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May 11th, 2012
09:24 AM ET

Complexity in black church reactions to Obama’s gay marriage announcement

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - After the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. first gained wide public recognition in the mid-1950s, he made a special request to evangelist Billy Graham.

King was poised to join Graham on one of his barnstorming crusades, but he would do so only on one condition. He asked Graham to publicly speak out against segregation, a request Graham declined, says San Diego State University historian Edward Blum.

“What Graham feared was losing all of his influence,” Blum says. “For him, personal salvation was primary, justice secondary. For King, justice was primary.”

After President Obama this week became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage, black clergy and churchgoers could be facing a question that's similar to the one that fractured King and Graham: Should my ideas about personal holiness trump my notion of justice?

The answer to that question is evolving – just as Obama’s views on gay marriage have been. Poll numbers and interviews with black clergy suggest it’s simplistic to say that the black church is anti-gay marriage and may desert Obama, as some pundits have suggested.

Equal rights for some people?

Some black pastors take the approach of Graham, who recently came out in support of a successful drive to amend North Carolina’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships.

For them, personal salvation is primary; homosexuality a sin, and so is gay marriage. Their enthusiasm for Obama will be diminished, Blum says.

“It will be, ‘I’m going to vote for him, but I’m not going to talk about him much,’ ” Blum says. “It’s the difference between voting for him, or voting for him and putting out a street sign and making sure your neighbor gets to the poll.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Others in the black church say their approach centers on justice.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was a part of King’s inner circle, says Obama had to support gay marriage because he believes in equal rights.

“You can’t believe in equal rights for some people and yet not believe in equal rights for everybody,” Lowery says. “That includes the right to marry the person of your choice. Equal rights for some people are an oxymoron.”

Lowery says Obama’s announcement was “more revolutionary” than the moment that President Lyndon Johnson went on national television during the heyday of the civil rights movement and called for racial equality, declaring, “We shall overcome.”

Obama’s “We Shall Overcome” moment will force Americans – black and white – to reexamine positions on same-sex marriage, Lowery says.

“A lot of white people didn’t believe in desegregation until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional,” says Lowery, who presided over Obama’s inauguration. “And then they began to rethink it and basically came to the same conclusion.”

Pastor or president?

At least one black minister in North Carolina captures another neglected dimension to the debate. He opposes same-sex marriage but doesn’t like the energy Christians devote to opposing it.

“He’s the president of the Untied States, not the pastor of the United States,” says the Rev. Fred Robinson, who lives in Charlotte. “America is a democracy, not a theocracy. I’m not going to vote on one issue.”

Robinson says some Christians are better at being against something than for something. Christian divorce rates are just as high as those for secular marriages, he says.

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“Our witness is stronger if we actually show that we believe in marriage and lived in and honored it,” he says. “That would be a greater witness than running to the polls to enshrine discrimination in the state constitution.”

The Rev. Tim McDonald, founder of the African-American Ministers Leadership Council, says he opposes same-sex marriage, but he is more concerned about issues like health care, education and jobs.

He's interested to see how black pastors handle Obama’s announcement when they step onto the pulpit Sunday.

“I don’t see how you cannot talk about it,” he says. “I have to. You can say I’m opposed to it [same-sex marriage], but that doesn’t mean I’m against the president.”

McDonald says more black pastors are talking about same-sex marriage than ever before: “Three years ago, there was not even a conversation about this issue – there wasn’t even an entertainment of a conversation about this.”

Polls show that black opinions on same-sex marriage are changing.

According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in April, 49% of black respondents described themselves as opposed to marriage between gays and lesbians, 14% fewer than in 2008. The percentage of African-Americans in favor of it increased from 26% in 2008 to 39% in 2012.

In 2008, Californians voted on Proposition 8, a measure that would make same-sex marriage illegal in the state, at the same time that they cast ballots for president.

CNN exit polling showed that 70% of California African-Americans supported Prop 8 but that the overwhelming majority - 94% - also backed President Obama.

Black pastors who preach in favor of same-sex marriage know they may pay a price if they take Obama’s position, says Bishop Carlton Pearson.

Pearson is a black minister who says he lost his church building and about 6,000 members when he began preaching that gays and lesbians were accepted by God.

“That’s the risk that people take,” he told CNN. “A lot of preachers actually don’t have a theological issue. It’s a business decision. They can’t afford to lose their parishioners and their parsonages and salaries.”

Pearson navigates the tension between the Bible’s call for holiness and justice this way:

“I take the Bible seriously, just not literally,” he says. “It’s more important what Jesus said about God than what the church says about Jesus.”

