Columbus pastors call for unity to end political division - WRBL

Columbus pastors call for unity to end political division

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Thursday's Press Conference Thursday's Press Conference
Rev. J.H. Flakes Rev. J.H. Flakes
Nathan Smith Nathan Smith

Columbus pastors are calling for unity to end political division in the city. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance held a news conference Thursday, the goal was to promote unity, human dignity and respect.

"As we approach the upcoming election, we're asking any person who decides to run that they will embrace these characters and values," says Reverend J.H Flakes, the Pastor at 4th Street Baptist Church. 

This comes after the organization sent out a news release on Wednesday that addressed a series of community issues, including their concern of African American candidates being fronted to run against other African Americans to split the vote. 

"We do not want to be tainted, we do not want to be divided, we do not want a city that is not attractive," says Flakes.

Other issues listed in the news release were intimidation tactics, lack of civility and respect and character assassinations that have been demonstrated toward elected officials.

Nathan Smith, a community activist, says these claims are a distraction from the real issue at hand.

"It seems like to me what the group is asking the community to do is to not hold our elected officials accountable," says Smith.

Smith has been vocal with his issues with the Muscogee County School Board, most recently, raising concern about Athavia Senior and her violation of nepotism laws. He doesn't see this as being divisive, rather holding her accountable.

"This isn't about race, this is about ethics, this is about doing what's right," says Smith.

When asked about these issues, the organization was not clear about what exactly was causing the so-called "political diversion."

"We're not going to go down that road, we want to stick with unity," says Flakes.

"I do believe we should be unified," says Smith. "We should be together, but I think we should be together fighting for our children."

The organization says their goal of unity extends further than just politics, but also in businesses, relationships, and the community. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance is made up of dozens of pastors in Columbus.

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