The Coalition of African-American Pastors represents about 1,300 congregations, and they are tired of their support being taken for granted by the Obama administration. In May, they came out strongly against President Obama’s announcement in support of gay marriage (see video above). In a recent letter, they call on black voters to withhold support from President Obama over the issue. They are also demanding a meeting with the president to express their concerns to him personally.
These pastors are particularly offended that the civil rights movement has been “hijacked” by the gay rights movement. Rev. William “Bill” Owens Sr. founded the coalition and is a long-time leader in the civil rights movement. He expresses his concern this way,
I can promise you personally, as an organizer of the civil rights movement in Nashville, I did not march one inch, one foot, one yard for same-sex marriage.
So in this recent letter addressed to President Obama and Attorney General Holder, these pastors have called on African-Americans not to support President Obama. In a press conference unveiling the letter, Rev. Owens said this:
By embracing gay marriage, President Obama is leading the country down an immoral path. The Black Church has always been the conscience of America, and today we are calling on black pastors and black Christians to withhold support from President Obama until he corrects course.
Here is a line from the letter itself:
President Obama is the fulfillment of our dream for our sons — and he has broken our hearts by using his power and position to endorse as a civil right something that is simply wrong. Some things are bigger than the next election.
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West issued a response yesterday in which West laments the “low quality of black leadership these days.” West says, “Homophobia is as evil as white supremacy.” West embraces the narrative that says gay marriage is just the next phase of the civil rights movement. Neither West nor Smiley can believe that these black pastors would have the temerity to call on African-Americans to withhold support from an African-American president. You can download the audio of Smiley and West’s remarks here, or listen to it below.
Smiley says that it is very unlikely that President Obama would ever meet with these pastors. Why? In Smiley’s own words, “They don’t have a good track record of meeting with negroes who disagree with them.”
I think it’s astonishing that this group of pastors has come out so forcefully against President Obama’s position on same-sex marriage. I think it’s even more astonishing that it has gotten so little coverage in the mainstream press. I hope that will change. These men are fighting the good fight, and I’m grateful for the costly stand they are taking.