For the last few years, I have had a mental image of many of our popular black leaders shuffling into smoke-filled back rooms and receiving “twenty pieces of silver” in exchange for the black community’s vote. Gone are the days of piety and personal purity that could have created a moral avalanche in our country. No one has the moral authority or spiritual clout to prick the conscience of either the black community or our nation. Our so-called “leaders” have become rich and famous, while many young black men and women die prematurely from drugs, languish in generational poverty, and suffer in an environment that allows gang violence. It’s time to stop the madness!
The statistics tell me that 47% of black adults are Bible-believing Christians. The 53% of blacks reading this piece---who are not followers of Christ---live in such close contact with these people, that my words and concepts will not be foreign to you. For this reason, I will speak to you as a brother in Christ. I want to call on all African Americans of faith to go the polls in two weeks and vote their values and their faith. Your vote will determine the moral direction of the nation for the next few years.
We cannot sit back and wait for others to do the right thing or make the right move. It is time for blacks to take a leadership role in the nation. We must recognize the unique position to which we have been called by God. We can no longer be guilty of following blind men. Instead, we must cut a new path.
With God on our side, we are not a minority; we are a majority! If men like Martin Luther King, Jr. had not dared to speak out as prophets of God against an evil and corrupt system, life for many of us would be unbearable today. The evils of pre-civil rights America would still be in full force. The courage needed today is a little different than the courage it took to stand up to dogs and fire hoses. Our civil rights heroes needed the courage to die for the cause. Today we must have the boldness to endure being misunderstood while we rebuild America’s moral core.
We all know the issues that are of concern to the black community in this election.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.