CNN staff writer Stephanie Siek contributed to this report.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Christianity • Gay marriage • Politics

soundoff (2,207 Responses)
  1. anthony stark

    You know, when blacks voted for Kerry, nobody accused them of voting based on nothing other than "racial self-identification." Maybe the whites that voted for John McCain and a COMPLETELY under qualified Sarah Palin were voting based on racial self-identification.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  2. Debby

    Well alot of us believe in equal rights, pastors, but the timing of this in an election year doesn't seem sincere from Obama. Why not make the statement last year or the year before. You just don't evolve or have an epithany 2 days before a state is going to vote on gay marriage. Very tacky of Obama IMO.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • SallyinChicago

      Or better yet, why make it the day before the big Hollywood fundraiser, which we know Hollywood is crawling with Gay (contributors).

      May 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tim

      He made the announcment after the vote in North Carolina. And the fact that he got endorsements is irrelevant. He stood up for what was right and people with money that agree supported him. You only look stupid when you claim this to be pandering for votes or begging for campaign dollars.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  3. the_dude

    Obama forsake the church to support the gays.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      So you're saying it's wrong to forsake ignorance and support the constîtution?

      Nice to knoow where you stand.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Tim

      Thank God!

      May 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • zbear

      What makes the church so right!

      May 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • AnAmerican

      Hey Dude – This is America. Neither you, Obama, or anyone else has the right to force your religious beliefs down anyone elses throats. THIS IS AMERICA NOT A COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!!

      May 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Dl

    of course, 'black church' leaders turn a blind eye to teen pregrancies, single, fatherless households & fathers impregnating multiple women & not supporting thier children... but they are OUTRAGED at people who actaully want to make commitments to each others ...

    May 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • GE

      Try first blaming the teens who do what they do to get pregnant, try blaming the fathers who abandon children, and impregnante women and leave them, for if you do that and do as Isaiah said in chapter 6 of Isaiah then maybe you will realize it was not the "black church's" fault because Isaiah said "Woe is me!" so the fault lies with the person guilty of whatever you accuse them of.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Ceitte

      Hypocrisy at its finest!! ;)...

      May 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • matthew2818

      When was the last time you visited a black church?

      May 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  5. gman

    Black church will NOT punish Obama! But the pastors will. They cannot stand Obama working to improve the lives of the poor. How can people like (Not) Rev Jesse Jackson, who is one of the the biggest crooks of all times, stand by watching watching Obama!

    May 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • SallyinChicago

      OOPS Gman, you got it wrong again. Black pastors cannot stand Mr. O improving the lives of white people making their richer than black people.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  6. A Serpentine's Thought

    Gay marriage? What else? "Bi" sensual marriages of 3 or 4 or more?

    May 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Geraldine Desposito

      I go for that.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  7. Henry

    "The answer to that question is evolving – just as Obama’s views on gay marriage have been."

    By evolving do you mean taking the course that was politically expedient? Obama doesn't believe in anything but his own re-election and people who praise his "courage" are just as damaged as he is. Why didn't he endorse this from the get-go? Evolving.. Pshh.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  8. Guest

    Sodom and Gomorrah, need we say more.....

    May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      Lot was a drunken pedo who pimped out his kids. I wouldn't take that story too seriously.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      Yes, Guest, we should look more about what the bible really says, since some fools would take that book of grim fairy tales as some kind of life guide. Take a look at these instructions from "loving" Christian god:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • A Serpentine's Thought

      Can't forget Rome now can we? Maybe even Greece? As the Tides' Turn!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • jk05

      Actually you need to say more...

      The same old testament you refer to endorses slavery. Is that something you support? Is that something the black church supports, or is it only the anti-gay clobber clauses that you refer to?

      May 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • matthew2818

      Bob,
      Stop trying to quote what somebody says when you don't understand the context in which Lev. was written in.
      The Bible says a lot of things. You can't pick and chose. Read the whole 66 books in its full context, cultural and to whom.
      Common sense.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Hehe

      hmmm...inhospitable?

      May 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Spurgeon3333

    Blacks will overwhelmingly vote for Obama regardless. Blacks identify as black almost to the exclusion of everything else. They will put their "blackness" ahead of God and their faith, ahead of ethics and morality even in the face of plenty of evidence to the contrary. We saw it during the OJ Simpson trial (and numerous other but lower profile cases) and with the ex-Washington, DC mayor, Marion Barry (as well as a slew of other elections involving black candidates).

    May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • J

      Really? Then why wasn't Jesse Jackson ever elected president?

      Whites, however...that's a different story (prior to Obama).

