Viewed as the most historic and momentous election America has ever seen, the 2008 Presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain was the most racially and ethnically diverse in United States history. In regard to the Black vote, data by the Pew Research Center explains that Black turnout rates increased by nearly 5 percent in 2008, almost matching the voter turnout rate of White eligible voters. The data also shows that for the first time Black women had the highest turnout rate, and an increased number in younger voters drove Black voter participation. In fact, nearly all black voters – 95 percent to be exact- cast their ballot for Democrat Barack Obama.
This year’s Presidential election may show a dramatic decline in Black voter participation as many fear Barack Obama may not retain that support due to one specific controversial issue: gay marriage. To be specific, many Black clergy are discouraging their congregations from participating in the upcoming election based on the belief that there is no good candidate in that one supports gay marriage and the other is Mormon. According to Pastor Jamal Bryant, “The reality is, President Obama better be in some black churches real soon clapping his hands, singing Amazing Grace and waving that hand because the black vote is going to be very critical and apathy may win this election if we don’t get on the ground.”
Primarily, let me state that this notion is extremely narrow-minded and flawed in many areas. Also, I will state that Bryant’s comment sounds a bit characterized and racially offensive in his depiction of the Black church. Let a white man had said this about the Black church and all hell would have broken loose. With that out of the way, and with all due respect to Mr. Bryant, the reality is this:
The Black church has always been a strong link in holding together the African American community. Since slavery it has been a symbol of pride and respect, refuge and counsel, and a sign of ownership. The Black church led the Civil Rights movement by which it taught love through nonviolence, activism, and social and political awareness. With strength and influence, the African American church has seemingly become the focal point of the Black community.
Men and women have tirelessly fought and died to give minorities the right to have their voices heard in America. All I can think is “how foolish of the Black church to discourage their congregation from participating in one of the most critical and pivotal elections to date!”
President Barack Obama supports gay marriage. What are you going to do about it, not vote? Sounds like a very wise decision considering his job is to adhere to and agree with every single detail of your personal belief system.
The role of the President of the United States is to support the overall well-being of America. He is the Commander in Chief, ensuring the country’s security. He is the Chief Executive, coordinating the activities of over 150 departments and agencies. He is the leader and guide of our foreign policy and also advises Congress and recommends laws as Legislative Leader . Among many other responsibilities, all of this must be done while maintaining some sort of personal life with his wife and children.
Naima Othman, a recent college graduate, states “I don’t think it will hinder him from winning the election. Their votes will help although he will lose votes from the church community as a whole, not just blacks.”
If one does not agree with President Obama’s notion on gay marriage, that is okay. Do you agree with every opinion of your boss, co-worker, or closest friend? Have you always been in complete agreement with your spouse or your partner concerning every detail of your relationship? Have you always shared the same opinions of your mother or father? If you have not, then you most likely have a mind of your own and have learned that compromising is a part of life.
Do not be ignorant to the forethoughts of this election. However, certain standpoints should not deter you from utilizing your human right to vote. Personally, gay marriage does not affect my grandmother’s right to healthcare, my brother’s and sister’s career opportunities, nor my husband’s military benefits. Gay marriage does not determine whether my younger niece or cousin can obtain a grant to attend a university. It does not determine my tax deductions, nor does it affect my mother’s social security upon retirement. As long as the overall preservation of this country and my community are being defended, then someone’s personal lifestyle should be of little concern.
According to an article written by the Associated Press “Pastors say their congregants are asking how a true Christian could back same-sex marriage, as President Barack Obama did in May.” The answer is simple. While some who support Barack Obama may not necessarily support same-sex marriage, particular issues are considered to carry more weight on their decision.
The term “hypocrisy” should come into mind regarding this matter. If you do not support gay marriage, but continue to fornicate, have lied, have judged, have used profanity, ect… then you are not perfect in any right. Who constitutes as a “true Christian?” No man is perfect, including yourself, your pastor, and President Barack Obama for that matter. John 8:7 reads, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…”
“I’m indifferent to it and it doesn’t matter to me,” states Oyewole Oworu a student attending Kennesaw State University. “It’s not an issue that concerns me. It’s politics and I think the church should stay out of it.”
My message to the Black church in particular is this: Do not be foolish and lean on the words of just one man. The pastor is designated to lead his flock, but he is simply a man- he is not God- and his words are subject to flaws. If the pastor decides not to vote, let that be his decision, not yours. Be wise in your choices, looking at the overall picture of this election.
I am not writing this to attack the church. I simply want people to open their eyes. The livelihood of America is hanging in the balance. If you believe everyone should live, behave, and think like you then perhaps you should reconsider your position as an American.