African-American pastors continue their march against President Barack Obama’s gay marriage endorsement. A surfeit of Black faith leaders have struggled to understand why Obama has taken what they see as an anti-religious stance on the matter. Now, with the 2012 election nearing, a group of Black pastors continue to advance an anti-Obama campaign.
Constituents have ultimately rejected same-sex marriage in more than 30 states. Recently, in North Carolina, an amendment to the state constitution banned same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage referendums are on the Election Day ballots in four states in all.
Six states, along with the District of Columbia, now permit gay and lesbian couples to marry. In New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and D.C., lawmakers made it happen through legislation. In Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, the courts made the decision.
The Black church contends that Obama’s stance on gay marriage is a cup from which many in the Black community will not drink. The National Black Church Initiative, a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches, encompasses 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans. These Black pastors are not in the business of politics. They are driven by commitment to what they view as biblical truths, regardless of social acceptance of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.
The Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the coalition, says, “The current move by the Obama administration on same-sex marriage will cost him support from the Black church.” The coalition believes that the president and the Democratic Party could lose 15 to 25 percent of the Black Christian vote. Obama received 95 percent of the African-American vote, and 67 percent of Latinos supported him in 2008 at the ballot box, according to Christian Broadcasting Network.
“The Black church will never support anyone or any issues that go against our personal faith and belief in God, Christ Jesus and the Bible,” Evans asserted. “The administration knows all too well that even though we love the president, the Black church will never support same-sex marriage. We love our gay brothers and sisters, but the Black church will never support gay marriage. It is and it always will be against the ethics and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Rev. Williams Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-Americans Pastors and the leader of the campaign, highlighted opposition to same-sex marriage among African-Americans during his swing state marriage tour.
“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be who want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” Owens said at a recent press conference. “They have chosen to cater to the homosexual community, they have chosen to cater to Hollywood, to cater to big money and ignore the people who put the president where he is.”
Regarding gay marriage, Obama has said, “I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community. I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient. … I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth. … I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
A Public Religion Research Institute poll indicates that 18 percent of Black Americans surveyed said they see same-sex marriage as a “critical issue,” putting it behind the economy, education, the deficit, a growing wealth gap and immigration.
“There is no evidence that same-sex marriage is something African-Americans will bring to the ballot box in November,” said Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the polling company. “Among African-Americans, I think same-sex marriage will be a non-issue in the election. We just have no evidence whatsoever in slippage of support for Obama, even after his announcement in support of same-sex marriage.”