Dádìsì Speaks

How Will African-American Clergy React to Obama’s ‘Evolution’ on Same-Sex Marriage?

In Culture, Politics on 13/05/2012 at 20:45

The 160-year-old John Wesley AME Zion Church is one of the few predominantly African-American churches that still exists downtown in Washington, D.C., March 11, 2012. (Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post)

Black ministers have been among the most vocal opponents of gay rights, yet liberals seem scared to call them out. Mansfield Frazier and Larry Durstin write that needs to change.

As anticipated, the result of the 2004 presidential election came down to one state. In the hope of swaying the outcome in their favor, Ohio Republicans put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot, causing the left to stridently overreact. Battle lines were drawn and the right came out to vote in force largely because of this divisive issue.

Among the most vocal groups supporting the ban were the state’s African-American ministers, who roared against homosexuality from their pulpits Sunday after Sunday with the kind of righteous joy usually reserved for those popping out of the River Jordan’s baptismal waters. The amendment won, and so did the candidate who supported it, George W. Bush. Exit polls indicated the large number of voters who showed up specifically in support of the ban was the deciding factor in the election.

Since then, in state after state and city after city, initiatives, referenda, and ballot issues to ban gays from marrying have popped up, all sponsored by Republican governors, legislatures, mayors and city councils. Teaming up with the GOP in many of these battles have been black ministers from the inner city who often boasted they would remain in the forefront of this particular struggle as long as breath remained in their bodies (or as long as right-wing cash poured into their coffers).

The left needs to speak out without worrying about being on the receiving end of the knee-jerk charge of racism.

In the midst of neighborhoods rife with social, financial, and law-enforcement issues, including single-parent households, sky-high unemployment, crime, drugs, gangs, teen pregnancies, abandoned houses, failing schools, dwindling police, fire, and social services, life-and-death health-care debates, and widespread hopelessness—these crusading clerics chose the single issue of same-sex marriage to take their “Here I Stand” position. (cont … The Daily Beast)


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