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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. Ryan

    Yeah how many black pastors? A baker's dozen? Because idiots and Uncle Toms must be SOOOOO uncommon in this country. Please.

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

    Christ is the only issue – What He says Goes and if you search your scriptures you would know.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • ben

      What did Jesus actually say about this Cheryl?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  3. TheLight

    King Obama has lost support of the Evangelicals, the Catholics, and now Black pastors... He has indeed unified his opposition!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • TheLight

      So, these three groups may unify and vote for a Mormon. That is kind of funny...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • DC1973

      He never had the Evangelicals or the Catholics, because he's pro-choice.

      But I don't think they'll vote for Mitt, either. When was the last time you met an Evangelical or a Catholic who didn't believe that Mormonism is an evil, ungodly, anti-Christian cult?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  4. ChristardMingle.com

    Gay marriages should be legal everywhere because I would watch the sh.it out of gay divorce court.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Now that would make for good reality television.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      Absolutely – i'd be all over that in two snaps.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  5. redseca2

    Some people just want to be slaves.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • howart Dao

      How soon those blk pazztors forgot the past 🙁

      July 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Chris

      I LOLED

      August 1, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  6. Cheryl

    It's very interesting when Christains stand on ther beliefs get all bent out of shape. You would rather allow the Taliban to stand on his belief and kill 1000s, oh it's there religion you say. As for all the so called stuff happening in the Black community... I'm not so sure thats real. seems the issues are equal among the races. Same economic Crisis, same enviornmental issues, same war. Seems while everyone is looking at the black communty and chasing kids with hoodies on, they should have been looking at Red head bozo white boys who are mass murdering.. I bet he was molested as a kid, watch that come out in the trail. Truth is, I don't think the Black community has any more issues, other then white cops shooting at them,, afterall, the president is Black.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Satan

      Dem b sum dumbazz bruddas.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  7. Manuel J.

    What did the African-American community expect? Obama has promised every segment of the electorate a "piece of the pied if the voit for him. The result, he got your vote and continues to ignore his pledges.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just a suggestion, and I do admire your efforts dear, but I think you need to get through a few more units before you can claim English as a second language.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    You athiests have not read the scriptures. You should pay no attention to the small minded fools that got their brain fried. If you want to know Jesus' truth, read back through the previous articles for over a year dummy. I smell like cheese. I know you atheists to be fools. Help me. Notice who is most quoted in the Golden rule. Jesus Christ's wisdom.

    You believing something doesn't make it true.

    Amen.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      So you smell like cheese, huh? Do you smell like sour milk, too?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Satan

      Her crotch smells like rotten meat. Meat curtains!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • HeavenSnot

      I am HeavenSent's alter. She doesn't let me out very often. It does stink in here. Mainly old wine and well she does a dirty thing with the other cab driver in the elevator. I can't take it anymore. Uh oh, she's gonna lock me up again.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  9. t3chn0ph0b3

    Waste of time. How many black people are going to vote for Romney? Really. None. Zero.

    Even people in their congregations will get into the voting booth and think, "What was that pastor thinking? There's no way I'm not voting for Obama. How stupid does he think I am?"

    July 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Since they go to church, they've already demonstrated how stupid they are...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • scott

      ^racist bigot alert^

      July 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  10. TheVeteran

    These black pastors are lost. Only a fool would disregard all of the other issues because of one issue like Gay Marriage. This is what they should be concerned with: Romney's religion believes blacks are cursed, and most importantly, it believes that people can work their way to god status, and rule over their own planet. That should be blasphemous to these pastors, but it apparently is OK. How in the world can walking in the footsteps of Satan himself be of lesser importance than gay marriage? They are not even in the same ball park....

    July 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  11. Jo

    Weird how much these guys have in common with the Talibans, esp. after 9/11

    July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  12. Michael

    LMAO! Gee, how many closeted queens can you fit into one press conference???

    July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  13. save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

    The names of these "3,742 African-American pastors on board for the anti-Obama campaign" would be good information to have. We need to find out and remember all these names. And follow the money trail of course.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  14. TheLight

    John 3:19-21

    July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Dodgers 7 : Giants 2

      July 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  15. Paul B.

    It's a start, though it's hard to imagine a lot of blacks voting against obama. Blacks supporting the Dems is the political inversion of our times. Who is for school choice? Who is for the family? Yet the blacks follow the big gov poverty pimps in lockstep.

    I commend this group for their stand, whatever good it ends up doing will not be wasted.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  16. phillysmart

    I commend the pastor for his moral conviction but the majority of blacks are incapable of voting on any other issue but race...its genetic...Obama could say he is an ax murderer and they still will find a way to justify their vote for him...another words Obama sees the black vote as in the bag and he is right...most of them are incapable of critical thinkng

    July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  17. Gerry Evans

    I am ashamed of YOU pastors. What people do with their lives is between them and their god. The fact that you all think you stand between them and their god and have the right to tell them what and how to live their lives is outrageous on your part. YOU can try to GUIDE them but you can't try and blackmail them for YOUR benefit. Blaming President Obama and putting him down for saying to these gay people " I am not laying my religion and personal beliefs on you" is outrageous. Lets face it, you are looking for your 15 minutes of fame but instead you are driving these people away from religion. Shame on you.. President Obama is a wonderful leader and you and your republiecon politics are just another bump in the road for we who are trying to get our countrys economics straight and people back to work.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • L Rivera

      These pastors are following the Bible, and are wiling to take a lot of heat to stand for what is right. If a pastor fears people more than God, he should not be pastoring to begin with.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • TheVeteran

      L Rivera: Please read my comments above. They are lost. Not following the Gospel at all. Not following Christ's example at all. You can make a case that they are following the Pharisees, but not Christ.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  18. SafeJourney

    very sad indeed

    July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  19. Jesus

    Seperation of Church and State? Only when our views are the majority, otherwise, "in God we trust" Right?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  20. 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 | Report abuse | Reply

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

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    Join this thread.

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

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

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

    **USER**

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

    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 | Report abuse |

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

    Hello Truth!

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

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

    Hello FACT!

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

    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 | Report abuse |

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

    Hello Jesus and Mohammed!

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

    cj

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

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

    ReligiousPoopShoot.com

    Hello cj !

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

    July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      meth much?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:52 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.