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Shift in Black American opinion on gay marriage?

By Frederick Sparks

After President Obama expressed personal support for marriage equality, pundits wasted no time pondering the effects on the upcoming presidential election, including whether or not the president’s “evolved” position would alienate African-Americans, the President’s most loyal voting bloc.

And indeed there has been negative reaction from the black clergy.   Maryland based anti-gay preacher Harry Jackson stated “Obama laid down the gauntlet on black leaders..the question we are being forced to address is ‘are you going to be black or be godly.’” (Being godly of course means being homophobic)   And a group of African-American pastors, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP),  led by Memphis based “Reverend Doctor” William Owens soundly condemned the president’s statement, with Owens asserting that there was no doubt that the president would lose black votes:   “Absolutely it will and especially among the black churches where the conviction against same-sex marriage is so strong…”I think many black Christians feel somewhat betrayed by the president on this – this is something that black churches have always stood firmly against.”

Yet there are suggestions that the views of these “leaders” may be increasingly disconnected from the masses.   Polling conduct by Public Policy Polling on a Maryland referendum that would keep the states marriage equality law in place showed a dramatic swing in opinion among black voters; in March 56% were opposed to the new law, now  (following Obama’s statement) 55% are in favor of marriage equality.  This also tracks an ABC News/Washington Post Poll showing 59% of African-Americans nationwide in support of marriage equality.  While other polls of African-Americans on the gay marriage issue have yielded mixed results,  presidential election polling so far has shown no real shift in African-American support away from President Obama.

Following the President’s statements, Black entertainers and athletes have also expressed support for gay marriage or made gay positive statements, including music mogul Jay-Z and Heisman winner and No. 2 NFL draft pick Robert Griffin III.  For better or worse, entertainers and athletes hold sway in influencing public opinion.  

Perusing the website of this Coalition of African-American Pastors, one sees that the group’s mission is the breaking down of church/state separation, and opposing marriage equality and reproductive rights.  No mention of the myriad of important issues that contribute to continued African-American economic and social disadvantage.  This is a prime example of the increasingly irrelevant and out of touch yet stubbornly entrenched phenomenon of blowhard black religious leadership that finds itself increasingly opposed to progressive social change and largely impotent or uninterested when it comes to real issues of social justice.

Comments

  1. Aratina Cage says

    “I think many black Christians feel somewhat betrayed by the president on this – this is something that black churches have always stood firmly against.”

    Which is just false.

  2. Aratina Cage says

    And check out this coalition of Black leaders: NoWedge2012. Their coalition directly counters the CAAP’s lies though it was targeted more at the US news media and racist anti-gay hate groups like NOM.

      • Aratina Cage says

        I should have given a hat tip to Joe.My.God for it because that is where I got it from. It always irks me when the news media interviews the bigoted churches and ignores the nearby liberal, LGBT-accepting churches.

  3. machintelligence says

    This is further proof that politics makes for strange bedfellows (pun intentional.)The coalition of fundamentalist Protestants, conservative Catholics, and Mormons (with each member thinking that the other two are hell bound) is more of a last gasp than any sign of ecumenicism. We should try not to get hurt in the death throes of fundamentalism.

  4. Alyson Miers says

    Harry Jackson, I’m sad to say, preaches in Beltsville, which is only a few miles from where I live. If the November election upholds Maryland’s new marriage equality law—and the signs are increasingly promising!— this Marylander will take great pleasure in watching Jackson’s head explode. I should feel bad about indulging schadenfreude, but Jackson was also involved in trying to overturn the new law in DC, where he does not vote or pay taxes, so my sympathy is nonexistent.

  5. blackskeptics says

    They tried to run Eric Lee out of the SCLC for his strong support of same-sex marriage and opposition to Prop 8. The real test will be in how this influences treatment of LGBTQ youth of color in our local school-communities where the homophobia and marginalization is unrelenting.

  6. says

    Decency, ethics, morality, and right and wrong don’t sway with the moving of the wind (unlike a lot of politicians stances on some issues).

    That being said, it should be duly noted that regardless of what Mr. Barack Obama says, anatomy, biology, nature, and most importantly, God Almighty, clearly inform us that the body of a male was specifically designed to unite with the body of a female.

