Will Black Voters Stay Home on Election Day?

Religious and moral issues could lead some Black Christians to stay away from the polls on Nov. 6. Will this spell trouble for President Obama?

Faced with a Democratic candidate who supports same-sex marriage and a Republican candidate with a dubious religous affliation, will Black voters sit out this year’s presidential election. A wave of news reports over the past few weeks have raised that question.

“Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports same-sex marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day,” observed a widely circulated Associated Press report. It continues: “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.”

A separate report from NPR’s All Things Considered homed in on African American Christians in the all-important swing state of Ohio. In the Youngstown area, where Obama won the majority of Black votes handily in 2008, reporter Allison Keyes spoke to parishioners at Friendship Baptist Church about their mixed feelings regarding the election. “I’m really in prayer as to what to do, whether to vote,” said Betty Washington. “I’ve never not voted. But it’s very disheartening to me to hear some of the things that are going on.” She worries about President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage. Brian Hughes is conflicted about the president’s gay marriage stance as well, but as an employee at the local GM plant, he gives Obama credit for saving hundreds of jobs in the area. Friendship’s pastor Julius Davis believes Preisdent Obama is undermining the impact of Christian churches. He adds, “If I were to vote today, I’d vote for Romney.”

In the Associated Press report, the Rev. George Nelson Jr., senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, registered dissatisfaction with Obama’s gay marriage decision, but appeared even more put off by the prospect of voting for Romney, whose religion is looked upon as a cult in his Southern Baptist circles.

The Rev. Floyd James of Greater Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago wonders why Romney’s religous affiliation hasn’t been put under the same scrutiny as that of Obama’s church during the 2008 campaign. “Obama was supposed to answer for the things that Rev. Wright said,” remarked Floyd. “Yet here’s a guy (Romney) who was a leader in his own church that has that kind of history, and he isn’t held to some kind of account? I have a problem with that.”

Will lingering ambivalence about both candidates keep Black voters away from the polls come November 6? A recent survey suggested Mitt Romney might receive less than 1 percent of the Black vote, but with tight races in key states, Barack Obama still needs every bit of the Black support he received in 2008. If Black Christians who supported him last time stay away, will that leave an opening for Romney to prevail?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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  2. As a christian and a Baptist I have prayed about the Gay marriage question and I have a few thoughts.I have never seen any Gay marriage legislation that bars Christians from getting married nor does it impact my faith or beliefs.Therefore it has no effect on me.I know my sins and by Gods grace I have been forgiven but I do not forget them for to forget your transgressions is to lead yourself to repeat them.Like wise I do not forget what men have done in the name of my faith.In the name of my faith did many men slaughter natives of many lands with the call of “Those that will not convert by the word will die by the sword”. In the name of my faith did pastors with Bible in hand claim that the Bible said slavery was Sanctioned by God.In the name of my faith did pastors and ministers claim that God wanted us to destroy the native Americans.Let me site an 1869 example of what men have done in the name of my faith, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that: “…moral or social equality between the different races…does not in fact exist, and never can. The God of nature made it
    otherwise, and no human law can produce it, and no human tribunal can enforce it. There are gradations and classes throughout the universe. From the tallest archangel in Heaven, down to the meanest reptile on earth, moral and social inequalities exist, and must continue to exist throughout all eternity.”So have we as Christians learned nothing? Should we as Christians again use the Bible and our faith to trample on those that do not share it? Gays being allowed to get married should no more trouble you than anyone else of a different faith getting married or is your faith in God so weak that someone else seeking comfort and love and equality troubles you?There are those that are troubled because the president wants health insurance companies to cover birth control even insurance companies for religious institutions.They claim it is a war on religion and that it makes religious institutions violate their moral judgement because their faith does not believe in birth control.Many say that doctors and nurses and pharmacies should not have to provide birth control if it violates their personal judgement and beliefs.Based on what has been done in the name of our faith in the past what if those that are not Christians decided that their morality and judgement would not allow them to serve Christians?Then of course we Christians would scream religious discrimination.So others that do not share our faith have to violate their beliefs about morality to serve us but we can deny them.I would suggest reading the Gospel of St. Matthew for Gods
    word on judging others.When Christ returns and this is Gods kingdom He will judge it is not our place to do so.

    • Good comments, Dan. Not sure I agree with everything you’re laying down here. I think most people who object to expanding gay rights are most concerned about having the gay agenda taught in schools or having their children indoctrinated with ideas that those parents find contrary to their faith and values. But you’ve definitely stretched my thinking a bit, which is good. Thanks for taking the time to share these thoughts.

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  5. I am not voting for Obama because he supports homosexuality and this lifestyle is detrimental to children. I am not voting for Obama because he supports abortion which has killed many generations of black babies and is linked to cancer, miscarriages, premature births and sterilization of women. I am not voting for Obama because when he was a senator and he had to vote on whether a baby should live or die after being born during a botched partial birth abortion, he was the only senator that voted to let the baby die.