Posted: Aug. 30, 2007
By Celia Cohen
In a republic one of the ways to beat swords into plowshares is through politics, so there was the Rev. Christopher A. Bullock, speaking Tuesday at an anti-war rally in Rodney Square in Wilmington.
Bullock, the pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in the city, gave a speech that was part Biblical preaching and part political. So is he.
Bullock is in the midst of deciding whether he wants to run next year for Delaware's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, the one that has belonged since 1992 to Congressman Michael N. Castle, the Republican who went to Washington after two terms as governor.
Bullock was in the right place. The rally, attended by about 150 people, was focused on Castle. There were banners reading "Rep. Castle, you got us into Iraq, now get us out" and "Rep. Castle, stand with Delaware, end the war." There was also an empty chair for Castle, who did not attend, not with this crowd.
A politician does not need a preacher to know there is a time for every purpose. The rally was a time to refrain from embracing Castle. That made it a time for Castle's silence.
It was also a time for Bullock to speak. "Mr. President, end the war and end it now, bring the troops home. Mr. Castle, end the war, bring the troops home. The Bush-Castle agenda has been one of misguided policies and misguided priorities," he said.
"We need a change in who represents Delaware in the House of Representatives. Next year Mike Castle will be gone. Next year will be the election for peace, the election for change, the election for opportunity and the election for hope. No more war, no more war. . . .
"Vote together, children. Pray together, children. March together, children. No more war, no more war, no more war. For blessed are the peacemakers."
Bullock is a political work in progress. He has been a Democrat, a Republican and a Democrat again. He has been here, gone to Chicago and returned. He was courted by both parties in 1995 for a state House seat in Wilmington in a special election but turned each side down. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for a county office in Chicago in 2002. He was encouraged by the Delaware Republicans to run for the U.S. Senate last year but declined.
Now there could be another election year, another party, another office.
If Bullock wants to run for the Democrats' congressional nomination, he can expect company. Dennis Spivack, the party's challenger to Castle in 2006, intends to try again, declaring, "I'm better prepared as a candidate, and I'm ready."
The party does not seem to have a favorite -- not between Spivack, whose 39 percent of the vote fell meekly below the statewide Democratic registration of 44 percent, or Bullock, who was working for the other side in the last election. It could be Spivack, Bullock or somebody else.
Besides, Castle is not the priority for the Democrats, who are preoccupied with keeping the governorship despite a primary between Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell and with trying to take over the majority in the state House of Representatives. The congressional race can sort itself out.
No matter the tone of the remarks at the anti-war rally, Bullock said afterwards he has nothing against Castle. "Nothing personal against Mike. I've worked with Mike, but he's wrong on this," Bullock said.
As a potential candidate, Bullock sees no conflict in straddling church and state. "The same issues that the African-American community faces on Sunday, we also face Monday through Saturday. Some of the neighborhoods in Wilmington, that's homeland security," he said.
"Congress would be an extension of what I'm doing. We live in our faith but under the law."
Nor above politics, apparently.