      Please tell me your monicker doesn't relate to the late (great) Charles Spurgeon? His sermons/prayers are amazing (and for everyone).

      May 11, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  10. NorCalMojo

    If they didn't like it, they should have written more checks.

    Obama won't lose any votes either way. Both blocs are in the DNC's hip pocket. Gays will write the checks, so it was a good decision.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  11. GE

    I just hope that "The Church"(not just blacks) really just remember a couple things: 1. Barack Obama is the President of The United States....this means he presides over the churched and the unchurched and WE the CHURCH should not provoke hatred towards ANYBODY because Jesus said "By this shall all men know you are my disciples that you have love one for another(John 13:34-35) God established man and woman and God made man for woman and woman for man and regardless of who says what that is and always will be the standard the only issue I take as a preacher is that should have been left to debate because it will always be up for debate so leave that alone like the other 43 presidents did and focus on what matters most(jobs etc.)...Secondly WE voted for him to be president so WE give him the power to rule this country, however GOD calls preachers and Pastors to lead HIS children(those who choose to follow HIM) so just because the President says its right doesn't mean the Church have to accept that and we as the Church need to just stand on God's Word that's all keep doing our best to do what thus saith the Lord no need to debate and get angry just stand on the Word of God...Come what may just stand on God's Word.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • JE

      Amen. Heaven now. Sigh...

      Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away);

      To a home on God's celestial shore,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away).

      Chorus:
      I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away;
      when I die, hallelujah, by and by,
      I'll fly away.

      Verse 2:
      When the shadows of this life have grown,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away);

      Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away).

      Chorus

      Verse 3:
      Just a few more weary days and then,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away);

      to a land where joys shall never end,
      I'll (fly away)
      fly away (fly away).

      May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Bob

      You need to be careful about referencing "god's word" as far as guidance on what to do goes. Better pick selectively from that book (like any "good" Christian will...) and ignore the embarrassing bits. There are some pretty horrible demands from Christian god presented in the bible. Fine stuff like this:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • GE

      Bob I will never be careful to proclaim God's word seeing that He called me to preach it I would advise you to avoid using God's word if you don't believe in Him Woe unto you my friend

      May 11, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Ceitte

      Since you're a pastor maybe you can eclarify some of the other horrible things in the bible that are referenced in these comments! Are you also for slavery and sacrificing animals?

      May 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • matthew2818

      I agree that the president should be respected. I disagree that when Christians respectfully express opposition, they must be unloving

      May 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Wmcn

      Hello, out of all the comments I've read concerning this subject, yours has made the most sense. All that matters is we show ourselves approved by studying the word of God, and humbling ourselves to his will. If we keep leaning to our own understanding, we will never accept the will of God.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • House

      Even the church i.e., vatican is a city-state with an official political leader i.e., the pope.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  12. Connie

    You say that the African Americans will continue to support Obama, but then you say the issue is the economy.. How then can you support a man who has done nothing for our economy? The economy is the issue, the only issue.. The economy is what keeps us all living. It feeds and clothes us.. I'm confused how the black community will continue to support someone who has himself sent our debt into a higher amount. He has a poor track record when it comes to the economy.. So are you voting for him because of his race?

    May 11, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • J

      Why did we vote for Bush a 2nd time when he invented a war that killed thousands and wasted billions.

      The economy tanked under his watch. The Republican guy running said at that time: "the fundamentals of the economy are sound."

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Geraldine Desposito

      No, the "economy" is somewhat of an artificial construct, and descriptions of its state are typically based on an inconsistent set of metrics that can easily be disputed.

      Products that we buy, and things that we make or harvest, feed and clothe us.

      Glad I cleared that up for you.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Joseph B

      Obama has done nothing for the economy????
      Before Obama took office, we were losing 600,000 jobs per month – a total of 1.8m jobs lost in the 3 months before he took office. Now we have job growth. Obama has done a huge amount of good for the economy. The Republicans in Congress who have said that want to make Obama a one term president and will do anything in order to make that happen are the ones trying to crash the economy prior to the election.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Guff

      Of course they will vote based on race. The concept that only the white man is racist is flawed. All races are inherently racist and the black community will once again vote for him simple because he is black.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Concerned in Floriida

      Connie, I really had to lol on your response. Blacks are far more complex and diverse then you give them credit for. What you may not realize is the economy sucked for many blacks long before President Obama took office and his actions since have reflected an understanding that education has always been our way out of poverty and disparity. We're actually laughing because some of you are now facing the same challenges we have faced under most Presidents (excluding Clinton).Stop assuming we vote based on the President's color. More Black Americans recognize the President as bi-racial and we have been voting for Presidents even when the choices were only white.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Facts Pls.

