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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. Guest For

    No, blacks will not be voting on principles this election cycle, any more than they did in the last. For blacks the overriding issue is that Obama is black and thus represents all blacks (in the eyes of the electorate). Some could stay at home as a result of this decision, but none 90% will not vote against him. Look for Obama to receive 88% of the black vote in this coming election.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • WickedF

      That is just stupid.. all blacks are not going to vote for Obama. That would be like me saying all whites are going to vote for Romney...that is just stupid

      May 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  2. Dan Jones

    I thin we should just do away with marriage altogether, which is the same as saying gays should be allowed to marry. If marriage is expended to include gays then why not bise*uals? Why are they being prejudiced against? And what about polygamists? Certainly it is just as natural to love more than one person as it is to love someone of the same gender. So if we are to define marriage as a lust for one or more people we have the hots for than we have a system so useless and inclusive that it has lost all meaning and we might as well remove it from the books altogether.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Crom

      Maybe we just need to get rid of Dan Jones altogether before we have to read any more of his posts.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  3. Answers Here

    Well, this answers the question: When pressed into choosing between their beliefs and supporting a brother, blacks will support blacks.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Dan Jones

      The truth is that anyone who votes for Obama is evidently not a christian at all, regardless of color. Obama supports everything that is against the Bible and is at odds with virtually all of Christianity.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • ME II

      Isn't anyone who votes not a Christian? shouldn't they trust in God to provide the *right* leader?

      May 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Robert Brown

    A little sermon on the mount anyone?
    You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Huebert

      The sun doesn't rise the earth revolves, and that is due to massive convection currents of molten Iron around our planet's crystalline iron core, no god required. Rains fall due to a combination of temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure, again no god required.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Crom

      As if we haven't had thousands of religious people come on here to spout scripture at us already?

      Just what do you think you are accomplishing here beyond making everyone sick of seeing your constant Bible quotes?

      Quoting the Bible is not an argument, not a comment, and isn't even sane.

      I suggest, instead, that you prove your "god" exists, for without that, all your words are useless and empty of meaning.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • fred

      Reason for existence – God required
      Reason for meaning and purpose in life – God required
      Origin of the species –God required
      Eternal standards of morality –God required
      Good and evil –God required

      May 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Crom

      @fred
      I laugh at your desperate attempt to make some sort of point with that bs list.

      Now here's a question for you or anyone who thinks morals can come only from your "god":

      Name me one moral action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.

      I await your desperate and fumbling reply with my laughter ready to go. Let's see what you've got.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Oh come on fred. Usually you're a little more coherent than that. Oh well, guess I need to jump in on this one to. Demonstrate oh each of those things you listed require a god.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • fred

      Crom
      To sell all your possessions and give it to the poor then follow Christ. In other words to live as Christ is to be in Christ.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • J.W

      It seems like this conversation kind of got off the topic of what that scripture is about lol

      May 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Crom

      @fred
      So it is impossible for non-believers to sell all their possessions, give the proceeds to the poor? LOL

      As for "following Christ" I don't follow bigoted racists who happen to also be delusional cult leaders.

      So I am actually MORE moral than your "Christ". MORE moral than your "god", and MORE moral than YOU.

      If you are trying to argue for moral actions, don't bother bringing in your clearly immoral Biblical values.
      Anyone can be a bigot and follow some crazy nonsense. It doesn't take a belief in your "god" to do that at all.

      Care to try again?

      May 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Fred

      The universe has no inherent meaning you get to pick your own. That is the fun part.
      Our species arose due to evolution through natural selection.
      Morality and good and evil are man made concepts.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • J.W

      Jesus is a bigoted racist? How is that?

      May 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      Reason for existence –
      It there is no God then our existence just happened by chance. Chance does not have reason or cause at the point of origin therefore existence with reason requires the first cause to exhibit reason.

      Reason for meaning and purpose in life –
      Without an eternal God or eternal record any and all activities of life as we know it will no longer exist at some point. All meaning and purpose not only would have been to no avail it would never have existed.

