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Ministers threaten to shut down House, hold own vote

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2007

* This could cause quite a bit of hilarity next week…

More than 100 religious leaders from the Chicago area are threatening to take over the Illinois legislature if lawmakers fail to pass a state budget in the next week. The potential protestors say they will storm the capitol and occupy every seat in the Illinois House. […]

“We are prepared to take our complete delegation to the capital to take over,” said Rev. Ira Acree, Ministers Alliance.

The budget battle in Springfield escalated Monday as more than 100 activist ministers claiming to represent 500,000 parishioners threatened to take over the Illinois House in Springfield next Monday, sit in the lawmakers chairs and vote on a symbolic budget with more money for education, health care and mass transit if Governor Blagojevich and the other elected officials can’t agree on a real budget by then.

“Since we have elected officials down there fighting, we are going to say enough is enough. People are suffering, because folks want to play politics,” said Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Ministers Alliance.

“You have seven days to get it together. Seven days,” said Rev. Steve Jones, Ministers Alliance.

* More

Rev. Steve Jones, President of the Baptist Pastors Conference, says ministers by the bus-load will descend on Springfield next Monday if no budget is passed by then, and he says they’ll take over the House Chamber and try to pass their own budget:

* If you use the Google on all the names mentioned in the stories you’ll see that every one of the ministers endorsed Gov. Blagojevich’s health insurance proposal. Interesting, that. I can’t help but wonder whether the governor was behind this stunt. I also wonder how the House will react when the ministers show up next week. Should be fun.

In addition, Rev. Watkins co-founded the Ministerial Alliance Against the Digital Divide. The group’s name was apparently shortened in the story. MAADD, which never answered an e-mail or a phone message I left with it several weeks ago, has been shilling for AT&T’s effort to open up cable competition.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jim in Accounting - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:40 am:

    If there is a god, this will be the most entertaining thing that has ever happened in Illinois politics.

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    Sad to say, but the black ministers seem basically “for sale” to the highest bidder. It began with Thompson, then Edgar, with social service contracts, etc. Now it’s been “privatized”, with Budweiser, ComEd, AT&T, etc.

  3. - Self-Marginalizing for Dummies - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:44 am:

    If the “Minister Brigade” follows through next Monday, in addition to providing hilarity they will marginalize both themselves and this Blago lobbying tactic of pressuring the legislature through black churches. It will be great fun watching Blago’s folks deny knowledge/involvement.

  4. - Southern Right - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:45 am:

    Rich, I’m thrilled you put two and two together. The Governors show must go on. No one is talking about the Illinoiscovered plan. It is a failure waiting to happen. Since no one believes he can find the funding, they are over looking the fact that the plan is based on inflated numbers and endless false facts and assumptions. The only fact necessary at this point is that eleven states have spent billions of dollars on similar plans only to see them fail. These states are now paying double the premiums and the states are now unable to pay the increased premiums and dropping the plan aka Tenncare or raising additional taxes to cover. ERISA has said that the 3 percent tax on groups of 10 plus that don’t offer health insurance is 100 percent illegal. Now there are rumblings on a dollar a pack tax on tobacco. My fear is to end the budget stalemate, our legislators will bite on this nasty worm. We’ll see if anyone in Springfield has done any homework on this. So far no ones come out against the plan, only the financing.

  5. - oneman - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:45 am:

    Might be worth taking a day off

  6. - Jechislo - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:46 am:

    Everyone’s smiling except God.

  7. - Mr. Ethics - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:46 am:

    This will be good for the Springfield economy.

  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    Can you imagine how Mapes might react to a bunch of outsiders taking over his newly renovated chamber? That alone would be worth the price of admission.

  9. - Linus Van Pelt - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    Is the Governor inviting legislators this week to join “working group” meetings on various subjects, to discuss their fy2008 priorities? This might be another tactic from the toolbox.

  10. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:50 am:

    Headlines for Next week:

    100 ministers arrested in attempted Capitol Takeover.

    Subtitle: Not even God or Rich Miller can help them get out of this one!!!

  11. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:52 am:

    Southern Right - unless you’re simply regurgitating someone else’s phony “talking points”, I’m sure you would be happy to share with us the list of the 11 states that have adopted the same plan as Illinois Covered and have seen it fail. You can’t, because there are none.

