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Gay Group Protests as Rev. Donnie McClurkin Takes Obama's Stage


About two dozen members of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement held a protest outside the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina yesterday as "ex-gay" Reverend Donnie McClurkin took to the stage in an appearance that generated controversy last week after Obama refused to drop the singer from is three-day "Embrace the Change" gospel tour.

McclurkinThe AP reports that McClurkin told a welcoming crowd: "We're here. We're here and we're glad we're here."

They add, "Obama did not attend the event, but in a video played for more than 2,000 at the Township Auditorium he called the evening's acts 'inspirational talent' that were among his favorites."

Obama spoke to The Advocate in an interview late Friday in which he defended McClurkin's inclusion (which he attempted to counter earlier in the week by adding openly gay minister Andy Sidden to the tour) by arguing that homophobia in the black community is best conquered through faith outreach:

"Part of what I have done in my campaign and in my career is be willing to go to churches and talk to ministers and tell them exactly what I think. And go straight at some of these issues of homophobia that exist in the church in a way that no other candidate has done. I believe that’s important. We can try to pretend these issues don’t exist and then be surprised when a gay marriage amendment pops up and is surprisingly successful in a state. I think the better strategy is to take it head on and we’ve got to show up. These people of faith may be operating in part out of unfamiliarity, or they may be insular in terms of how they’re viewing LGBT issues, they may not understand how what they say may be hurtful, and the only way for us to be able to communicate that is to show up."


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  1. "These people of faith may be operating in part out of unfamiliarity, or they may be insular in terms of how they’re viewing LGBT issues, they may not understand how what they say may be hurtful, and the only way for us to be able to communicate that is to show up."

    No, Barack. These "people of faith" know exactly what they're doing when they discriminate or encourage intolerance of gay and lesbian people. They know exacly how hurtful their words are. They just don't care.

    The best way to "communicate" to these people is to SIDELINE them. Make them IRRELEVANT. EXCLUDE them from polite society. SHOW THEM THE DOOR and tell them that their views are outdated and have no place in modern society.

    Only when these people are exposed for what they are will they be compelled to reform. Only when they realize that the rest of the world is leaving them behind will they have any desire to catch up with us. Don't encourage them, don't placate them and don't validate them by including them.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Oct 29, 2007 8:32:33 AM

  2. Such crap from Sen Obama.
    He never wanted to use this gospel forum to communicate anything of the sort...except to say....see I am black like you.
    You need to vote for me.
    I am so dissapointed in this man.
    He could have been a leader but he has shown himself as someone who not only panders but caves in.
    Remember when he stood up to John McCain in the Senate on principle then caved.
    Oh and he told Gen Pace real good too in a press release.

    SAD. and dissappointing even before he gets a chance.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Oct 29, 2007 9:34:14 AM

  3. Even though I agree that this event looks like pandering, I also agree with the notion that the only way to deal with homophobia and all forms of bigotry is through communication and education. Open dialogue may not change how these people feel, but it will increase our visibility and show others that bigoted beliefs aren't right. Ignoring them doesn't solve anything, and letting them go on unchallanged isn't an option.

    Obama's open tent excuse would have worked, if other openly gay performers and speakers had been invited, in order to counter the message of McClurkin and others. This would show that Obama intended to bring many groups together.

    Posted by: Cadence | Oct 29, 2007 9:48:33 AM

  4. Obama has out-done Karl Rove when it comes to demonizing gays to court votes.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Oct 29, 2007 10:17:58 AM

  5. Obama is OVAH!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 29, 2007 10:50:50 AM

  6. Stop with the Karl Rove/demonization comparisons. At his worst Obama's better than Rove at his best, which short of not having us rounded up and put in camps by fellow Brooks Brothers Brown Shirts I can't think of. Obama fucked up BIG TIME, but the situation is not helped by making it worse than it actually was and it was bad enough.

    He has been so successful at turning the multitudes into swine with his pretty sounding rhetoric, is still cashing in on using the word "gay" ONCE in a speech THREE YEARS ago, that he thinks he can still get away with just smile fucking us. Yes, I know he's said gay since then, but how often has it been because he was asked about a gay topic?

    After claiming they didn't know McClurkin is "the poster boy for African-American 'ex-gay' ministries," after being told, after being begged by Black and white and gay and straight supporters to stamp McClurkin's ticket "Cancelled," he not only kept him, but records the video greeting identifying McClurkin as one of his faves.

    WHERE was these serious, sit-down dialogues happening. In secret in a booth at the nearest Waffle House? Not on that stage apparently. Not in mainstream press releases.

