That puts Reed in a new position, and one that may benefit him down the road.
Separation of church and politics is a different matter. Just ask Bill and Hillary Clinton. Not only are the two of them fighting off an assortment of spins of their comments about Obama; remember Bill's remark about Obama's candidacy being a "fantasy?"
It gets even thornier for the former first couple, though. Now Hillary has caught grief for remarking on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. It took President Lyndon Johnson to put King's dreams into practice, she said. That didn't sit well with some.
A new InsiderAdvantage poll taken this week shows that Sen. Clinton trails Sen. Obama by nearly 10 percent in South Carolina. So straightening out her relationship with black voters has become critical.
But Obama's supporters have outmaneuvered the Clintons with a touch of religious controversy themselves. With the all-important symbolism of the Martin Luther King Day celebration coming up Jan. 21 in King's hometown of Atlanta, it looks like Obama has been awarded the pulpit from which to speak on the eve of the holiday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King once was pastor.
The King family has no say in the church event. But the Obama camp will likely use the prized appearance to seal the deal with black voters in southern states.
There may be separation of church and state. But never of church and politics.