The pastors say their congregants are asking how a true Christian could back same-sex marriage, as President Barack Obama did in May. As for Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon nominee from a major party, congregants are questioning the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its former ban on men of African descent in the priesthood.
In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of black voters and is likely to get an overwhelming majority again. But any loss of votes would sting.
“When President Obama made the public statement on gay marriage, I think it put a question in our minds as to what direction he’s taking the nation,” said the Rev. A.R. Bernard, founder of the predominantly African-American Christian Cultural Center in New York. Bernard, whose endorsement is much sought-after in New York and beyond, voted for Obama in 2008. He said he’s unsure how he’ll vote this year.
Luckily, not even the AP is able to completely escape the very real specter of GOP voter discrimination and suppression efforts and the new Jim Crow voter ID laws.
It’s unclear just how widespread the sentiment is that African-American Christians would be better off not voting at all. Many pastors have said that despite their misgivings about the candidates, blacks have fought too hard for the vote to ever stay away from the polls.
Black church leaders have begun get-out-the-vote efforts on a wide range of issues, including the proliferation of state voter identification laws, which critics say discriminate against minorities. Last Easter Sunday, a month before Obama’s gay marriage announcement, the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Baltimore formed the Empowerment Network, a national coalition of about 30 denominations working to register congregants and provide them with background on health care, the economy, education and other policy issues.
Now anyone who has remotely been paying attention to my loud, snark-filled diatribes on Why The Hell You Should Vote knows that I agree with this latter position, especially when it comes to the African-American vote. It stuns me that black pastors, themselves the key engines of the civil rights movement 50 years ago and organized into a real power as Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (an organization still run by his son today) would ever, under any circumstances, actively tell their congregations to abstain from voting.
It's the most asinine, insulting, thick-headed, addle-brained non-solution to the problem I can possibly think of. What the hell was the civil rights movement for if not to secure the right of all to vote, the single most powerful action you can take in a representative democracy? If there's any group that should understand that without the right to vote that you have no power whatsoever, it should be black pastors.
But no. Apparently even with the Republican party actively trying to disenfranchise millions of black voters nationally here in 2012, it's okay to say "Hey why should black folks vote? TEH MORMONS AND THE GHEY just stay home."
You could slap magnets on Dr. King's grave and a have a large coil of copper wire and power half of the eastern seaboard from the spinning. The fight is still going on, and we're disarming because of the gall of one candidate wanting to expand civil rights to include another disenfranchised minority? No, I'm going to need for these pastors to have all the seats in Great American Ballpark AND Paul Brown Stadium and sit the hell down for a second.
This is the AP looking for a story that doesn't exist, and a scapegoat that won't be needed. Sick and tired of blah people getting the blame for LGBT problems in the country when the real bad guys vote and are Republicans.
Eyes on the prize.