Obama’s Gospel Tour Issues Deepen as LGBT Group Plans Vigil


It’s hard to believe that Barack Obama’s gospel tour problems could get any worse, but it has. Leaders of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement reportedly asked Barack Obama’s campaign to dump Reverend Donnie McClurkin from his gospel tour this weekend in a conference call that was held late yesterday.

After refusing to dump McClurkin the LGBT leaders said they would hold a vigil outside the concert on Sunday to protest McClurkin’s inclusion.

Another revelation came out yesterday. Openly gay Reverend Andy Sidden, whom Obama added to the campaign in an effort to counter outrage over McClurkin, is white.

Pam Spaulding talked to Michelangelo Signorile last night after Sidden spoke on his radio show. Pam reports that “Sidden [doesn’t] consider himself very politically active, and that he accepted the mission not because he was an Obama supporter, but because he couldn’t turn down anyone asking him to pray. One of the reasons for his selection, he said, was because he was a UCC minister — and because he was openly gay.”

Pam offers some words about why Sidden is a big problem:

“The last thing a crowd of black folks who have a problem with homosexuality needs is: 1) to be ‘told’ by the Obama campaign that a message about tolerance must be delivered from a white voice of faith, and 2) to have their beliefs confirmed that being gay is ‘a white man’s perversion.’ Coming from a white pastor under these circumstances, can only be seen as paternalistic and patronizing; the shields of defensiveness will go up, the message will be ignored. The most stinging message that the Obama campaign has sent is that they apparently didn’t see the relevance or necessity of removing the ability of religious blacks to stay in denial, that somehow there is not an intersection of being black and gay. This move renders us invisible yet again, as politically expendable, because it telegraphs that it’s too politically volatile to address the division in the community by having them confront one of their own — black gay and gay-affirming ministers — when it comes to looking at bigotry.”

Pam also reports that McClurkin isn’t as “ex-gay” as he claims to be.

Obama Releases Letter from Gays and Blacks Supporting Gospel Tour [tr]
Obama Adds Openly Gay Minister to Counter McClurkin Furor [tr]
“Ex-Gay” Reverend McClurkin Speaks Out on Obama Controversy [tr]
Barack Obama Releases Statement on Reverend McClurkin [tr]
Barack Obama to Tour with Anti-Gay Gospel Singer [tr]


  1. Rad says

    The only thing I see here is that, okay, now homosexuality IS front and center in his campaign. Instead of letting a candidate be worthy of ALL the people, we have to quickly marginalize him as being anti-gay.

    Come on, we need to rise above this George Bush mentality of “all or nothing”, that “Either you’re for me or you’re for terrorist” crapola. This is exactly the same mentality.

    Get over yourselves, already!

  2. MT says

    I want to ask a serious question that may get me slammed by this crowd, but is it really any of Barack Obama’s business – or any presidential candidate for that matter – to address the DL issue? We all know what people who are gay and black face within the black community. It’s awful, but isn’t it something that should be dealt with within the black and gay communities themselves? I understand why everyone wants to have a candidate that openly supports their views, but is this really something that needs to be played out on the federal level? People need to be personally changed to address this issue. Politicizing it can only do more harm than good.

  3. says

    Folks, if Mitt Romney did a similar religious-based tour that had someone who held similar beliefs about African Americans, Obama would be demanding that person be removed from the tour forthwith.

    This whole thing shows a tolerance of bigotry towards gays that I’m finding disturbing.

  4. Mici says

    Sidden is to my eye from his photo a very light skinned African American due to obvious white genes reflected in his facial structure and lighter skin tone,, but his hair is still a black man’s tightly curled hair and any one with half a brain can see that he still has some African heritage in his looks. He is not 100% white same as Obama is part black and part white, because of a black Kenyan father and a white mother.

    the attitude against him FROM ANYONE AT ALL for being both gay and not black enough is both racist and homophobic,

  5. Sebastian says

    Well, since Mitt is Mormon, and, its well documented that they hate blacks as much as gays, that’s not the best analogy.

    This whole thing is getting out of control, and, the only ones who are going to look bad are gays. This crowd of people isn’t going to change their hateful ways, and, it shows that Obama has no backbone, and, should just cancel this whole fiasco.

    If he wanted to combat the virulent homophobic that some, not all, blacks in the so called church have, he should have found a black pastor to talk to them on tolerance, someone they can relate to in the South, where race still trumps everything else. This whole thing is going to turn into a nasty racial thing and the homophobia issue lost in the fray, and, that does not bode well for anyone.

  6. Brian says

    I’m willing to compromise on a lot of things in order to help this country move forward from the Bush-ridden pathetic mess we’re in now… even some GLBT issues are on the table for me. But allowing a major presidential candidate to align himself in any way with someone who refuses to recognize my equal humanity is not one of them. I know it’s reactionary and self-serving. It’s reactionary for a very good reason, which I doubt I have to explain in this forum. It’s self-serving because I refuse to compromise my equal humanity in an effort to “come together” with a bunch of people who would like nothing more than to see me (and everyone like me) disappear or be pushed into the sea. (And don’t tell me they don’t… they may not all say it, but trust me… deep in their hearts that’s the desired end result.) So yes, I think that the shitstorm surrounding this issue is well-deserved. It’s deserved not only because it was an effort to merge fundamentalist religion and politics, which is a strategy that has shitstorm written all over it and which has resulted in much of the misery that we’re experiencing today. No… it’s deserved because it shows naivete and shortsightedness that we know from current experience is a dangerous combination in a President of the United States.

