Church & State
Cops resemble “slave catchers.” Sal Albanese never smoked a joint. The Bloomberg Administration has locked the men of God out of City Hall.
These were all arguments presented at yesterday’s peculiar mayoral forum, moderated by clergymen in the Bronx.
“How do you make the city safe with the thugs who are running around from the police department undercover who are from the outer boroughs and Long Island?” Randy Credico, a comedian and long-shot mayoral candidate, boomed. “They have thousands of undercover cops that are whacked out on steroids, going around like slave catchers, this is true, like slave catchers did back in the 1860′s and 1850′s in the wake of the fugitive slave law.”
The Puerto Rican news site El Nuevo Dia just published an account of an interview an Argentine woman who claims to be a childhood sweetheart of the newly-elected Pope Francis gave to reporters today. In the interview, the woman, who is named only as “Amalia,” said she had a relationship with Pope Francis when he was about 12-years-old and he told her, “If I don’t marry you, I’m entering the priesthood.”
Though he was a longshot, many locals were hoping Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who serves as the Catholic Church’s Archbishop of New York, would be selected pope to replace Benedict XVI, who abruptly abdicated last month. However, when the white smoke cleared over the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican announced Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to lead the Church, becoming the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit to hold the position. In his capacity as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Dolan released a statement reacting to the selection of Cardinal Bergoglio, who will now be known as Pope Francis I.
“The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis I, marks a great milestone in our church,” said Mr. Dolan. “As successor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him.”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is standing by his decision to don a Purim costume that some people have described as offensive “blackface.” The outfit, which consisted of brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses in what Mr. Hikind described as a representation of a “black basketball player”provoked widespread outrage after Politicker first wrote about it this morning. However, in a post on his personal website bluntly titled “It’s Purim. People Dress Up,” Mr. Hikind argued his critics don’t understand the nature of the Purim holiday, a costume and wine-fueled reverie commemorating a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Church & State
This morning, Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich took to his Facebook page to post a scathing review of Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in The House of God, an HBO documentary on the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. Mr. Ulrich had several issues with the film, which he characterized as “an exploitive and biased account of a dark chapter in the history of the Catholic Church.”
“As a proud Roman Catholic, I am truly offended by the blatant bigotry contained in HBO’s so-called documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in The House of God,” Mr. Ulrich wrote. “It accuses His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI of being complicit in covering up sex abuses cases involving Catholic priests and unfairly criticizes the late Pope John Paul II. Above all, its chock full of anti-catholic rhetoric and demonizes members of the clergy (most of whom are dedicated, compassionate and pious men).”
One power broker in southeast Queens fears that the next City Council candidate to represent the 31st Council district will be a “young Jewish boy.”
In order to prevent Pesach Osina, an Orthodox Jewish former staffer to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, from winning the election, Bishop Charles Norris, founder of the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, is urging some of the eight other candidates to step aside. The seat in the majority black district was left open when James Sanders was elected to the State Senate and next week’s special election to replace him has attracted a crowded field.
“The black vote would be split among the six or seven candidates,” Mr. Norris told Politicker yesterday. “Since Jews vote in a bloc, as they usually do—and there’s nothing wrong with that—the young Jewish boy in the Rockaways would win.”
Frack to the Future
A group of religious leaders are hoping divine intervention will force Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the controversial natural gas drilling procedure known as hydrofracking in New York State. Today at noon, an interfaith group of around 15 religious figures gathered outside the governor’s office in Midtown Manhattan for an anti-fracking pray-in. With parkas draped over their ritual garb for warmth, the leaders adamantly spoke out against the controversial drilling process and invoked biblical imagery in their quest to convert the as-yet-undecided governor.
“When God created Adam and Eve, God led them by the hand around the garden of Eden,” preached Rabbi Marc Katz, of Congregation Beth Elohim. “We too have a garden: a beautiful, thriving Eden. Every time we pump chemicals into our water supply, every time we drill without knowing the consequences, we bring our garden closer to destruction.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered one of the eulogies at former Mayor Ed Koch’s funeral in Manhattan this morning and he praised his predecessor for an attitude “full of humor and chutzpah” that ”embodied the spirit of New York City” and made him “our City’s quintessential Mayor.” In his speech, Mayor Bloomberg also credited Koch with laying the foundation that allowed subsequent mayor’s to make the five boroughs “great again.” In a nod to the setting of the funeral, the Jewish Temple Emanu-El, Mr. Bloomberg compared Koch’s achievements to the story of Moses.
“I’ve been doing my biblical research, and I think it’s only fitting that this week’s Torah portion is about Moses leading the Jews out of bondage in Egypt. Now, Ed, in his own way, was our Moses. Just with a little less hair,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “He led us out of darkness and he gave us hope. And while he may not have parted the Red Sea, he did break a subway strike by standing on a bridge and shouting words of encouragement.”
Devil May Care
A group of Florida-based Satanists will be holding a rally in support of the Sunshine State’s Republican Governor Rick Scott on January 25. According to a press release for the event, the Satanic Temple, which organized the rally, will be showing “solidarity” with the governor for his “unwavering fortitude and progressive resolve in his defense of religious liberty,” specifically his approval of a legislation that will allow students to vote on whether or not to include prayers in graduation ceremonies and other school assemblies.
“The Satanic Temple embraces the free expression of religion, and Satanists are happy to show their support of Rick Scott who–particularly with [Senate Bill] 98–has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school,” the group said in a statement announcing the rally.
When he announced his plans to “explore” a Senate campaign earlier today Newark Mayor Cory Booker had a stack of holy books at his side. Mr. Booker’s reading list included five books from four different religions.