A group of 25 pastors, pastrixes, prophets, and prophets have gone on a hunger strike in order to protest what they view as racists and discriminatory voting laws. Members of the advocacy group Faith for Black Lives, started the strike on January 6, the anniversary of the “violent insurrection” at the Capitol building, and will last 11 days until Martin L. King, Jr. Day on January 17, with the hope that their public display will influence Congress to pass voting rights legislation. According to their press statement:
One year after the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws impacting the right to vote, specifically targeting communities of color. States enacted laws to reduce early voting, restrict access to absentee ballots, and seize control of non-partisan election administration official functions.
In addition, extreme partisan gerrymandering threatens our access to equal representation in state and federal elections for the next decade.These fascist attempts to subvert our democracy through voter suppression and nullification will succeed unless Congress passes the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We are swiftly approaching midnight for democracy and we must act before it is too late
Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair of Faith for Black Lives, remarked:
“As faith leaders, we are called to speak truth to power and to raise the conscience of this nation through moral resistance. This moment requires sacrifice and a deep commitment to radical love in action in order to redeem the soul of this nation and protect our democracy. Through this hunger strike we hope to press upon the United States Senate the moral imperative of this moment.”
One Pastor of note that is participating is Jamal Bryan, who is the head of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a 25,000 member megachurch in Georgia formerly led by the disgraced and scandal-riddled Bishop Eddie Long.
The rest of the participants, who do include a couple of people who are not clergy, include:
- Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair, Faith for Black Lives, New York, NY
- Rev. Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister, United Church of Christ, Washington, DC
- Rev. Cornell William Brooks, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School, Director, William Trotter Collaborative, Former President/CEO, NAACP, Cambridge, MA
- Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, Pastor, New Birth Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
- Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL
- Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
- Rev. Dr Cassandra Gould, Executive Director, Faith Voices, St. Louis, MO
- Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Presiding Elder, Brooklyn-Westchester AME District, Brooklyn, NY
- Pastor Timothy Findley, Jr., Pastor, Kingdom Fellowship Church, Louisville, KY
- Rev Renita Green, Pastor, Holy Trinity AME Church, Wilberforce, OH
- Rev. Rodrecus M. Johnson, Jr., Pastor, Anderson Chapel, Killeen, TX
- Rev. Dr. Lenny Marshall, Pastor, St. Philip AME Church, Tallahassee, Fl
- Rev. Derrell Wade, Pastor, Macedonia AME Church, Suffolk, VA
- Rev. Dr. Caesar Roland Richburg, Pastor, Bethel AME Church, Columbia, SC
- Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Weaver, Pastor, Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church, Mitchellville, MD
- Rev. Rickey C. Dennis, Jr., Pastor, Mt. Nebo AME, Awendaw, SC
- Rev. Redeem Robinson, Community Pastor, All Souls Movement, Los Angeles, CA
- Rev. James Wesley Dennis III, Pastor, Pine Grove AME Church, Columbia, SC
- Rev. Rashad Moore, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY
- Rev. Dr. Roy Jones, Jr., Executive Pastor, Saint Philip AME Church, Atlanta, GA
- Rev. Devon Crawford, Director, William Trotter Collaborative, Harvard Kennedy School
- Rev. Eugene Minson III, Executive Minister, St. Luke AME Church, Harlem, NY
- . Darien Jones, Pastor, Moncks Corner AME Church, Moncks Corner, SC
- Rev. Mary Newton, Pastor, Lee Memorial AME Church, Fort Washington, MD
- Prophet Bryce Graham, Anointed House of Prayer Ministries, West Palm Beach, FL
Lest one wonders why these pastors have never gone on hunger strikes for something like protesting abortion and the murder of half a million black babies a year, it’s because the majority of them are progressive and are pro-choice, and that thought would never cross their minds.
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