      Origin of the species
      An eternal source would eventually be required otherwise you cannot approach the beginning of any first cause event. This is why the Bible begins with” in the beginning God”

      May 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • fred

      Crom
      “So it is impossible for non-believers to sell all their possessions, give the proceeds to the poor?”
      =>You cannot split my sentence as I did not say nonbelievers could not sell and give. I said they could not get rid of the possessions and follow Christ. In short give your life for Christ was required for the rich man. Complete dependence on Christ not personal wealth was required of him.

      “As for "following Christ" I don't follow bigoted racists who happen to also be delusional cult leaders.”
      =>Neither do I. Even if you do not believe the Bible, Christ was the sacrificial lamb of God perfect without blemish. That is the story as written.

      “So I am actually MORE moral than your "Christ". MORE moral than your "god", and MORE moral than YOU.”
      =>Impossible by the definition of Christ as given in the source of your comparison.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • fred

      J.W.
      The scripture is very appropriate. Crom, an enemy of God, hates Jesus and Christians. We are to demonstrate our love for Crom because Jesus who he mocks died that all may have life eternal and none should perish.
      Crom just did not know he was about get a big undeserved dose of grace, mercy and love. Not because of anything he did but, because of who God is.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Crom

      @fred
      Since I clearly asked for only ONE "moral action" as an example from you, then, yes, I am allowed to split your sentence into each fragment in order to respond to each pile of bs you are trying to fling my way.
      Selling all possessions only requires 1) possessions and 2) someone to buy them off you.
      Giving all your money to the poor requires 1) money and 2) poor people who are willing to take your money.
      Following a religion requires 1) a religion and 2) the deluded willingness to follow it.

      In none of your examples is there any requirement for your "god" to provide the motivation.

      Here now. I have tossed you into the street again. Will you now try to argue like a sensible person? (probably not, right?)
      Oh my what's this? A declaration of faith? Yet I could do the same without believing any of it. Is that where you were going?
      No? You sad sack of nonsense. I have a stronger set of ethics and morals than you because mine do not contradict themselves from one paragraph to another and I do not "interpret" them according to my agenda. My agenda is a direct expression of my moral values, unlike yours.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • J.W

      Crom is very talented at putting words in people's mouth and then judging them based on the words he made up.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Crom

      @J.W
      I was not trying to put words in anyone's mouth. All I asked for was ONE "moral" action that cannot be done by an unbeliever.

      As for this "unblemished lamb of 'god'", I can only marvel at your lack of Biblical knowledge. The man (if he even existed) is clearly portrayed in the NT as being a bigot, a racist, a heretic, a criminal, a communist, and so on.
      I would guess that you also do not see the glaring fact that the whole NT is, in fact, putting words in HIS mouth!

      Tell me, J.W, where are the words written down by Jesus himself? He knew how to write in the dirt, yet all we have are second-hand accounts written decades later that "quote" him, yet his writings are nowhere to be seen.
      Are you so simple-minded as that? You don't think Constantine deliberately suppressed the written words of Jesus to further his own Imperial agenda? Or the Nicene Council? Why they didn't stop everything and go looking for the words written by Jesus himself?

      Be that as it may, it doesn't matter much in the end, for there is nothing to support the assertion that your god even exists.
      Cherry-pick all you like. It just shows you haven't read the Bible closely enough or looked at it with a clear eye towards finding the truth.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • fred

      Crom
      Thank you for admitting your agenda and that you approach the things of God with that agenda. As Jesus said, seek and you shall find. Looks like you found exactly what you were looking for.

      As to my statement it stands. A non believer cannot do anything out of a pure heart for Christ. A non believer can choose not to commit adultery for a variety of reasons but, a non believer cannot chose to remain faithful to spouse because of his or her love of Christ.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Huebert

      @fred

      So we atheist can only be good because we want to. Unlike Christians who have all powerful parent figure making sure they are good. How, exactly, does that give Christians the moral high ground?

      May 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • fred

      Huebert
      Christians do not have the high ground. We are a broken miserable bunch just like the rest of humanity. “Who is good but God”? Christians and atheists cannot have unity with God because we are sinful. The only way Christians have unity with God is through Christ. A better way to say that is the Bible says Christ is our covering because a Holy God cannot look at sin.
      One big theme of the Bible is that in the Old Testament the “Chosen Ones” fail at every attempt and end up rejecting God. As Christians we have had about the same amount of time as the Hebrews of Old only to prove what a complete failure we are when it comes to obedience of God. Our divorce rates are about the same as general population etc.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      @fred

      I actually kinda feel sorry for you Fred. You'll never get this is the only life that you will ever have. You are working toward a goal, unity with god as you put it, that is unreachable. You have created a whole other universe in your mind and you honestly believe that you will go their. You have convinced your self that this other universe is the most beautiful place that could ever be and thus you miss so much of the beauty that is right in front of you. Life is short Fred, and you only get one shot at it, be glad you have it. Don't be eager to lose it.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • fred

      Huebert
      Thanks for the kind thoughts.
      Solomon with far greater wealth than I can imagine exhausted all avenues of meaning, purpose and joy on this earth and came up empty. His conclusion was to fear God (usage of fear has a positive and negative side as it is to have an awe and wonder of God such that you know never to fall into His judgment).
      What happens in the afterlife for an atheist or Christian is eternal regardless of what joy or sorrow we encounter during life. One can believe in an eternal nothingness or an eternal unity through Christ both of which affect the way we live our lives. Even if we live to 100 that short span does not even register relative to eternity. An orgasm or a migraine that lasts 1 ten thousandth of a second can hardly be noticed. How would you even begin to compare 100 years against eternity? Life on earth began 2 billion years ago how does a 100 years even compare to that yet alone eternity.
      When I say life is meaningless and without purpose if there is no God does not mean I have a more or less meaningful life than an atheist. That would be like comparing a grain of sand on a beach to an ant then drawing some conclusion as to their relative value in the universe. When you consider the relative proportions there can be only one conclusion about life in the absence of God. In the presence of God there is life eternal which says “for I had a plan for you before the foundations of the earth”

      May 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Crom

      @fred
      I'm sorry but you sound more than just a little delusional. You can't argue worth a damn and your feeble attempts to defend your religion make me want to ask your pastor for help in subduing you and putting you in an ambulance.
      You need meds, fred.

      My agenda is my own. I have not written it out here, so I can only laugh at your assumption that you understand it without knowing just what it is.

      I can "have faith" anytime I want, all I have to do is pretend reality is a magical mystery tour and wait for them to take me away to the funny farm where I can learn basketweaving.
      I can go into a church, tell them of my "deep abiding faith in the Lord" and say all the right things and you would call me a pillar in your church.
      I could even pretend that everything I do is because I believe in Jesus and follow him to a greater degree than you.
      But that would be lying, yet it can be done by any non-believer, any agnostic, any atheist who is willing to "humor" the Christians around them. I personally wouldn't do that, but this isn't about me. It's about my question that I posed to you or anyone who wanted to play.

      Here's the thing: There is no action done by humans that can be used to show that there is some sort of "magical" moral force operating in this universe. None whatsoever.
      You would kill if you thought your god wanted you to do so. Is killing moral only because your god says to do it? Or is it because your god says to do it that makes it moral?

