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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. Don

    These Pasters should stop living high on the hog from church donations while church goers are poor and praying for a miracle. They should be helping these people and focusing on trying to safe the young in the community to keep them out of gangs. There are major problems in the black community, and these guys are trying to worry about some else's salvation – get a grip!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • GrowUp

      These hypocrite pastors should zip their mouths–and their trousers too!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  2. Aaron

    Screw these so-called Pastors. They only think of themselves and not the people that walk through their church doors and pay for the new Cadillacs they drive. Do they really think that the Repubs have the black community at heart? Their congregants should all walk out of their churches. These people make me sick!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      well i'm sure in many cases the congregants are just sheep following these reptilian minds

      August 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  3. Alien Orifice

    A human walks by a worm and does not notice it. Even if the human does notice it, the two have no way to communicate. In fact there is a strong possibility that IF the human notices the worm, the worm will become fish food or a stain on the sidewalk.

    A human walks by a worm but the worm does not even recognize the human’s presence. Two different universes occupying the same space.

    Humans and worms share 98% DNA.

    In the 2% that is different, we are rendered completely alien to each other.

    Consider how this might affect other forms of life on other planets, aliens, even “God” relative to our meager faculties to perceive them.

    Worms are both female and male.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  4. ArdDruid

    If you want to go on what the bible says then slavery is ok in the eyes of god.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      As is genocide and r.ape.

      Funny, two ra.pists can legally get married, but not two men or two women.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • ffacts

      then ArdDruid, go pick me some cotton you field hand!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • TheLight

      Atheist convert: Jennifer Fulwiler

      August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • nab

      that was the old testament, poop lover.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Mickey

      Slave masters made a lot of biracial children – as did American soldiers who went to foreign countries around the world.

      If you don't like President Obama's black half, go with the white half.

      Pick on that for a while.

      Romney is so stupid that just the thought of him in the White (Black) House is beyond my imagination.

      There were few Righteous when 'they' came for the Jews - but we Jews honor those people.

      Christians don't seem to honor an honorable man.

      Black Christians should not be allowed to vote for anyone - they're too prejudiced!!!

      My friend had to leave his church because he couldn't tell anyone he was gay. That's some testimonial for Christians.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  5. Polli

    This is a big relief to know that conservative America is still here in all colors....I am not against gays but we have a responsibility to protect our kids and preserve innocence. It should be the message from our president for our kids.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • GrowUp

      Who cares about your kid? You had it, you take care of it and mind your own business in the process.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Mickey

      So, if you have a child who is gay or transgendered, you would do what with him or her?

      Since you have no idea, then keep your mouth shut lest G-d take your words and make a major decision about your offsprings.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • GrowUp

      Your kid is your problem - not mine or anyone else's so zip it nut job.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  6. gargle

    who cares. religious people are full of hate. nothing new. next.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  7. Atlanta_dad

    Hallelujah!!!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • WOW

      Naw – once The Mitt releases all his tax returns the nay-sayers will be pretty upset he paid a far lower rate than them year after year. In fact, there is a recent year where he most likely paid "zero" taxes due to "losses" on the balance sheet. And let us remember – he wants to lower taxes on the 1% even more. Seems pretty straight-forward to me. And I didn't even bring up the theology strange thingy either 😉

      August 1, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  8. TheLight

    We are living in Pagan Rome... How long till we start getting thrown into the lion's den??? Jesus said – "No servant is greater than his master – if they persecuted me, they will persecute you!"

    August 1, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Mickey

      Jesus was a Jew – the 'theys' of this world continue to persecute Jews – even while praying to one.

      There might be something major wrong with Christianity.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Jesus said that? When? How do you know?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Oh wait. The Christian's were thrown into the lion's den because they believed. Ok. Well.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wznjAhZ0eWc

      August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • GrowUp

      Take your anti-nut meds.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  9. kevindonaghue

    he isn't black

    August 1, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  10. HeavenSent

    You athiests should humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness. I enjoy cat food. Remember, Jesus told us he would give you reprobate minds.

    After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

    Amen.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • WOW

      Other sources please ( science-based)

      August 1, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • GrowUp

      Cuckoo bird.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  11. Rick

    A sense of accomplishment you haven't achieved yourself?

