Many black pastors now telling their congregations not to vote for Obama.

African-American Christians waver over vote.

Once again, I am passing this along because it shows that people are starting to get bold.  They took a big risk.  It makes you wonder about white preachers who still refuse to speak out to their people and who criticize those who do.  Time is running out men of God.  Do not end up on the wrong side of history.  You will never live this down.

By RACHEL ZOLL | Associated Press

Many black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day. That’s a worrisome message for the nation’s first African-American president, who can’t afford to lose any voters from his base in a tight race.

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.

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.

Yet, Bryant last month told The Washington Informer, an African-American newsweekly, “This is the first time in black church history that I’m aware of that black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote.” Bryant, who opposes gay marriage, said the president’s position on marriage is “at the heart” of the problem.

Bryant was traveling and could not be reached for additional comment, his spokeswoman said.

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 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.

As recently as the 2008 GOP primaries, the SBC’s Baptist Press ran articles calling the LDS church a cult. This year, however, prominent Southern Baptists have discouraged use of the term when addressing theological differences with Mormonism. Many Southern Baptist leaders have emphasized there are no religious obstacles to voting for a Mormon.

Nelson planned to vote and has told others to do the same. He 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. It would be totally foolish for me to mention staying away from the polls,” he said in an email exchange.

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 still view the church as racist. When LDS leaders lifted the ban on blacks in the priesthood in 1978, church authorities never said why. The Mormon community has grown more diverse, and the church has repeatedly condemned racism. However, while most Christian denominations have publicly repented for past discrimination, Latter-day Saints never formally apologized.

Bernard is among the traditional Christians who voted for Obama in 2008 and are now undecided because of the president’s support for gay marriage. But Bernard is also troubled by Romney’s faith.

“To say you have a value for human life and exclude African-American human life, that’s problematic,” Bernard said, about the priesthood ban. “How can I judge the degree to which candidate Romney is going to allow his Mormonism to influence his policies? I don’t know. I can’t.”

Romney said in a 2007 speech that LDS authorities would have no influence on his policies as president. He also said he wept when he learned that the priesthood ban had been abolished because he was anxious for it to be lifted. But that has done little to change perceptions among African-Americans and others.

“Obama was supposed to answer for the things that Rev. Wright said,” said the Rev. Floyd James of the Greater Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, at a recent meeting of the historically black National Baptist Convention. “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.”

Obama broke in 2008 with his longtime Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, after videos of his incendiary sermons were broadcast.

Many Democrats and Republicans have argued that Romney’s faith should be off limits. The Rev. Derrick Harkins, faith outreach director for the Democratic National Committee, travels around the country speaking to African-American pastors and other clergy. He said concerns over gay marriage have receded as other issues take precedence, and no pastors have raised Mormonism in their conversations with him about the two candidates.

“There’s just no space in this campaign for casting aspersions on anyone’s faith,” Harkins said in a phone interview. “It’s not morally upright. It’s not ethically appropriate.”

The Rev. Howard-John Wesley, who leads the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., said he is telling his congregants, “Let’s not make the election a decision about someone’s salvation.” Last spring, when it became clear that Romney would be the GOP nominee, congregants starting asking about Mormonism, so Wesley organized a class on the faith. He said congregants ultimately decided that “we could not put Mormons under the boundaries of orthodox Christianity.”

But Wesley said, “I don’t want Gov. Romney to have to defend the Mormon church, the way President Obama had to defend Jeremiah Wright.” Wesley, whose congregation has more than 5,000 members, said he will be voting for Obama.

The Rev. Lin Hill, an associate pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va., said in a phone interview that he plans to travel with other local pastors to about 50 congregations over two weeks to hold discussions and distribute voter guides that will include a contrast between historic Christianity and Mormonism, and educate congregants about the former priesthood ban.

Hill is active in his local Democratic Party but said he’s acting independently of the campaign. He said Mormon theology becomes relevant when congregants argue that they can’t vote for Obama because, as a Christian, he should have opposed gay marriage.

“If you’re going to take a tenet of a religion and let that dissuade you from voting, then we have to,” discuss Mormon doctrine, Hill said. “We want folks to have a balanced view of both parties, but we can’t do that without the facts.”

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.”

McKissic’s Mormon resolution failed.

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

Working for Obama is the natural extension of your devotion to Christ.

Before I get to Michelle Obama let me bring something up that few are talking about.  No one is talking about is the crime Obama is committing against Black Pastors or the torture of the conscience of Black believers.  The Obamas know that the overwhelming majority of Christians in the black community believe the Bible is the word of God and oppose Gay Marriage.

Obama is issued a clear but unspoken mandate to Black Pastors and Christians: “I cannot win by talking about my record or by talking about jobs.  I must scrounge for votes wherever I can get them.  So, for the time being I am for gay marriage.  It gets me Hollywood money and makes the opposition look intolerant.  Since you have no where is else to go, deal with it.”

 This arrogant sense of entitlement to the black vote went to a new low yesterday. First lady Michelle Obama Thursday offered a rare public reflection on her religious faith, telling a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal church that the life of Jesus Christ is a model for democratic organizing. “We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church,” she said. “He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives.”  “Democracy is also an everyday activity,” she said. “And being an engaged citizen should once again be a daily part of our lives.”

