An influential group of black megachurch pastors urged President Joe Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“Black faith leaders are extremely disappointed in the Biden administration on this issue,” the Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has a congregation of 1,500 members, recently told the New York Times.
McDonald was one of the first pastors of more that 200 black clergy in Georgia to sign an open letter calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.
“We are afraid,” the pastor continued. “And we’ve talked about it — it’s going to be very hard to persuade our people to go back to the polls and vote for Biden.”
Other groups, including the Black Church Pac, have called for a ceasefire shortly after the war began last year.
Rev. Jamal Bryant, who leads the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest and is one of the founding members of the Black Church Pac, contended that the war could threaten Biden’s chances of reelection this November.
“I think Biden threatens his own success,” he said.
He noted that Democrats seem to be “almost on cruise control and feel like: Oh, the black people will come around. They’ll be forgiving, and they’ll go along with us.”
According to The Christian Post, the pastors have also called for the release of hostages held captive by Hamas, an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and noted that they resonate with the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.
“We see them as a part of us,” Rev. Cynthia Hale, founder and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, to the Times . “They are oppressed people. We are oppressed people.”
“Black clergy have seen war, militarism, poverty and racism all connected,” Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network, whose members lead some 15 million black churchgoers added. “The Israel-Gaza war, unlike Iran and Afghanistan, has evoked the kind of deep-seated angst among black people that I have not seen since the civil rights movement.”
A recent survey conducted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found that about 43 percent of black Americans are in favor of a type of cease-fire in Gaza, while 24 percent believe that the U.S. should not be involved in the war.
During CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, former House speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, argued that calling for a cease-fire is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message.
“For them to call for a ceasefire is Mr. Putin’s message,” she told CNN political commentator Dana Bash. “Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia. And I say that having looked at this for a long time now, as you know.”
Although Pelosi does not believe that people in protest of the war are “Russian plants”, she contended that organizations wanting a cease-fire might be influenced by Russian money.
“I think some financing should be investigated,” she said. “And I want to ask the FBI to investigate that.”
Image credit: ©Getty Images/Christopher Furlong / Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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