  12. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:53 am:


    So who is going to represent the other 12 million people of the state in this kangaroo-legislature?

  13. - Tom - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:02 am:

    Who is advising Blago on this stuff? Although this is an impolitic thought, it is pretty clear that Mike Madigan is not going to be influenced by African American ministers. Madigan sees the future of his majority and the democratic party in the collar counties. He takes the black vote for granted because he can, but also because the average voter, black or white, do not really care about these issues. Madigan appreciates more than most that pocketbook issues matter and he will not care one whit about stunts. Blago is not just a bad leader and bad administrator, he is a bad politician.

  14. - FED UP - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:07 am:

    The gov is a joke having his boys the ministers take over the house has he forgot he doesnt have the votes in the senate to pass any of his ideas. No one will admit E. Jones cant pass Blagos bad ideas even with a super majority. Jones is to busy getting every last member of his extended family state jobs and contracts to care about budgets.

  15. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:07 am:

    Is the Pope Catholic? Of course, Blago is behind this. DUH!

  16. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:16 am:

    I am tired of the left using religion in politics! :) Religion i sonly bad when Evangelicals get involved…or the other guy does it.

  17. - Underdog - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:18 am:

    Lumping all black ministers together and calling them sellouts is beyond unfair. Yes, there are some that will take the money and fight against rate relief or a living wage, but there are plenty more that are doing what they’re called to do because they believe it’s right.

    Someday, the press may follow Rich’s lead and provide some context in their reporting. It might help explain why those ministers are taking over the house and not the senate or governor’s mansion.

  18. - Emilatitagain - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:32 am:

    That should be fun watching them try to get onto the floor to sit in the members seats. Madigan will put the place on lock down as he should. Tell Blago to beat and knock off the stunts. Real people throughout the state don’t want universal healthcare. Tell liberal Chicago to quit telling folks what they should and should not support and let them make up their own minds

  19. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    Two things come to mind:

    1. Rich, what kind of odds are you giving on whether the Guv is in Springfield that day?

    I say 5:1 he has an emergency meeting in Chicago that day, any takers?

    2. I have to call my legislator to tell him not to pass a budget before the, I gotta see this.

  20. - ChicagoSouthSide - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    I think Blago has watched the movie “Dave” one too many times. I’ve seen that movie, and Governor, you’re no ‘Dave’.

  21. - True Comparison - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 11:26 am:

    All ministers in the Church of Rod.

  22. - jwscott72 - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 11:40 am:

    Not taking that bet Patriot. We all know he will have that “meeting”.

    I coordinated using the House chambers for MIG 2007 and it was not a cake walk. These ministers are sadly mistaken if they think they can just walk onto the floor and start punching roll call buttons.

    Hopefully Rich gives us breaking news when they arrive at the Capitol. I’ll head down there ASAP to watch!

  23. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 12:01 pm:

    I thought this sort of bizarre stuff happened only in the 1850’s. What next — someone getting whacked by a cane on the floor of the House?

  24. - Papal States - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 12:07 pm:

    After the ministers’ takeover they should call an ecclesiatical convention to ensure that only ministers can be voted into state office. Meeks can take over from Blago as Charlemagne, unless Lisa Madigan can ordain herself first.

  25. - Southern Right - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    Anon these states are in trouble with their health insurance laws. Tn,Tenncare,Washington, New York, NJ, Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Oregon, La, Al, SC, Colorado is backing out of most of its laws. Tn is dropping Tenncare or face bankruptcy. Mass has a chance of working, but it will cost more than they guessed it would. If we are one of eight states that did not have a surplus, why are looking at more spending options? There are so many talking points that it’s not a fair debate. So lets just say the first billion Rod wants from groups of ten plus is a violation of ERISA law. Tax tobacco, that’s going to cover it. Hmmm missouri adds 17 cents or Rods $1.98. Do you think smokers are totally ignorant? We want health care for all, But this plan and the financing are as wrong as possible. Last, what in the past five years has given you the impression that our Governor is smarter than the other 49 Governors. I’m waiting…….

  26. - Judgment Day Is On The Way - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 12:44 pm:

    Ok, there’s a term for this, I’m just not sure which one applies. Is it:

    “Rods From God”
    “Rod’s From God”

    Also, if IL has 12.8 mil population (2006 est.), and these 100 ministers cover 500k, that means we should only have an additional 2460 ministers/priests covering the rest of IL.

