Corey Brooks pastors a church in Chicago’s South Side. He also happens to be black. Recently, ABC News reported Sunday, he joined a group of black pastors who support GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner over Democrat Pat Quinn. As a result, he has received death threats, hateful voicemails and has had to move his family to a safe house. Additionally, his church has been vandalized and large amounts of money earmarked for charities has been stolen.
Brooks said that he received five threatening messages on Friday that he turned over to police. The messages, ABC added, were homophobic and contained racial slurs.
“We own you and you ain’t got nobody that can stop us,” one message said. “Nobody!”
“Yeah. We going to steal the sheep of the hypocrite,” another message said. “You’s a hypocrite. You token. You a puppet. You a Bruce Rauner puppet.”
But the threats aren’t stopping Brooks. “If they’re trying to intimidate me, they probably picked the wrong person,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I’m probably going to go harder.”
Late Friday, thieves broke into his church and stole some $8,000 from a donation box. In the process, they busted out the church’s glass doors.
“I don’t believe in threats at anywhere in our democracy,” Quinn said after hearing about the break-in. “I support the voting rights amendment to make sure everyone has a right to vote and follow their conscience. That’s what America’s all about.”
The attacks, Warner Todd Huston said, were sparked by television commercials in which Brooks publicly endorse Rauner. Since then, Huston said, “Brooks has been under siege by those ‘tolerant’ Democrats who wish death upon him.”
“I don’t know,” Rauner said when asked if he thought the Quinn campaign was involved. “I’m very concerned,” he told ABC. “It seems like right at the time of his involvement and support of our campaign, some very bad things are happening. It’s very upsetting.”
Rauner appeared at Brooks’ church Sunday, telling the congregation that, “I am here to go to work for you.” Brooks offered prayers for both Quinn and Rauner, but said that politicians will no longer be invited to address the congregation.
“I think it ought to be investigated at every level,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “There’s no room for intimidation in political campaigns, left, right or center. There’s no room for violence, including property violence. I believe there should be a complete investigation.”