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Special Election: Dear Los Angeles Black Mega Church Pastor

I didn’t say anything when I drove down Crenshaw Boulevard two Sunday’s ago and that truck with that big sign in support of the upcoming measures on the May 19 California Special Election was conveniently parked in front of your church. But after this past Sunday’s “dog and pony show” I can’t takes it no mo’.


Now correct me if I’m wrong, but prior to November 4, weren’t you the one’s preaching let there be a separation of church and State? And even though gay marriage supporters failed miserably at getting the message across to you that you and your church weren’t going to be mandated to marry gay and lesbian couples anymore than you would be mandated to pay taxes on all that money you collect, you believed you were and screamed separation of church and State that much louder.

So why is it that, six months later, you’ve taken to rolling out the red carpet and letting the Governor use your pulpit to spread his version of the Holy Gospel following behind him like he’s the Pied Piper on how to vote? When in reality it’s more like Pied Piper of Complete and Utter Government Dysfunction and Hypocrisy. I’m confused. Which is it? A separation of Church and State only when it involves issues or people you don’t understand or like? Or is it only when there’s something in it in the long run for you? I cram to understand.

You see where I come from, a hypocrite is a hypocrite. Take me, for example, whether I’m talking to White or Black, poor or rich, I speak in the exact same pitch. I can’t say the same for our Governor who before he got over to you on Black church row, was telling the good law-abiding white voters on the other side of town that if these measure’s aren’t passed, he’ll be forced to release prisoners.

Funny because the news clip I saw of him in front of that church on Harvard was of him asking churchgoers to “pray” for the passage of the measures but nothing about their family members possibly being released early from prison. Guess that threat doesn’t have the same affect in certain parts of town.

But I wonder what would happen if just once you said no?

No, like when you voted against the gays and supported the Mormons and Proposition 8.

No, to the Mayor the Sunday before Election Day when he shows up in his Sunday best.

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No, to the Black politicians that we like on that same Sunday before their office is up for re-election too.

What if instead of pimping out your pulpit each Sunday before an election, you instead told your congregations to study the ballot for themselves in the same way you encourage them to study the Bible?

Sure, you’d miss out on that Sunday evening news clip but think about the stand you’d be taking in saying that the Black church’s vote is not available to the highest bidder. More importantly, that it’ll take more than just a photo op with Black politicians and the Governor to get up in front of your congregation to spread their Holy Gospel.

If you can promise me this, than I’ll promise to work on getting the message through to the Governor and others that all Black people do not attend church on Sunday. I’ll write a letter on behalf of the Black Heathens of California that while we are not in church on Sunday, we vote, and that if they insist upon scouring the Black church for votes on Sunday mornings, then to be fair, they should also make a point to stop by our local tennis courts, golf courses, Dennys, IHOPs, soul food restaurants – and if he’s specifically looking for on a Sunday morning – Runyon Canyon. I’m just saying.


In the end, I want to remind you that when you really think about the whole endorsement game it’s one that’s based on your not being smart enough to make up your own mind and having to depend on someone you like or someone that you look like telling you what to do. I have always thought that Black pastors prided themselves on being fairly intelligent men and women and only needed the advice of one person, God, telling them what to do. Did something change?

Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne Cannick, is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. A regular contributor to NPR’s ‘News and Notes,’ she was chosen as one Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World.

Reprinted with permission from