    The Advocate interview proves that he's begun to believe his own PR. And the false claim that he's been pro gay longer and better than any other candidate is smile fucking even without his usual air kiss. Not in Obama's ethereal "I Am Obama! The great and powerful. Who are you? WHO are you?!!"

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 29, 2007 11:02:38 AM

  7. This is really generating a lot of negative publicity for Obama -- you think he would want to avoid that.

    Posted by: Meeg | Oct 29, 2007 11:14:43 AM

  8. About two dozen members of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement held a protest

    Noticeably, not one of the persons photographed (as shown by Towleroad) is black.
    Why is that?

    Jasmyne and Keith's point from last week is missed -- again. Why is that?

    Posted by: Nita | Oct 29, 2007 11:30:04 AM

  9. All this drama and he wasn't even there? I wonder if anyone from the black lgbt community protested outside the venue? Mainly since they are the ones who suffer the most under the bigotry and intolerance of the black church, since those portesting probaly have little to nothing to do with the blacks, gay or straight.

    This pandering to the lowest element for votes is silly, but, tis the way this so called "democracy" works.

    Posted by: garrett | Oct 29, 2007 11:30:24 AM

  10. can we finally agree that religion is poison and that christian ideology is no better than racism? These black biggots forget that the same barbaric book they are quoting to show how wrong homosexuality is, supports slavery and was used to justify it.

    Posted by: GOD | Oct 29, 2007 11:35:03 AM

  11. -- MCNNYC wrote, "He never wanted to use this gospel forum to communicate anything of the sort...except to say....see I am black like you. You need to vote for me."

    And that's different from Hillary Rodham Clinton, how? That's different from gays trying to hijack the Civil Rights movement, how? (as for lying about the HRC and Obama and Sidden, I got my information from several online sites. Inferences were made; and the HRC was on record as co-signing Obama's plan to include a gay priest. It wasn't until after black gays protested the gay priest's race that HRC latched onto that themselves.)

    -- Jonathon wrote, "The best way to "communicate" to these people is to SIDELINE them. "

    Right. So if people want to ignore homosexuals, then the best way is to SIDELINE them. Think before you write -- and remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller. Besides, if you knew anything about blacks and the black church, you'd know just how 'out' homosexuals are within the Church. It's just that there are degrees to 'outness'... and that little issue about gay = white = non-masculine = love the sinner, but fight the sin.

    Posted by: Nita | Oct 29, 2007 11:38:28 AM

  12. God wrote, "Can we finally agree that religion is poison and that christian ideology is no better than racism?"

    That is ignorant. I'm going to assume you're a kid, and/or were raised a Christian but have fallen away? People have spiritual needs as well as physical, emotional and mental needs. Religion and the metaphysical is a way of finding one's place in the universe, making sense of that universe, accepting that universe. Not all religions are for all people -- but would you make such a comment about Judaism, Buddhism, Islam or wiccan? or Agnosticism? or Atheism? even Satanism has its place. Or is it fashionable to condemn Christianity, without even understanding what you're condemning? As fashionable as an American high schooler throwing around the word 'fascism'...

    'These black biggots' know what is in that book, and what it supports and what is has been used to justify. There's a lot more going on here than just what's in the Bible. That 'barbaric book', for all the violence it has begat, has also stemmed violence. The best way to reach people, is through within. Use the teachings of 'that barbaric book' to support your position... just as the teachings in that book were used against slavery as much as they were used to support slavery.

    Posted by: Nita | Oct 29, 2007 11:48:28 AM

  13. hey, Nita, That was the first thing i noticed too!

    Posted by: Lito S. | Oct 29, 2007 11:57:12 AM

  14. Gays have tried to hijack the civil rights movement???? Fuck you, Nita, and not in the good way. Or better still, fold the race card you're playing five ways and shove it up your old dirt road! Professional victim much?

    “The barometer of where one is on human rights questions is no longer the black community, it's the gay community. Because it is the community which is most easily mistreated. … the question to ask is, 'What about gay people?' Because that is now the litmus paper by which this democracy is to be judged." – Black gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin. In case you missed that: BLACK gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin. Shall I quote Mrs. King, too, or do you want to take us for another spin on Jasmyne Cannick’s “Blacks can do NO wrong” one-trick pony?

