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. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    August 3, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      August 3, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      Ecclesiastes; Romans? Please. The self-proclaimed "apostle" Paul was the biggest politician and the most dangerous figure of the NT. And the political and perverted way in which his writings were immediately used to supercede Jesus' teachings became the backbone of the early church, thus rendering it perverted and corrupt from the very beginning.

      Try again kindness – talk about a matrix of illusion.

      August 3, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  2. pervert alert

    Civil rights are for people not qu eers

    August 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • troll alert


      August 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • pervert alert

      When confronted by Truth qu eers try to shoot the messenger. Fail. Try whining hate dot fairy.

      August 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • troll alert

      are you afriad of commas?

      August 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Are you "afraid" of spelling. Qu eers the folks that gave the world AIDS.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      do something constructive and go back to tapping your sister, pervert alert

      August 3, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      August 3, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  4. Only one true God

    Personally I do believe in a marriage is between a man and a woman, I don't go through the street shouting I'm married to a man that's between my husband, God and myself. I'm so tired of pastors want to tell their people don't vote, I don't believe in this, or that look who are we to judge anyman if he gay that's between him and his God, what about the thief, liar, cheater, should we stand against them to? I'm voting for Obama and the ones who are not voting I mean no disrespect you don't have a voice. So bottom line treat folks like you want to be treated.

    August 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Vonnie

      You are what is wrong with people who call themselves God fearing. No guts to stand up for what is godly.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • John

      Treat "folks" like you want to be treated???? Obama votes to kill little folks, even little folks who survive an abortion. Or do you not consider the child in the womb a folk?????

      August 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • John

      Calling the child awaiting birth a "folk" and one that should therefore be considered in the suggestion to "treat folks how you want to be treated" gets your post about President Obortion removed by the censors

      August 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  5. bb

    Good for those Pastors standing up for thier beliefs. I bet they eat at chic fila

    August 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • jon Banner

      "He's only a pawn in their game".

      August 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • jon Banner

      "From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
      And the hoof beats pound in his brain
      And he's taught how to walk in a pack
      Shoot in the back
      With his fist in a clinch
      To hang and to lynch
      To hide 'neath the hood
      To kill with no pain
      Like a dog on a chain
      He ain't got no name
      But it ain't him to blame
      He's only a pawn in their game"

      Bob Dylan

      August 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • jon Banner

      Sad that this man cannot see that oppression is wrong no matter what the reason. Inequality is wrong not matter what the reason. Byron De La Beckwith shared some of the same beliefs with this man. That someone else is not equal to them.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • duckforcover

      It is sad to see anyone make choices in politics or religion based on a single issue. By doing so, the truly important issues are hidden from their view.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  6. theothetruth

    Staying home and not voting is a vote for Obama in absentia. Romney may not be perfect but his values are closer to mine than Obama's.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Opinion1

      Based on our history here in America. The black community should be tolerate of other people. It was not to long ago that we were consider less than a human being and as adults was called boy and girl. Ultimately, its God that will bring judgement on person who go against his law..

      August 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Vonnie

      AGREE !!!!

      August 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  7. TheBammyMarxist

    Why do 90% of blacks vote based on skin clor. That is racism.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • The Truth

      Empirical evidence please!

      August 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • felicej

      why do some whites vote for or against overwhelming by skin color?!!!!!

      August 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  8. S0MA

    i always chuckle at how lightly pro-gays lump themselves with the civil rights movement. a movement which was the end culmination of nearly three centuries of cultural slavery in north and south america. to wit, i can never take the LBGT community seriously. ever.

    especially cus, you know, theres over a billion Chinese citizens that likely dont give a crap.

    August 2, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      I've always chuckled over mindless people like S0MA because they are such a waste of skin and their hatred does nothing for the world. S0MA, all you've done, by posting your comment, is shown how sad and miserable you are. Are you a little Chinaman that's feeling left out?

      August 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • anonymous

      we should ban black skinned marriages

      August 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  9. Reality

    (Some words hyphenated to get past the moderators "secret" word filter.)

    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the gay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore gays are gay because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab 2010 study,

    3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011.

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

    August 2, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  10. Tay

    I would love to share this with you and your guest...It's a truth ministry that can help...
    Please click on the link or go to You tube and type in "TGHC Conroe". New messages or posted every week!



    and start at 22:15 for the above youtube

    LOL in Christ

    August 2, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  11. Joseph

    So he's saying, "I got my civil rights, you don't get yours."?? So much bigotry.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • sam stone

      Everybody needs a ni**er. Apparently, gays are theirs

      August 2, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • BCL1

      Perhaps only liberal African Americans see themselves as victims of discrimination and blame others for their problems. Conservative African Americans see themeselves as empowered individuals responsible for their achievements..

      August 2, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  12. Jack

    Good evening folks. Everyone is invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  13. plutoIsn'taplanet

    STANDING up for beliefs
    HANDLING the media
    LANDING the 'spotlight' in the media

    Calculating and ADVANTAGEOUS.... GENIUS

    August 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  14. Satan

    Work on the issues that affect the community you so desperately claim you represent. I don't think hom.ose.xualty is plaguing the blacks like fatherless children, or preying on your own community with drugs, theft and violence.

    August 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • plutoIsn'taplanet

      Bluntly put.. I agree

      August 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  15. plutoIsn'taplanet

    L_o_o_p Scoop

    August 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  16. Ruby Lee

    This pastor is very courageous. He's standing up in front of a biased media that is sure to skew what he says, to challenge the President he worked hard to put into office, and protest against the people with whom he identifies so strongly. All this because of his internal conviction. Hats off.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • plutoIsn'taplanet


      August 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Jonathan Delafield

      Plenty of idiots have followed their convictions right to their deaths. Doesn't make them right, nor worthy of admiration. They're just showing stupidity.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |

      It does not take strong conviction to be intolerant of others. I find it amazing that the black pastors would use this as a reason not to vote for someone. Personally, I would prefer concentration be spent on the economy, health and welfare of its citizens. Nowhere in the bible does it say pastors or congregations have the right to be judge and jury over others. This is the very reason why people are leaving the church in droves. Who gives you the right to judge and condemn others unless of course you are the Son, Father and the Holy Spirit.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Vonnie


      August 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  17. deano

    If Bubba's wife had not been,um..."convinced"....to step down from the race in '08, we would not be having this conversation.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  18. Celeste Cunningham

    I too, am surprised at the selective choice of battles some pastors choose to fight. The 10 Commandments are broken on a weekly basis within the "body of Christ", yet very few pastors speak to this. I recently heard a Minister ask :when did Black people become a one issue people?'. It would be good for Pastors ( keepers and feeders of the lambs and sheep) would encourage the flock to attend City Council and School Board meetings to help provide a better living enviroment

    August 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  19. Stacey Flint

    We don't need "Pastors" doing political posturing, let the dead bury their own dead. We need them in the streets DOING the gospel because the only people who "appear" to care is the Nation of Islam (they have a 100 city campaign to bring their message). In addition, where were these pastors when the couple in Mississippi were refused marriage by a racist church? I want to hear more about the Messiah and how his kingdom works, and sadly these pastors might know more about politics than the Kingdom of G-d! The pastors need to start with the gays leading the choirs in the black church and go back to the truth -10 commandments.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      omg – lmao – was there an ad for something free if you expressed your Christardedness here tonight. wow.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  20. missy2

    These pastors whole problem is they expected President Obama to be the President to just blacks which is silly. Most pastors, not all, are no saints. You have a lot of blacks hating on President Obama because they want to be where he's at. I'm sure some feel why it took someone like President Obama to win the white house when others before him ran and never won.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Myers

      Blacks did not vote for Allen Keys because he was a Republican

      August 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • alo1020

      I agree that Black people need to get their "family Life" in order and do a better job of raising their children. That is first. The Pastor Owens spoke TRUTH about "gay-rights/gay marriage." I am against that 1000%. I supported Allen Keyes when he ran for the Senate and when he ran for Office of The President. I respect Mr. Keyes and agree with most of his views. I did not support Obama and have NO regrets or apologies. I do not support Romney, either. Looks like I will be NOT voting in November election. I don't believe that "these Pastors" were expecting anything from Obama. We just don't agree with the direction the country is heading at this time. If Gay Marriage becomes legal nationwide their will be violence in the streets and "recall elections" will become the norm.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Mudbone


      August 2, 2012 at 9:46 am |
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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.