      Does your god follow a set of personal morals? No. A quick reading of the Bible shows your god is a monstrous distortion of the men who wrote it.
      Does your god change? Again, a quick reading shows that he does change constantly, never holding to one moral value or any sort of ethical conduct – again because it is just a distortion of the men who wrote it.
      Does your god do good things? According to your Bible, anything he does is labeled "good" whether it is insane or monstrous or "merciful" – your "god" is a monster, a pretend monster that is used to keep you obedient to the priests.
      What are these morals you say your god has infused into the very fabric of things? They do not exist.
      You can't even list your god's "morals" without running into contradictions before you get a tenth of the way down.
      Your Jesus was a bigot. A racist bigot. He was a cult leader of a Jewish tribal cult he started himself. He did not have religious authority to do so from the Jewish priesthood, and he even (according to the bs) gave commands that essentially did away with all priests. That's one of the reasons they killed him. He wanted to be a god and they killed him for going against everything they'd been working on for centuries.
      He was just a man. Not the son of a supernatural superbeing. Just a scraggly-toothed crazy man who used his charisma and con-artist skills to rise upon the necks of his deluded followers.
      He was not without blemish. He was not perfect. He didn't have any way of seeing the future or talking with a god that doesn't exist. He was a fraud. A criminal who fled from one city to the next. He was betrayed for money because his brother couldn't stomach the lies anymore and only wanted to be a landowner.

      There are no moral absolutes. You cannot name a single one that can be proven to exist.
      All you have are assertions, blind assertions, without a shred of proof of any sort.
      All morals are relative, or you would not need a 2000 page book of rules.
      If you were born knowing the difference between good and evil, your parents would have nothing to do beyond feeding you.
      All those things you list are demonstrably false. And that's in addition to your lack of proof.
      But don't just lie there in the street. You'll get it dirty. Take your carcass back to your church and read your Bible.
      There is nothing in there that has not been changed to fit the "agendas" of the writers or even the agendas of the characters themselves.
      And everyone is free to have their own "interpretation" on what they believe. And these "interpretations" do not match.
      If there were moral absolutes, everyone's interpretation would match. Or haven't you thought about it that much?
      Guess not.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Crom,

      You are a very skilled debater. If you are speaking in absolutes, then yes, anything is possible. Someone could love their enemies without being a believer. I couldn’t do it, but who is to say someone else couldn’t. At the same time, while we are speaking in absolutes, if you are absolutely, without any doubt, sure that there is no God, then without his direct intervention, you have no hope. If however, you could say that there could be a God, then you have some faith and that faith can grow.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  5. n8362

    That is a great video.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  7. dogs rule

    Will this country ever evolve? (Except for the South, which is hopeless). Gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else on this planet. They deserve to marry whom they please and be considered family in the eyes of the law. Enough with the bigotry, PLEASE (As for the south: they should secede from the Union again. This time the rest of us will make sure they stay out!)

    May 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Huebert

      You bigoted tw@t. I'm a southern white atheist and I am all for gay rights. Don't judge groups of people based on your preconceived notions. That's called prejudice and it is wrong in any form.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Guest For

      What shall a gay couple evolve to? I know liberals have a hard time understanding biology, but gays cannot pro-create. They have one generation (if they stay within the confines of their union) at most.

      That being the case I guess the next move of the GLM, is to rewrite the laws of biology, or create a new sperm/egg tax where all people must contribute for the continuation of their species.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Huebert

      @guest For

      Why do believe that marriages have to produce children? Should infertile people not get married? What about old women past menopause?

      May 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • J.W

      They have surrogate motherhood, and invitro fertilization for that.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • J.W

      Whoa I didnt read Guest for's post very careful. I did not realize that gays are a different species than straights. Wow he does know more about biology than me.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  8. jeanninehanson

    PLEASE black people stop using the pronoun we when you talk. The correct pronoun or noun would be "I" or "Black people that I know" or John and I"... get it? When you make statements like that, you prove over and over what you accuse white people of creating when it is in fact you! You talk as if ALL blacks are alike, think the same therefore behave and/or act the same. Note if you can that each individual that comes on to comment just simply states their opinion or post. No "we" as if they are the spokeperson for ALL white people. I don't know you and you don't know me = you have no idea what I think. And for the whites that use the term "blacks" and the non-black people that use the term "white people", the same message goes for you! And I can almost bet my life on it that neither poster that I am directing my comment to knows many people. Certainly not enough to use such a generalized term. In my experiences intelligent people refrain from making statements of this nature.
    Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I am a christian woman and understand that one can quote scripture in the bible to justify anything and everything. So all of you need to just digest what has occurred and go let your voice be heard on election day. It amazes me where so many have fought for a separation of church and state seem to have no problem in using this very issue as support for their argument.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • ME II

      To be fair, you should have referred to, black people who use the pronoun we, instead of just "black people".