    HRC, just like the National Coalition for BLACK justice, told Obama he should cancel McClurkin. Even if they had not, the responsibility for this insult to the gay community, this affirmation by association of homophobia began and ends with Obama. He can talk the talk, and talk and talk, but he can't walk the walk.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 29, 2007 12:01:28 PM

  15. Leland Frances wrote, "Gays have tried to hijack the civil rights movement????"


    You're the former 70s liberal, right? How often have you discussed how blacks feel about The Movement, and gays co-opting of the movement? or is that a subject that's indefinitely 'tabled', between you and your black colleagues?

    Posted by: Nita | Oct 29, 2007 12:22:52 PM

  16. I'm sorry, Nita, I didn't know that "Blacks" had a patent on civil rights. I don't need anyone's permission to fight for my rights, whatever their color, and I say fuck you and anyone else who claims I do. Were Rustin and Mrs. King any less Black than you? Have you done anything in your entire life that could amount to one-tenth of what they did in theirs for civil rights for not just their own people but others?

    Go ahead and remind us about slavery. So what if it was outlawed more than a century ago. After all, it's still perfectly legal for anyone to fire, refuse to hire, rent, sell, feed, or swim with Blacks in 30 states. Ooops, that's GAYS—of all colors—not Blacks for their color. Wait, Blacks can't marry whomever they want. Ooops, sorry, those gay hijackers AGAIN! Wait! Wait! It's the Blacks that thousands of White churches are saying are condemned by the Bible and are trying to molest children and destroy civilization as we know it. What? it's not? It's the gays again? Goddamn! Blacks who want to win the "We're more shat upon than thou" game just can't catch a break!

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 29, 2007 12:39:14 PM

  17. By the way, thank you for your Bayard Rustin quote. I recognized it as soon as I read it.... and all I could think of was that not all gays are created equal, and the gay of color is a hell of a lot better canary in the coal mine, than white gays. I think about Ellen Degeneres USAToday quote about watching New Orleans drown on tv, and her and her friends feeling distanced from it and from the people being shown. I knew exactly what she was talking about. She fell down several notches, but not too many because at least she was being honest.

    I think about Boykin's forum thread "Is the 'gay community' white-oriented?"

    I think about poster Kai's message, "I actually believe that white gays are far more racist than just run of the mill straight white types. When they do include non-whites its almost as a novelty as if the darkey is supposed to entertain them by acting in some ridiculous manner....a lot of gay white men have additional issues with being "cheated" out of what they believe is their entitlement as white men by virtue of being gay. I think there is an argument that they are trying to recreate or compensate for that belief in the gay community...."

    I think about what I've seen (and have not seen) from so-called gays of all colors, the past week since this story broke. But mostly, I see that there is truth to the Fox News headline 'Black versus Gay Politics'. Things are going to need to be acknowledged, now.

    Where does that leave Bayard Rustin? Where would it have left Bayard Rustin today? Why do I ask? Because this south carolina gay group is protesting, and there is STILL no *overt* gay of color presence shown within that group. The HRC, as Jasmyne last week noted at her blog, were not upset about the lack of a black gay out and proud presence in the first place, the thought didn't even appear to cross their minds; they were just upset that McClurkin wasn't removed while giving their blessing to Obama choosing a gay minister to be at this conference.

    You know where Bayard Rustin would be today, Leland? Marginalized. His words are used to give white gays comfort, not to prod white gays into embracing their brothers and sisters of color, into treating them as equals.

    White gays try to make ridiculous analogies to their situation versus the black situation. Gays have problems. Gays have a lot of problems. Gays have NEVER had the problems of black America, past or present. Here's a lightweight example: how many of you all are fighting the exclusion of gay men from donating blood? how many of you care? Then there's housing, schooling, loans, medical treatment..... there. is. no. comparison. But white gays do it anyway.

    Now, gays of color should be in a much more visible position within the gay movement than they are. Instead, they are marginalized. They are rendered invisible. Their issues are used as a stepping stone, and then immediately covered up again -- just like with this Obama/McClurkin situation. Their participation and history at Stonewall is whited out for some Judy Garland b.s. Until white gays clean up their own house in regards to the treatment of gays of color, I don't want to hear anyone taking offense to blacks being offended by the comparison of the Gay Movement to the Civil Rights Movement. And I don't want to see anyone thinking it's ok to use their gayness as a cloak behind which to toss their racism.

    That's all.

    Posted by: Nita | Oct 29, 2007 12:57:38 PM

  18. NITA continues her MISinformation AGAIN trying to bash HRC for OBAMA'S MISTAKE of adding a white gay minister (after I asked her to go to the sources she qoutes comments on blogs) AGAIN BARRACK's CAMPAIGN BROUGHT SIDDEN ON PERIOD STOP TRYING TO PASS OFF THIS MISTAKE ON ANYONWE ELSE. HRC has come in for it's fair share of criticism but they are not the boggy man in this case.

