The leaders of the Church of God in Christ, a historically African-American church, have turned down multiple speaking requests from individuals representing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to a source familiar with the decision.
The influential Christian denomination has 12,000 churches in the United States with more than 6 million members around the world.
Whether to allow Clinton to speak publicly to the congregation was discussed among Church leaders on three separate occasions – including a recent request to speak at its annual international convocation in November, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
This year’s convention will be held in St. Louis and expects to host 40,000 attendees as well as many influential speakers and musical artists.
Previously, Clinton representatives asked permission for her to speak publicly at the congregation meeting of bishops and at a women’s convention, according to the source who was familiar with the conversations.
“That’s simply not true,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told Breitbart News when asked for comment. He did not elaborate on the campaign’s efforts to communicate with the church’s leadership.
Clinton’s polling numbers have cratered in recent months with African-American Democrats. A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll shows that Clinton is down 31 points with African American Democrat voters.
Boston Pastor Eugene F. Rivers III, an adviser to COGIC presiding Bishop Charles Blake, confirmed to Breitbart News in an interview that the conversations did happen, but that COGIC leadership ultimately decided against allowing her to speak. A public relations representative for the Church of God In Christ did not respond to a request for comment.
Rivers pointed out that many church members were weary of Democrats taking them for granted.
“There is the perception among the political actors from both parties that the black church are useful idiots who will be called upon at the last minute to function as ground troops, but there is no respect apparently on either side of the aisle for the moral perspectives of the black church,” he said.
He cited Clinton’s remarks about religious organizations changing their beliefs on abortion as one example of concerning comments from Obama’s former Secretary of State.
The COGIC leadership was comfortable working with Barack Obama during his first run for president, because he was cautious about approaching delicate issues like gay marriage and abortion in 2008.
Rivers represented Bishop Blake during an Obama meeting with Christian leaders in Chicago in 2008, giving him positive reviews after the candidate affirmed his Christianity.
After he was elected, Obama appointed Bishop Blake as a member of his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009.
One source confirmed that the church’s leadership considers Clinton someone who has sided with pro-choice radicals and supporters of same-sex marriage, with little room for negotiations for people of faith on those important social issues.
That’s not to say that the Church has turned toward Republicans either, although a source within the Church revealed that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had a conversation with Bishop Blake. A Bush campaign source confirmed the conversation.
Rivers indicated that church members were not interested in promoting the 2016 Republican field either.
“Republicans have no interest in social justice for the poor and Democrats don’t believe that the unborn have rights and refuse to respect our beliefs on our understanding on marriage,” Rivers explained.