A group of 26 prominent black Christian leaders, including 8 African American bishops, have written a forceful “open letter” to Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, decrying her vicious attacks on religious freedom and warning her not to take the black vote for granted.
On Monday afternoon, Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers presented “An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton Regarding Religious Freedom for Black America” to Clinton Campaign Headquarters in Brooklyn, requesting a meeting with Secretary Clinton “to discuss some of the critical issues in the black community: education and employment, religious freedom, violence, and justice for the unborn.”
The letter is signed by leading black clergy, activists and intellectuals from across the U.S., all of whom are Democrats and independents.
“Those who would oppose our right to live by the teachings of the Bible set themselves against the interests of the poor,” states the letter, which was also sent to Breitbart News.
The signers express special offense at Hillary Clinton’s April 2015 speech before the National Organization of Women, where she stated that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” regarding abortion.
“For political leaders to call for changes in citizens’ beliefs constitutes a denial of our religious freedom” and is “reminiscent of totalitarianism,” the letter declares.
In a thinly veiled threat to Clinton, the writers note that as a “highly experienced and very savvy candidate,” Hillary knows full well “the importance of the black vote in this election cycle.”
“We know that you will not make the political mistake of taking the 69,000 black churches in the US for granted,” the letter states.
Black Christians, who make up some 80 percent of America’s African American population, “are deeply troubled by the fact that in 2013 more black babies were aborted in New York City than were born,” the letter’s authors state in a press release sent to Breitbart News.
They also assert their “right as religious leaders to minister to their own members and to the black poor, regardless of their religious beliefs, in a manner consistent with their faith convictions.”
“As those who have challenged structural and racial injustice for many decades leaders in the black church affirm the centrality of religious faith to their actions,” the communiqué states. “These leaders insist on their constitutional right to their religious beliefs and on the freedom to act on them in the public square.”
The authors of the Open Letter challenged the attempts of “demagogues” to accuse people of faith of “promoting Jim Crow laws” when they seek to safeguard their freedom to obey their conscience and follow the teachings of their sacred texts.
“There is no analogy between the apartheid of Jim Crow and the religious freedom laws in force across this country,” the letter declares. Moreover, it is “absurd to demean the defense of this faith as the equivalent of the injustices that we have fought and overcome.”
Regarding the recent Wikileaks revelations of messages from within Team Clinton, the authors decry the “open contempt for religious freedom within your own campaign” expressed when “key players on your staff have sought to subvert Catholic teaching on sexuality by planting externally funded groups in the church to advance a politically correct agenda.”
“What would you do as president to guarantee that religious freedoms are balanced against civil rights rather than being trumped by them?” the authors queried.
“Will black pastors and intellectuals be free to lead and guide our communities in accordance with our widely accepted faith-based knowledge tradition?” they asked.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome