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Black Christian leaders ask Paul Ryan to punish Maxine Waters for her ‘call to extremism’

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A group of black Christian leaders called for Speaker Paul Ryan to censure Rep. Maxine Waters over her comments saying people should confront Trump administration officials in public over immigration policies. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Families Belong Together LA)

Black Christian conservative leaders called for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to formally reprimand Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for urging supporters to confront and harass Trump administration officials in public over immigration policies, according to the Christian Post.

The group of church leaders and conservative activists made a public statement on Capitol Hill on Thursday, condemning Waters' incendiary and divisive rhetoric and clarifying that the California Democrat does not speak for the entire black or Christian communities.

"Congresswoman Maxine Waters has violated the sacred trust we each have to each other as Americans that have each of our rights stop at the other's nose," Star Parker, president of the Center for Urban Renewal Education, said. "Her call to extremism based on where another American citizen works and who they associate with must be sternly addressed by Speaker Paul Ryan, and apology is not enough, nor did she offer one after being asked by the House Speaker."

Background

Last month, Waters said her supporters should harass Trump administration officials and pressure them into disassociating with the president over strict immigration policies at the southern border.

"For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they're not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they're not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they're not going to be able to shop at a department store," Waters told the crowd at a rally in Los Angeles. "The people are going to turn on them, they're going to protest, they're going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they're going to tell the president, 'No, I can't hang with you, this is wrong, this is unconscionable, and we can't keep doing this to children.'"

"God is on our side," Waters said.

Waters' comments were met with criticism from both Republicans and some Democrats, and Ryan called her remarks "dangerous."

"When we in this democracy are suggesting that because we disagree on political views, on policy views, philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation, that's dangerous for our society," Ryan said. "That's dangerous for our democracy, and she should apologize and there's just no place for that in our public discourse."

Whom to blame?

Some in the coalition of black Christian conservatives placed blame on the Democratic Party for not reigning Waters in.

"This is the effect of Maxine Waters. This is the effect of the Congressional Black Caucus members who haven't called her out," Diante Johnson, president of the Black Conservative Foundation, said, according to the Christian Post. "This is the effect of Paul Ryan who hasn't processed the censure. This is the effect of the Democratic Party as a whole who hasn't said, 'Maxine Waters, you can't say that, you shouldn't say that.'"

Waters' supporters stand strong

Waters still has plenty of support within her party and among her constituency, however, as evidenced by a group of black female leaders under the banner #IStandWithMaxine calling for Ryan to rescind his request for Waters to apologize and to condemn criticism of the congresswoman.

"As the Speaker of the House, the third highest-ranking elected official in the nation, it is your Constitutional duty to lead all Americans, and we ask you to demonstrate leadership now by calling for an end to these unmerited assaults against Congresswoman Waters' character," a letter from the group read.

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