      Obama has done much more for then you can accept. Dow is again in 13,000. We have averted a catastrophe which is now hitting Europe. More then 60% of the deficit was from Bush's 2 war and tax cut and reform that benefited the 1%. US is growing. And he did all this with a hostile GOP congress that was bend on destroying, they stated clearly that their only goal is make Obama a 1 term president, in other words they hate Obama more then they love their country. That even today refuse to decrease the deficit by cutting military expense, they only want to cut social program that we need more then ever like food stamp and meal on wheel. You can vote against your own self interest if u want, but at least stick to the facts

      May 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • J

      8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the Lord.
      9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
      10 As the rain and the snow
      come down from heaven,
      and do not return to it
      without watering the earth
      and making it bud and flourish,
      so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
      11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
      It will not return to me empty,
      but will accomplish what I desire
      and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
      12 You will go out in joy
      and be led forth in peace;
      the mountains and hills
      will burst into song before you,
      and all the trees of the field
      will clap their hands.
      13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
      and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
      This will be for the Lord’s renown,
      for an everlasting sign,
      that will endure forever.”

      May 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • J

      That's backwards. This should have been 1st.

      55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
      come to the waters;
      and you who have no money,
      come, buy and eat!
      Come, buy wine and milk
      without money and without cost.
      2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
      and your labor on what does not satisfy?
      Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
      and you will delight in the richest of fare.
      3 Give ear and come to me;
      listen, that you may live.
      I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
      my faithful love promised to David.
      4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
      a ruler and commander of the peoples.
      5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
      and nations you do not know will come running to you,
      because of the Lord your God,
      the Holy One of Israel,
      for he has endowed you with splendor.”
      6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
      call on him while he is near.
      7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
      and the unrighteous their thoughts.
      Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
      and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • connie

      "Products that we buy, and things that we make and harvest feed and clothe us"... Really, wake up.. For those not able to "Harvest" a paycheck, enough to buy the "Product", will disagree with your logic, or lack of....

      May 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • seyedibar

      Not sure how anyone could say he's done nothign for our economy. He's kept this country afloat and bounced back our economy from two mini-depressions caused by the actions of the previous president. He didn't get as much done as he'd liked because of a uncompromisable republican congress and a budget in the red, but he did a magnificent job cleaning up the mess made by George W. Bush.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Geraldine Desposito

      Connie, you stupid bitch, money is just a medium of exchange. And you aren't even a small.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Connie

      Hey G, nice comeback.. I see if one tends to not agree with you, you exchange name calling.. Have a great day and God Bless! 🙂

      May 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      People like Connie never griped when it took Bush 8 years to destroy the economy.
      But cant stand Obama because he couldnt fix it in 4 years.
      I guess all Republicans have a "short" memory.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Wmcn

      Connie! Its not that we will continue to support our President just because he's black, its because he's a man of reason. If President Obama were white and trying improve our economy, taxes, infrastructure, and so forth, black people would vote for him. Its not necessarily a black thing, it the right thing.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Wmcn

      Most people are voting for him because his policies make sense. I hope you know that the presidents presents policy and the House and the Senate have to agree on priciples if presented policy is good. The congress has not even tried pass a measure that has anything to do with the economy. They're only mission is to make our president a one term president. Most of the people who are against him are struggling and don't realize our President is on the peoples side. If people don't work, how can our economy get better. No revenue means people require services to make it. If we work, attidudes change, lives change.
      They seem to forget that the republican party has taken us to this point and everything Obama is trying to do is correct it to the posiive. Please get with the winning team!!!

      May 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  13. lean6

    Black church...slave masters of he 21st century in most cases. Drives me nuts. Who else are you going to support if not president Obama? Stay out of politics or start paying taxes.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • matthew2818

      I am not voting for either guy. Will vote on other issues.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  14. huh

    Johnquest, have you considered that this article is about the black vote?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  15. PeterD

    Black Churchs are slave to Obama's re-election campaign bid.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Wmcn

      Sounds like you are talking just to be talking. Nothing!

      May 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  16. J

    8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
    2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
    But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

    9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

    11 “No one, sir,” she said.

