Pastor who opposes homosexuality may get Chicago City Council seat
Posted on July 20, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
he amens in full force, the choir in full throated glory, Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus takes the pulpit at New Life Covenant Church to urge his congregation to dream big.
“Because we can change a life, we can change a community,” he preaches. “Because we can change a community, we can change a city.”
The sermon sounds like a campaign speech, fitting because De Jesus, one of Chicago’s most influential Latino pastors, is making a controversial leap into politics as the choice of outgoing Ald. Billy Ocasio (26th) to be his replacement on the City Council.
But, in a complicated blending of morality and politics, the pastor’s possible appointment has drawn protests from gay activists who object to other rhetoric used in De Jesus’ church that they say is not as uplifting — messages equating homosexuality with drug addiction and other social ills.
The activists call De Jesus “homophobic.” They worry that his appointment would give him the ability to control funds for agencies that serve gay clients and a platform to shape broader debates such as same-sex marriage.
De Jesus says that he has never preached hatred of gay people and that his church’s opposition to homosexuality is rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
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