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Reverend Charles E. Williams II Headshot

The Mis-Education of the Negro Pastors Urging Congregants Not to Vote

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"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary." Carter G. Woodson, The Mis- Education of The Negro

Some black pastors have ventured to urge their congregations not to vote in this year's upcoming presidential election. Their so-called conflict over the election rests in the fact that President Obama made a personal declaration about his stance on civil unions. Every time I talk to a colleague who starts railing against same-sex marriage, I wonder why the vigor and interest in this subject are hardly ever matched by the same intensity around the immorality of unhealthy heterosexual marriage and fornication. Here are some stats that should alarm African Americans.

As reported by the Washington Post,

"Half of black women's first marriages end in divorce a rate higher than Asian and white women."

Seven out of 10 black women in their 20s have never married.

The percentage of black women over 55 never married rose to 13 percent.

At the same time,

Newsone reports

that 72 percent of black children are raised in a single-parent household.

These statistics are troubling, yet I can't remember the last time that I heard a pastor say, "we need to have a dialogue about why so many black women aren't married." Asking this question means we would have to dialogue further about the prison industrial complex and spend time talking and advocating against the prison pipeline that Michelle Alexander wrote about in her book The New Jim Crow. How much conversation have we had about why so many black men fulfill the role Motown's Temptations laid out in their classic song "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"? Maybe a serious conversation on infidelity would cause us to think critically about the breakdown in heterosexual marriage and about a society that discourages commitment, instead encouraging behavior celebrated in songs like Big Mike's "I'm just a playa playa."

The fact is the gay marriage conversation is subterfuge, nothing more than a political chess piece on Karl Rove and right-wing Republicans' game board. In a two-party system that pretty well splits the country in half, elections are determined by a few percentage points. Political parties take stances to attract swing voters and independent voters. Such persons should be wary, for, when they choose to go with the Republicans, they are not following a party that as a whole truly cares about moral values. Rather, they are following a party trying to find nifty ways to count swings and undecided in its voter base. If the Republican Party were actually a morally sound party, it would reject money from top republican contributor Paul Singer, who according to Politico.com, gave thousands of dollars to a Republican pro-gay political action committee called the American Unity Pac and just spent $250,000 in the pro-gay marriage ballot initiative.

If morality really were high on the plank of Republicans, how would they explain former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol Palin having a baby out of wedlock? That's called fornication; somebody get the stone. So maybe those not yet decided for whom they will cast their votes and those in swing states should think twice about a Christian Conservative Republican Party. It seems to me that a lot of people are either being made a fool of or getting paid very well like Rev. Bill Owens, who admits that The National Organization for Marriage gives him $20,000 a year.

The fact is neither party truly cares about Christian morality, certainly not based on Old Testament scriptures. What seems instead to be driving both is power and control. Republicans care about power and control for the wealthy, while Democrats care about power and control for the not-so-wealthy.

So, to those Black pastors looking for a way to influence the world and stop the so-called epidemic of homosexuality, maybe you should start by working on the issues that cause bad heterosexual relationships that lead to single-parent households and teen pregnancy. Most of all you should be working on policies that play a role in the breakdown of communities and the Black family like; Jobs, education, healthcare, social security and the list goes on. As for me, I will not be a puppet for those who seek to Mis-educate nor Mis-direct me for their political gain.

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