home
RSS
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. pimpson

    Obama is losing blacks! Haha! Love it!

    July 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Er, not according to the polls.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  2. Gadflie

    70% of Black mothers didn't bother marrying before giving birth. And these bigots think that gay marriage is an issue?

    July 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  3. RillyKewl

    Disgraceful filth coming from the so-called "religious" or "faith" people.
    Shame, shame, shame. The things that guy said are just disgusting.
    What kind of religion preaches hate?

    July 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • pimpson

      You perversion promoting gays are the filth.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • keyser

      All of them preach hate. That's one of the reasons religion is so popular.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  4. SouthernConservativeMusician

    More and more the Democratic party is becoming Anti-Christian. Finally, some of the democratic base is beginning to realize their party has been hijacked by the environmentalists, gays, and communists.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Psycho Killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?

      July 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  5. Paul

    Bishop Willard Etch-a-Sketch .01% Romney of the Mormons will be just great for African-Americans.

    He'll really make life better for the pastors' followers.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Well put!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  6. Connie graham

    Shame on you ministers. Worry about what's going on in your own churches...whose bedding who and yes that includes the ministers

    July 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • tony clifton

      RACIST!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • keyser

      All shamans specialize in getting money, power and women. Why do you think we have ministers and priests to delude us with fantasies? So they can have these things.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  7. # real....

    Everyone needs to get over it and vote for obama hes trying his best he was put in this election with a bunch of problems and he can come out to be nothing but the best lets vote for him and forget about the negative.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • SMH

      Thats the problem now! Everyone is told to just get over it. No thats not the answer. We need dialogue on this issue. President Obama shouldn't get a free pass because he's black. I don't get a free pass on my job because i'm black. I support the Pastors and their efforts.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  8. White & Gay & Proud of my Gay Black Brothers & Sisters

    Amen !

    July 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      Obama says your welcome!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  9. Pander Bear

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." – MLK

    Thanks to MLK we do. "Reverend" Owens has no character.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      He's not fit to tie Dr. King's shoes.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  10. Leo

    whats hilarious to me is 1) half of the black ministers, that are " anti-gay marriage", are probably closeted and gay, themselves..and 2) why dont they invest the same energy they use fighting Obama on this issue, to fight the divorce rate, or abuse against children, or the mistreatment of the elderly or domestic abuse??..why dont they go into schools to encourage the youth, to stay in school?..

    Point being??...all this hoopin' and hollerin' about this particular issue is POLITICALLY MOTIVATED to attract the extremely conservative folk, to those churches that are vehemently against gay rights of ANY kind.

    And this is EXACTLY why you couldnt pay me to attend a black church, because thte VAST MAJORITY of them will go to the ends of the Earth to let gays know they arent really welcome in these black churches...but again, black churches are CHOCK FULL of gay men and lesbians. Many of them closeted and not so closeted.

    its hilarious...

    July 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      Just because your a democrat doesn't allow you to be racist....

      July 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • art vandelay

      RACIST

      July 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      That's all churches, Leo. Not just black churches.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  11. KM

    The pastors represents the Church, Obama represents the people, all people, including Gays.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      no...just the Gay socialists

      July 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  12. GusB

    I would be more impressed with these ministers if they could prove that they had the formula for marriage success for straight couples. But they can't. Many of their followers will never get married, and half that do will not stay married. It seems to me the President sets a great example of marriage, so why wouldn't they promote him in that way.

    I wonder what Bishop Eddie Long and Pastor Jamal Bryant think of all this.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  13. Twanda

    SILLY!.... Obama is not the issue there are laws of the land that the president has to go by that WE set up he is not only our president he is also a lawyer that has vowed to keep the law. The bible even speaks of rendering to Ceaser what is Ceaser's but they want him to break the law because he is black? He is NOT our Apostle or Pastor of the church he is the president of ALL people....THEY JUST WANT ATTENTION!!!! #crabsinabarrelfindsomethingelsetodo SMH!

    July 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  14. nottolate

    "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."

    Good for them. I won't be voting for him. When you your president endorses immorality you know you're in trouble.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  15. 40400

    What a shame! Just a bunch of ignorant Black preachers brainwashed by the bible. Blacks who attend worship on Sundays know that there are and have been many gay people in the Black church from time immemorial.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      racist!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • art vandelay

      SCRATCH A LIBERAL REVEAL A RACIST BIGOT

      July 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  16. Athiest Bob

    those preachers must be 1%ers in black face.... there is no such thing as a black man criticizing Jesus Obama Christ!!

    July 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      shut up, id10t.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  17. JohnK

    They are Uncle Toms too dumb to vote in their own interest. Of all the issues to focus on!

    Stay out of other people's business, religious clowns.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      racists Uncle Toms eh?

      July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • 40400

      JohnK: You got that right!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • NickGranite

      What own interests? How much more destruction to their families are they supposed to absorb from the "Great Society"

      July 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • art vandelay

      SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM ALL YOU LIBERAL RACISTS – KEEP IT UP!

      July 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  18. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Precisely.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Bob Baber

      Clarification: the muslim "religion" flies you into buildings.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  19. realbuckyball

    “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.”

    How pathetic. So this fool is going to go run out and marry a guy, if a law is changed.
    1. The percentage of gay people will not change. There is not a shred of evidence that recognizing their rights, (which they ALREADY have under equal protection, AND "all men are created equal"), will change anything.
    2. There is not one study that demonstrates the children are harmed in same-s'ex families.

    Grow a brain man. So sad to hear, after all these years, you "bled" only for the rights of your own little group. Your Jeebus was all about love, and accepting the "other". Today, that is gay people. W.T.F are you so afraid of. Hmmmm.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      Mostly I agree, but for your #1, hopefully it will change in certain ways. For instance, benefits going to a dead spouse of a gay person, where presently this is blocked. Things like this having to do with money and the state happening in a way reflective of the way that it happens for a heteros. couple.

      By the way, when did the US volleyball team get so hot??

      July 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  20. Jeffrey Artis

    Funny how Black preachers can go after Pres. Obama over gay marriage, yet ignore their peers committing adultery.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      or ignore their peers voting the color of their skin...

      July 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • wanting it strong and black and smart

      That's a hot name – Jeffrey Artis.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:58 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
Advertisement
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.