When it comes to interweaving politics and religion, few can match the skills of Boston’s black ministers. Last Saturday, more than 200 people pressed into Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain to support embattled school superintendent Carol Johnson. It was billed as a rally. But it was more a religious service from the moment a group of 10 ministers laid hands on Johnson and prayed for her to be lifted above the current fray. Johnson was dressed in a white suit, a symbol of purity and redemption.
Johnson’s “sin” was her failure to discipline a former high school headmaster after he was arrested and admitted to choking and punching his wife. Recent disclosure of the case followed earlier revelations about Johnson’s poor handling of student transportation, school closings, and other operational issues. That prompted City Councilor John Connolly and some parents to call for her ouster.