    There are no other unions that can claim that fact.

    Contrarily, all other unions are by definition unnatural and abnormal.

    May those who have ears to hear….hear.

    WatchmansWarning.wordpress.com

    • fredericksparks says

      The body of the male was also “designed” with a prostate gland that when stimulated by an erect penis brings sexual pleasure.

      “God Almighty” also told us it was OK to beat a slave if he gets up after a few days

      • says

        Just because the body is stimulated by touch doesn’t mean that the touching being done is correct, natural, and normal, which in the case of homosexuality, it clearly and absolutely IS NOT.

        It does not make any difference how many people try to pretend that it should be accepted as normal behavior because it is and will always be a corrupt, unnatural, and twisted version.

    • says

      That being said, it should be duly noted that regardless of what Mr. Barack Obama says, anatomy, biology, nature, and most importantly, God Almighty, clearly inform us that the body of a male was specifically designed to unite with the body of a female.

      We shouldn’t take “Nature” as a guide for how human beings ought to behave. Unless you think it’s cool for women to eat their husbands and stepfathers to eat their children. Nor should we be taking human anatomy and biology as signposts for healthy behaviour. The human anatomy is a bit of a mess, having spent millions of years adapted for life on all fours and more millions for life in the treetops before finally settling on an upright gait.

      There is no evidence that the Christian god designed the human body. Besides, if He did, He was a really lazy, shoddy architect who shouldn’t be trusted with important moral decisions.

      There are many different kinds of sexual unions found in nature. To take just one example, in our closest relatives, the bonobos, male-female, male-male, and female-female sexual activity is common. If homosexual relationships are “unnatural”, apparently bonobos and at least 1 500 other species of animal didn’t get the memo.

      Just because the body is stimulated by touch doesn’t mean that the touching being done is correct, natural, and normal, which in the case of homosexuality, it clearly and absolutely IS NOT.

      You claimed that the Christian god designed the body. Why did He design it so that human males would experience pleasure from anal stimulation, if He didn’t want human males to be anally stimulated? Is He such a crappy designer? If He designed the body, shouldn’t there be clear proofs rather than these conflicting messages? Now, if a man tried to anally penetrate another man, and a warning siren sounded, and a sign popped out of his arse saying, “WRONG WAY. GO BACK. P.S. REREAD LEVITICUS,” that would be pretty impressive evidence for a designer who made the human body and had specific plans for its sexuality. So too if a woman’s hymen came with a small label: “Use only as instructed. Only to be used in conjunction with a properly authorised penis. Incorrect use may be harmful.”

      As it is, the human body is evidence of nothing except our long and interesting evolutionary history, with lots of different selection pressures acting on it and ultimately reaching a miraculous but messy compromise. It is up to us to choose what we do with our bodies, ideally making wise decisions based on scientific facts and a desire to bring happiness to ourselves and others.

      You are entitled to your own religious and moral beliefs. You can believe that homosexuality is wrong, or for that matter, that the world is flat. However, you can’t co-opt nature and biology to make your argument for you. And you shouldn’t deprive other people of their rights as human beings and members of a society based on your personal religious convictions. I believe that Christianity is wrong and often harmful to society. However, I would never support a law to outlaw Christian churches or preachers, because I support freedom of the individual, and I believe that Christians are entitled to their human rights even if I disagree with them. I urge you to extend the same consideration to gay and lesbian couples.

      • says

        At the risk of repeating myself, which unfortunately is required at this point, the human body’s design is specifically designed to unite with that of a female.

        SIMPLY LOGIC FROM THE HUMAN BRAIN VERIFIES THIS, UNLESS YOU ARE WITHOUT SUCH LOGIC.

        If someone (i.e. you) is unable to grasp this fact, then there are obvious worse problems that exist.

        May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, open your eyes to Truth found only in HIM.

        • fredericksparks says

          and what needs to be repeated AGAIN is that moral arguments based on the body’s design are doomed to fail.

          “May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, open your eyes to Truth found only in HIM.”

          and let that be the last of your proselytizing or you will be banned from commenting.

        • Ze Madmax says

          SIMPLY LOGIC FROM THE HUMAN BRAIN VERIFIES THIS, UNLESS YOU ARE WITHOUT SUCH LOGIC.

          You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

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