Last fall, I had lunch with my friend Jamila Bey at the National Press Club. Earlier this week, she was back there again (as she often is) covering a press conference by a group called the Coalition of African American Pastors, who were blasting Obama for being in favor of marriage equality. And she was causing trouble, as she so often — and so gloriously — does.
At about the 19:10 mark on this video, you will see her doing what every other journalist does, asking questions about their position. Since they were going on and on about the “Biblical definition of marriage,” she asked them what God’s position is on polygamy. Rev. William Owens, the founder of the group, says, “Well I think you know that. This is not about polygamy, this is about same-sex marriage.”
So she does what few journalists bother to do: Asks a follow up question. She asks him to give the Biblical definition of marriage. He says, predictably, that the Biblical standard of marriage is the union of a man and a woman. So she asked him about Abraham’s marriage, at which point he starts sputtering. And she asks him again about polygamy, which prompts more sputtering and attempts to ignore her while repeatedly saying “next question.” Then she asks him God’s position on slavery. He replies, “Are you going to stand there and just demand that I answer your questions?” She helpfully points out that this is, after all, a press conference. Questions are to be expected. So he demands that she be removed from the press conference.