*In response to an article written by a recent AP article written by Rachel Zoll titled “African-American Christians waver over vote,” Pastor Jamal Bryant would like to make it clear that he does not, nor has he ever discouraged voting in the African American community. On the contrary he has been very vocal about the importance and necessity of all eligible Americans to be informed of all the issues on the ballot, and the urgency for all to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election.
A small portion of a quote from a previous article was referenced, which led readers to believe Pastor Bryant discouraged voting in the upcoming election because of President Obama’s position on gay marriage. This is not the case. Please reference the full quote below:
“This is the first time in Black church history that I am aware of, that Black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote. At the heart of controversy are pastors who preach subjects of same-sex marriage, of which I am also an opponent. I am against the President’s policy on the issue, but I am not against the President. There is a larger issue at stake facing the Black church and the Black community. I deal with the fact that we lead in foreclosure, we lead in unemployment, we lead in HIV and AIDS, we lead in the high school dropout rates, we lead in dying of incurable diseases. So there are a whole lot of other issues we have to discuss openly.”
The president of the Empowerment Movement; a coalition of African American Clergy that has come together and formed a faith based voting initiative, Pastor Bryant and his fellow clergymen have registered over 100,500 new voters.
“As a practitioner of Liberation Theology, I consider it apart of my divine assignment to encourage, empower and uplift people with activism and evangelism. In starting my church the Empowerment Temple 12 years ago it was my intent to birth a ministry that would be socially engaged and spiritually grounded. To that end I vehemently disagree with our President on his opinion on same sex marriage, yet support him and his policies to support oppressed people. President Obama’s vision is much closer in line with community development than any other available option, so as a consequence I’m working tirelessly to galvanize clergy & the disenfranchised to make their voice their vote!” stated Pastor Bryant.
Pastor Bryant continues to organize and speak at voter registration drives across the country, encouraging all to vote on Election Day and will do so throughout the months of September and October.
Amy Malone, GIC Public Relations (GICPR)