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Tipsheet

Black Church Leaders Ask Hillary If She Will Give Them the Same Respect She Gives 'Wealthy White Donors'

In an open letter to the Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn on Monday, a group of black religious leaders shared some significant concerns with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. No, not about her emails. They are worried what her policies would mean for religious freedom in America.

Twenty African-American leaders, including pastors, reverends and bishops of major black churches, asked Clinton for a meeting to discuss how she will defend their religious rights were she to win the White House. As men and women of faith, they are concerned that she will be complacent or on the wrong side of the abortion issue. In the section of the letter entitled “Justice for the Unborn,” the leaders note the dire situation in New York City, where more babies were aborted than born.

“How do you justify your unconscionable silence in the face of such destruction of innocent black life?" they write. "Don’t black lives matter? What policies would you pursue as president to reverse the soaring abortion rates among black women?”

The leaders also wanted to know Clinton’s plans for criminal justice reform and black unemployment, considering how federal programs have often “failed to benefit blacks.”

Of course, the authors also spend a good chunk of time asking Clinton how she intends to protect their religious rights. This is an especially important question in the wake of a biased report from the Obama administration that basically compared religious freedom racism and slavery.

“In this very nation demagogues have dared 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…It is absurd to demean the defense of this faith as the equivalent of the injustices that we have fought and overcome.”

It is their responsibility, the authors note, to speak out in defense of the dignity of the poor. They hope that Clinton would treat the Black Church as well as she treats “wealthy white donors.”

“We know that you will not make the political mistake of taking the 69,000 black churches in the U.S. for granted.”

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