Pastor Derrick Harkins of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church—-one of the oldest black churches in the District—-has been appointed director of faith outreach by the Democratic National Committee. Which is to say, he’ll try to help President Barack Obama‘s campaign get religious folks to vote for him next year; the Obamas have worshipped at Harkins’ church since arriving at the White House. The DNC explained in a statement:
Rev. Harkins is a national leader in the faith community with strong and diverse ties to the African-American church, evangelicals and the progressive faith community. Outreach to people of all faiths is a key priority and trademark of President Obama, and Harkins is the right leader to continue the Democratic Party’s engagement of the faith community.
Full statement from the DNC after the jump.
Democratic National Committee Announces Hire of Rev. Derrick Harkins as Director of Faith Outreach
WASHINGTON, DC- Today, the Democratic National Committee announced the hire of Rev. Derrick Harkins to lead the Democratic Party’s outreach to people of faith. Rev. Harkins is a national leader in the faith community with strong and diverse ties to the African-American church, evangelicals and the progressive faith community. Outreach to people of all faiths is a key priority and trademark of President Obama, and Harkins is the right leader to continue the Democratic Party’s engagement of the faith community.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“I am excited for Rev. Harkins to join our team. I look forward to working with Rev. Harkins to build on the successes we’ve had as a Party in reaching out to people of faith from all walks of life and backgrounds. The faith community will be an integral part of President Obama’s successful reelection and the success of Democrats across the country in 2012.”
Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, welcomed Rev. Harkins on board: “In 2008, President Obama built an unprecedented religious outreach operation. We saw gains with Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants and other communities of faith. The hire of Rev. Harkins to lead our efforts here at the DNC should be a clear sign to everyone that Democrats will be making our case to voters motivated by their faith and values in 2012.”
Regarding his appointment as faith outreach director, Rev. Harkins expressed his eagerness to get started:
“Justice, fairness and compassion are at the core of religious voters’ concerns, and they are central to President Obama and the Democratic Party. Working with religious Americans from across the country, we will ensure that those values are a part of the political conversation heading into this critical election. President Obama has been a leader on so many of the issues and values religious Americans are passionate about—from comprehensive and just immigration reform to the Affordable Care Act to maintaining and supporting the critical role of faith in public life. People of faith have a home in the Democratic Party, and I have every expectation that people of faith will be a key part of a successful election for Democrats in 2012.”
Rev. Derrick Harkins serves as the Senior Pastor at the historic Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Harkins also serves on the boards of the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief and Faith in Public Life, a progressive faith-based organization.