      May 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • dogs rule

      It's exactly you "Christian women" who are the bigots in this world. Shame on you. I'll bet you're from the South.
      I saw a sign in fromt of a church yesterday: "God's great gift–loving Christian mothers". What a horrible thing to say! Are Jewish mothers unloving? What about Buddhist mothers? Talk about the ultimate in BIGOTRY.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Guest For

      How dare you make cogent, coherent, and logical arguments! How dare you! 🙂

      May 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  9. No wool over MY eyes!

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

    Um, no.
    For Graham, his personal wealth and power and EGO trips were, and are (he's not dead yet is he?) his primary focus.
    Greed, wealth, power, and having his bloated ego constantly stroked by dumb cult followers is what GRAHAM was always about. His primary focus: His overweening pride and belief in his own pomposity. His second focus: Wealth and Power.
    "Justice", I'm sorry to say, clearly came in 8th or 9th place in his personal value system.

    For Martin Luther King, Jr., his primary focus was on doing the right thing for everyone. A totally different man altogether, and a clearly more worthy man to hold up as a leader worth following.

    It didn't surprise me in the least when I read about Graham snubbing MLK,Jr.
    That's how Graham is: a slimy piece of business who couldn't care less about justice, fairness, or equality. That's just how people like that ARE.
    "Personal salvation" was NEVER Graham's primary focus. It was his EGO and GREED all the way down. He didn't want to lose any "followers" who were racist bigots and dumb as dirt because, dumb as they are, they have MONEY and can be FOOLED into fawning over Graham who worships himself and money more than anything in the world.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  10. Not enough

    mlh6, please stop it, if Obama had of been a stone cold murder, he would not be able to run. But he is a democrat, so black folks would vote for him even if he came out and said he was gay.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • ME II

      ... probably *because* he said he was gay, if he did.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  11. a disgrace

    obama gets kicked out of nevada...

    May 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Not enough

    Biff, 95% of the black vote went to Obama in 2008, you had 4% of the black vote go to McCain. You had 88% of the black vote go to John Kerry, you also had 90% of the black vote go to Al Gore. Black people vote for the democrat. Unless you would like to say the additional 5% to 7% are soley racist, your conclusion is statistically insignificant.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  13. AverageJoe76

    I'm not shocked by the statement itself as much as I am the timing of it. I've never seen this happen during an election year for a president. I'm surprised Americans go through this "we can do it, but you can't" mentality and not see how fundementally hypocritical it is for this country. "Freedom and Justice for all....... ". Is that just on the packaging and not in the box?!? Face value, it would appear I bought into a defective/ misleading product if I came to America wishing for true freedom.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  14. mlh6

    Are you kidding? Obama could come out and say he is gay and 95% of blacks will vote for him. This is taken from statements by his own supporters.
    I think he could come out and say he was a stone cold murderer and 95% of blacks would vote for him? You think not, eh?
    Ask black people if they thought OJ Simpson was guilty.
    Same thing. As long as you have hate filled race baiters like Sharpton and MSNBC Obama is safe.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  15. Sao

    watch these gays going to go after animals after they're not satisfied with each other or the lust or the spark is not there. just watch. they're going to be so miserable...

    May 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Pander Bear

      You are a complete freak show. Seek professional help.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • J.W

      Human beings are technically animals. I bet you did not know that.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  16. mckenzd

    The President of the United States should not express an opinion about things like Gay Rights or what should happen in the case of Travone Martin. He continues to step out of bounds, now we need to help him step out of office.

    May 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Pander Bear

      And mckenzd should not express an opinion about other people expressing their opinions, because, well, because that's my opinion.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  17. MaryAnn in VA

    I am proud of President Obama for coming out and supporting gay marriage. Personally, I support civil unions with all the rights and privleges of a legal marriage between a man and woman. It is unfortunate to think that in the 21st century we are fighting this fight in an educated and civilized society. Let people live their lives-gay or straight and leave them alone.

