Black and White Evangelical Voters: A Teachable Moment

By Lisa Sharon Harper 11-06-2008

In the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, November 5, Wolf Blitzer listed "The Losers" in Tuesday's historic election on CNN. Evangelicals were at the top of his list, joined by trickle-downers and social conservatives.

I wouldn't have known I was a loser if Wolf hadn't informed me. I am an evangelical-a black one.

Standing in the voting booth, I was overcome as I scanned pictures of my ancestors and wept before casting my vote.

Grandpop Lawrence stood at attention in his World War II uniform. When Grandpop came home from the war, he couldn't get a job that matched his skills. So he worked as a door man at an upscale hotel in Philadelphia. Though doors were closed to him, he opened doors day and night for Philadelphia's white elite.

Six years old, Uncle Richie posed for the camera in his Sunday best about 20 years before his lifeless body would flop to the ground. Richie's future was swallowed whole by the newly drug-infested ghettos of the 1970s.

Grand-Aunt Martha stood with her back against a wall. She stared past the camera, no smile. She was the one who could pass for white. She died in an alcoholic stupor of hopelessness as the power of color politics pushed her from a third story window in the city of brotherly love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said the arch of history bends toward justice. Their memories were with me and this was their poetic justice.

Then, because of my faith, which aligns with Jesus

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