    August 1, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  12. netwallwarrior

    That simply isn't true that Christians hate Gays, lesbians or anybody... It's a simple minded way of looking at it. While I agree that many that claim to be Christians have poorly articulated their opposition, it still remains that it's really a play against the God of the Bible. While I oppose discrimination, I'm completely in disagreement with the desire to transform society into this confused state of living. This movement is anti-God pure and simple, and like children that want to have their way they will reap what they sow. I won't go into great detail about why I oppose this re-definition that most civilized societies have accepted as the normal... based on religious and spiritual basis that marriage was between a man and a woman. Even when they erred and chose a polygamous lifestyle it still was a man with multiple wives. While nothing I can say will change a demented, diseased mind state it's a spiritual issue, and will be resolved one day by God himself. To each of us comes a day when we will have to face the creator. It's your thing do what you want to do....as the song goes. But whether you agree or disagree, society clearly is degrading and this measure of social engineering will have it's intended and unintended consequence.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • GrowUp

      You're a nut job.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Mickey

      You forgot to mention what Christians did to millions of Jews during the Christian rampages!!

      Not much has changed. I've been to and heard enough preachers and ministers and priests spewing hatred from their pulpits against Jews. It must be that Christians are so used to that hatred that they don't even know they and their children are continually getting zapped to hate Jews.

      How can they, methinks. Jesus was a Jew and would always be had he lived. If he came back right now, he certainly wouldn't even know what the Christian religion is – he would be in an orthodox shul.

      Michelle Obama's cousin is chief rabbi in Chicago!!! Anyone besides me know that?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Chiniquy

      Excellent comment netwallwarrior

      August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Detroit

      Everyone has it all wrong. this topic has nothing to do with voting for the President. Rather the President is for or against that's really a personal issue and not a issue of decision making when voting. IF you stuck on voting for Obama because of his stance on gay issues then you really caught in the web of politics to get your mind off the right things and vote for a man that don't know anything name Romney. Bush used the same tactic when he got voted back in. He got your mind off the WAR that he started and wasn't going good and said gay marriage was wrong and got all these blacks in churches fallilng for the okie doke and they voted for him and well the rest is history. WHO GIVE A DAM.N ABOUT THESE PASTORS. They the main ones doing the alter boy or treating their wives like slaves. We go against ourselves but afraid to go up against the opressor because now we have become our own opressor.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  13. coldplay23

    Idiots, Rome wasnt built ina day and we never expected for Obama to do anything in our neighborhoods, he can't even if he wanted too. Obama is not these people daddy. If people want change they have to initiate it themselves. People kill me thinking the reason we vote for Obama is because he is black, truth is he could have been Chinese as long as he was fair. White people always complaining but its your groups of people that are starting all the wars and stealing all the money. White people are quick to bring up food stamps and government aid, thats nothing to the tax breaks yall recieve, wall stret crooks, medical crooks, wars for contract to buddies.. add all that up then get back to me

    August 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Hmmm

      Is not these people daddy? Well since a lot of them don't know "they" daddy, maybe they just hope.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  14. The Central Scrutinizer

    Great reason in favor of gay marriage. Gays and lesbians have the right to be miserable too.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @The Central Scrutinizer

      LOL ! 😀

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  15. Tacitus Talks

    No evidence that blacks will bring opposition to gay marriage to the ballot box? Look at the last election. Overwhelming black vote in California and proposition 8 passed banning gay marriage. It Obama loses 35% of the African American Vote, he is toast. There is already a 20% lead among Whites for Romney.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Detroit

      20% lead??? yeah ok, show that fake report and I'll show you pigs flying. trust these polls are not showing true numbers. they ask a bunch of suburb folks that they know don't like the President then say Romney has a lead. Ok riggggghhhttt.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Them Facts

      Majority of phone polls are to landlines. Guess who the majority of people are with landlines? Correct – old tarts and old schoolers. Landline polls need to be categorized as "archaeic" and of no value. No different that the old saying: "look at the source"

