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FL Faith Leaders Speak Out During Critical Election

Faith leaders from the New Moral Majority have voiced their support of former Vice President Joe Biden for president, citing a need for greater unity in the nation. (Russ Allison Loar/Flickr)
Faith leaders from the New Moral Majority have voiced their support of former Vice President Joe Biden for president, citing a need for greater unity in the nation. (Russ Allison Loar/Flickr)
October 15, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A diverse group of faith leaders from Florida and across the country is speaking out about this year's critical election, saying the nation is at a moral crossroads.

The New Moral Majority is a group aimed at empowering people to back candidates that reflect their values, from loving their neighbors and respecting human dignity, to fighting for the common good.

Reverend Ryan Eller, the group's founder, said it's important for folks to hear from faith leaders in this moment, as the country faces a mismanaged pandemic and decades of racial injustice.

"People often look to faith leaders in moments of high anxiety, in moments of death and new birth," Eller described. "And we're hoping that our efforts can help with that healing process."

Eller noted many religious leaders have been hesitant to get involved in political conversations in the past, because of how seriously they take the separation of church and state, as well as religious liberty and freedom of speech. But he thinks that's changing in this unprecedented moment of division.

Pastor Theo Johnson, senior pastor for the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, isn't a Republican or a Democrat. He's a registered Independent.

He explained one reason he can't support President Donald Trump is that, in Johnson's view, he shows no desire to unify the nation.

"I've always been taught that the Republican Party is the moral party," Johnson observed. "But in my opinion, what I've seen is a lot of hypocrisy over the last several years."

Johnson said he remembers vividly how some people of faith, particularly in the evangelical community, criticized the morals of past presidents. He's concerned that many don't hold Trump to the same standard.

Johnson is involved in voter turnout efforts in his community. He said they don't tell people who to vote for. Their goal is to make sure all voices are heard.

"It's not necessarily about a person, but it's about a particular purpose," Johnson stressed. "And I just believe that in this time and this season, that America needs to be more unified. "

The New Moral Majority is releasing what it calls "A Sermon to Heal America," a video urging folks to view voting as a sacred act.

Disclosure: The New Moral Majority contributes to our fund for reporting on Arts and Culture, Civic Engagement, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Lily Bohlke, Public News Service - FL