    “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    May 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • cworr

      That's a great verse. But the part about "go, leave your life of sin" means "don't continue to sin". You are supposed to stop. Can't have the cake and eat it too.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Content of post by J is an instance of the Two Wrongs Make a Right fallacy including multiple non sequitur aspects.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • J

      God help us all.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Geraldine Desposito

      There's no god. Good thing, since the bible presents him as a genocidal maniac and a pretty awful guy.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • seyedibar

      The Sermon on the Mount was a much later addition to the books. Try reading Paul's original letters sometime. There's no mention of Mary, Joseph, wisemen, disciples, miracles, resurrection. All of that came much later and was cobbled together from folktales borrowed from other religions and messianic figures of the time. It's also very easy to rule out inconsistencies such as the life of Judas, a politician whose life was recorded in depth, had his own religious movement, and died at the hands of the Romans, not hanging from a tree. The only greek historian (Tacitus) who even believed Jesus existed also thought Heracles and Dionysius were real. Your religion is nothing but borrowed myth and legend with no more veracity than tales of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • matthew2818

      seyedibar where is your proof that the bible is not real? Archeologists has found more books of the bible than Homer's work. Why don't you question other books. Is it because we don't like what some of what the bible says?

      May 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  17. luke,az

    Most black folks like most brown,asian,native american or white folks will vote for the person who will best represent them. President Obama is truly an exemplary leader for the 21st century. The "Black" church is at one level extremely traditional and at the same time extremely progressive.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  18. Scott

    Why do religious people think EVERYTHING is about them??? This is a POLITICAL and SOCIAL and LEGAL decision. You know what has nothing to do with it? Religion! So how about people just BTFO Obama and his decision to allow equality and freedom.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Sim G

      I agree.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Guest

      Your uneducated self does realize that marriage is a religious ideal and not a political or government matter. If you want to give them Civil Unions then that is fine, but Marriage is defined as a man and a woman and will always be that way. Marriage is accepted and honored in the eyes of God.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      If it was social he would have come out for it in 2008.

      It was political and financial. He knows he has the black vote no matter what. Right now he needs money and gays write bigger checks than black preachers.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • AnAmerican

      Because, in American religion, you don't have to believe in equality, fairness, kindness, and to treat people the way you want to be treated. Oh wait, that is how real Christians are. Some of these people are obviously not real Christians.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  19. cworr

    My guess would be that this will be irrellevant and that Obama will still get 94% of the Black vote. It has to do with self identification. If you asked people to describe themselves with single words in order of importance, what would they put first? I would put Christian first. About four of five spaces down, I would list "White". I think for most Blacks, their race would come first in terms of self identification. The one overrules the other.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Heather

      It's kind of like reverse racism if you will... If the only reason you won't vote for a guy is because of his race, that's racist, but if the only reason you vote for a guy is because of his race, it's reverse-racist. I tell everyone to do their research into candidates actions and not just vote based on whoever sounds the prettiest before a microphone.

      I agree with you. I would first call myself Christian, because that's who I am; Christ has defined my life, the meaning and purpose of my life. I live to serve Him. I think the last thing I'd think of to describe myself is my race, because who I am, what I stand for, has nothing to do with my skin color. The fact that so many people will vote for Obama because of the amount of melanin he has is just ABSURD! The whole reason this is such an issue is because our culture is consumed by what people look like rather than what they do and how they live. I want to ask blacks, what does his skin color have to do with it? Will his skin color determine how much he does for you? What essential thing does his skin provide you?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Sarah

      Heather, how do you explain the overwhelming majority of blacks that voted for Clinton and Gore? Do you think blacks have somehow misidentified them as black? Or, could it be that blacks feel like those two democrats and our current democratic president represent their interests better than the alternative? Maybe your reasoning is somewhat flawed and presumptious.

      And, one more thing, Heather and cworr, I'm black, but if you asked me to describe myself, I would say, I'm an attorney, a mother, a wife, an educated woman, etc. Only if you asked me to describe my physical characteristics would I even consider describing the color of my skin, and even then I would say "black," I would literally describe the color of my skin. I'm just curious if you saw me, and you were describing me, what would be the first descriptor you would use? Would it possibly be "black"?

      May 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Sarah

      Correction: I meant, I "wouldn't say 'black'"

      May 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  20. Maude

    I don't know about the black churches, but I am done with this man. It is becoming obvious he is nothing but a schill. He will do anything, say anything for power.

    No thanks. Not buying what you are selling anymore.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Scott

      He will say anything to get power, like when he first supported gay marriage as Governor, then decided against it. Also when he said he supported planned parenthood, then said he would get rid of it. Wait, you're talking about Romney, right?

      May 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • cworr

      I totally agree with you. But the problem is that Romney is absolutely no different. I am conservative but I might just vote for whoever the Libertarian is this fall. I can't quite bring myself to vote for Romney just yet. Maybe by November.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • bfpiercelk

      @Scott: You do realize that there are more than 2 people to vote for right?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.