by Kathleen McKinley | May 16, 2012 11:32 am
In gaging the reaction to Obama’s announcement of his support of gay marriage, I thought it might be interesting to hear the opinion of black voices across our country. Although it was easy to find black pastors who differed with Pres. Obama because of their Christian faith (Imagine! Pastors choosing the gospel over Obama!), I thought Carl Jeffers brought up an interesting point as well. He prefaces this by saying that it’s clear to him that whether Obama wins re-election or not, our next President after him will be white, and the one after that (Not sure that’s a given, but that’s his premise). Given that, he says Pres. Obama has missed his opportunity to put black issues on the table. He says he understands the political dangers in speaking out on race, but, as he points out, that didn’t stop Obama from speaking out on gay marriage.
So certainly it is ironic that while caving in to the dangers of speaking out so forcefully on issues of race, our country’s first African-American president has instead chosen the issue of same sex marriage to take a stand that might be controversial, unpopular, and fraught with political danger….
Jeffers supports the President on gay marriage, he just wonders why Obama doesn’t do the same for black issues.
But the deepest concern comes from black pastors, which feel Obama has betrayed his Christian faith. Which is why Obama called the black leaders who had supported him after his announcement. As the New York Times reported:
About two hours after declaring his support for same-sex marriage last week, President Obama gathered eight or so African-American ministers on a conference call to explain himself. He had struggled with the decision, he said, but had come to believe it was the right one.
The ministers, though, were not all as enthusiastic. A vocal few made it clear that the president’s stand on gay marriage might make it difficult for them to support his re-election.
Many black pastors are no longer supporting Obama for election over this, although there are those who are are disagreeing, but still showing support:
The Rev. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a politically influential black minister, held an event Sunday at his Rising Sun Baptist Church in Baltimore, Md., to publicly withdraw support from Obama over his same-sex marriage support, CNN reported. “I love the president, but I cannot support what he has done,” Burns was quoted as saying at the church. He also predicted that Obama’s stance would lead to his defeat in November.
Dr. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Redmond, Wash., told The Christian Post last Thursday that he would never vote for someone who believes in same-sex marriage and abortion, “regardless who it is, regardless how white they are, regardless how black they are.”
The Reverend Patrick Wooden, senior pastor of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, in Raleigh, North Carolina had this to say on the President’s announcement of support of gay marriage:
I am going to do all that I can to influence as many people as possible to think for themselves and allow the God of Christianity and the teachings of Christianity to have more influence in their lives than any person who may be holding any political office, even if that office is the presidency of the United States of America. This particular decision I find appalling, and I could not disagree with the president more on it.
I think these examples are just the tip of the iceberg in the black church. I have friends who are black pastors here in Houston. They make no bones about the fact that black pastors across the country are feeling the same way as Rev. Burns Jr. and Rev. Wooden. I don’t think it helps when the left compares gay marriage to the civil rights movement. This is deeply offensive to those who feel this way in the black church. Fighting for: interracial: marriage was still about marriage between a man and woman.
Even liberal well known black activist Tavis Smiley disagrees with Pres. Obama on this issue because of his faith.
NewsOne also points out the problems with black women having to choose their pastors over Obama.
It’s not as if black women didn’t know that Obama supported gay marriage already, but there’s a huge difference between believing something and announcing it. Church women are good at overlooking huge flaws in the men they admire, sometimes to their own detriment. But when the man of her dreams draws a clear line in the sand, a woman can be forced to make a decision she would rather not have to make.
Another telling challenge for black women might be the pronouncement of President Obama as “The First Gay President.” Having their man stolen by a homosexual is probably the greatest nightmare of nearly every black woman in America, and I can’t begin to describe how many church-going black women were infuriated by a gay blogger projecting homosexuality onto the president.
Black women have been President Obama’s most loyal constituency. Asking these women to abandon the teachings of the pastor and bible that they’ve loved for so many decades could possibly be too much to ask.
We keep hearing poll after poll about Americans support or non support of gay marriage. I’m not buying any of them. I think that there is a deep seated belief in marriage and what it means in this country, even if we do a lousy job at showing it. I think most Americans do not want the definition of marriage, being between a man and a woman, to change. I think most people understand the legal needs of gays in unions, and that is why most support civil unions. They feel it gives the legal protections we expect in a secular society without touching the sacrament of marriage. I wonder if we will ever learn the art of compromise on controversial social issues?
Will blacks who disagree with Obama on gay marriage rush out to vote for Romney? Probably not. But I do think enough will just stay home to soothe their conscience to do damage to Obama.
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