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. Ron

    Said Owen: “I am ashamed that the first black president chose this road, a disgraceful road.”.....I wonder if God is ahamed of Owen for judging people which is strictly reserved for God?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      He knows there is no god so he has to do it himself.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • DC1973

      I'm more curious that he seems to be surprised that a man who has faced discrimination would support ending discrimination. That makes zero sense.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  2. BeeSmart

    The amazing thing to me is that nobody- on this blog, nor in the media, nor anywhere else- nobody has mentioned the fact the President Obama has NEVER encouraged or prompted any jurisdiction in the U.S. to change any law or in any way legalize Gay/Lesbian marriage. He merely said that his PERSONAL views are in support of Gay Marriage.

    If the man likes sky diving and I don't, should I be against him on those grounds even though he is not forcing or asking anyone to jump? C'mon everybody, get real and take off your religion-colored glasses!!!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com


      July 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  3. ReligiousPoopShoot.com

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


    July 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply


    Hello !

    Join this thread.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |


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


    July 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |


    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.


    July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |


    Hello Truth!

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

    July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |


    Hello FACT!

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

    July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |


    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 | Report abuse |


    Hello Jesus and Mohammed!

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

    July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |


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

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |


    Hello cj !

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

    July 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |

    July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Pope on a Rope

    You'd think they would have learned their lesson about bigotry.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  5. optimistica

    Shame, shame, shame on them!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  6. Weimardog

    I wonder if Chicago will try and get the black churches out of the city? Will Boston keep any new black churches from being opened?? Blacks, in California, were somewhere around 90 percent against gay marriage. Did you hear Democrats calling them down for not supporting gay marriage?? Of course not.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Satan

      Need the black vote like you need a big sac to replace that hatchet wound of cvnt you have between your legs.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • DC1973

      If you think people don't tear into religious organizations for supporting and encouraging hatred and discrimination, you haven't been paying attention.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  7. Zon

    I wonder if they are going to vote Republican?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  8. Satan

    why don't they focus on black on black crime or all the fatherless black children or how they would rather perpetuate black hood stereotypes instead of getting a basic education...

    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Kyle P

      Becuase that would put Maury Povich out of business. You ARE the father!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  9. AR1000

    What a bunch of bigots. Dr King must be rolling in his grave. Due to ignorance in organized religion, the atheist population is rising up. 18% and counting.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  10. Winston

    Well, looks like the Godless are all for Obama. That says a lot!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  11. Dennis

    You know you are wrong when you agree with this group.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  12. ChristardMingle.com

    This is only for Christards, and it will be VERY difficult for you to understand, but here goes....

    Nothing that exists in the universe is "unnatural". If it were "unnatural" it could not exist. That fact that animals behave in a variety of different ways is just as natural as the tides.

    By determining without any scientific evidence to support it, that h.om.os.e.xuailty is not normal is not consistent with common sense. How can anything that exists be unnatural? If it exists it is necessarily part of the natural world.

    Christards, education is not evil. Sample a little and try to think critically about the world around with your mind rather than your a.s.s. hole.

    Your welcome.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  13. TheTruth

    Romans 1:24-32

    July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • TheTruth


      July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Dolphins 14 : Patriots 3

      July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Dennis

      Psalm 137:9

      July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Satan

      Like the Dolphins would win. Ha

      July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Toki Wartooth

      Oh wowee! Em loves dolphins theys are cute!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Chris

    Mentioned civil rights for everybody but sounded very hypocritical. Not surprising from a church.......I'm still voting for Obama as a poor white boy. Just saying

    July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  15. PaulMoATX

    You would think these people would have a higher understanding of equality than anyone else. Times have changed, people's views have evolved (including the President's) and some people continue to live in the past. Gay marriage doesn't take away the rights of others, gay marriage provides equality to those who seek it, and loving somebody shouldn't be illegal regardless of gender. I whole-heartily disagree with their stance and I'm proud to be in the majority on this one.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  16. Bennycat

    When did Christianity become all about judging one's fellow man (or woman)? Isn't there something in the Bible about "judge not, lest ye be judged"? Or is there a new Bible now, too? As for gay marriage, there's such a thing as "marriage" in cultures that support polygamy (including one in the western United States). So I guess marriage is between a man and a woman, except when it isn't. Why does anybody, other than two gay people who want to sanctify their union, care about this?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  17. Kyle P

    These black people are so racist towards our black...presi....dent...oh wait!? (Then the sound of a liberal brain imploding on itself)

    July 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • PaulMoATX

      Thanks for wasting our time with that dumb comment.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  18. Manda

    Pardon the tirade, but I am sick to death of the ignorant, smug, hateful, hypocritical, false piety of Christians. Do the civilized world a favor, read some real books, keep your fat dirty fingers out of everyone else's lives, and SHUT THE FUCK UP!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Kyle P

      That just sounded a lot more hateful...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Dennis

      THIS ^^^^^^^

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  19. pickettman

    With all of the pressing issues facing the black community, they want to focus on gay marriage–which is a NON-ISSUE! Disgusting and disgraceful.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • visitor

      Agreed! 2/3 of African American babies are born out of wedlock, African-American men are absent while children are slaughtering each other on the streets, and and some African-American Pastors are concerned about Gay Marriage? What bizzarro world is this?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  20. Marty

    I respect their opinions as that's the majority black view, but they're wrong. Churches can discriminate, governments can't.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
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.