News Revelations

Faith leaders ask Clinton not to ignore black church concerns

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a Sunday service at Union Baptist Church accompanied by Mothers of the Movement, a group of women who have lost their children in a series of police shootings that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, in Durham, N.C., on Oct. 23, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Carlos Barria

(RNS) Two dozen African-American Christian leaders have delivered an open letter to Hillary Clinton asking her to defend the right to oppose abortion and gay marriage and commit to work with them to address poverty and violence.

“We know that you will not make the political mistake of taking the 69,000 black churches in the US for granted,” the writers said in the letter delivered Monday (Oct. 31) to Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. “It is not enough to make obligatory appearances at black churches, we need you to articulate a coherent policy agenda for the black poor.”

The letter, signed by Democrats and independents, simultaneously outlined the leaders’ frustrations with some of Clinton’s statements about abortion and seemed to predict her victory at the polls by requesting a meeting with her “during your first 100 days in office.” They asked her to give them the same respect that she would give to “wealthy white donors.”

Courtesy of Charles Blake

Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ. Photo courtesy of Charles Blake

Signatories, whose affiliations were listed solely to identify them, included Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, and Bishop Frank M. Reid III, chair of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Social Action Commission.

They asked for details on her policies to “reverse the soaring abortion rates among black women” and address violence in the black community, including “the sometimes egregious behavior of law enforcement officers.”

The letter writers opposed “the drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior” and asked how she, as president, would balance religious freedom with civil rights.

Although they emphasized domestic issues, the leaders also asked Clinton how her possible future administration would address Christian persecution in Africa and the Middle East.


About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • It’s good to see these black church leaders sending a plea to Hillary Clinton, but it’s way too late. The time to make real noise against abortion and gay marriage was when OBAMA was acting crazy, legalizing gay marriage from coast-to-coast and giving 100 percent support to unrestricted-abortion-on-demand. Their letter is way too little, too late.

    The fact is that these black churches and leaders DIDN’T go to war with Obama, they didn’t give ANY kind of a fight, when Obama was riding high on this mess. We openly ACCEPTED Obama’s advocacy of these national evils. We went along with all of his mess, **because he is black.**

    In fact, throughout the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2016, the black churches and black leaders have NOT offered a single peep, in front of national TV, against Hillary’s support of total-abortion-on-demand and total-legalized-gay-marriage. These black denominations essentially SUPPORT Hillary, and Team Hillary already knows it. Pitiful.

    So it’s way too late now. The church letter is a bunch of last-ditch begging from black church leaders who know that Team Hillary is holding all the cards (thanks to the black church).

  • The Democratic party is totally committed to reproductive freedom and gay marriage. It is naive to think that is going to change. Their hope rests only with the Republicans. As floydlee pointed out, they missed that boat by supporting the Democrats. Blacks, including the religious, have overwhelming supported Democratic presidents since the 1960s.

  • Their hope rests only with the Republicans.

    The only reply I have for that, is an old hymn. It goes something like this:

    My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness….
    On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
    all other ground is sinking sand,
    all other ground is sinking sand.

  • Because opposing marriage equality and abortion rights are the most important issues for the black community. Not institutionalized racism, poverty, and political exclusion. No siree. All the problems of the community can be solved by attacking the ability to have abortions or get married. Riiiiight.

  • These black leaders are hopelessly naive! The only people who have standing with the Clintons are those who make large “donatons” to the Clinton Foundation. The black community gets lip service in exchange for showing up to render a full 90%-vote for Democrat every four years! You you suppose they’ll ever catch on?!

  • Hillary Clinton is a strong defender of freedom of conscience, religious liberty, and women’s and minority rights. Far more than Trump and Pence, who are clearly on the wrong side. Trump is also a racist. So black religious leaders should be strong supporters of the Clinton/Kaine ticket and Democrats across the spectrum. — Edd Doerr

  • Oh, tough questions.

    It’s important for those church leaders to remember that they are never obligated to officiate every request for a wedding that comes their way, regardless of the couples’ gender. Nor must they approve any woman’s or man’s reproductive decisions.

    One of the best ways to reduce abortions is first rate, comprehensive sex education, regular, skilled health care and unfettered access to contraception.

    And that’s why blacks support Democrats. Democrats support real policies that improve lives, rather than ideological drivel that sometimes makes everything worse. Except for the very wealthy. (Republicans)

  • Killary in a church? Well let’s see, she supports two men getting married. Goes against God’s word. Supports the number one killer of blacks (Planned Parenthood). Goes against God’s word. If the word of God is against it she is for it. But yet you support her? Weird!