FaithHamil R. Harris

Evangelicals Pray for Calm Amid Election Despite Internal Divisions

A conservative District pastor and his members have been fasting and praying to produce a president who will focus more on the needs of the African American community at a time COVID-19 is rampant and racial unrest is a sad reality.

“Hallelujah! No matter what is going on in this country, there is a ‘Hallelujah’ praise,” said Rev. Yolanda Sampson, who moderated that program that featured music, poems and “What A Fellowship,” performed by a violinist.

The online program came on an evening when District shop owners boarded up their businesses and police mobilized across Washington DC for an Election Day that no one is certain about.

Elder Dr. Ralph A. Martino, pastor of the First Church of Christ in northeast Washington not only held the 21-day Fast for The Vote, The Vaccine & The Victory” that began Oct. 15 and ended the day after Election Day, he has held gatherings words for faith leaders who have flocked to the White House and been more concerned about photo ops with President Trump than pushing a religious agenda.

“The Lord’s model prayer is for His kingdom to come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven and the will of man has really destroyed this country,” said Martino, who has been critical of President Trump’s spiritual advisers that include televangelist Paula White and Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville.

“For the photo op and the finances they connected with Donald Trump,” said Martino, who is supporting Joe Biden even though he doesn’t agree with all of his positions. “There have been so many missed opportunities to have a prophetic voice to give guidance. Every great leader had a prophet, that is somebody who represented God and spoke on his behalf.”

Jackson has not returned phone calls, but last month he took part in a prayer call on Facebook Live with White and other pastors while Trump was being treated for COVID-19 at the Walter Reed National Medical Center. He also was at the White House when Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett was introduced.

But Rev. Derek McCoy, who is a close associate to Jackson, said, “As I have listened to many Black evangelicals I believe there is strong support for the delivered policies of the Trump administration vs. the poor 46-year record of minimal achievement from Biden and the stated values what he would do if elected.”

“[Black evangelicals] understand that the tone needs to change. However, they are also going to vote for values reflected in the policies and delivered promises.”

But during the election eve service, Prophetess Jae Pete prayed, “Lord God we are not worried. We will see your glory in this election. Lord God we are asking you tomorrow who wanted to vote on Election Day. We are asking the heavenly host to protect your people. In the name of Jesus let it be a revival tomorrow. Protect those who are voting. We are asking that the votes that were cast be counted.”

Sampson, associate pastor of First Church and one of the coordinators of the event, said she took part because her prayer is that “the right presidential candidate has a heart for God and people.”

“Neither candidate is going to be perfect but what candidate can God work through?” said Sampson, who is supporting Biden. “With President Trump, there are 545 children who can’t even find their parents and there are more than 229,000 people who have died from COVID-19.”

Sampson, who has a national spiritual puppet ministry and has worked with children being held along the border, said, “Even though I don’t agree with all of the issues Biden stands for, I believe that the Lord can work through him. God can not work through a hardened heart and President Trump has a heart like Pharaoh.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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