City Councilman Douglas E. Moore, asserting that the "work of God is in my bones," claimed the support yesterday of nearly 100 clergymen in his campaign for chairman of the District of Columbia Council.
Moore, an at-large council member and Methodist minister, was flanked by Baptist and Methodist leaders as he preached a short political sermon to a midday gathering of his supporters in the City Council chambers.
"We have had a government of the monied interests," he told an audience that included more than 20 other ministers. "We have not had a government of morality, social morality."
Moore's aides and political backers produced a list of 94 ministers who, they said, have endorsed the maverick Democrat in his chairmanship battle against Councilman Arrington Dixon (D-Ward 4). The clergymen, most of whom are black, include Baptist, Methodist and Pentacostal denominations.
"I have probably the strongest ministerial support in the city," Moore claimed in an interview yesterday afternoon. "It gives us a good strong base." Churches are widely regarded as a significant source of campaign funds, workers and votes in city politics.
Dixon later brushed aside Moore's claims, saying, "We have a large amount (of support) from the church-going community of the District of Columbia." He added that a number of ministers are backing him, but said he is not prepared to name them publicly.
The ministers who have endorsed Moore repeatedly noted yesterday that he has sided with them on several key issues. Moore is opposed to legalized gambling, liberalized marijuana laws and broader rights for homosexuals. In contrast, Dixon favors all three measures, although he says a referendum should be held among city voters before a system of legalized gambling is established.
Moore has been embrolled in several widely publicized incidents, including a court conviction for assaulting a tow truck driver in 1975. He referred to these obliquely yesterday, arguing that his life style should not be a focus of the chairmanship campaign.
"I have said that I have made mistakes in my own personal life and I have asked you, in your wisdom and your grace, to forgive me," he told the ministers in the District Building audience.
The two ministers who stood beside Moore during yesterday's gathering were the Rev. Willie B. Allen, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Washington, D.C. and Vicinity, and the Rev. William E. Bishop, president of the Black Clergy of the Washington Central District of the Baltimore Conference of the United Methodist Church.