NATIONAL FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE COALITION
FAITH-BASED COALITION ENDORSES PRESIDENT BUSH
AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY WITH CONGREGATIONS OF THOUSANDS SAY THE PRESIDENT HAS ‘CONSISTENTLY REACHED OUT TO ASSIST WITH ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT”
WASHINGTON, DC, August 20, 2004—A new organization of African American clergy, whose congregations across the country consist of more than 150,000, gathered here today to endorse President George W. Bush for re-election and to “let the country know that the Democratic Party doesn’t necessarily have a lock on the Black vote” by announcing the formation of the National Faith Based Initiative Coalition (NFBIC).
Some 18 clergy men and women from about 10 states, including important swing states like Ohio and Tennessee, gathered in the Nation’s Capital for a prayer breakfast, then held a news conference to explain how the NFBIC, a 527 Political Organization, will work and what it will do.
NFBIC Executive Director Oliver N.E. Kellman, Jr. said, “For way too long, the Democratic Party has taken the African American vote for granted, and while a majority of Black Americans do support the Democrats’ ticket, there are many, many of us who are aligned with conservative platforms. . Now, with NFBIC, we have a forum from which to express our views and to coalesce our political influence. Folks inside the Beltway and elsewhere need to recognize we can make a difference in helping President Bush and Vice President Cheney win some key states, and that we will work hard to do just that.”
Included in NFBIC’s endorsement was praise for the President’s support of issues that face parts of the African American community nationwide.
According to the endorsement statement, “The President has advocated on behalf of our interests by establishing centers of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives which address the problems of homelessness, substance abuse, welfare-to-work families, ex-offenders, and at-risk youth. We believe that the President’s initiatives represent a new approach to the government’s role in helping those in need.”
Kellman, who was a Democrat for many years but is now a Republican,
started the NFBIC “to unite hundreds of this country’s African American
religious leaders in spreading the compassionate conservative message.”
“We plan to fight for the preservation of moral and conservative values and social reform through economic empowerment. NFBIC is pushing an aggressive political campaign by organizing surrogates in many states to mobilize a grassroots effort to change the political attitude of this country’s political leaders and how they view the growing conservative and conservative-moderate faith based African-American constituency,” he explained.
Bishop Clarence McClendon, of the Full Harvest International Church in West Los Angeles and one of the attendees to both the prayer breakfast and the news conference said, “The time has come when the conservative Black Americans can step forward and speak up, speak out, and speak the truth about how they think this country should be governed. The National Faith Based Initiative Coalition provides them with the opportunity to do that, and even more importantly, provides them with a viable conduit to turn their individual voices into real political clout.”
Mr. Kellman says the NFBIC is seeking to accomplish three goals during the 2004 election. They include: Reinforcing a family-based and values message to African Americans in states key to popular and electoral vote battles; Identifying and mobilizing African American faith based and pro-life supporters in an extensive door-to-door grassroots voter contact program; and developing a speakers program that will concentrate its efforts on cities in key battleground states.
“NFBIC will be a strong and loud voice in this election and in others in the future. Millions of African Americans will be interested in what NFBIC has to offer. We hope to persuade some of them who vote Democratic to make a switch to the Republican Party. In addition, and maybe even more importantly, we hope to provide a political home to African Americans who, for one reason or another, chose not to vote at all. The influence of that block is virtually unlimited, and we believe many of them are conservatives at heart,” Mr. Kellman said.
THE NATIONAL FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE COALITION
1329 18TH Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036