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Monday, March 8, 2010

Governor Paterson in Church

A major theme of our book is the role of religion in American politics. Contrary to myth, that role extends far beyond Christian conservatives. For instance, New York's Democratic governor, David Paterson, went to a church yesterday to discuss the ethics controversy that threatens his tenure in office. The New York Times reports:

In his remarks, Mr. Paterson cast his struggles in religious terms. “I shouldn’t be listening to the god of the media,” he said. “I shouldn’t be listening to the god of polls. I shouldn’t be listening to the god of popularity. I shouldn’t be listening to people who are going in a path, rather than leading a path. I should be listening to my own heart.” He added, “If you know the truth, and you want to serve God, then stand before him no matter what happens.”

Mr. Paterson, who is Roman Catholic, rarely makes public appearances at churches, a Sunday ritual for many other elected officials. His visit to the politically influential Cornerstone congregation, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, will be followed Monday by a town hall meeting in Downtown Brooklyn to discuss the state budget gap.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a Cornerstone parishioner who attended the Sunday service, said, “I think during difficult times, many individuals turn to the church to be strengthened while in the middle of the storm.”

A local TV report on the appearance: