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July 31st, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Black pastors group launches anti-Obama campaign around gay marriage

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – A group of conservative black pastors are responding to President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage with what they say will be a national campaign aimed at rallying black Americans to rethink their overwhelming support of the President, though the group’s leader is offering few specifics about the effort.

The Rev. Williams Owens, who is president and founder of the Coalition of African-Americans Pastors and the leader of the campaign, has highlighted opposition to same-sex marriage among African-Americans. He calls this campaign “an effort to save the family.”

“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” said Owens, in an interview Tuesday after the launch event at the National Press Club. “I am ashamed that the first black president chose this road, a disgraceful road.”

At the press conference, Owens was joined by five other black regional pastors and said there were 3,742 African-American pastors on board for the anti-Obama campaign.

When asked at the press conference for specifics about the campaign – funding, planned events and goals – Owens said only that the group’s first fundraiser will be on August 16 in Memphis, Tennessee. But Owens insisted that “we are going to go nationwide with our agenda just like the president has gone to Hollywood.”

In May, Obama announced on ABC News that he thought “same sex couples should be able to get married." The president had previously said that he opposed gay marriage, but said in May that his views were personal and did not represent a policy change.

In a fiery Tuesday press conference at the press club, Owens said Obama was taking the black vote for granted and decried the idea of similarities between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement, an assertion made by the NAACP following Obama’s same-sex marriage support.

Owens has long been an opponent of gay marriage and consults with the National Organization for Marriage as a liaison to the black churches.

At the press conference, Owens said that Obama’s support of same-sex marriage tantamount to supporting child molestation.

“If you watch the men who have been caught having sex with little boys, you will note that all of them will say that they were molested as a child…” Owens said. “For the president to condone this type of thing is irresponsible.”

Owens later walked about those comments back, saying he didn’t think the president was condoning molestation.

Earlier this year, memos obtained by The Human Rights Campaign in a Maine civil actions suit revealed that NOM aims at making gay marriage a wedge issued “between gays and blacks,” according to the released confidential plans.

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies," one NOM memo states. In light of the release, Brian Brown, president of NOM, said that he is proud of the group’s “strong record” on minority partnerships.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that 49% of African-Americans oppose legalized same-sex marriage, compared with 39% who support it. But that shows a softening on the position in recent years; In 2008, only 26% of blacks were in favor of same sex marriage, according to the same Pew poll.

At the same time, black voters overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008, while more recent polling shows a nearly equal level of support for the president’s 2012 reelection.

In a Public Religion Research Institute poll released last week, 18% of black Americans surveyed said they see same-sex marriage a “critical issue,” putting it behind the economy, education, deficit, a growing wealth gap and immigration.

According to Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the polling company, there is no evidence that same-sex marriage is something African-Americans will bring to the ballot box in November.

“Among African-Americans, I think same-sex marriage will be a nonissue in the election,” Jones told CNN. “We just have no evidence what so ever in slippage of support for Obama, even after his announcement in support of same sex marriage.”

The reaction of black pastors to the president’s support for gay marriage has been as varied as their congregations, ranging from condemnation to congratulations.

"We may disagree with our president on this one issue," Rev. Wallace Charles Smith said from the pulpit of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington on the Sunday after Obama announced his support for legalized gay unions. "But we will keep him lifted up in prayer. ... pray for President Barack Obama."

At the Tuesday press conference, Owens questioned Obama’s commitment to black Americans, stating that the president is just “half-black, half-white” and has long “ignored the black press.”

He is “ignoring the people that put him in the White House,” Owens said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Black issues • Obama • Pastors • Politics • Race • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,434 Responses)
  1. iwillnotbeashamed

    So this black person, who represents a group of colored people who were once segregated and considered less than whites, is attempting to rally in other black people to tell the public they don't consider gay people to have the same rights as straight people. Can people see the problem here?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Tom. Tom, the Piper's Son

      White (colorless) > black (colored) > gay (shameful?). Will that work for you?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  2. Joe citizen abroad

    They look for the speck in someone else's eye and they can't see the log in their own.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  3. John Dough

    Let me see...isn't the instance someone challenges anything Obama says or does, aren't they called racists? Here goes....... You racist Black ministers !!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Joe citizen abroad

      Ignorance.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  4. FrankTR

    The one thing black people hate more than the white man as president: gay people.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  5. Commandment Keeper

    The only reason you people do not have an issue with the President's support of gay marriage is because you do not care about or are not bound by the laws of God. PERIOD!!!!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      That is correct CK. But what is your point? Were you just trying to point out how stupid you are? We already know.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • wordsdontmatter

      neither are you bound by the laws of God as Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets..

      if non believers want to act like non believers, you are not Constantine the great v2 to ruin Christianity through political religion..

      you are 'in this world not of it' and you most certainly nor repub right or anyone God's enforcer..he does not need you..

      and stone casters are frowned upon..

      maybe we should stop killing: bullying, bribing and bombing other countries and american idol crap worshiping the self before becoming secular pharisees..yah?