Now the Obama message is, “working for my reelection is the natural extension of your devotion to Christ.”  This is exactly what Jesus would do if He were here today.  He would be out telling the people to vote for Barrack Obama.  He would be organizing rallies to force wealth to be redistributed. He would be going door to door espousing the virtues of killing unborn children and lobbying for the right of men to marry men.

 Jesus walked with sinners and ministered to prostitutes but He saved His most ardent and pointed rebukes for the Pharisees.  Mark 7: 6 “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”  Their crime was plain and simple: Twist the teachings of Moses then overlay the traditions of men over the Word of God in order to maintain power over the people.

 Jesus also condemned the Pharisees for bending reality at will and contradicting themselves. They rejected John the Baptist because he did not eat certain foods and he never drank wine.  Then they condemned Jesus for eating and drinking.  Mark 7:16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 17 “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”

 Here are the two songs the Obamas are playing: “Violate your conscience to help me get reelected.  Obey your conscience to get me reelected.”

 

Get back behind this line!

Get back behind this line.

Matthew 11:  16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying: ‘We played the flute for you,  And you did not dance;  We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’  18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

In this parable Jesus explains how a generation dismisses truth.  They are like children who get mad because you do not go along with their game of make believe.  They draw false lines of reality.

Someone has drawn a line behind us, the American Church and ordered us to give up our place in America.  The line is a moral claim of imminent domain.  For those who might not know imminent domain is a law that permits the government to seize property for economic development.  The American church has been ordered to get back behind a line.

Last week I celebrated 45 years as an ordained minister. Something told me to google  June 4th 1967 , the exact day I was ordained to see what else was going on in the world.  What I found was very interesting.  Turns out that on June 4th 1967, Syria drew a line behind Israel, ordered them to give up valuable land that was a major source of water and ordered them to get back behind the new line.

Israel rightly saw that this was a false line and stood their ground.  The next day they were attacked by Syria, Egypt and Palestine.  Israel won a stunning victory in just 6 days.  Now it is time for the American church to tell the forces that would  herd us back to their limits, we will not get behind their line.

Obama and secular progressives are drawing lines behind us so that we look like we have crossed the line when all we are doing is being what we have always been.   These new lines are meant to say if you do not give up your gains and get back behind this line then you are racist, intolerant, and homophobic.

A big line was drawn was in the 1950’s when LBJ rammed through the bill that took away the freedom of speech from churches.  501 (c3) non profits were created because pastors spoke out against Johnson and threatened his seat in the Senate.  The IRS will void the nonprofit status of any Church that takes a political opinion in the pulpit.   Here are the lines by the numbers:

1. The new lines says this, “if you are a black church and are campaigning for Obama, we the IRS will not enforce this law, all other churches go back behind the line.  Obama even made a video instructing black churches on how to organize congregational captains.  The president of the United States drew a line that violates the law so that one segment of the church can campaign for him but all of the rest dare not cross the line???!!!

2. The new line says, If you do not equate gay marriage with the civil rights movement you are hateful.   Obama is essentially ordering the black church to abandon her conviction on Bible morals in favor of him.  This is messianic arrogance in its most diabolical form.  

Thank God for CAAP founder and President William Owens who said. “We who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage. Owens said, “We call on all Americans to respect the legitimate civil rights of gay people to be free from violence, harassment, to vote, to hold jobs.”  Owens drew from King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” to explain what he believes is the difference between a just and unjust law.   “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the law of God, and an unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with moral law.  Owens also drew from St. Thomas Aquinas and said, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”

“Same-sex marriage is an attempt to do the opposite of what Rev. King did,” Owens said.  “It’s an attempt by men to use political power to declare that an act contrary to God’s law and to the natural law is a civil right.”

3. The new line says get behind the line or you are stupid: One of the worst new lines are being drawn by celebrities who speak of us in derisive and dismissive tones.  Check out this bleep from Alec Baldwin,  “We live in an age, and I’m being imprecise here, where half the country gets it, and the other half doesn’t,” he said. “I live where men and women who want to get married—who gives a @#$%?   No one gives it a thought. It’s like seeing women in power. Or like seeing African American CEOs. We’re in a fully realized age of equality in all things and it’s not surprising or new. But there is that other half for whom that is surprising and new.”  He added that he has spent a lot of time in Europe, which seems more relaxed about gay issues. “America is still a place where people are fighting these culture wars.”

 Isn’t ironic that a celebrity, an actor with zero training on the Bible, culture and history lays claim to intelligence and posits himself as an expert?  Even more ironic is the tired comparison to Europe…like does he think we want to be fractured, economically disastrous, overrun by Islam Europe?  Oh, and has he bothered to check the Islamic remedy for gay marriage?

4. Finally, the new lines say, you are not entitled to an opposing view.  You will offer contraceptives against your Catholic conscience;  you will not complain about gender based abortion, you will no longer mention God or sing songs in school have the word God in them.   You will be shut down if you do not go back behind every new line we draw.  We will draw lines that will shrink your rights, influence and mission.  We will do it with double standards and rhetoric that will frame the debate and define your place in society.

We need revival, we need to pray fervently, we need to win souls, but we also need to take a stand and tell the forces that are herding us to state created Christian farms that we will not go back behind your line!