Black Pastors Turn to GOP for Family Values 

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Though earthbound in their shared objectives, a recent partnership between the conservative Family Foundation and a coalition of statewide black church leaders is a match made in heaven.

The foundation successfully campaigned for Virginia's marriage amendment, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In the days that followed, a loose association of black church leaders who strongly supported the amendment approached Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb about strengthening their ties.

"The pastors were concerned that we needed to keep the ball rolling, getting our issues to legislators about family issues," says the Rev. Joe Ellison. He's executive director of Pastors for Family Values, the organization formed from the partnering of the two groups.

"They came to us and said we want this permanent entity and we want it connected to The Family Foundation," Cobb says. "The pastors came to us at The Family Foundation and asked us to create something more permanent -- where pastors would be able to network together and address the issues of today instead of just stepping up when there's one hot issue every couple of years."

Seeking to broaden the Pastors for Family Values base, Ellison says, the group is holding a statewide summit Sept. 11 at the General Assembly Building, House Room C. The summit would allow interested church leaders to discuss creating a stronger organization for future political fights of significance to faith or family groups.

"You're going to see us hold the candidates accountable," says Ellison, who expects upward of 200 pastors and church leaders from across the state to attend. "We want people to come to the polls and vote the issues — especially at the state level and the local level." S

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