      Sodom and Gomorrah was a judgment under the law and against jews under judaism..and it was not a statement that they need better moral governance but better moral choices under God's law..

      either way..you can find no justification for religious right crap in the bible..

      July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      True enougth – can't argue there. Nor are we bound by the laws of the easter bunny nor the tooth fairy.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  6. ChristardMingle.com

    Ho.mos.e.xuals have always been an important part of civilization. Always

    Can you imagine what the world would be like without them? It would be like not having Mexicans to cook in restaurants. We would starve.

    Without Gays there would be no theatre, no movies or TV, we would have a waiter shortage, hair stylist shortage, etc.

    Oh, and we would also have a doctor, lawyer, teacher, next door neighbor and family member, etc. shortage.

    And we would have a Christard shortage (that would be ok) and preacher shortage (that would be ok too.)

    In short, they are no different than anyone else. Just people doing people things.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Redspotz

      So, as you criticize those opposed to gay rights as bigoted, you appear to be equally bigoted against Christians. . . Got it.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  7. I am Black and speak for myself

    People have to understand that this pastor doesn't speak for, or represent all Black Americans. That's the problem when people give up their intellectual freedom and allow others to think for them. Please don't assume all Black Americans think like these people. We know the ugly face of oppression. Most of us would not wish it on anyone. If you are against gay marriage don't marry gay person. Otherwise leave matters in God's capable hands and do your best to live by his word.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • BlackPeopleMeet.com

      God doesn't have hands.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Atul Chaudhary

      If people had intellect, they would understand what is front and what is back. Even animals know the difference between male and female.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Gay Penguins, great story!

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/05/madrid-zoos-gay-penguins-given-egg-of-their-own/

      July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Manda

      Atul, animals commit ho'mose'xual acts with great frequency. You might have known that if you "had intellect."

      July 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616122106.htm
      Sorry folks. Every species on the planet does it.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  8. ace

    It's good the black pastors realize that gay activists trying to compare themselves to the civil rights era is a joke. Blacks couldn't vote, couldn't hold property, separate schools and buses, and meanwhile, gays have above average income, jobs, and housing.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Bubba

      Blacks couldn't marry either . . . white people . . . or brown people . . . or red people . . . or yellow people . . . just other black people . . . Nowadays, all people can marry each other . . . except gays and lesbian people . . . Get it?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Bubba

      That's what makes it discrimination . . . just like it was against blacks . . . and is against gays . . . Get it yet?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • jk105

      Ace
      Back up your statement that gays have such higher incomes? Where did you get that from?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  9. Atul Chaudhary

    Now nobody can dare them to call bigot or racist.

    These Pastors have guts to stand up for something. America is waking up, first Chick-Fil-A and now black Pastors.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • jk105

      Bigoted Preacher and Garbage Junk Food. That's some movement you have going on!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  10. j williamson

    These good "Pastors" would do their community so much better if they openly talked about black-on-black genocide (something around 8,000 or 9,000 murders a year in the US) It's nothing new – they ignore it, with a great assist from the media. (We only hear about the "tragedy" of a murdered black when it's a white person (or "white-hispanic") who committed the awful deed. So gay marriage offends them? Really? You see gay people as a threat to your community (and America in general)? Clean up your rancid mess first before you presume to push others to the back of the bus. Any questions?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Atul Chaudhary

      Why didn't them this when they supported Pres Obama? Now that they are opposing so distract them, correct.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Satan

      Remember mah niqquas, don't snitch! Keep criminals in your neighborhoods!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  11. Clarissa

    Why don't these ministers deal with gun violence, drugs, HIV/AIDS, and runaway father in the black community first?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Satan

      Haha black men abandon their children at higher rate than other races. Whites put them in jail!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Toki Wartooth

      Oh wowee, em is afraids of the blacks man!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  12. Ryan T.

