After months of hearing Barack Obama opine about his faith and values, his priorities have finally been put to the test. Politically active gay leaders are asking that Obama remove popular gospel artist Rev. Donnie McClurkin from his “Embrace the Change” gospel tour. McClurkin, a powerful, award-winning, gospel singer has been impressed with Obama, whom he met at a fundraiser sponsored by Oprah Winfrey this year.
Gays quickly attempted to label the minister as homophobic. Nothing could be further from the truth. McClurkin told AP radio in a September interview that he was “once involved in those desires and thoughts.” Raped as a child and molested by family members, McClurkin had a great deal of baggage to overcome. Fortunately, McClurkin feels that God turned things around for him.
Gays around the country have declared that he was molested by “straight relatives.” They want to distance themselves from the reprehensible thought of child abuse. Therefore, they seem to feel as though they must silence the testimonies of McClurkin and others.
In addition to the gruesome details of the singer’s family background, gay activists are probably more worried about his testimony of deliverance from the gay lifestyle. This is because McClurkin believes that gays can be cured. Ironically, McClurkin was open-minded enough to travel with Obama, despite a glaring difference in theology between them. Rev. McClurkin’s endorsement in black gospel circles is every bit as influential as that of Oprah Winfrey’s in society at large.
This week, Obama has caved in to gay activists’ desires for him to wave their banner. He added a less popular person – the Reverend Andy Sidden, an openly gay South Carolina pastor. Although he has refused to remove Reverend McClurkin from the program, he has highlighted an inconsistency that I am sure he wanted to hide. To worsen matters, Obama is scheduled to appear on The Ellen Degeneres Show next week.
In case anyone wonders about Obama’s position, here’s what he says at his website:
“I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts of our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.