As African-American clergy deeply committed to the welfare of our communities and the future of our country, we are writing to offer our strong and enthusiastic endorsement of President Barack Obama. In the face of laws designed to limit democracy, and voices seeking to depress the participation of our community rather than to empower it, we will not be silent. Too much blood was shed for us to remain on the sidelines. We must stand up once more, and we must keep marching on this November. We must reelect this President.
President Obama has a clear vision, and he offers bold leadership. We all know the hand he was dealt when he came into office. His predecessor handed him an economy that was shedding nearly 800,000 jobs a month; a financial sector that was headed toward global collapse, spared only by the support of America’s taxpayers; an opposition party determined to make Barack Obama a one-term president, despite the cost. Yet, he stepped into the gap with leadership for all Americans.
The President has led as he promised. Under his leadership, we have started to dig our way out of the economic hole. Under his watch we have seen 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth. And, our President has put in place policies that will help to ensure our economy has a solid foundation that will make us less vulnerable to future economic catastrophes; in other words an economy built to last because it rests on the foundation of a strong middle class.
This President knows that for too many in our community a good education is the way into the middle class. And, in order to make sure that more children have a chance of getting there, he has taken action to ensure every child can get the education they need regardless of zip code so they can live up to their God-given potential.
On the critical issue of health care, the President has kept his promise. After decades of politicians promising health reform, the President delivered with reforms that help families and uphold human dignity. Insurance companies can no longer deny care because of a pre-existing condition, and no one’s life will be threatened because they hit a lifetime cap on their insurance coverage.
While others were telling us that America could no longer support a thriving and profitable auto industry—what one economist called “an engine for the African-American middle class”—President Obama put his faith in the American worker and took action to save millions of families from job losses and the economic fallout, by fighting to restore America’s auto industry.
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On issue after issue, President Obama has offered bold leadership grounded in a belief that we are all in this together, and that when we pull together, there is nothing we Americans cannot accomplish.
Let us also address the issue of same-sex marriage. As ministers of the Gospel, we do not hold uniform views on this issue, but we will not allow ourselves or our community to be manipulated. We reject those who are trying to use this as a wedge to divide us and we stand united in our knowledge that President Obama is the best candidate for us and our community. President Obama has wrestled with the issue of same-sex marriage, and after that struggle he personally supports it. Some of us have had the opportunity to discuss this issue with the President personally, and this is what we know: the President has great respect for the deeply-held personal views of Americans on this issue, and he will defend the right of those who agree and disagree with him to express and live out those beliefs. The practices and beliefs of churches are not threatened. The rights of individuals to their beliefs and values will be preserved. Religious liberty will remain, as it has always been in this country, a fundamental right. We should not let politicians and outside groups who seek political gain to drive a wedge between us and the President. We will not allow them to take our eyes off the prize by exploiting this single issue in order to distract us from the vision and accomplishments of this great President.
Over the next 30 or so odd days, all Americans will have the opportunity to consider the choice we face in this election. We do not presume to hold the ultimate perspective on this choice, but we are responsible for offering our voice as citizens with great hope for our country and its future. President Obama is the leader to guide our nation toward prosperity, opportunity and justice for all. We urge all Americans to search their own hopes and aspirations for themselves and their families and to cast their vote to reelect President Obama.