    Come on Co-signing Obama's plan? NO I THINK NOT. sorry NO I KNOW NOT.
    Their comment was that's nice but that's NOT ENOUGH you need to dissassoiate yourself with the bigotry of the man.

    Also why are you so upset that it is a gay white minister anyway....cause you have always said that this should a big tent and opportunities for dialogue...UNTIL you found out he was I do understand the problem this may cause withing the black religious commuity but why did you so readily discount what he might have to say. Good for the goose.

    And how ridiculous are you....Gays HYJACKING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?!?

    You are insulting.

    CIVIL RIGHTS are not the property of the black community.

    We need to ask Senator OBAMA if he think sexual orientation is a choice---PERIOD.

    How about it NITA?

    instead of showing

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Oct 29, 2007 2:35:11 PM

  19. "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement," Coretta Scott King said.

    "Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."

    - Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998, sec.2, p.4.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Oct 29, 2007 2:53:31 PM

  20. One thing is clear from your meltdown, Nita. It's always Halloween at your house and you always dress as the Professional Victim.

    For others interested in objective facts versus your spin:

    First, there’s the little issue you are choosing to ignore which is that most first assumed from his picture that Sidden was, however light-skinned, a Black gay minister. Including BLACK lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding who wrote, “I couldn't tell from the picture whether Rev. Andy Sidden, ... was white. After all, I have a family full of relatives who aren't any darker than Sidden. ... I just spoke with the pastor directly -- he identified himself -- and stated plainly that he's white; since the question was still open in some minds ...It boggles the mind that the Obama campaign would select a white pastor to deal with a situation that is awash in black homophobia. Politics 101.”

    RE your attempt to blame HRC for saddling Obama with Sidden:

    "Sen. Obama's ... announcement that South Carolina minister Andy Sidden would be joining the tour's lineup was determined without the input of HRC or Joe Solmonese. If asked, we would have gladly suggested a number of key black ministers - GLBT or straight-supportive - who have been outspoken in the call for the equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 29, 2007 3:18:33 PM

  21. And this from "The New York Times" about McClurkin last night rubbing our AND Obama's face in his demonization of gays DURING THE CONCERT!!!

    "At Barack Obama’s gospel concert here last night, more than 2,000 black evangelicals were singing, waving their hands and cramming the aisles — most enthusiastically when Donnie McClurkin, the superstar black gospel singer, decried the criticism he has generated because of his views that homosexuality is a choice.

    He said his past statements about homosexuality had been twisted and he had been unfairly maligned. He segued into a hymn about standing up for one’s self and thrust a defiant fist toward the ceiling. This led to a short pitch for Mr. Obama, who, he said, stands for change. “But the greatest change a person can have is not in politics,” he said. “There is only one king.”

    Mr. McClurkin is the preacher who had said he was gay but was “cured” through prayer and tonight he was the star act in a parade of star acts, which included the Mighty Clouds.

    ... The whole controversy might have been forgotten in the swell of gospel sound except Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.

    He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.

    “God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support."

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 29, 2007 3:31:21 PM

  22. Well, I guess they had a hog-killin' time of it down in ol' Carolina.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 29, 2007 3:43:17 PM

  23. Not McLovin-McJerkin again! Ugh.

    Posted by: anon ( | Oct 29, 2007 3:47:40 PM

  24. And hopefully ONE last nail in NITA characteristically ignorant comments

    "Several sources inside and outside the campaign confirm the names of TWO openly gay black pastors suggested by the National Black Justice Coalition and the Human Rights Campaign were rejected in favor of Rev. Sidden. Those names are: Bishop Yvette Flunder, an outstanding pastor and orator from San Francisco and Bishop Tonyia Rawls of Unity Fellowship in North Carolina. In addition, Bishop Carlton Pearson of Oklahoma, whose inclusive ministry welcomes the LGBT community, was also rejected. A campaign source says Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, the so-called hip-hop intellectual, reportedly volunteered and was also rejected. Dyson is a prominent Obama supporter and very popular in hip-hop and with youth.


    Posted by: MCnNYC | Oct 29, 2007 5:20:42 PM

  25. Nita, good stuff, its good to see someone who has an opinion and is willing to share it without the name calling, keep it up. While, I don't agree with all you say, at least you are civil about it, and, that's refreshing.

    There's a whole lot of misinformation with the gay issue, and, when race is thrown in, its beyond scary.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Oct 29, 2007 5:24:56 PM

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