Donald Trump Cancels Press Conference With Black Pastors After They say They Will Not Endorse him; Ebony Publishes Open Letter from Ministers Condemning Trump’s Rhetoric

Black pastors invited to meet with Donald Trump on Monday are denying that they have plans to endorse him.

Trump’s campaign has also canceled a news conference with Trump and the leaders, although the meeting is still scheduled, according to spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

Bishop Corletta Vaughn, senior pastor of The Holy Ghost Cathedral in Detroit, said in a Facebook posting that she declined an invitation to meet with Trump and will not support him.  In an earlier post, she called Trump “an insult and embarrassment.”

“But he represents the country we have become. ZERO experience … flaunting a ticket of unbridled bigotry, sexism, racism and everything that is wrong with America,” said Vaughn.

Another invited guest who will not attend Monday’s meeting, Bishop Clarence E. McClendon, said the meeting was “presented not as a meeting to endorse but as a meeting to engage in dialogue.” He said he will not endorse anyone until after January.

Earlier Trump’s campaign billed the event as a meeting after which he would claim the endorsement of  “100 African-American Evangelical pastors and religious leaders.”

 Trump is meeting with a coalition of black ministers amid tensions with the black community. On Nov. 21, a Black Lives Matter activist was physically assaulted at a Trump rally. Trump later called the protestor’s actions “disgusting” and said maybe he “should’ve been roughed up.”

Then last week Trump tweeted out bogus crime statistics alleging that blacks commit the majority of homicides of both black and white people, which is false. Trump defended his action by saying it was a retweet and not an original tweet.

Amid reports of the planned meeting, a separate group of black pastors asked their colleagues to reconsider. 

In an open letter for Ebony magazine, the counter-group said that “Trump’s racially inaccurate, insensitive and incendiary rhetoric should give those charged with the care of the spirits and souls of Black people great pause.”

SOURCE: Heidi Przybyla  
USA Today

The letter below was published on Ebony’s website this week.

We write to you as fellow clergy, community organizers, scholars, socially aware Christians, and/or concerned voters who are deeply confounded by your decision to participate in an upcoming telecast meeting with Presidential contender Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump routinely uses overtly divisive and racist language on the campaign trail. Most recently, he admitted his supporters were justified for punching and kicking a Black protester who had attended a Trump rally with the intent to remind the crowd

that “Black Lives Matter.” Trump followed this action by tweeting inaccurate statistics about crime prevalence rates in Black communities — insinuating that Black people are more violent than other groups. Those statistics did not reflect the fact that most crimes are intraracial, meaning that most people do harm to people of their own race. They also did not speak to the crime of neoliberalism, capitalism, and white supremacy which kill thousands of black and nonblack people each day.

Trump’s racially inaccurate, insensitive and incendiary rhetoric should give those charged with the care of the spirits and souls of Black people great pause. As people of God, you are surely aware of the emotional, spiritual, and physical toll continued structural and state violence takes on Black people. Being continually reminded of reckless police disregard for Black life through the circulation of videos that show them murdering our young people, like 12-year old Tamir Rice, 7-year old Ayanna Stanley Jones, and 17-year old Laquan McDonald are both heartbreaking and stress-inducing.

Moreover as people of God, you know that our theology shapes our politics, and politics are a great indicator of our theology. What theology do you believe Mr. Trump possesses when his politics are so clearly anti-Black? He routinely engages in the kind of rhetoric that brings out the worst sorts of white racist aggression, not only toward Black people, but also toward Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans, too. Surely, we can agree that this kind of unloving and violent language does not reflect the politics of the Christ we profess?

We are urging the Coalition of African American ministers to return to the revolutionary politics of our religious roots. Historically, the Black church has fought for the livelihood of Black communities. Harriet Tubman and Nat Turner’s cries and religious protest during enslavement, Maria Stewart and Garfield T. Haywood’s preaching about the moral responsibility of the church to fight for racial justice during Reconstruction, Zora Neale Hurston’s prophetic ruminations on the problems that Black women faced during the Renaissance, and Ella Baker, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman and so many other preaching men and women’s unwillingness to sit and die while facing the beast of Jim Crow is a testament to the influence and power of the Black church to enact social change in our communities.


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