Criticism of Obama event reveals ignorance about gospel music
Re: “Obama stands by ‘ex-gay’ minister despite protests” (news, Oct. 26)
I am a gay African-American male who is out, proud and politically active. I wonder how many of the people quoted in this story have ever been to a gospel concert, a black church or know anything about gospel music.
Frankly, I wonder how many of the interviewees were black, given the level of ignorance expressed in all of the story’s quotes. I also wonder how many African-American gays are driving the protests regarding Barack Obama’s pick for this concert series/outreach event. To think that Obama picked Donnie McClurkin as a “headliner” for a gospel concert because of his views on homosexuality is pure ignorance. McClurkin is a very famous and successful gospel artist with a huge fan base. Gospel music, at its most basic form, is an expression of healing through hope.
This event was designed to be an outreach event for Obama to convey his message of change and hope to the black church. What’s wrong with that? There are different sectors of the electorate that as a politician, Obama must appeal to in order to wage a successful campaign as a presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton has done it, John Edwards has done it, and so has Bill Richardson; Obama is no different.
What I find offensive is the fact that HRC President Joe Solmonese was consulted by Obama about an event that Solmonese probably wouldn’t even attend, nor would any of HRC’s wealthy white donors. Just because someone supports your campaign and chooses to work to see your vision come to fruition, does not imply that you agree with everything a supporter believes in.
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Okay so I won't bore you all of the gory details, but I'll post the story here.
Just one week after criticizing Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to an “ex-gay” minister, supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) are downplaying her connection to anti-gay figures.
Obama was assailed last week for allowing gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to appear at a South Carolina campaign event, but the endorsement of Clinton by at least two anti-gay black ministers has so far not generated similar outrage.
“I don’t know if that’s the same as, ‘Here’s a microphone — you can speak for my campaign,’” said Ryan Wilson of the South Carolina Gay & Lesbian Pride Movement.
Some of Clinton’s gay supporters, along with unaligned gays such as Wilson, said they’re generally unconcerned that anti-gay ministers Bishop Eddie Long and Rev. Harold Mayberry are supporting the campaign.
Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta once marched against gay marriage and hosts an “ex-gay” ministry. Mayberry has preached against homosexuality to his First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland, Calif.
In interviews this week, Wilson and others said they were not concerned that Clinton had accepted a $1,000 donation from Long or that she recently thanked Mayberry for “fighting for civil rights and equality,” because she has not allowed either minister to speak for the campaign.
“There is a very big difference,” said Peter Rosenstein, a Washington political activist who is on Clinton’s gay steering committee. “This doesn’t impact at all what I think about Sen. Clinton’s campaign.”
Alvin McEwen, 36, a gay man who led an opposition vigil Sunday outside Obama’s campaign event in South Carolina, agreed.
He said “there’s a whole big difference” between Clinton accepting a $1,000 donation from Long and Obama allowing a man who espouses “ugly things about gays and lesbians” to speak during a campaign event.
“I would say the Obama campaign crossed a line,” McEwen said. “They touted this man as speaking for the campaign.”
McEwen has not said which candidate he supports.
A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign said the candidate “has been very clear” that she supports policies that advance equality for gay Americans.
“But in campaigns, you can never expect all your supporters to agree with you 100 percent of the time,” said Jin Chon. “Hillary Clinton is a leader who will bring together people with differing opinions and have an honest and open dialogue to find common ground.”
Brad Luna, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson, said the organization had no plans to issue a statement regarding Clinton’s ties to Long and Mayberry.
He said the Obama campaign’s decision to let an “anti-gay reverend” headline a campaign event was “a unique situation,” but that HRC’s advice to Obama stands for Clinton, fellow candidate Sen. John Edwards and others.
“If it’s Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama or Sen. Edwards or whoever,” he said, “we would encourage them to seek out places to have discussions among their campaign supporters and try to bridge the gap between religious leaders who might not be as good on these issues as we’d like and their GLBT
Obama’s campaign last week indicated it would do that, but declined to pull McClurkin, a Pentecostal minister, from the event. Campaign officials instead added to the event Rev. Andy Sidden, a gay United Church of Christ minister.
Sidden, who offered the campaign event’s opening prayer, said he did not cross paths with McClurkin.
“I have yet to actually meet him,” Sidden told the Blade. “We were kept apart — or at least we were apart. And I wouldn’t know him if I saw him.”
McClurkin claims to be “ex-gay.” According to HRC, McClurkin in 2003 accused gay Americans of “trying to kill our children” and in 2002 called homosexuality a “curse.”
When he took the stage Sunday, McClurkin said, “I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble,” and in his ensuing comments noted that “God delivered me from homosexuality.”
The unsolicited comments were not well received. Jim Pickett, a longtime Obama supporter and advocacy director at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, said he was “annoyed” by McClurkin’s remarks.
“That sits pretty badly with me,” he said. “There was no point-counterpoint. He made those statements. He had the bully pulpit. There was no dialogue.”
Sidden said he was not given an opportunity to take the stage with — or to respond to — McClurkin. Sidden noted that if he had met McClurkin, he would have encouraged him to “love himself just the way God made him.”
“I believe that homosexuality is a gift from God,” Sidden said, “as is heterosexuality.”
See what I mean about white gay folks? HYPOCRITES!!!