James Meeks: The Untouchable Delegate

RELIGIOUS & POLITICAL KINGMAKER

“The Miracle Man” on Chicago’s South Side

In 1985, Reverend James Meeks, 51, became pastor of his own Salem Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side. His church has since grown to 29,000 members (about 6,000 regularly attend Sunday services). In addition to being pastor of a 29,000 church, Reverend Meeks is also:

  1. Executive vice president of Jesse Jackson Sr.’s National Rainbow-Push Coalition;
  2. A second-term Illinois State Senator;
  3. A former (2006) candidate for governor of Illinois;
  4. An Obama delegate to the 2008 DNC Convention in Denver;
  5. A religious advisor to Senator Barack Obama.

From his humble origin, Reverend Meeks now travels (with two bodyguards) in a $100,000 Jaguar and private jet that are owned by the church. Like Obama, he received substantial campaign contributions from Tony Rezko. Meeks’ take was over $20,000, making him the 14th largest recipient of Rezko’s largesse.1  According to the website of his Salem Baptist Church:

“Meeks’ practical and charismatic style of instruction motivates the hearer to take action and has resulted in accomplishments of miraculous proportions.”

“Pastor Meeks views this position as an extension of his ministry to serve people of all races, classes, and backgrounds for the establishment of God’s Kingdom in the earth.”

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