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


Thoughts on the Finale of the Finn Debacle
Now that Bishop Robert Finn has finally resigned his leadership of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri -- here are some final thoughts......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
DeVos and School Privatization Funders Backing Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Candidate
The Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children (AFC) and its core funders have spent more than fifteen million dollars in Pennsylvania over the last......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Religious Right Rabbi: Christian Coalition Favorite Daniel Lapin Resurfaces
Back in the 1990s when I was regularly covering the antics of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, one part of the job was......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right leaders escalate anti-LGBTQ threats
As marriage equality has advanced around the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in June, threatening language......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Could Support for LGBTQ Rights Disrupt the Coalition of Jews and Evangelical Christian Zionists?
Some might say that the relationship between the conservative US Jewish community and Evangelicals is inviolable, with support for Israel being the cement that......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
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 (5 comments)
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 (5 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 (2 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 (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.