The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Obama’s Crap Sandwich, With Extra Homo

Sen. Obama, unable and/or unwilling to rid himself of anti-gay “ex-gay” Donnie McClurkin, is seeking to balance things out by belatedly adding a pinch of fairy dust to his gospel tour of South Carolina.

An openly gay minister will open Barack Obama’s gospel concerts this weekend in South Carolina, two of his advisers told gay supporters on a conference call this afternoon.

Obama aide Steve Hildebrand, and a prominent gay adviser, Tobias Wolff, conceded that the campaign had failed to “vet” gospel singer Donnie McClurkin for his view that homosexuality is a “curse”, one person on the call said. But they said he would still perform at Obama’s concerts, which are aimed at tightening his bond to that state’s African-American community.

“They recognized that there was a mistake here,” the source said.

They also stressed Obama’s “unequivocal” commitment to gay rights, and defended McClurkin’s presence at the performance, he said.
“The perspective is that he can bring in different elements of the Democratic Party and American society,” the Obama supporter said.

Pam has a bio of the gay minister selected by Obama’s team, Rev. Andy Sidden.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comRev. Andy Sidden: A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., the Rev. Andy Sidden was called in March 2003 to serve as pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ (formerly MCC Columbia). Ironically, his pastorate in South Carolina’s Midlands began on his birthday!

Pastor Andy worked as a reporter and copy editor for newspapers in the Carolinas and Florida before entering the professional ministry. He worked more than eight years in Rock Hill, SC, where his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren live.

As a child, he joined Mock’s United Methodist Church in Advance, NC. He attended Methodist Churches in the Carolinas and, shortly before returning to South Carolina, he served as an administrative assistant at Harvester United Methodist Church in Land O’ Lakes, FL.

Pastor Andy entered the professional ministry in 1991 after serving in lay ministries at Metropolitan Community Churches in Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, and in Tampa, FL. He served as assistant to the pastor and later as associate pastor of MCC Tampa.

From 1994 to 2002, he served as pastor of Spirit of Life MCC in New Port Richey, FL, which grew during his leadership by more than 500 percent to become the 25th largest MCC in the world. During his pastorate, Spirit of Life completed a $350,000 building program and started a satellite mission in Spring Hill, FL. In 2002, he was MCC’s first-ever nominee for regional elder.

He and his life partner of more than 20 years, Dr. Kevin Dove, share their home with three cats, a beagle, tropical fish, and a greenhouse filled with plants. Avid gardeners, they love to watch living things grow!

Under his leadership, Garden of Grace has nearly tripled in size and has build a $500,000 worship center


Pam also suggested Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, who’s thoughts on black homophobia are interesting, to say the least. I have a couple of suggestions of my own. One is Rev. Horace Griffin, whose book Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians And Gays in Black Churches sums up black homophobia pretty well.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comFollowing slavery, the racist attitudes that defined black men as sex predators caused black men extreme hardship and death. By appealing to the age-old stereotype that black men harbor an insatiable desire for white women, black men existed as targets for to be blamed for raping white women. Indeed as Paula Giddings notes, it was black women themselves who were identified as culprits for their own rape due to the purported sexual appetite that blacks had for sex. … Given the majority culture’s racism and sexual attitudes, African Americans soon learned that their very survival depended on distancing themselves from “sexual perversions.” Much of black heterosexuals’ antihomosexual sentiment exists as a means of countering the perception of black sexuality as perverse in order to survive and gain respectability and acceptance by the majority. Thus, it is understandable that African Americans would approach homosexuality with more dread and disdain than others, often denying a black homosexual presence to avoid being further maligned in a racist society.

I’d also recommend Rev. Irene Moore whose Advocate column, on why black folks should know better, I quoted a while back.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comThe statistics revealed the following: Forty-five percent of black same-sex couples reported stable relationships of five years or longer. And 20% of black male and 24% of black female government employees who live in same-sex households are denied health care benefits for their partners because domestic-partner benefits are unavailable in their state.

Statistics may be helpful, but what does same-sex marriage look like in real time and in black face? Historically, it is about saving black families, with its focus on spiritual content and not physical composition. Contextually, it’s about raising and protecting our families. It is LGBTQ couples raising their siblings’ or other family members’ children because those family members have died of AIDS or are incarcerated or are too sick.