    I’m sure Obama is a nice man, who meant well. But if he doesn’t have the simple foresight to see how this would turn out, then how can we trust in his ability to handle the far-more-complex issues related to the Presidency?

  7. says

    Does anyone really understand what the hell Pam Spaulding is saying in that long-winded paragraph? I sure as hell don’t. The problem isn’t that the gay guy is white, Pam, it’s that the black guy is a repressed self-loathing bigot. I’ve never read a more condescending piece of pretentious liberal drivel in my life. All I do know is that Hillary is getting a good chuckle out of this. Obama is a political amateur, and she is about to flick him off like a bug.

  8. Leland Frances says

    The core issue remains that Obama does not consider homophobia and its consequences the moral equivalent of racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism. The fact that it’s so easy to say that he would never countenance his campaign sponsoring three days of performances by a white supremacist singer that it sounds like a cliche doesn’t make it any less true. And people of all colors in South Carolina know that viscerally. Their reaction, however subconcious, is going to be, “If Barack is sharing the stage with him then McClurkin and his hate/self-hate mongering must be ok because I know that Barack would never share a stage with someone I already understand to be a bigot.”

    There’s “guilt by association” and there’s “good by association” and in this case, together, they are cancelling out Obama’s credibility. It does not sink to the level of Giuliani and Romney and the other hetero fascist Repugs but it is inexcusable none the less.

  9. Derrick from PHilly says

    I’m kinda’ laughing: how many white gay folks knew what the fuck a Donnie McClurkin was before this idiotic mistake by the Obama camp. But, I declare, it’s going right in the direction I feared it would.
    Here we go, another round of Isaiah, Mr Bartender.

  10. Brian says

    Yeah, it’s true… not a lot of white folks follow gospel music. But that doesn’t change the issue at hand. It doesn’t matter what color the guy is. What matters is the prejudice in his heart, in his actions, and in his public statements. Has nothing whatever to do with the Isaiah business.

  11. MCnNYC says

    The Problem DERRICK is exactly that white people didn’t and WEREN’T supposed to know who this man Donnie is cause this political event in S. carolina was not MEANT for them….it was MEANT and created for the non-whites of SC to shore up that vote.

    But the black ministers and their congregations DO KNOW this man and his story and his “gospel” that he preaches and sings….AND THAT MY FRIEND IS THE PROBLEM and MY concern.

  12. thegreatpumpkin says

    I assume, Derrick, that by your comment you mean that you believe Isaiah’s comments were made into a huge deal because of his race, and that a similar situation is occurring with Obama?

    If so, I believe your analogy is a bad one. Hillary is a panderer as well, and as has been mentioned, she apparently has no problem with endorsements from anti-gay ministers herself. She doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook, either.

    But Obama’s mis-steps are a bigger deal. At first, this fiasco was somewhat forgivable as a case of the Obama team not doing their research. But the subsequent spinning of this incident into some learning opportunity for gays and black Christians is ludicrous.

    Now, I don’t expect Obama to speak about gay issues to a black Christian crowd, and I certainly wouldn’t be offended if he didn’t speak about them in front of such an audience. That said, I also don’t expect him to go on tour with an “ex-gay” like McClurkin, implicitly supporting his views.

    Of course, Obama’s supporters won’t see eye to eye with him on every issue, so McClurkin’s disagreement with Obama on an issue shouldn’t NECESSARILY preclude them from touring together.

    However, Obama’s decision here certainly is cause for concern. It raises questions. How can Obama’s support for gay issues be all that deep if he’s willing to have such a man on tour with him, in what was an obviously calculated attempt to win the black Christian vote in S. Carolina?

    Another point: McClurkin and Obama don’t simply disgree on a minor economic issue, they disagree on a human rights issue. Frankly, adding a gay pastor’s voice to the fray doesn’t help Obama’s cause, because it suggests that the gay rights “debate” has two equal sides.

    I realize that the Christians who believe we are sinners aren’t going to magically come around to our viewpoint without discussion, but exactly how much “discussion” are we willing to endure? One side believes that an ancient book with a few obscure (and theologically questioned) references to homosexuality is the word of God. This faith is the basis of their arguments against us. How long must we continue to tell them, “Your beliefs are your business, but as they have no logical foundation, they don’t belong in our laws.”

    Obama’s handling of the situation has been piss-poor, to say the least. As others have said, nobody would take a candidate seriously if he gave equal credence to an anti-Semite’s views and a Jewish rabbi’s views.

