horrific child raising this spoiled brat. If he had any morals or manners, he would have met with Dr. Dorothy Irene Height and Dr. Maya Angelou.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 12, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

LoveTheCapitol and efavorite, I think you are being too hard on WARD4DC for having an opinion on how he or she feels without making personal attacks. There are a lot of black Washingtonians and blacks in general that share WARD4DC feelings. Colbert King wrote an article in Saturday's Washington Post about race and class and how Mayor Fenty hired most unqualified young whites in his Administration.

I assume you both are white? If so, you have no idea what's it's like being black in America and especially being a black man in America. Let me re freshen both of you guys memories, WARD4DC was correct about U.S. Senator Harry Reid making the remarks about President Obama being light skinned with no Negro Dialect. Please read the attached article. These comments shows how many whites liberal or conservative in the United States feel about black U.S. citizens.

http://biggovernment.com/mikeflynn/2010/01/09/harry-reid-obama-light-skinned-with-no-negro-dialect/

Posted by: mmatthews1 | September 12, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

THANK GOD that he abolished this office. He should have abolished many more offices. Why do you need an office of religious affairs? WHY??? Fenty saw that another office can do this outreach function better and instead of paying a MILLION dollars to run an office that would replicate the work of another office, he abolished it.

THIS IS GOOD GOVERNMENT! This is not because he doesn't believe in religion. It's because he is being smart about taxpayer money.

Gray will say anything to get elected; He will tell you anything you want to hear if that means you will vote for him. Hard decisions need to be made and Fenty is the right guy for the job for the next four years!

Posted by: DCMoney1 | September 13, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I saw an episode on CBS "Touch By An Angel" years ago where God turned the white Angel Monica into a black human woman. Some rednecks attempted to kill Monica because she was black and Monica told God, she wished she was white again. I cried after watching this episode, because being black is a curse. The late Rosa Parks was in this episode entitled "Black Like Monica".

http://www.touched.com/episodeguide/seasonfive/524.html

DCMoney1 is a spokesperson for the Fenty campaign. Maybe he's Ron Moten? DCMoney1 what about the Peaceaholics getting millions of dollars of D.C. tax dollars?

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 13, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

More God Damn religion in government.

Posted by: jckdoors | September 13, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Fenty is a classic LIAR! And the only people riding his coat tail are on the payroll (Moten). I wonder where they will be getting their "easy money" after 9/14. Enjoy it while you can...

Posted by: lrich14501 | September 13, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Great - there are definitely not enough over the hill hustlers working the Wilson Building already. And I guess if Fenty was too busy running the city to kiss their a's, he's gotta go.

Because being an effective leader means never saying "no" to anybody ever for any reason, right?

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 13, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Reason enough to vote for Fenty over Gray.

Posted by: logan303 | September 13, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Lot's of questions here. Did he also go to temples? Will this be an outreach to ALL religions or just to certain ones he considers politically relevant?
Will it solve the problem of Marylanders jamming up our streets every Sunday with their oversized cars double-parked and angle-parked while they do nothing for the city except freeload.

Posted by: blankspace | September 13, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Wow. 2 black men running for the Dem Primary. 1 has the backing of middle class whites, 1 has the backing of middle class blacks. Should be interesting to see who wins.

When Barry was mayor, cronysim was fine and dandy way to do business. Fenty grew up in Barry-era DC. Looks like Fenty learned from the master.

Who will unite DC? Vince Grey? The only mayor to have done that so far is.... oh yeah, none that I recall.
Barry: beloved in his base and beyond, even after his nefarious failures and crimes, but not by middle-class whites, though he had what, 20 years to do something for DC.
Kelly, oh hell no woman! (rnough said).
Williams - not that middle class outsider (but thanks for finally giving the district some financial leadership).
Fenty, nope too arrogant for his own NW upbringing good.

I wonder if Fenty will return to the Council in the next cycle (if he looses). And I wonder how Grey will rule his city once he is the new chosen one. (vince: don't piss off anyone! Should be easy, eh.)

As always, DC is more fun to follow than fake tv shows.

Posted by: Greent | September 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

*Gray Gray Gray, dang it. I always spell his name like I like the color spelled. dang

Posted by: Greent | September 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Gray is showing his pandering side to preachers in an 11th hour attempt to make them think he vales their views-HA! Vince will meet and meet with everyone and anyone, and talk and talk and talk like a wind-up toy...But in the end Vince will do what Vince has wanted to do all along...

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 13, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Gray is showing his pandering side to preachers in an 11th hour attempt to make them think he vales their views-HA! Vince will meet and meet with everyone and anyone, and talk and talk and talk like a wind-up toy...But in the end Vince will do what Vince has wanted to do all along...

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Another reason that I'm glad I voted for Fenty.

Posted by: chrisny2 | September 13, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

You mean those same churches who gave us Marion Barry and all the problems it has taken over a decade to bury? The churches who encourage their PG County parishioners to come back to the District to vote illegally.

The last thing DC needs is a mayor backed by a corrupt theocracy.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 13, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Abolishing the “Office of Religious Affairs” and transferring its duties to “Community Affairs Office” was the right call and saved several thousands in funds.

It was hard to balance the budget the last time around - other service would be cut to accommodate a needless agency.

Keep it where it is!

Posted by: Chris543 | September 14, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

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