During the election campaign, I wrote about GWB and the African-American churches here, arguing that we were witnessing the beginning of a shift away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans. More evidence can be found in this article. According to U.S. Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.), this development could spell disaster for the Democrats:
Even if it [African-American support for Republicans] rises 5 percentage points, Owens said, "the Democratic Party will be paralyzed."
Owens said the GOP strategy of courting church leadership was on target. "The churches are the last institutions alive and breathing in some of these neighborhoods, and people look to them for leadership," he said.
"I am frightened by what is happening," said Rep. Major R. Owens, an 11-term Democratic congressman from New York who has been conferring with colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. "Our party is in grave danger. This Republican movement is going to expand exponentially unless we do something."
"Doing something" would seem to require actually working with African-American churches, rather than merely exploiting them for political gain during election campaigns and taking seriously the moral concerns raised by black pastors.
In my view, the next two years are crucial. If the Democrats do not get their act together and the Bush Administration does not implode, there could be a substantial exodus from the former to the latter. We live in interesting times.
Update: Ken Masugi has further thoughts.
Update #2: Heres the L.A. Times story about the event. According to the reporters, it focused on gay marriage.