In Alabama Senate race, African-American Christians may hold the key

Religion News Service | 12/7/2017 | Yonat Shimron
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — For much of the rest of the country, Alabama’s Senate race hinges on whether voters will elect an accused predator of young women — Republican Roy Moore.

But many African-Americans in this state are less concerned with Moore’s sexual misconduct, which he denies, and more with countering a former judge they think is bent on returning the state to its segregationist past.

Blacks - Percent - Population - State - Candidates

Blacks, who make up 27 percent of the population in the state, overwhelmingly favor Democratic candidates. For the first time since many can remember, they and their allies have a real chance of electing a Democrat — Doug Jones — in a statewide race.

Recent accusations that Moore, the former state Supreme Court judge, made unwanted sexual advances on teenaged girls could potentially tilt the race in favor of Jones, who until a few months ago was not thought to have much of a chance in this deeply red state.

Pastors - Jones - Pulpit - Alabama - State

But that doesn’t mean African-American pastors are ready to champion Jones from the pulpit in Alabama, a state where many people — black and white — center their lives around the church.

At the 16th Street Baptist Church, a red-robed choir greeted worshippers with a rousing rendition of “O Come Let Us Adore Him” on the first Sunday of Advent (Dec. 3).

Rev - Arthur - Price - Jr - Church

The Rev. Arthur Price Jr., the church’s pastor, preached about waiting as the theme of the Advent season.

And during church announcements, worshippers were reminded of the Dec. 12 special election for U.S. Senate pitting Moore against Jones, and urged to vote “for the candidate of their choice.”

Street - Baptist - Church - Relationship - Jones

The 16th Street Baptist Church has a special relationship with Jones. As a former U.S. attorney, he prosecuted the two surviving Ku Klux Klan members who helped plant the 1963 bomb that killed four girls in the basement of this church.

Jones, a...
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