While the U.S. Senate continues to hold confirmation hearings today for Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions, and was interrupted repeatedly by Democratic protesters shouting epithets at Sessions, a group of African-American religious leaders endorsed Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and pushed back against Rev. Al Sharpton’s criticism of his nomination.
The endorsement was reported by PJMedia in which several African-American religious leaders said Sessions is not and was never a racist as claimed by the Democrats.
Rev. Ralph Chittams of the Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church in Maryland said at a Monday press conference on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Foundation and the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall, stated, “Now allegations have been made that Senator Sessions is a racist; however, an examination of his record proves otherwise. As a U.S. attorney for the state of Alabama, he prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, as has been mentioned earlier. Henry Francis Hays was the son of Bennie Hays, who was one of the leading members of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.”
Chittams further said, “Sessions insisted that trial be a capital murder trial and Hays was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to be executed. A little while later, then-state attorney general Jeff Sessions oversaw a process where Hays received the punishment as decided by the court of law and was executed. As a direct result of those actions, a civil judgment in the amount of $7 million was entered against the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, which effectively bankrupted them.”
Chittams, senior vice chairman of the Washington, D.C., Republican Party and a member of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Washington further stated Sessions “spearheaded” the effort to honor Rosa Parks with the congressional gold medal in 1999 and gave a speech on the Senate floor in support of Parks.
Another Rev., Rev. William Green of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., argued that Sharpton is “racist” for implying that minorities are unable to obtain a photo ID to show in order to cast their vote.
“I think for any individual, as black man, to tell me that black people can’t go get an ID just like white people can – see, once again, when you say voter ID, it’s not that they are concerned about poor, educated white people, it’s poor, uneducated black people. So what I am saying, to even imply that is racist to me, is racist in itself. So what Al Sharpton is saying, in effect, is that black people are not as educated as white people to be able to get IDs if you require them to get IDs,” Green told PJM.
Rev. Dean Nelson, director of African-American outreach for the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall, said the coalition of religious leaders at the event, which also included Rev. Troy Towns of Rivers Edge Church in Montgomery, Ala., and Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, are urging the Senate to confirm Sessions for attorney general.
PJM previously reported that Al Sharpton promised a “season of civil disobedience” surrounding the Sessions nomination on a press call with other civil rights activists from organizations including the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza. The activists argued that Sessions should not be attorney general in part because of his support for voter identification laws.
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