Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking to black pastors at a Congressional Black Caucus event designed to get out the vote this election year, warned his audience that the civil rights they enjoy are under attack.
"I've heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who -- often for the first time in their lives -- now have reason to believe that . . . some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement could now hang in the balance," Holder said in his prepared remarks. He cited "the all-too-common deceptive practices we’ve been fighting for years" in addition to "more recent fears and frustrations about some of the state-level voting law changes we’ve seen this legislative season."
Holder went on to criticize the South Carolina voter ID law, which Democrats often portray as an act of Republican racism designed to hurt President Obama by disenfranchising black voters.
Holder was a guest of the CBC at the event, which CBC chair Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., explained yesterday is designed to educate pastors on what they're allowed to say about politics in church while encouraging them to keep black turnout high.
"President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote," Cleaver said on MSNBC yesterday, after explaining, "We want to let them know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition."
Without mentioning party affiliation, Holder praised the -- until recently exclusively Democratic -- Congressional Black Caucus as the "conscience of Congress" over the last four decades
He also told the pastors that they are "stewards of democracy," in keeping with Cleaver's call for pastors to help drive voter turnout. "You have a thoughtful voice to add to discussions about voting access -- what the struggle for freedom has long been about ensuring: the opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions, and -- through the casting of their ballots -- to signal their priorities and shape their futures," Holder concluded.