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2:43am May 11, 2012

Black Christians Outraged at Obama – But Where Else Will They Go?

Barack Obama

It wasn’t enough for President Obama to be the first Black president or the first President to pass comprehensive healthcare reform.

He had to go and establish another milestone by becoming the first sitting US president to express the view that gay people should be allowed to marry.

Perhaps he was caught up in the fury of activity that launched when Vice President Joe Biden told a Sunday talk show he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage – which led to an avalanche of calls from progressives, liberals and gay-rights advocates for the president to hurry up and “evolve” on the issue himself.  Then, add Tuesday’s North Carolina primary elections which included a referendum on “same sex unions”  in the form of an amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman. Combine all of that with 1 million  Democratic primary voters selecting “no preference” over the president in a very key battleground state and his losing 20% of the vote in West Virginia to a Texas prisoner.

All the ingredients in an overboiling pot were there.  Thus, it was not lost on many that the 11th hour call to summon ABC’s Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, an African American veteran broadcaster and journalist and former ESPN commentator, was a necessary call. “By giving the interview to an African American and Christian — two groups whose opposition to same-sex marriage has been significant — the White House may have been aiming to make Obama’s announcement more palatable to groups that differ with his support for gay marriage,” Politico wrote yesterday.

Anxious politicos and political junkies of all persuasions prepped themselves, organizations floated drafts embracing or decrying the president should he actually go through with it.  He could no longer hesitate as some assumed – he would have eventually stated his support, but not before securing his reelection.

Independents and many in his Black base could mutiny.

It was not the right time, he confessed to Roberts during the interview, saying he had actually decided to embrace his stance openly before the 2012 elections but was waiting to do it his way.

Listening to the audio one could certainly here the cautiousness and nervousness as he made what some are calling one of his boldest announcements on social issues to date.

The response among African Americans at water coolers in office buildings, at the Barber and Beauty shops and on social media platforms has been passionate, varied, numerous … and, even, tepid with some.

However, a survey of responses and comments on sites frequented by church-going Black Christians reveal plenty had a tough time processing the news.  Those that are staunch progressives embraced the decision saying they were proud. The National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s leading Black LGBT civil rights organization, released a statement.

“It is an honor to witness our President take such a strong stand in support of gay and lesbian couples across the country,”  executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks said.

No response from the Congressional Black Caucus, which usually issues swift endorsement pressers after the President makes a move it approves of. It’s unclear whether such a letter would be forthcoming soon.  Maybe it’s still caucusing on the issue.

Perhaps the delay is because some CBC constituents are calling the president’s announcement “ political suicide” or quoting bible verses as to why supporting gay marriage is in error.  Others professed that while they were not happy with him coming out – pardon the pun- they did understand that it was political calculus.

To make themselves feel better, several said they didn’t think he really believed that, but perhaps needed to say it to placate his gay base.

They may not want to read a report that during his 1996 race for the Illinois State Senate, Obama gave statements that expressed “unequivocal support for gay marriage.  Or they may want to pay close attention to the statement the president released to donors recently saying he has “always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally” but that he was “reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes” and that he “thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.”

That statement explains his “evolution” which included taking consideration of his married gay staff members and his daughters’ friends at school who have same-sex parents. “It wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently,” he adds.

Everything boils down to politics, some say. If anything, the early hours, weeks and days leading up to yesterday’s historic announcement has proven that an incumbent president in a failing economy running neck and neck with a Republican candidate who is struggling himself would have to ensure all of his base would have his back come November.

On talk radio and other platforms, progressives calling in said that before they were not even sure they were planning to vote for him.  Now, not only will they vote for him, but they will actually work to keep him in office.

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been getting criticism from gays, some floating their own version of conspiracy theories and questioning whether the support was genuine or a result of undue pressure.  But, in the end, where else are they going to go?  Vote for Mitt Romney?

History won’t speak of the circumstances and details of this historic moment.  For now, there is always the risk of igniting conservative voters once lukewarm on Mitt Romney to come out and vote, too.   It could be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face should Mitt win and they have to endure life under a president who supports a national U.S. Constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and woman.

Also, perhaps this was all a measured power play to get more mileage and passion from progressives to even the playing field a bit. Obviously, the opponents to his Obamacare law and conservatives are quickly rallying around Mitt Romney. Republican Super PACs outraise the Democratic ones ten to one, Roll Call reports.  The President could have made one of the biggest risks of his presidency to date yesterday.

It will all be a Battle of the Base turnout in November for sure.   Recent stats show that the youth, Hispanic and Black vote is on the downturn.  But so is GOP turnout, the Bipartisan Policy Center released in a  March 8, 2012 letter. Will they sit out the election on this issue? Will it matter? Time will tell.



About the Author

Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section.




 
 

 
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16 Comments


  1. Elvin Garcia

    I wrote this in anticipation of Obama coming out for gay marriage:
    http://politic365.com/2012/02/20/queer-eye-for-bi


  2. Jason Voor

    Black people are HYPOCRITES. No gay marriage? Then no interracial marriage. Get over yourself and over your "god".