    Since there’s probably more than 2460 ministers and priests here in IL, that means we’ve got some slackers out there.

    Rich, you got to keep this one updated. Has great comedy potential.

  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    If the ministers get to vote, does that mean one of that one of the Reps gets to give the invocation? I nominate Dunkin.

  28. - unclesam - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:12 pm:

    If the ministers do get onto the House floor and vote, do they get a per diem?

  29. - Anon - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:15 pm:

    It will be interesting to see their new revenue proposals:

    Friday night Bingo
    Bake Sale
    50/50 drawing
    Dunk Tank featuring the Speaker
    Ice cream social
    WWJED (What Would Jim Edgar Do?) bracelets

    Sunday Family Picnic
    (small print disclaimer - Sorry no homosexuals, Catholics, Jews, Liberals, anyone practicing premarital sex (immaculate conceptions are exempt)or anyone else that doesn’t look/act like us).

  30. - Beerman - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:25 pm:

    There you go Rich - there’s your new tee-shirt



  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    Please. Edgar ruined many a summer as well.

  32. - Beerman - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:31 pm:

    LOL -

    Good point - How about WWQD - What Would Quinn Do

  33. - annoyed all the time - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:41 pm:

    seriously, whoever they are they are just adding to the circus - i am sure it would be hilrious but honestly, how would that help in creating a circus, taking time and effort to do what they are doing - we get it, there is a huge problem with passing the stte problem, we get it, ministers we know there is a problem…send a delegation to make your statements but if everyone would just be where they should and just do their job our lives would be so much easier -

  34. - game plan - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:43 pm:

    Big deal. It matters not. Anyone that backed the governor, it matters not.

  35. - FED UP - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    Just another example of blago caring only about chicago, Blago would bankrupt the state to make some chicago ministers happy. Blago must of came up with this plan while getting hammered at the cubs game with your buddy Rich

  36. - Gene Parmesan - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 2:07 pm:

    These people make Christopher Hitchens look like a genius.

  37. - i d - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 2:32 pm:

    On their way to extort the rest of the citizenry, would they stomp all over an old, fat, fiscal conservative retiree lying on the front steps of the capitol?

  38. - oneman - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    Jim there is a God and it will be funny

  39. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 3:02 pm:

    Good lord!
    You claim to be a minister and demand that a government do the providing?


  40. - Captain America - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 3:48 pm:

    I think an insurrection and/or coup is entirely in order.If they don’t have a reasonable budget by Governor’s/Democrats Day and Republican Day at the State Fair, I think we shoud all go down and raise “heck.”

  41. - Bill - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 5:03 pm:

    Does anyone want to join me passing out popcorn and cotton candy to the ministers as they walk into the chamber?

  42. - Concerned Voter - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 5:15 pm:

    Wow, that’s like an average of 5000 members per congregation for those ministers. omehow those numbers just don’t seem to add up. I know they don’t all have megachurches.

    “Rev. Steve Jones, President of the Baptist Pastors Conference, says ministers by the bus-load will descend on Springfield next Monday…”
    Then they will submit their bills for transportation costs to the state and the guvs campaign and get reimbursed by both.

  43. - NiteCap - Tuesday, Jul 17, 07 @ 9:58 pm:

    Most are betting the campaign paid for the bus ride.
    What will be the over under on how many make it
    I’ll take 50ish

  44. - Don Gwinn - Wednesday, Jul 18, 07 @ 12:17 am:

    Let’s get 100 atheists together and have a rumble.

  45. - Batman - Wednesday, Jul 18, 07 @ 12:48 am:

    Top 3 Reasons why the state has not passed a Budget
    3. State officials was standing in line for an iPhone.
    2. Couldn’t read any legislations. ComED turned off lights, couldn’t afford to pay bill.
    1. Too busy reading Blogs.
    I really wish there was as much enegry and excitment over this budget as there is over this Blog, perhaps the ministers would not have to Springfield if there was a responsible budget. By the way…I’ll take you up on the bet. Inside sources says: The campaign did not pay for the bus ride, and I bet that there will be more than 50ish. This is the real deal, if it were not, you would not waste your time talkin’ bout it. The Cape Crusaders will see you in Gotham City.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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