Christianity,  Politics

Black Pastors Withhold Support from President Obama over Same-Sex Marriage

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.


  • Andrew Nordine

    Sad how dismissive West and Smiley are. That seems to be the tone of the discourse now. If someone says something against gay marriage, just hurl insults and snide comments, and assume you have the moral high ground.

  • Dan Phillips

    I guess it just strikes me differently. To me, it is shocking and disgraceful that any Christian would vote for anyone because of skin-color. And (to be charitable) there never was anything in Obama’s positions that should appeal to any Christian, period. Finally, to say “make the empty gesture of meeting with us or we won’t support you” is, to me, not that big of a deal. Saying “We won’t support you,” but not saying “We will support your opponent,” is just telling Obama he gets his next-best choice. No lost sleep at the White House over that.

    I offered more thoughts here.

  • LaNeisa Jackson

    Astonishing is the correct description of this video. I am personally reassured to see that there are in fact Black clergy who have not given in nor given up on Biblical teaching. The pundits on television and radio that ‘we the people’ were allowed to hear from all told us that our dismay was simply homophobia. When I look at the age and experience of these men, I am convinced of the pain and prayer this pronouncement took. Personally I can agree that President Obama’s statement broke my heart, too.

    What makes this even more difficult is the lack of choice I have now. If I vote or not vote based on this single issue, will it please God? When I look at the Republican choice, can I do as Pastor Jefress of First Baptist Dallas is doing…”hold my nose and vote for Romney”? There seems to be so much hate and anger from these folks that I am literally afraid of what will become of the country with them in charge. My wrestling over this matter has me in this place..can we truly legislate morality? Because Obama is just another politician, does that allow me to vote for my overall perceived interest? Because God puts kings up and brings them down, can I vote to keep hateful Republicans from more power?

    Of one thing I am sure, gay marriage is not a civil right. It is sin. I voted for George W. Bush twice after he pronounced his trust in Christ. We are still not a theocracy.

  • Tom Parker

    What I want to know is how “christian” folks are going to vote for Romney given he is a member of a non-christian group. And I know for some folks he is lesser of two evils.

    At the website it says the following:”Our conclusion that Mormonism is not “Christian” in this narrower, theological sense does not imply any animosity or hostility toward Latter-day Saints. Devout Mormons tend to be good citizens, to espouse high, conservative moral values, and to make common cause with conservative Christians on such important social issues as abortion. Nor do evangelicals single out Mormonism on this issue, since we reach similar conclusions about a variety of “Christian” religious groups whose teachings differ radically from biblical, historic Christian orthodoxy (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Unification Church, mentioned earlier). Our intent is to draw attention to the serious differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity in order that believers may be prepared to share the truth with their LDS friends and loved ones.”

    What a confusing mess!

      • Tim Guthrie

        Great response Denny! I love reading Daniel and hearing how he even rose in power in Governments that were ANTI God.

        I shared this last Sunday: God never promised a Christian for our votes. He did say we are to respect and be involved in Government and his strongest teaching on this was aimed at the Roman Empire.

    • Mike Lynch

      I agree with Tom. Republicans have taken the Christian vote–one of it’s biggest voting block–for granted by putting a Mormon up front. While I don’t believe we should only vote for other Christians, this is a Mormon!!! What if he belonged to another cult? What if he was a member in the Church of Satan and yet just as conservative or more conservative (he’s not really that conservative)? Would Christians be voting for him then? I wonder if Christians would be taking his beliefs so lightly if he was a fiscally conservative homosexual promising to do away with Obamacare. The bottom line is Christians need to start taking a stand like the men in this video. They should not have settled for Obama in the first place and believers need to stop settling for the Republican candidates that we continue to be given. Seriously, what have the Republicans done for us lately? Are any of them truly fighting for the unborn? I don’t see it. I hope to see the largest protest vote take place this year. I think that would be the best thing for these politicians to see.

  • dr. james willingham

    It is always a fact that the African Americans are usually the most forward of people in following the Scripture, because their ancestors found so much help in the biblical teachings during their time in slavery. God is using the Negro, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Arnold Toynbee suggest to renew Western Civilization.

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