    And let’s be clear, here. I’m not for the silencing of opposing views, as some will accuse “the gays” of doing when they call Obama out on this. I’m simply against giving McClurkin’s views a national stage. He already has a large following, and while he has every right to espouse his beliefs and sing his heart out, I would prefer Obama not implicitly support him by having him on tour.

  13. Derrick from Philly says


    First, I believe that Donnie McClurkin is a pathetic “outed” homosexual who’s only real hope of “curing” his homosexuality is suicide.

    Secondly, I believe that black church folks who believe in the hateful shit that Donnie McClurkin and anti-gay black ministers(fuckin’ hypocrites & thieves) spew out of their mouths are un-educated idiots.

    BUT! The problem I have with the comments from many white gays on this subject (and the Isaiah affair) is that y’all come on as though homophobia & anti-gay hatred are particularly worse in the black community. Prove it!

    And what exactly do most white gays do about the racism that exist among white gays–especially white gay bar owners across this country? The attitude of many black gays is, “until y’all white guys do something about racism in your community don’t comment on how bad homophobia is in the black community.” The term “black homophobia” drives me crazy. What is the difference between white homophobia and black homophobia? Ebonics? Well, those white homophobes have a lot more political/financial power to do damage to gay people than some backwards black evangelicals.

  14. MCnNYC says

    Come on Derrick….
    “it’s a Black Thing…I wouldn’t understand?”

    REALLY…this is the subject we are disscussing…are you suggesting ANDY is just a white gay-MAN no less- and he should not even have posted this article?

    But for the record…Homophobia does not discriminate on race gender orientation religious affiliation or economic status.

    Can you prove that homophobia is any LESS prevalent in the black community?


  15. MCnNYC says

    oh and Derrick ….
    Any comments on whats happening in Dallas?
    as posted on this blog….
    Dallas Launches Homophobic Campaign Against Saggy Hip-Hop Pants

  16. Derrick from PHilly says

    THEGREATPUMPKIN: My arugument is that white gays seem to feel that they have a “special” type of chastisement to dish out when it comes to black anti-gay behavior. When an Irish-American says something anti-gay do you read comments such as,”how would you like to be called an shanty Irish drunk”. No, they keep their comments directed at the individual–not the whole ethnic or racial group. Well, it happens over and over again on this blog: when a black person does something homophobic his race becomes part of the issue. Then it exacerbates because we black visitors to Towleroad have to speak up and speak out against what we perceive as racist comments and slurs. Not only do we have to deal with Ms McClurkin’s anti-gay shit, now we got to defend black people in general against racist statements by white gays. Child, it aint easy out here bein’ a black homo: if the black homophobes aint kickin’ yo’ ass here ccme the white homos.

    David: What has the “black community” got to do with Donnie McClurkin’s psychosis or the Obama campaign staff’s stupidity, or with Isaiah Washington’s idiotic temper and mouth? Criticize the individual for his fuck up, don’t blame his/her whole race–that’s exactly what black visitors to this site complain about.

    MCNNYC: Can I prove that blacks are less homophobic? Well, I can say this– when it comes to the anti-gay Sanctity of Marriage Act (or whatever it was called) all members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were present voted against it. Can’t say the same for the white members of Congress.

    And THEGREATPUMPKIN, as far as a candidate who gave equal credence to anti-semetic views and embracing Jewish Rabbis’ views at the same time? Sure, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had to balance between loyal Jewish Democrats and Southern white,anti-semitic, segregationist Democrats. We Coloreds weren’t a problem for FDR at the time: those of us who could vote tended to be Republicans.

  17. Sebastian says

    Derrick, dude, go on with your bad self, sometimes, you have to keep it real in these forums, since many have the same closed minds as those they want to berate. When race is thrown into any debate in this country, all civility and objectivity leaves the room.

    I have never heard of Donnie, and, what grown man calls himself Donnie, don’t listen to or have gospel music but, any hoo, he is a creep, and a jerk from what I have read, and, Obama and his people should have known better. But, as a politician, which is what he is first, he would stand in front of the KKK if they let him, in the end, all he wants is a vote, and, like most of them, the gay vote is expendable to the larger public.

    if, anyone thinks that they are all pro gay, they need to go back and watch the Logo debate, where they all danced around it with two exceptions, and, it wasn’t Hill and Obama who came out in favor of gay rights.

    So, vote for Kucinich or Gravel if you want someone who will not appear at this sort of side show, since all the Democrats have appeared at black churches and other ones with anti-gay stances for votes.

  18. underbear1 says

    Why stop with McClurkin?

    Have a REALLY BIG F*CKIN TENT, invite Alan Keyes, Bernice King, and Fred Phelps…in for an inch of homobigots….in for a mile.

  19. underbear1 says

    The charge of racism in this issue is totally BOGUS. The LGBT community would be just as ANGRY if Clinton or Edwards invited a hateful ex-gay minister to a gospel tour to win white evangelicals.

    Obama = Alan Keyes….only taller

  20. underbear1 says

    South Carolina Equaliy

    light a candle for me, light up the whole f*ckin nght sky of this hate-fest (with tamborines.)

    If Obama tours with McClurkin, I’m SO OVER obama.

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