Consisting of more than 1,000 pastors who minister to hundreds of thousands of worshippers from various Christian denominations, the coalition views the conflict as a humanitarian crisis and is urging the Biden administration to call for an end to the violence. Also, they are calling for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and for the release of hostages held by Hamas.
In an effort to bring a moral appeal to Biden who has voiced his strong support for Israel, Black ministers have met White House officials, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, signed open letters to leaders of the Democratic party, and have taken out advertisements in national publicans to ensure that a cease-fire would be a priority.
Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, said that the response by the Biden administration to the Israel-Hamas conflict could cost the president at polls in the upcoming election.
“Black faith leaders are extremely disappointed in the Biden administration on this issue,” “We are afraid. 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.”
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, the founder and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga., said that Black people in America identify with those who are suffering in Gaza as a result of the violence.
“We see them as a part of us,” Hale explained. “They are oppressed people. We are oppressed people.”
In response to the Biden administration, six Black ministers who spoke with the Times said they or their colleagues are considering “rescinding invitations to Democratic politicians hoping to speak during their Sunday services, or withholding public support for Mr. Biden’s re-election until his administration committed to a cease-fire.”
Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas and the new president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said the actions of the Biden administration have been “hypocritical” with its involvement in Gaza.
“What they are witnessing from the administration in Gaza is a glaring contradiction to what we thought the president and the administration was about,” Haynes said. “So when you hear a president say the term, ‘redeem the soul of America,’ well, this is a stain, a scar on the soul of America. There’s something about this that becomes hypocritical.”
While the coalition of Black pastors are pressuring Biden to commit to a ceasefire, they do not view Donald Trump as a viable option in the 2024 election. The Hill reported that Trump in October said that he would not welcome refugees from Gaza if reelected.
“We aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza or Syria or Somalia or Yemen, or Libya, or anywhere else that threatens our security,” Trump said.
He also endorsed the idea of ideological screenings for immigrants coming to the U.S.
“Next, we will implement strong ideological screening for ALL immigrants to the United States,” Trump added.
According to CBS News, more than 28,000 people (26,637 Palestinian and 1,410 Israeli) have been killed since the war began in October 2023.
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