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Dissatisfied Black Clergy Urging Members To Stay At Home On Election Day

Apparently, the lesser of two evils is not a viable alternative to some disappointed African-American clergymen who are encouraging their flocks to stay at home on Election Day.

That news should be particularly worrisome to President Barack Obama because it was the record turnout from the black community four years ago that helped make him the nation’s first black president.

But some pastors have expressed disappointment that the president came out and backed same-sex marriage in May. African-Americans tend to be among the most conservative groups when it comes to issues of religion, crime, education and other social issues.

Not that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offers them much of a real choice, they say. Many black clergymen still have problems with his Mormon faith that once banned men of Africa descent from the priesthood.

Obama won 95 percent of black voters in 2008 and is likely to get an overwhelming majority again.

But any loss of votes could prove critical in what is expected to be a tight race.

“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,” the Rev. A.R. Bernard, founder of the predominantly African-American Christian Cultural Center in New York, told the website

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.

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.

“This is the first time in black church history that I’m aware of that black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote,” Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant told the Washington Informer last month.

Bryant, who opposes gay marriage, said the president’s position on marriage is “at the heart” of the problem.”

The circumstances of the 2012 campaign have led to complex conversations about faith, politics and voting.

The Rev. George Nelson Jr., senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, participated in a conference call with other African-American pastors the day after Obama’s announcement during which the ministers resolved to collectively oppose gay marriage. Nelson said Obama’s statement had caused a “storm” in the African-American community.

Still, he said “I would never vote for a man like Romney,” because Nelson has been taught in the Southern Baptist Convention that Mormonism is a cult.

Nelson said he intended to vote, but declined to say which candidate he would support.

“Because of those that made sacrifices in days gone by and some greater than others with their lives,” he said in an e-mail. “It would be totally foolish for me to mention staying away from the polls.”

Romney has pledged to uphold conservative positions on social issues, including opposing abortion and gay marriage. But many black pastors worry about his Mormon beliefs. Christians generally do not see Mormonism as part of historic Christianity, although Mormons do.

African-Americans generally also still view the church as racist, although Latter-Day Saints leaders lifted the ban on blacks in the priesthood in 1978.

The dilemma of sorts has left some African-American clergymen unsure as to what to do on Nov. 6.

The Rev. Dwight McKissic, a prominent Southern Baptist and black preacher, describes himself as a political independent who didn’t support Obama in 2008 because of his position on social issues.

McKissic said Obama’s support for same-gender marriage “betrayed the Bible and the black church.” Around the same time, McKissic was researching Mormonism for a sermon and decided to propose a resolution to the annual Southern Baptist Convention that would have condemned Mormon “racist teachings.”

The resolution failed.

On Election Day, McKissic said, “I plan to go fishing.”

What people are saying

15 thoughts on “Dissatisfied Black Clergy Urging Members To Stay At Home On Election Day

  1. Joe Kelsall says:

    And from whence came this suggestion? Dissatisfied Black clergy? When did you last see athin clergyman? Every vote denied to Obama is 2 votes for Romney. Wake up! Black clergy should keep out of politics if this is the kind of advice they scatter. Thankfully, that fat fool Falwell has departed this life or he'd be 'rooting' for Romney. Is that what you really want?

  2. Sinclair Rowe says:

    If black folks stopped going to these narrow minded churches. See how fast these so called ministers change there tune, the largest industry in the Black community is the CHURCH. With out congregations they would crumble like the Roman Empire! Take your heads out of the sand, this is the most important election in my lifetime. I'll be 63 God willing, and I have seen things most of have no clue!

  3. SINCLAIR here we go again, dee dee renae quoted "if they shouldnt vote tell all the gay people in your church to stop tithing. The ministers of music the praise dancers> you support them in the church let them minister to the congregation but you as a minister want to deny them civil liberties> church and state people> HYPOCRITS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Cat Thompson says:

    I say they can stay home, and don't vote, but don't complain when notihng changes for the better.

  5. Lynda Jones says:

    We are own worse enemy.

  6. Penny Drew says:

    Two words…..Eddie Long.

  7. Sinclair, I couldn't agree more! If we ever needed to vote IT'S THIS ELCECTION.

  8. Deborah Dillihant says:


  9. Dolly Morton-Lattimore says:

    You said a mouthful…..Gotta VOTE

  10. Lynda Jones says:

    Much hypocrisy. Prevalent in the Church is fornicators, adulterers, Down lows, and Pedophiles. From the pew to the pulpit. Keep it real.

  11. Benita Moody says:

    I can't believe how narrow-minded they are! They don't get it…the sacrifices that were made and the many lives lost so that WE could vote. STUPIDITY & IGNORANCE!

  12. Joe Kelsall says:

    The last presidential election WAS the most important in the history of America's black nation. It placed an honest black man in the White House. 2012 has BECOME the most important election in the history of America's People of Colour: keeping THIS black man in the White House!
    Obama is doing a good job in spite of having to wade upstream against the wealthy of other countries trying to buy the position of POTUS.
    Black AND white preachers have their heaven on Earth; they need to keep their noses out of politics and into the social conditions of their congregation.
    Preachers and predators have a lot in common!

  13. Deborah Dillihant says:

    Cat Thompson , they will be the very one's who will scream louder than anyone, but I have to say this that regardless if you vote or not, I believe it will go the way the Maker means for it too. He is in control and most folk's don't realize that obama was predestine to do what he is doing, we say we believe in the Lord then we know that Obama was annointed to do just what he is doing and if he get's a second term there will be some folks with murder on their minds thinking that they are doing a service for GOD. Ignorant Preachers , North , South, East, and West are a dime a dozen !

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