African American clergy express views on 2012 election

By and on September 19th, 2012

As Election Day approaches, religion seems to be dominating many debates. Religious groups across the country are measuring their own values against those of the presidential candidates – one who openly supports gay marriage and another who practices a religion some consider controversial.

Some African American clergy across the country have told congregations to stay home on Election Day, which could be unfortunate news for President Barack Obama.

The Rev. Milford Griner of Plain United Methodist Church in Newberry, said he holds his personal values in high regard, but he draws the line at telling his congregation to stay away from the polls.

“I think that is wrong for pastors to tell members not to vote at all,” Griner said. “In the history of our country especially, for blacks in particular, there’s been too much bloodshed, too many lives lost and too much has happened, especially for black people, for us to not even go to the polls to vote.”

Griner said that although he does not support Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage, he will vote for him again in the 2012 election – but this decision is not based on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.

“I don’t have any issue with his religion,” Griner said. “That’s his religion and I respect his, just like I would expect him to respect mine as a Methodist.”

In fact, as a Methodist pastor, Griner is not allowed to recommend a presidential candidate from the pulpit.

“The only thing I’m doing as a pastor is encouraging my congregation to vote. How they vote and who they vote for is up to them.”

Sara Drumm edited this story online.

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