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October 21, 2007
Obama in Trouble for Scheduled Appearance with Anti-Gay Gospel Singer
Senator Barack Obama, trailing Hillary Clinton badly in South Carolina among blacks, has scheduled a 3 day tour with gospel singers to try and gain support among the conservative black Christians in that state.
But one of those gospel singers, Donnie McClurkin, has made some controversial comments about gays that has him - and now Obama - in hot water with liberal Democrats. From a Washington Post story in 2004:
Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality," said yesterday he'll perform as scheduled at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, despite controversy over his view that sexuality can be changed by religious intervention. Liberals are up in arms about Obama's choice:
"I can't let off. I didn't call myself -- God called me to do what I do," McClurkin told The Post's Hamil R. Harris. The Grammy winner declared, "If this is a war, we are willing to fight. Not a war of violence, but a war of purpose."
McClurkin wrote on a Christian Web site in 2002 that he struggled with homosexuality after he was molested by male relatives when he was 8 and 13. "I've been through this and have experienced God's power to change my lifestyle," he wrote. "I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too." (Hat Tip: Americablog)
He's also sold himself as a healer and consensus builder. Legions have bought his pitch, and have shelled out millions to bankroll his campaign. But healing and consensus building does not mean sucking up to someone that publicly boasts that he's in "a war" against gays, and that the aim of his war is to "cure" them. This would seem to be an incredibly stupid move on the part of Obama. Whatever temporary gains he might make in South Carolina would surely be offset by angering a major Democratic constituency - the gay rights lobby. Is it possible he didn't know McCulkin's history of perceived gay bashing? If so, it shows a monumental lapse in judgement not to mention extremely poor staff work.
That's what McClurkin has said. Polls show that more Americans than ever say that they support civil rights for gays, and a torrent of gay themed TV shows present non-stereotypical depictions of gays. But this increased tolerance has not dissipated the hostility that far too many blacks, especially hard core Bible thumping blacks, feel toward gays. Obama has spent months telling everyone that he's everything that Bush isn't. He can proof it by saying a resounding no to McClurkin and to gay bashing. He can cancel and repudiate the South Carolina "gospel" tour, and do it now.
The longer this issue dangles, the more trouble Obama will be in. Best that he lance this boil quickly and make other arrangements for his "Gospel Tour."