      August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      BTW Tacitus, how come you knew how to spell "Christians", but spelled Jeebus' name "Chrestus" ? So much for Tacitus.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  16. Skwisgaar Skwigelf

    @'s HeavenSnot – "Swisgaar – we must meet. I am still waiting to have one of your tasty sandwiches"

    My friend em sorrys to tells you that I did not buys the sandwhiches stuff at the food libraries, I just boughts the alcohols.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • heavenSnot

      that's ok. but your plurality still has me all tingly and engorged.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  17. thes33k3r

    Next they will be advocating that blacks should return to slavery. Jesus never said that slavery was an abomination. The only thing he (supposedly) said about it tacitly supported it (look it up). It's always religion that gets in the way of progress. It really does sadden me to see these black people, my fellow humans, spewing this nonsense which they were indoctrinated into believing by the men who enslaved them. You (blacks) eventually broke free from physical slavery....now you just have to find a way to free yourself, as we all do, from the mental slavery that is religion.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Tacitus Talks

      Then I wonder why all the abolitionist groups were Christian and all of the pro slavers were Atheist and non religious. Darwin was a White Supremacist that theorized that Africans were closer to the Apes. Your assertion suggest you have never read the Bible. The Bible never endorsed slavery (except captives in war- which WE did in WW2, but put controls on servitude (no more than 7 years) and in the New Testament gave controls and restraints within this world. Christians were never called to violently overthrow a government. If Christians owned slaves, according to the Pauline Epistles (and many of them had slaves before their conversion) there were strict rules concerning them. Furthermore, in the book of Philemon, a Christian had a slave that ran away, and was converted by Paul, and Paul told the Christian to accept the slave back as a brother.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      That's a f'ing lie Tacitus, and YOU know it. Liar.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_slavery
      http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/religion/history2.html

      August 1, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  18. TheLight

    ... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, ...

    August 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • TheLight

      Marriage = one man one woman.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Is that your personal opinion or something you dragged out of that piece of crap known as The Babble?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • TheLight

      These people hate the truth and all those who stand for it...

      August 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Tacitus Talks

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls – agreed the Bible says that – but strangely- every culture on this planet in no way recognizes that marriage is anything other than a man and a woman. Look at the symbol in Chinese – a man and a woman under a canopy. Are you telling me that YOU are more enlightened than the Chinese? What are you? A racist or something? A White Supremacist? That is the joke of this thing. Those who are pushing gay marriage down everyone's throat as far as the world is concerned are a TINY minority – and they are so arrogant and smug to "push this down everyone's throat."

      August 1, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      As usual, Tacitus is lying again.
      http://www.gaychristian101.com/Gay-Marriage.html

      August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  19. Harry

    The oppressed have become the oppressors! Nice! Go ahead and vote for your own demise!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • GrowUp

      Apparently only black people are subject to discrimination. How rich.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  20. Wake up America

    Obama used blacks in 2008 and is using them again. Didn't promise them anything because he knows they'll vote for him because hes black. Obama doesn't even go into their neighborhoods! Promised all ther groups that he needed something, but blacks got nothing.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Tom. Tom, the Piper's Son

      Now if you really want to get hosed, vote for Mitt. Bend over and take it like a patriot, America.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Hey Tom Tom, how's it going?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Detroit

      I"m black and since you know so much. Please tell me what was I looking for President Obama to give me?????? i'll wait.....

      August 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Tacitus Talks

      Hey Detroit – well the most common T – shirt I saw on black people after that idiot got elected was – "We were promised 40 Acres and a Mule, but we will settle for the White House". That is what you were expecting. Special consideration, and like the dumb morons you all are, you are getting it up the B U T T without the gel.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Tacitus Talks

      @The Central Scrutinizer – Tom is gainfully employed on Welfare so he has time to "post" – until the money runs out January 2, 2013.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • jack

      so how did Clinton get 85% of the black vote, I guess he used them too, huh?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • jay

      I don't recall Obama promising anything to black communities, as well he shouldn't. He's even said many times after being elected, when ever someone asked about why he hasn't done this or hasn't done that for black folks, his answer, "america doesn't work like that". Obama is the president for ALL americans, and he's doing a very fine job.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:52 am |
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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.