Black pas­tors is­sue ur­gent plea to vot­ers at Sunday ser­vices

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Jeff Karoub and Rachel Zoll

At Sunday ser­vices, in ral­lies and on so­cial me­dia, black pas­tors urged con­gre­gants to vote, hop­ing to in­spire a late flood of African-Amer­i­can turnout that could help pro­pel Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton to vic­tory in crit­i­cal swing states on Tues­day.

In Detroit, a pas­tor spoke of vot­ing and cit­i­zen­ship. In Philadel­phia, the min­is­ter re­minded con­gre­gants oth­ers had died for their chance to cast a bal­lot. The Rev. Jesse Jack­son spoke to a crowd of a few hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered in front of City Hall in Tal­la­has­see, Florida, right be­fore they marched a block over to the county court­house to vote early.

Along with women and His­pan­ics, African-Americans are seen as crit­i­cal to Clin­ton’s chances against Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, who polls show is not pop­u­lar among black vot­ers. How­ever, early vot­ing data from key states in­di­cate turnout will not be as high this year as it was four years ago, when Barack Obama, the na­tion’s first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, was on the bal­lot. Sunday’s ef­forts were aimed at min­i­miz­ing that de­cline.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, pas­tor of the Texas megachurch The Pot­ter’s House, who has a na­tional and international fol­low­ing, tweeted on a red, white and blue back­drop, “Make sure your voice is heard. Vote on Nov. 8.”

“Preach­ers are try­ing to strike a moral nerve and some­how pen­e­trate the fog of in­dif­fer­ence and try to re­mind peo­ple what’s at stake this year,” said the Rev. James Forbes, re­tired se­nior min­is­ter of The River­side Church, who has been trav­el­ing the coun­try to mo­bi­lize vot­ers. He will speak Sunday night in New York for a na­tional get-out-the-vote tele­cast from the church called “The Re­vival: Time for a Moral Rev­o­lu­tion in Val­ues.”

Forbes and other pas­tors have taken pains to em­pha­size they were not en­dors­ing a can­di­date, but it was hard to mis­take some re­marks Sunday that sig­naled a deep op­po­si­tion to Trump.

PAUL SANCYA — AP PHOTO

A get out the vote sign is shown out­side St. Matthew Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church in Detroit Sunday. At Sunday ser­vices, in ral­lies and on so­cial me­dia, black pas­tors la­bored to per­suade con­gre­gants they should vote, hop­ing to minimize an ex­pected drop in black voter par­tic­i­pa­tion this Elec­tion Day com­pared to four years ago when Barack Obama was a can­di­date.

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