Multiple family structures presented by same-sex marriages should not be what the African-American community opposes, because multiple family structures are what have saved and are still saving African-American families. Grandmothers or aunts and uncles—straight or gay—raising us in their loving homes have anchored our families through the centuries. And these multiple family structures, which we have had to devise as a model of resistance and liberation, have always, by example, shown the rest of society what really constitutes family.

But back to the Obama campaign’s backpedalling.

“They recognized that there was a mistake here”?

And what was the mistake? If the mistake was inviting McClurkin in the first place, then how does keeping him on the tour correct that mistake? Or was this mistake to invite McClurkin withouth inviting a representative from the LGBT community for the sake “balance”? Apparently inviting McClurkin was not the mistake, given the campaign’s defense of his participation.

They also stressed Obama’s “unequivocal” commitment to gay rights, and defended McClurkin’s presence at the performance, he said.
“The perspective is that he can bring in different elements of the Democratic Party and American society,” the Obama supporter said.

The truth is that McClurkin can bring in the element of the Democratic party that openly despise and actively support legalizing discrimination against the community Rev. Sidden’s addition to the program is supposed to mollify. What’s unsaid here is that the LGBT community, and our families, are less important to Obama and — let’s just say it — to the Democrats than the constituency that McClurkin’s participation represents and is intended to attract. We are as much an afterthought as the belated addition of Rev. Sidden to the tour.

And the message is that we’d best accept our position in the back of the bus for now, until everyone and everything else is taken care of. They maybe, just maybe, we will have earned a spot closer to the front of the bus.

This is either a case of not knowing what would happen when McClurkin’s participation inevitably became known, or just not caring, because his participation would almost certainly pull in African American voters whose selective reading of scripture means anti-gay bigotry is a big draw and an even bigger uniting factor. Neither likelihood inspires much confidence, but I’m inclined to believe the second scenario is closer to the truth. The only thing more troubling than that is that they thought they could get away with it.

What’s clear is that Obama, and I think the Democrats in general, want to have it both ways, and to somehow bring the Donnie MuClurkins of the world and the LGBT community to the same table. But that can’t happen with out someone getting a better seat, closer to the head of the table, along with the access and influence that come with it. If the LGBT community accepts this from Obama, the Democrats, or progressives we risk becoming something akin to “Log Cabin Democrats,” along with all that status implies. If we allow them to have it both ways.

I’ll say it one more time. The only way to eat your cake and have it to is to wait for it to come out the other end. And then, even if you slap some icing on it and stick a candle in it, it’s still crap.


  1. Pingback: Pandagon :: Team Obama: recruiting a white pastor=bad idea :: October :: 2007

  2. Obama in an unguarded moment. Watch his remarks about carrying a purse.

  3. I would submit that all reading of (Christian) scripture must be selective, as the Christian scriptures are internally inconsistent. One must apply an interpretative philosophy, what in law would be called a school of jurisprudence, to reconcile these inconsistencies, and the choice of that interpretative philosophy ultimately requires a decision that does not rely on the content of the Scriptures alone. Even if one chooses a rule such as “majority rules” i.e. a proposition that has 4 bases of support in the Bible beats out its opposite supported by 2 bases, that rule is not stated in the Christian Scriptures nor is a definition of a “basis”/passage, etc.

    Does our sense of decency, of kindness, flow from the Bible or does the Bible merely occasionally confirm that sense?

    If you choose the passages in the Bible that support decency and fairness rather than cruelty and mass injustice, you are reading the Bible selectively. You must then ask, why? Why are you choosing to apply a decent hermeneutic to a collection of writings which frequently advocate, praise or mandate indecency in blunt language? And, reflecting Euthyphro, is decency decent because the Bible says it is, or does the Bible merely reflect decency rather than create its definition, for this purpose?

    This is not germane specifically to same-sex love and relationships but more generally to all topics on which Bible-bangers bang. When Bible Christians will admit that they ALL engage in selective readings, and when they can show at least passing familiarity with Plato, then I will take them more seriously.