Sell me down the river
I take checks and cash
GOP Sees a Future in Black Churches
Social issues are binding the party with a group once firmly in the Democratic camp.
By Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Black conservatives who supported President Bush in 2004 and gained new prominence within the Republican Party are launching a loosely knit movement that they hope will transform the role African Americans play in national politics.
The effort will be visible today at the Crenshaw Christian Center, one of Los Angeles' biggest black churches, headed by televangelist Frederick K.C. Price. More than 100 African American ministers are to gather in the first of several regional summits to build support for banning same-sex marriage — a signature issue that drew socially conservative blacks to the Republican column last year.
Before the meeting, one prominent minister plans to unveil a "Black Contract With America on Moral Values," a call for Bible-based action by government and churches to promote conservative priorities. It is patterned loosely on the "Contract With America" that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used 10 years ago to inaugurate an era of GOP dominance in Congress.
A separate group with ties to Gingrich will announce a similar "Mayflower Compact for Black America" later this month in Washington, which includes plans to organize in key states ahead of the 2006 and 2008 elections. And at the end of the month, the Heritage Foundation will cosponsor a gathering of black conservatives in Washington designed to counter dominance of the "America-hating black liberal leadership" and to focus African American voters on moral issues.
Those events all enjoy support from the Republican Party and its allies in the philanthropic and religious worlds. The meetings have a common goal: to foster a political realignment that, if successful, would challenge the Democrats' decades-long lock on the loyalty of black voters.
The effort has proved so successful already that Democrats who make up the Congressional Black Caucus are quietly expressing alarm — and planning countermeasures.
"I am frightened by what is happening," said Rep. Major R. Owens, an 11-term Democratic congressman from New York who has been conferring with colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. "Our party is in grave danger. This Republican movement is going to expand exponentially unless we do something."
In the last seven presidential elections, the GOP's share of the black vote ranged from 8% to 11% nationwide.
But by courting conservative blacks in battleground states — reaching out through programs such as the president's faith-based initiative — GOP organizers believe they made the difference that secured Bush's victory in 2004. In Ohio, for instance, a concerted effort increased black support for Bush from 9% in 2000 to 16% in 2004, providing a cushion that allowed the president to win the pivotal state outright on election night. The Black Contract With America will be unveiled by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a registered Democrat from suburban Washington who backed Bush in 2004 after voting against him four years earlier. He was drawn, he said, to the GOP's social conservatism that he thought reflected the true values of black churches.
In addition to such conservative GOP priorities as allowing workers to create private Social Security accounts and banning same-sex marriage, the Jackson contract deals with some potentially dicey issues for Republicans — such as restoring rights to former felons. The contract, Jackson said, combines the Bible-based elements of the traditionally Republican and Democratic platforms.
Owens said the GOP strategy of courting church leadership was on target. "The churches are the last institutions alive and breathing in some of these neighborhoods, and people look to them for leadership," he said.
The Bush administration has found entree to church leaders through its faith-based initiative, which is providing them with federal aid to fight social problems such as drug abuse, prison recidivism, divorce and teen pregnancy.
To counter the Republicans, Owens was preparing legislation that would send billions to impoverished neighborhoods through programs that he said would be more accountable than Bush's faith-based program.
All of the upcoming national and regional meetings of black conservatives emphasize a "moral values" agenda.
The organizer of the Heritage Foundation meeting, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of Los Angeles, said that his session would emphasize the need for black families to reject the notion that racism caused family and economic ills and begin taking personal responsibility. He favors the Republican emphasis on traditional marriage, school vouchers and reduced reliance on government. And, he said, he sees a palpable shift in attitudes.
"I saw black preachers turning toward the Republicans in greater numbers this election. I don't know if it's because they believe in it or they want some of the faith-based money. Whatever the reason, they are turning; and as a result of the preachers leaving, many of the congregations are following."
I think Owens is overreacting. Sure, you can appeal to the homophobia of black Americans, but when it comes to economic issues, the GOP will come up short. Prison reform? Health care reform? Are you fucking kidding me? Social security theft?
Owens should know better, because as long as the GOP campaigns on race, they will never gain more than that 15 percent of black voters, which means 85 percent still vote Democratic. Owens "proposing legislation" is pretty pointless. What they need to do is call these people out for what they are, bribe-seekers. They want that Bush money to run their churches.
Most black people hold any one who would work with the Heritage Foundation in disdain. They can talk about this idiocy, but the real question is what will the GOP do about the racists in their ranks. Until they renounce them, this is all wasted motion.
They line up the same Uncle Toms over and over and then ignore them after they used them.
These "conservative" ministers have only so much traction with their congregations. A lot of people will listen to their sermons and go vote democratic. Here in New York, Floyd Flake endorsed current Republican mayors with no evidence that his congregation changed their votes. The congregations who fill these churches are hardly mindless sheep who has to hang on the word of the preacher for political guidence. Most are working professionals and civil servants. This small group is making a little headway for various reasons, but the GOP is still widely unpopular in Black America, party throughn their own ineptitude. Rev. Patterson's message may get nods on Sunday, but for the people who deal with the LAPD, it's hardly going to cut much ice.
The real test is electoral politics and I dare any one of these money grubbing fucks to run for office. Patterson thinks this agenda is so good, challenge Maxine Waters. See how far he goes then. Let him stand up on a podium and defend Bush when someone can talk back.
This is their agenda:
The "Black Contract With America on Moral Values," to be unveiled today in Los Angeles, is designed to help African American churches gain influence in the Republican Party and promote socially conservative legislation. Highlights of the plan include:
Marriage: Focus on prohibiting same-sex marriage.
• Wealth creation: Private Social Security investment accounts and encouraging homeownership.
• Education: School vouchers, charter schools and boosting black enrollment in higher education.
• Prison reform: Including a "Second Chance Act," reentry programs and laws restoring the rights of felons.
• Africa: Intervention in Sudan and penalties against corporations that explore for oil in the region.
• Healthcare overhaul: Including programs to cover the poor.
You think the GOP gives a damn about prison reform? Home ownership for blacks? Restorting the rights of felons?
Give me a break. They don't give a shit about any of this. You would have to be delusional to think the GOP is going to get the rights of felons to vote back. Jail makes Democrats. Health care for the poor? Penalties for oil companies?
This is a sad joke. Don't these people watch the news?
Hell will become the new home of the NHL before the GOP does more than lip service on any of these issues. How dumb can you be? They just want some compliant negroes to push their agenda. Anyone with political savvy knows the GOP will never support most of this crap.
posted by Steve @ 11:24:00 AM