One day before Martin Luther King Day, Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her appearance was notable for a number of reasons. To begin with, King was a preacher at the church, so the timing of the address, during which she praised the civil rights leader for paving the way for Obama's historic presidency, was appropriate.
But of additional interest was Jarrett's politically-charged speech, which, according to the Weekly Standard, she delivered to the church's congregants just before the house of worship hosted a voter registration drive. Rather than dancing around the political nature of her position to deliver a sermon or a message rooted purely in Biblical nature, she took the opportunity to lambaste Republicans.
"Teachers, and firefighters, and policemen, whose jobs are now in jeopardy because Congress -- well let me be specific -- because the Republicans in Congress," she said.
The crowd was laughing and applauding before she could even finish her statement. Additionally, she went on to discuss Osama bin Laden and the end to the Iraq war.
"We all sleep a little better at night knowing Osama Bin Laden and his lieutenants are not plotting a terrorist attack against the United States," she said.
Watch a WGCL-TV report that includes Jarrett's anti-Republican comments, below:
Additionally, the church's pastor, Raphael Warnock, lambasted Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich during his sermon. Warnock took particular issue with comments that the presidential contender made about food stamps and the African American community.
"He is playing an old game that's part of the southern strategy...I think he's relying on old logic of scapegoating and race baiting," he said.
The church hosted a voter registration drive after the service and it is pledging to continue to do so until the November election.
For those of you wondering if churches, being non-profit organizations, are allowed to utter this sort of political rhetoric, you may remember our coverage of Pulpit Freedom Sunday and the "Johnson Amendment." This latter law restricts partisan political activity by non-profit groups.
In order to qualify as a 501(c)3 group, a church must be one, “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
The waters are murky in this case, though many have argued that the law shouldn't exist at all (this, in fact, is the premise behind Pulpit Freedom Sunday).
(H/T: Drudge Report)