Surge in African American Support for Same-Sex Marriage Ignites Conservatives
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu May 31, 2012 at 01:25:06 PM EST
For decades, conservatives have been pushing the notion that African Americans have a lot more in common with their views than with liberals. Conservative foundations, anti-gay groups and faith-based organizations have spent millions of dollars supporting black conservative pundits, columnists, and organizations.

Nevertheless, over the years black conservatives and their white supporters have been marginal figures in African American communities; rarely having a substantial political impact. The last great white hope for conservatives has been to forge partnerships with conservative black clergy.

When President Barack Obama finally evolved enough to announce his support for same-sex marriage, many conservatives were, in their heart of hearts, ecstatic. They were contemplating a severe backlash amongst African Americans that might result in myriad political opportunities. Would Obama's support for same-sex marriage drive a significant number of African Americans away from supporting his reelection? Might African Americans flock in unprecedented numbers to the Republican Party?

"The black community is in an adulterous relationship with President Obama. - Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church

While Colin Powell and Jay-Z were supporting Obama's decision, folks like Bishop Harry Jackson, the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Maryland, and one of the most outspoken and stalwart African American opponents of same-sex marriage were ready to roll. Jackson called Obama's announcement a "declaration of political war against the venerable institution of marriage." He also questioned whether Obama was a friend or "an enemy to an institution that God has ordained."

In a column for The Daily Caller, Jackson, who is a regular spokesperson at conservative political gatherings, insinuated that Obama was "paid" to support same-sex marriage: "In the African-American community, many people are saying they made him do that, we don't understand why he did that," said Jackson. "We don't believe that really was the president's intent. Others have given high fives in the backroom saying, `he got paid.' We don't really know what the intent of the president is except that we know that is not just an isolated incident. Some further action will follow."

In an interview with The Christian Post, Jackson maintained that "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.'"

The Christian Post also reported that "a group of black ministers calling themselves the Coalition of African-American Pastors, many of whom represent the nation's fifth largest denomination, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC)," held a press conference in Memphis, Tenn., "to call on Obama to denounce his position on same-sex marriage."

"We will be spending the next weeks and months visiting black churches, asking for support from pastors and their flocks to speak up against the media-generated view that gay marriage is a civil right," The Rev. Bill Owens told the Christian Post. "We ask President Obama to stand with the black church, on the word of God and evolve again back to the common sense biblical view that marriage is the union of husband and wife."

Deneen Barille, voiced a typical black conservative opinion when she told Fox News that Obama was "on the wrong side of this issue. He's going against the values of black Americans voters. ... He's splitting his base. He's going for the gay community versus the black community where he has thrown them under the bus."

The times may be changing quickly

Now, several weeks later, things aren't looking so rosy for both white and African American anti-gay opponents of same-sex marriage.

In mid-May, the board of directors of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage. Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the board of the 103-year-old black civil rights group, said "The mission of the (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people. We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

Matt Barber, the Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal enterprise and Liberty Alliance Action, was incensed by the NAACP's decision. Barber, who also serves as Associate Dean of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University School of Law, and co-hosts the nationally syndicated "Liberty Live" talk radio program on AFR Talk, accused the organization of "thumbing their nose at their own constituents."

"How dare they demean and undermine and cheapen the genuine, noble civil rights movement" by supporting "deviant sexual behavior" said a clearly irritated Barber.

Poll shows shift in African American support for same-sex marriage

Interestingly, a new ABC/Washington Post poll has found that since Obama's announcement, support for same-sex marriage amongst African Americans has grown from 41 percent to 59 percent.

Writing for Christianity Today, Tobin Grant noted that "In previous surveys, support among black Americans for same-sex marriage has been consistently lower than among whites."

The New York Times' blog, "Five Thirty Eight," pointed out that "Support for same-sex marriage has been growing in the general population since at least the mid-1990s. That trend has been evident among blacks as well - but at a considerably slower pace. A poll conducted by Pew Research in April, just a few weeks before Mr. Obama's announcement, found 39 percent of blacks supporting gay marriage and 49 percent opposing it. By contrast, a plurality of white Americans supported gay marriage in the Pew poll, as they have in most other recent surveys."

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page noted that "The poll-takers cautioned that the results, though statistically significant, were based on a relatively small sample of black voters, a fact upon which conservative critics pounced. Yet statewide polls taken by Public Policy Polling have found a similar pro-gay-marriage swing in Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania before and after Obama's pronouncement. Almost all of the movement was driven by black voters."

