Both men running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois are scheduled to appear in Birmingham, with Republican Alan Keyes appearing Sunday at the Mountaintop Community Church in Vestavia Hills and Democrat Barack Obama attending a fund-raiser Monday at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. It's a strange coincidence in what has been a strange political race.Keyes was there to speak at a church; Obama for a fundraiser:
Keyes, who has run unsuccessfully for president twice, was booked in December to speak at Mountaintop Community Church, a nondenominational evangelical Protestant, mega-church. Paul Podraza, the church's media director, said Keyes is one in a series of guest speakers who have included John Croyle and will include former NBA star A.C. Green in September and supermodel Kim Alexis in November. Podraza said the speakers were chosen to draw people to church who might not normally consider it and because the speakers are not only in the public eye but they also talk about their Christian faith. Hosts for Obama's Birmingham fund-raiser include former Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington; Ginger Avery, executive director of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association; state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma; and Alabama New South Coalition Director Toni Smalls.