  3. Thanks for commenting, Jason. Just to reply to your comment, a couple things:

    1. "Then no interracial marriage" -That is not necessarily a threat, you know? There are several blacks that also do not agree with interracial marriage and prefer blacks marry one another I don't know if that makes them bigots or not but there are plenty of whites who also prefer the same and may not like their daughters to bring home a son from another race. Perhaps it is just a reasonable and natural preference people have but I believe all should be allowed to exercise their preference or personal views even if you and I do not agree with them. Then if that is the case, people who disagree with interracial marriage would have no problem losing that too.

    2. "Get over yourself and over your "god". – Do you have something against people of Faith? You do not want people to impose their views on you yet you want Christians to "get over" their God? Who is the hypocrite now? That is the beauty of America; we all can express our faith or lack of faith freely and we can coexist.

    3. Realize that the opposition to Gay Marriage is rooted in scripture and deeply held faiths and beliefs that date back centuries. Many of those who oppose interracial marriage dislike it for their own personal reasons and perhaps their concerns about how it impacts children (who knows really as I have no problem with it) But they are NOT the same at all, in my opinion.


  4. I swear, it started out as just a couple. Not sure where the third came from. ;-)


  5. Where else will they go? Umm.. Maybe here: http://blackrepublicans.ning.com/ Believe it or not, there are many black conservatives, and it is growing. Group mindthink is never good for any group. Both parties AND the black community is better off being a strong voice in BOTH parties.


  6. octaviouso

    A very good article and I like how you are objective on the issue; As a long time Black conservative, I am still gauging the reaction from the majority.


  7. WillieP

    I am a Christian black because my new identity and relationship with Christ Supercedes my ethnic pursuation, race and culture. God is no respector of persons. Just the question tells me maybe they don't know whether they are Christians or not because a Christian would know they are already someplace. So why are they worrying about being Outraged at OBAMA? He told them in his campaign what he was going to do and he even said he was a Christian too. If they were voting on behalf of what is pleasing in the eyes of Christ and not themsleves in the first place they would not have this question to answer. They voted race, culture, history, popularity etc. They voted everything but what would be pleasing to Christ because OBAma campaigned against the word of GOD and they fell for it. Go figure.


  8. lynn lee

    The writer has wrong info! It’s been well documented that an aide of pres obamas filled that questionaire out in 1998 in his absence and those were not his feelings at the time. I was raised in the black church and mostly everyone was gay, male and female, so they have the nerve to be against anyting gay! Most of the men in church are abusing the young boys so they”re not only gay but PEDOPHILES! None of them follow the teachings of the bible so don’try to use scripture to justify ur discrimination!


  9. lynn lee

    BLACK GAY REPUBLICAN? REALLY?!! TALK BOUT ‘SELF HATE’! SLAVES!


  10. Johnny

    These black folk who now wont vote for Barack are out of the same mold of those slaves who believed their preachers and masters references to servants and slaves in the bible. They believed their slave status was the condition God wanted for them.


  11. Court

    The Bible says that in the last days the very elect would be deceived and fall away that the standard of God's truth would be traded for a lie. Such people will be turned over to their own lusts.
    This includes people in the church of all colors, so people of all colors must do an inventory with God. Not political polls. Not political parties. Not political leaders of any stripe. These humans cannot save us.


  12. Sue Ellen Ewing

    I don't know which god these so-called christians are worshipping because they certainly aren't acting Christ like. Besides Jesus hated religous people.


  13. Brian

    Hello my fellow Christians… Love you all. Would like to make a few points that I'm compelled by GOD to make… The Lord does not indorse the Homosexual lifestyle and abortion. He loves us one and all and wants us to love one another as equals. The Bible specifically states that a man is NOT to lay with a man as he would a woman and vice versa. The whole gay marital situation is playing with fire in the eyes of GOD…. You really want that done in the eyes of GOD at his house….and you are looking for his blessing are you? The abortion issue should be an obvious no no to one and all, sadly it isn't. GOD killed several men for spilling their seed on the floor in the Old Testament … And wanted us to multiply and be fruitful. As time moves forward towards its predicted end is there any wonder why the LORD will return as the LION this time? He's coming back because things are getting worse not better…. We ALL are being tested in this life …..choose what GOD wants put him first. Democrats are pro-abortion and pushing for homosexual rights. Rights that will eventually make it a hate crime to write what I'm writing now. What will they do to the Preacher or Priest that refuses to Marry them in this un-Holy union? WHO is behind all of this? Satan is alive and well…. He has his foot in the door and is forcing it open. This should be obvious to the Christian. The Bible also says that when Christ comes back he will separate the sheep from the goats. You want to be a sheep if you are a Christian …. Revenge is the Lords not yours VOTE pro-Christian values despite the fact that he may be Republican and a white guy. We are all brothers and sisters even though you have been wronged badly. GOD loves us all and wants us to be pure of heart, repent and be blameless in HIS eyes… It's all a test in this world… Test me as Bible says. Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the most high GOD and died for OUR sins and defeated death and rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion on the cross. He now sits on the right hand side of GOD the Father almighty. Remember that if your struck turn your cheek and forgive…. Revenge is the Lords. You want a black man in the White house? PIck a better man than Obama he's NOT GOD's choice he's the product of our Evil decisions. And we will be held accountable for them…. Just so you know.



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