"I certainly want to see several more polls. But if these kinds of early signals are being sent, then we could see a significant transformation on same-sex marriage in the African-American community," J. Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College in North Carolina, said.

The change in attitude about same-sex marriage among African Americans may undermine the multi-year effort to drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and its African American supporters. For conservative African American clergy and their allies, the battle over same-sex marriage shows no sign of abating. And support from primarily white conservative organizations continues as well.

A photo in the May 29 edition of the Baltimore Sun portrays The Rev. Derek McCoy, executive director of Maryland Marriage Alliance (with Bishop Jackson in the background), speaking about its signature collection drive that has gathered 113,000 names (more than twice the number that is necessary) to put a measure on the ballot to repeal Maryland's same-sex marriage law.

According to The Baltimore Sun, "Funds raised [by Maryland Marriage Alliance] included a $25,000 check from the National Organization for Marriage, a national group that has poured millions into other states to defeat same-sex marriage laws. It provided an additional $48,000 worth of services."




Display:
He's in the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, with Lou Engle and Cindy Jacobs.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu May 31, 2012 at 03:04:29 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


A Talk to Action Anthology on Neo-Confederacy, Nullification and Secession (Updated)
Over the past year, a number of posts have addressed the growing Neo-Confederate movement, the advocacy of nullification of federal laws, and even the......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Two Years Ago Today, the 'Least Credible History Book in Print' was Published
This post is an updated version of my post from this same date last year, which, not surprisingly, was titled "One Year Ago Today,......
By Chris Rodda (1 comment)
Geocentrist Creationists Seek To Become The Center Of Attention
There are days when fundamentalist zealots do something so off the wall that I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I do......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
A Full Quiver of Bad Advice
Mike Huckabee mailed out an open invitation to all Texas pastors inviting them to attend the Texas Renewal Project.  The first 1,000 to respond......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Opus Dei Priest's Secessionist Roadmap to Theocracy
Fr. C.J. ("John") McCloskey is in many ways the  American face of the secretive Catholic organization, Opus Dei.  He is a former Wall Streeter,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Don't Be April Fooled by Far-Right Activists Dressed Up as Democratic Candidates
This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. It expands and updates previous posts about the Neo-Confederate theocrats Michael Peroutka and Pastor David Whitney. Maryland......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Dangerous Defiance: Md. Official Ignores Court Ruling On Sectarian Prayer
I'm not a lawyer, but let me give you a little free legal advice anyway: It's never a good idea to defy a federal......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors'
Austin Ruse doesn't understand why people were so upset when he said on a national radio program that university leaders "should all be taken......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices' Religious Beliefs
Today's Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.The question......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
RINO Says His Dino Proves Noah's Flood -- Wha Wha What?
Michael Peroutka, the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party in 2004 and co-founder of the theocratic Institute on the Constitution, made news recently when......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Franklin Graham Slams Obama and Supports Putin in Battle Over Gay Rights
With a column vigorously supporting Vladimir Putin's anti-gay crusade in Russia, Evangelist Franklin Graham finds himself edging closer to inheriting the mantle of Fred......
By Bill Berkowitz (3 comments)
Neo-Confederate Democrats: Oxymorons?
“Many of you may be thinking that I have lost my mind,” Republican Del. Don Dwyer wrote in a March 2013 email and Facebook......
By jhutson (2 comments)
The Catholic Right Star & the Porn Star -- UPDATED
A Duke University freshman best known by her stage name Belle Knox has been much in the news. She was even interviewed by Piers......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Baptists and Bullets in Texas Politics
One thing regional Baptist GOP candidates share in common is a deep affection for gun rights.  The endorsements of pro-gun positions takes precedence over......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Battling Noahs & The Titanic Film Comeback of Noah & His Ark
Who would have imagined that in 2014, Noah, yes the Noah of the Biblical story of Noah and his Ark, would be garnering so......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)

America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (1 comment)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (0 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)
Jerry Falwell's Fundamentalist Liberty University Still Getting Hundreds of Millions in Federal Aid
In 2010, Liberty University got more federal funding than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In a 2011 Talk To Action story, contributor Bill Berkowitz covered the new trend in which right-wing evangelical colleges and......
Bruce Wilson (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.