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Everything Is Going Down, But The Word Of God meets Obnoxious Politics…..Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers will present “An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton Regarding Religious Freedom for Black America” to Clinton Campaign Headquarters, 1 Pierrepont Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The letter is signed by leading black clergy, activists and intellectuals from across the U.S such as Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake of the Church of God in Christ. The letter requests 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.” According to Dr. Rivers these topics, which are of great importance to the 41 million blacks in the nation, have largely been absent from the presidential debates. In April 2015 in a speech before the National Organization of Women Secretary Clinton stated, “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed…” For political leaders to call for changes in citizens’ beliefs constitutes a denial of our religious freedom.
Almost 80 percent of all African Americans belong to one of the historically black denominations, which have provided leadership on issues of social justice since the era of slavery.
· Church leaders are concerned about unemployment in the black community, especially among young black men who experience rates as high as 33 percent.
· They are deeply troubled by the fact that in 2013 more black babies were aborted in New York City than were born.
· They call for justice in cases of reprehensible behavior of police officers in dealing with unarmed black men as in the Eric Garner case.
· Fundamental to their concerns in all of these issues is 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. These leaders insist on their constitutional right to their religious beliefs and on the freedom to act on them in the public square.
The open letter to Secretary Clinton calls for a meeting to discuss how her administration will deal with all these issues and especially how she will ensure that the constitutional freedoms of all Americans are protected.
Rivers is a Harvard-trained sociologist who has lived and worked among the urban poor for thirty years. She is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies in Boston.