Will African American Voters Stay Home on Election Day?

I’ve posted before about the conflict some African American clergy feel concerning President Obama’s endsorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year.

According to a recent Yahoo News article, this concern seems to be spreading from more conservative African American clergy to those who have been Obama supporters in the past. If the upcoming presidential election is close enough, this could be an important factor in the outcome. President Obama received an critical boost in key states in 2008 from the enormous turn-out of African American voters on his behalf. If this turn-out fails to materialize again, it could be decisive in a close election.

I’ve heard from people who are close to the campaign that the Obama forces have targeted the African American communities in swing states in an effort to rev up their voter turn-out in November. The question remains how much, if any, the President’s decision to personally come out in support of same-sex marriage will ultimately impinge on those efforts.

The Yahoo article says in part:

Some 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. (read more here)


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