BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On the first day of early voting Tuesday, seven different Baton Rouge churches bused members of their congregations to the State Archives building to cast their ballots.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church social justice minister, Rev. Jennifer Jones, says some of the hundreds of African American voters the group brought might not have voted without the church’s transportation assistance.
“We have a moral responsibility as a church,” Jones said. “We’re the head, not the tail. We should not be waiting for other folks to set agendas.”
Donaldson Chapel Baptist Church, Elm Grove Baptist Church, New Canaan Baptist Church, New Sunlight Baptist Church, Redwood Baptist Church, Saint Joseph Baptist Church, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church donated shuttle buses. Members from each church volunteered to drive.
It’s the first Souls to the Polls event in Baton Rouge, Jones said.
“A lot of blood was shed to afford us the opportunity to vote, and we think it’s absolute negligence on our part not to take part in the process,” Shiloh pastor, Rev. Fred Jeff Smith, said. “The African American church is the backbone of the civil rights movement and we stand on the shoulders of men and women who sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to afford us this opportunity.”
Early voting continues through October 30. Election day is November 6. Polls are not open on Sundays.
“Values are eroding in this country, and the church has to step up and show up,” Jones said. “This, for us, is kingdom-building work.”