July 5th, 2012
02:39 PM ET
By Jeffrey Elizabeth Copeland, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The country’s oldest black religious denomination is blasting Congress’s recent vote holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt as similar to the “evil strategies employed following the Reconstruction era.”
The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church said that House members who voted last week to condemn America’s first African-American Attorney General “have been consistently and systematically disrespectful,” in a resolution passed late last week.
The "church condemns the contemptible action taken against the office held by Attorney General Eric Holder and finds that action to be political in nature and designed, as were the evil strategies employed following the Reconstruction era, to suppress the votes of those who might change the balance of political power in Congress and in the White House,” the church said in its resolution, which was unanimously adopted during its quadrennial meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
That meeting ended Wednesday and the resolution started attracting media attention this week.
Reconstruction refers to the effort to bring the South into the Union after the Civil War, a period that was followed by a curtailment of civil rights for Southern African-Americans.
Church leaders are encouraging the congregation to speak out against the House resolution by contacting their members within the House of Representatives.
The statement comes after Holder was held in contempt by a largely party-line vote for the House of Representatives last week, with most Republicans voting for it and many Democrats abstaining.
Holder came under fire after refusing to release papers relating to a flawed gun-running sting operation called Fast and Furious.
The AME Church is one of the most popular black denominations in the United States.
First lady Michelle Obama spoke to the AME conference last week, encouraging its followers to get political.
“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better," Obama said at the Nashville conference.
Obama later congratulated the AME religion’s efforts on fighting slavery and ending racially bias voting laws and procedures.
A Politico story about the AME resolution drew a mix of reactions:
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.