Earlier this week, a group of 26 African-American religious leaders signed an open letter to Hillary Clinton requesting that she meet with them to discuss issues of importance to the black community. They then went into details on a number concerns they hope to hear her address, including two issues which have become particularly problematic for Democrats: abortion and religious freedom.
On abortion, the letter slams Clinton for saying in a speech last year that people’s beliefs “have to be changed” on the issue, a comment which the church leaders write “is reminiscent of totalitarianism.” They then go on to chastise her for failing to protect “the lives of the innocent” unborn, especially unborn African Americans:
…[O]ur opposition to abortion is a logical outgrowth of our view that there must be justice for all. Particularly relevant is the innocence of the unborn child. The Bible places an extremely high value on human life and particularly on the lives of the innocent who are under the special protection of God. Those who take the life of the innocent violate a key biblical principle as well as a fundamental principle of natural justice.
Abortion in the black community has had a catastrophic impact. Nationally there are 365 black babies aborted for every 1,000 that are born. Blacks account for roughly 38% of all abortions in the country though we represent only 13% of the population. In New York City, the situation is absolutely dire. According to a report prepared by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2013 there were more abortions among black women in the city, 29,007, than there were black babies born, 24,108. Both nationally and in New York City, the abortion rates among black women are much higher than among any other demographic group. (This claim has been fact-checked by Politifact and deemed to be accurate.) In New York City more black babies are dying in their mother’s womb than are being born. In 2008, Secretary Clinton, you took the position that abortion should be rare, and you emphasized “by rare I mean rare.” But Black babies are dying at terrifying rates. How do you justify your unconscionable silence in the face of such destruction of innocent black life? Don’t black lives matter? What policies would you pursue as president to reverse the soaring abortion rates among black women?
Following on these strong words, the letter also goes on to decry those attempting to subvert religious liberty in America, mounting a vigorous defense of the freedom of faithful citizens to act according to their consciences in the public square:
The drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior has inspired some to dishonor the memory of courageous blacks who experienced the unique horrors of white supremacy, slavery, rape, terrorism and apartheid in the U.S. Their argument that religious freedom laws are historically and existentially equivalent to Jim Crow laws rests on false assertions. Partisans who make these arguments have declared war on the truth of the black experience as well as on the freedom of faithful Americans to follow their consciences.
A well-financed war is now being waged by the gay and lesbian community in the US and abroad on the faith of our ancestors. Furthermore, there are some in your party who seek to criminalize our biblical texts as hate speech. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., we do not invite conflict. However, in cases where questions of conscience and religious freedom are at stake, we are prepared, for the sake of the gospel, to suffer the consequences of standing on our convictions. We must resist what Pope Francis has called the ideological colonization of people of faith. We do not organize to suppress the freedom of other groups. We do, however, insist upon having freedom to fulfill our call to righteous living and service to humankind.
One grievous example of open contempt for religious freedom within your own campaign was revealed by a recent revelation from Wikileaks: key players on your staff have sought to subvert Catholic teaching on sexuality by planting externally funded groups in the church to advance a politically correct agenda. What would you do as president to guarantee that religious freedoms are balanced against civil rights rather than being trumped by them?
These are tough questions Hillary Clinton should be forced to answer. Kudos to these 26 church leaders for having the courage to ask them.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.