    May 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Lynda Jones-Owings

      Well said!!

      May 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  18. n8362

    Imposing your religious superstition on others is immoral.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Lynda Jones-Owings

      YOU ARE STUPID!!!! STUPID IS STUPID DOES!!!!!

      May 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • TheWiz71

      Speak for yourself. You don't know why I believe in God. Don't speak for me.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Lynda Jones-Owings Should Watch This

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU

      May 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jerri

      How silly

      May 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • n8362

      That is a great video.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Guest For

      But it does require a mental indolent to base their accusations on their own innate philosophy and expect that to become the law of the land. Hedonist often hurl insults to those who reach outside themselves for guidance, while the Hedonist looks to fallible and flawed man for his answers.

      If there is no creator and all is by accident and chance, please provide me with one tangible example where chaos produces order and useful collocation?

      May 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Crom

      @Guest For
      Since you are not very clear about what you mean by "chaos", "order" or, my favorite.."collocation", could you at least try to form a question that makes enough sense to be answered? Thanks.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • n8362

      I do not consider myself an atheist and am not very interested in the debate of whether there is a god or not.

      What is obvious is that all organized religions and their gods are man made.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  19. Ann

    If the black man votes for Obama because he is black...we learned from the best, White People! You will pick a molesting murdering Polo shirt wearing white person to hire over a studious black person anyday. You have favortism for your own people for hundreds of years. So stop your pathetic whining about a bunch crap you created. Yes y'all create all this Hate!! Blame yourselves, look in the mirror before you speak foo

    May 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Biff

      Ann, in 2008 Obama got about 1/2 the white vote and 99% of the black vote. Now, speaking of bigots, let's look more closely at the black community and their leaders who are overtly racist towards whites and judgmental of gays. Here's your mirror, Ann, take a look.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Chris

      Ann,

      To generalize an entire race is no better than segregation was in the 50's. I will assume (however one should never) that you are from the South based on your use of "y'all". I will tell you being born & raised in Upstate New York I did not experience any of what you describe. I am the product of mixed race household and very proud of it!!

      I know that in the South things are still a bit different but it is the fault of both sides. I lived in Dallas, TX for 4 years and found that all races tended to separate themselves from one another. I believe it is the fault of everyone involved – not just one side. Food for thought!

      May 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Guest For

      So is this why JC Watts won a senate seat in white Oklahoma? What about congressman Allen West in Florida? Or Janice Carroll Lt. Governor of Florida? Or Michael Steele, RNC chairman.

      Herman Cain was leading in the Republican Primary process up until the scandals broke. I did not see many blacks gathered at his rallies.

      Blacks only vote for fellow blacks when their name is accompanied by a "D".

      May 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  20. Dakota2000

    We surely don't live in a post-racial society if blacks go to one church and whites to another.

    That is a far bigger problem than gay marriage.

    May 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Val B

      Amen!

      May 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Not enough

      Nope I'm black and go a mixed church. But this is because I have evolved from the cultural and traditionalism of church going. The reason why black people go to one church and white people go another church is because folks like to hold onto their culture and traditions. Black folks like to have a lively service and white people like the service to be more reserved.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Crom

      @Not enough
      You are over-generalizing and fall into the fallacy of stereotyping thereby.

      You say "black folks do this" and "white folks do that" as if it were true for everyone, but you are only a fool to say such things.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • anon

      Amen again!

      May 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Guest For

      Most go to the churches they attend due to tradition, family, friends, and worship styles. Has little to do with race and more to do with church culture.

      There are many integrated congregations throughout the US, but no hatred among those that are traditionally black and those that are traditionally white that I have witnessed. Most of the times they respect each other and each other's style of worship. They congregate as they do due to familiarity and choice.

      No, I am not a regular church goer either. So do not brand me with that label. This is just an unbiased observation from someone who has issues with organized religion, period.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
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About this blog

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.