Pastor Willie James Campbell opened a campaign event for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. this week by decrying the "Satanic forces" arrayed against the congressman in his Democratic primary fight.
“We stand together, united behind this congressman, who stands in the forefront, battling political demonic forces that would keep us from receiving that which you have ordained for us to have.”
Campbell, the pastor of St. James Ministries, Church of God in Christ, implied that God has ordained Jackson be re-elected to Congress and all those who oppose his campaign are doing the devil's work.
“God has men in place that can go into spiritual warfare against every demonic force that comes to disrupt and divide people of God,” Campbell said. “We want the devil to know you’ve already lost. There’s no way in the world you can win with men of God who stand before the Lord’s people, coming together united and saying to the devil, ‘You are defeated.’ ”
Rick Pearson, reporting in Clout Street on ChicagoTribune.com, writes that Jackson and his campaign have declined to comment on the remarks, uttered Monday at a South Side campaign event, nor denounce them.
Campbell later told Pearson that Halvorson herself wasn't "demonic" but that she was "selfish" and "looking out for herself."
Tuesday afternoon, Halvorson's campaign issued a statement to supporters and the news media.
"Desperate politicians do desperate things to save their own jobs. And right now, Congressman Jackson is desperately trying to save his job. After 17 years of putting himself before the people and failing to deliver, the people want change," Halvorson wrote in an e-mail.
Halvorson, a longtime state senator and one-term congresswoman, is challenging Jackson in the March 20 Democratic primary. She says she's running because many people in the 2nd District believe Jackson hasn't accomplished much while in office.
Jackson has been embarrassed recently by a congressional ethics investigation, accusations that his supporters tried to trade money to convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for Jackson's appointment to the U.S. Senate, and revelations about marital infidelity.
Last week, WBEZ reported that Jackson's congressional staffers may have used government resources on campaign-related communications.
Is Jackson getting desperate? Do you think accusations that Satan is trying to derail his re-election have a place in the campaign? Tell us in the comments.