Black voters urged to take part in election by church

Services at the New Testament Church of God in Ladywood, Birmingham Black-led churches are growing in size and influence

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Black church leaders are launching a campaign which they say could inspire a million more black voters to go to the polls in the next general election.

Non-party lobby group Operation Black Vote has recruited church leaders to persuade people to register and vote.

It says having more black voters making their voice heard will end discrimination against the community.

And it says it is confident of meeting the target in time to affect the outcome of marginal constituencies.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said community leaders had long struggled to persuade black people to vote.

Significant numbers of people among some sections of the community - such as black Africans - had never registered to vote and a lack of confidence in the democratic process meant turnout was often very low, he added.

Operation Black Vote claims black people face discrimination which is built into the social and economic system - illustrated by poor housing, poverty and a 55% unemployment rate among young black men.

But in communities which often suffer high rates of deprivation, black-led churches have been a success story.

Their leaders say they can harness the churches' energy and organisation to create a powerful new electorate that politicians cannot ignore.

Operation Black Vote, which focuses on voter registration, lobbying politicians and mentoring schemes says it seeks "to inspire black and minority ethnic communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities we face in areas such as education, health and employment".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    I don't do religion, but know enough about history to realise that the right to vote was earned by those who fought, and also died for it in our past. Don't we owe it to them, if not our ourselves?

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Church...Religion...Get the heck out of politics. A medieval institution that has no place in the modern world what with being homophobic, misogynistic, anti-science and allowing murderers and rapists off the hook if they repent etc.
    Plus this smacks of operation 'get people to vote for the party that promises you money the country doesn't acctually have in the kitty.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Can we please have a HYS on Call Me Dave's outrageous idea to spend 50 million quid to commemorate/celebrate the begginning of the First World War. All the comments I've read so far in newspapers have been negative. Is that the reason there has been nothing about it on the BBC.

    Millions were killed - is this really something to celebrate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Given the current choices, maybe a "It really does not make any difference how you vote, your still shafted black or white" organisation might be more appropriate

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    42 Simpletics. Anyone who thinks black people don't face discrimination in the UK today are either completely blind to the discrimination that still goes on, or are accepting of it. Poor white people also face discrimination, but that has nothing to do with colour and has much more to do with rampant capitalism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Is it really the churches job to get involved in politics?
    Surely organisations as large as the church with so much power could swing elections in their favour.
    It would almost be like the unions or corporations forcing their members to oust the government..

    On seconds thoughts... Go for it preacher!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Operation Vote who we say to vote for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Before you get carried away with religion versus politics...

    "The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom, also called Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal"

    If it's good enough for the house of Lords...

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    At 56 little_old_me
    Have you read the article
    It does not mention congregations at all it refers to the communities. I would guess anyone in that community is in the same boat black white or whatever
    The whole community needs to vote not just the black people in the community.
    Classic divide and rule tactics from “Operation Black Vote” I am sure they will be able to tell voters who to vote for

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.


    You're a bit slow aren't you?

    These churches are based in areas of the country with very low turnout at elections. These communities happen to have all but exclusivley black congregations, THAT is what it refers to.

    These churches, if they operated in white neighbourhoods, would target white non voters too.....but they don't, they are simply local to their home patch.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Johncbbc; that doesn't make sense though. We are all influence by something and a church is just a group of people who get together because they do share beliefs and values. If what you mean is that you want to see religion destroyed, say it. But to say that religion should not influence politics is like saying that ethics, or politics or philosophy should not influence it. Daft, in other words.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Anything which gets people to engage and vote is great - people in this country take the vote for granted - in other countries who do not have this opportunity having a vote would be grasped and valued.
    As for comments about ethnic groups, votes for whites etc it is about time all people learned to live together and celebrate that we can do it in peace and only gain from it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.


    The concept of a "black vote" is well as the idea of a "black community", "black issues" etc.

    Racism won't disappear as long as it doesn't disappear from people's minds.

    Or does anyone seriously think someone doesn't vote because he/she is black? lol...


  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    43. Little_Old_Me
    But there is racism in the story, they're differentiating between skin colour "Operation BLACK Vote". IMHO there are lots of disenfranchised people in the UK of all creeds colours etc, there should be a drive to encourage ALL disenfranchiseed people to vote. The proleteriat hold the power if we did but exercise it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Should be campaign to encourage everyone to vote, especially the young.
    Also wonder in this PC world whether Operation Black vote isn't a bit discriminating? I also wonder if a group set up an Operation White vote, would lefty PC brigade come down on them like a ton of bricks for being discriminating an accuse them of being racist.
    Surely should be operation Vote.
    We're all on shaky ground here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    not a turbulent priest more your turbulent church?politics&religion a volitile mix-if a person wants to vote then vote!i do not put much faith(is there a pun)in people who have to be told by a church or otherwise to vote-it is a democratic principle that encourage's one to vote-if they don't get it-don't bother

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    When I read this I thought the story was about a different country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I wonder what would happen if someone set up an Operation White Vote non-party lobby group?


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