Add the name of Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus to the growing list of those looking to replace Chicago's outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley. The influential anti-gay evangelical mega-church pastor will reportedly announce his candidacy this Thursday, reports WBEZ radio.
R20 readers may recall in the summer of 2009, Daley considered appointing Jesus to the vacant 26th Ward alderman seat. De Jesus' candidacy was promoted by the outgoing alderman but later rejected by Daley after heated opposition from Chicago's LGBT leaders. The previous year, De Jesus made national headlines with his opposition to Chicago's proposed gay high school, which he railed against as "a form of segregation."
De Jesus is the senior pastor of the 4,000-member New Life Covenant Ministries—"one of the world’s largest Assemblies of God congregations"—and is reportedly using his evangelical base to network with churches and launch a mayoral campaign. " De Jesús supporters have also quietly begun to collect signatures to get him on the February ballot, sources say."
In other news on anti-gay mega-church pastors running for Chicago mayor: State Sen. James Meeks the senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church on the city's far South Side, is reportedly circumventing the "consensus" process started by the city's Black leaders. "I don't want to be the black candidate," Meeks told Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell. "If that group thinks I am the best person, good. But I don't want to be their candidate.