    So let me get this straight this Christian Pastor believes it is worse to support a presidential candidate who supports gay marriage, than to support one who does not believe God is omnipotent? Interesting.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  13. TomCom

    Can't believe a group of blacks want to discriminate.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  14. ReligiousPoopShoot.com

    Any religion based on Jesus Christ is gonna lick balls, because Jesus does in fact lick balls.

    Truth

    July 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Hello !

      Join this thread.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Fuk Jesus and Mohammed, fuk them up their stupid as.ses.

      **USER**

      July 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Jesus and Mohammed are one-note jokes that only retards follow. They’re fuking clown shoes. If they were real I’d beat the sh.it out of them for being so stupid.

      FACT

      July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Hello Truth!

      Thank you for visiting ReligiousPoopShoot.com! We appreciate your feedback!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Hello FACT!

      Thank you for visiting ReligiousPoopShoot.com! We appreciate your feedback!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      All you motherfukers are gonna pay! You are the ones who are the ball-lickers! We’re gonna fuk your mothers while you watch and cry like little whiney bi.tches. We’re gonna make you eat our sh.it, then sh.it out our sh.it and then eat your sh.it that’s made up of our sh.it that we made you eat!

      Jesus and Mohammed

      July 31, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Hello Jesus and Mohammed!

      Thank you for visiting ReligiousPoopShoot.com! We appreciate your feedback!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • cj

      Keep laughing at Jesus, while the funniest thing he did was die for your sins.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • ReligiousPoopShoot.com

      Hello cj !

      Thank you for visiting ReligiousPoopShoot.com! We appreciate your feedback!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  15. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  16. Michael

    PEOPLE PEOPLE!!!

    its not blacks vs gays.....just these dumb pastors

    i for one...was taught to discriminate against gays....i have since realized how stupid ignorant and pointless that is

    i am 120% behind your fight for equality....i dont care what pastor or book says about it...we are people!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • cj

      God is not mocked...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • jk105

      Yes, CJ God is not to be mocked... so stop mocking God. God created me, a gay man. I wasn't put on earth by God to be your punching bag. Don't mock God's children.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  17. tallulah13

    It is certainly their option to chose to discriminate, but there are people willing to fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians - exactly like there were people willing to fight for equal rights for African-Americans.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Frivolatte

      I have to wonder, with NOM being mainly funded by 5 shadow donors, if they aren't also sliding a little cash to these pastors also. It is a good idea these days not to listen to folk who are really in it for the money, whatever they are trying to buy is probably not in your best interests.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • cj

      Do not attempt to equate the Civil Rights struggle to gay issues. The former is based on outward appearance, the latter is based on behavior. 2 very different concepts.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • mo

      Is there not a "Law" that says marriage is between a Man and a Women!!! or did they overturn it? No! Let the people decide! Like in the 39 states that had it on a ballot. Each time it was voted by the people not the politicians, It Did Not Pass!!! When they get there majority in each state, they can have it. But make it a vote!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • jk105

      CJ
      Being gay is an innate part of ones humanity. Just like race. It is not behavior. I am gay all day long, even as I am typing this.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  18. mo

    Gays only make up 3-5% of population of 320 million people. Should.we let them make policy? But people freak out on the 1%ers. Neither should have more say than rest of the 94%?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So you think that they shouldn't be given equal rights because they are a minority? Hmm. That's pretty much the definition of bigotry.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • TomCom

      LOL, agree........

      July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Nicley filtered down to common sense Tally.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • dt

      You people lost the Civil war dude. Get over it. Bigotry has no place in 2012.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • cj

      Darwin, biology, sociology, anthropology, and psychology all agree that the best environment to raise a child is with both a man and a woman. Each parent brings something unique to the nurturing of the child.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • jk105

      CJ
      Back up your assertion that science says the best way to raise a child is with a man and woman. What credible scientific studies back up your assertion? If you can't support your biased opinions, you must be making this stuff up. Some of us call that lies.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  19. Linden Atrocity

    Sad...and pretty pathetic.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  20. ChristardMingle.com

    Ho.mos.e.xuals have always been an important part of civilization. Always.

    Can you imagine what the world would be like without them? It would be like not having Mexicans to cook in restaurants. We would starve.

    Without Gays there would be no theatre, no movies or TV, we would have a waiter shortage, hair stylist shortage, etc.

    Oh, and we would also have a doctor, lawyer, teacher, next door neighbor and family member, etc. shortage.

    And we would have a Christard shortage (that would be ok) and preacher shortage (that would be ok too.)

    In short, they are no different than anyone else. Just people doing people things.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
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