Barack Obama | Democratic Party | Election 2008 | News | Religion

BigGayDeal.com

Barack Obama Tells Crowd that Homophobia is Not Christian

Ben Smith at Politico reports on a question and answer session at a Barack Obama rally in Beaumont, Texas yesterday:

Obama_2"An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes — race, gender, etc. — that shouldn't trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent. So he took a different tack: 'Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday,' he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers. 'I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian,' he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time."

Adds Smith: "The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama's deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality — his refusal to dump the "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour — angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing."

UPDATE — The video:

Selling Gay Rights [politico]

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. This is one of the key reasons that I am supporting Obama for president. He is willing to talk about his support for GLBT civil rights in front of more than GLBT specific audiences. It is not gay people that need to hear that we are worthy of equal treatment under the law simply because we are human. It is non-gay people that need to hear that message.

    Posted by: Michael Crawford | Feb 29, 2008 11:32:09 AM


  2. I'm originally from outside of Beaumont, Texas - and I'm honestly surprised that he made it out of there alive. I'm not kidding. I love it that he was pushing their buttons. I'm not totally convinced by Obama, but reading this gives me a little hope.

    Posted by: Pierre | Feb 29, 2008 11:32:53 AM


  3. This is another reason why I support Obama. It is one thing to say all the right things to people's faces. But he says the right things even when it's not easy and to crowds who don't necessarily want to hear it.

    Posted by: Roger Newcomb | Feb 29, 2008 11:36:42 AM


  4. i ask you, did you ever think you'd live to see the day when any politician, let alone one running for president, would actually dare to say that homophobia is not x-tian?

    Posted by: the queen | Feb 29, 2008 11:40:51 AM


  5. Can't wait for Bedwell to try and spin this one into a negative.

    Posted by: 24play | Feb 29, 2008 11:50:21 AM


  6. Yes, dear QUEEN, and look where he said it! Most politicians wouldn't even mention gay people in that setting. Don't tell me that this Democrat isn't one brave man. BRAVE, BRAVE MAN. And cute too.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 29, 2008 11:51:52 AM


  7. Same shit. New bag.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 29, 2008 12:19:35 PM


  8. Do you really need Bedwell to see the negative in this?

    He's pandering to religious black folk, as usual, and when the crowd didn't like his equality for gays message, simply backed into saying you shouldn't do un-Christian things, and reminding them that he praises Jesus every Sunday.

    Agent of change? Doubt it. Simply another politician who panders to religious ignorance to get elected. But, he'll still get the Gays for Shiny, New Packaging crowd.

    Something stinks; B.O. is the Hypocrite of the Week:

    http://www.gaywired.com/article.cfm?section=66&id=18333

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 29, 2008 12:25:45 PM


  9. Look, I'm not particularly pleased to have a presidential candidate who's religious. But at least he's willing to use his religion to make a positive point in a hostile environment. Obama is showing us that he gets it and he's doing it through real actions that create real change. You Go Girl!

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 29, 2008 12:36:13 PM


  10. To the pro-Hillary skeptics, I will say this. I voted for Clinton because I prefer her, and I don't regret that ballot. But the fact that Obama's adopting this pro-gay strategy means there will be a mountain of evidence against him if he flip-flops. You can have four more years of war, famine, and pestilence with McBush - or you can give this new candidate a chance.

    Remember, he's going up for re-election in 2012, so you'll have another chance to vote against Obama if it comes to that. But it appears Obama has won the nomination, and I'm willing to take a gamble on him in November.

    Posted by: John | Feb 29, 2008 12:43:54 PM


  11. To the pro-Hillary skeptics, I will say this. I voted for Clinton because I prefer her, and I don't regret that ballot. But the fact that Obama's adopting this pro-gay strategy means there will be a mountain of evidence against him if he flip-flops. You can have four more years of war, famine, and pestilence with McBush - or you can give this new candidate a chance.

    Remember, he's going up for re-election in 2012, so you'll have another chance to vote against Obama if it comes to that. But it appears Obama has won the nomination, and I'm willing to take a gamble on him in November.

    Posted by: John | Feb 29, 2008 12:45:48 PM


  12. Show me ONE TIME where Hillary has spoken out in favor of gay rights to a hostile crowd. ONE SINGLE TIME! In fact show me one time where Hillary has spoken out in favor of gay rights before ANY group that wasn't primarily gay. She doesn't do it and not even MICHAEL BEDWELL can deny that fact.

    Obama's brand of Christianity and his willingness to stand against people who do hateful and exclusionary things in the name of Jesus is a reflection of his (and my) denomination, the progressive United Church of Christ. I like to think of us as the Buddhist branch of the Christian faith.

    Posted by: Zeke | Feb 29, 2008 12:46:07 PM


  13. Chris,

    Texas and Ohio aren't exactly known as bastions of liberal thinking. In Ohio it was a felony for a man to whistle at another man until just a couple of years ago.

    How many gay votes are there in Ohio and Texas that would make a difference compared with the conservative votes? Don't you think that in Texas especially that if Obama had not said a thing about gay rights he might have gained more votes?

    As for positioning things in terms of Christianity, isn't Obama using an analogy, trying to show people that their homophobia is antithetical to true Christianity?

    Has Hillary Clinton made any similar movements? Do you expect John McCain to do so?

    How did George Bush win the 2004 election? He won because of the use of homophobia to get voters to the poll. The Republicans sent massive numbers of mailers throughout the Midwest and Bible Belt warning of gays destroying the family and bring about the Apocalypse.

    The result of this campaign was a massive voter turn out at the polls.

    Now imagine what is going to happen in the general election if its McCain vs Obama? Do you think that the GOP isn't going to use this against Obama? Please! Look at how many idiots jumped enthusiastically over the Larry Sinclair bullshit. The nut jobs were convinced of a cover up and bribery.

    Now, let's add Sinclair and Obama's support of gay rights together and the Republicans are going to launch a whisper campaign against Obama. That will be followed by direct assaults on Obama like the recent Tennessee Republican Party created mailers that accused him of being aligned with anti-Semites.

    Can't you imagine what they are going to say: A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of the American family! A vote for Obama is a vote for sodomy!

    There's no big bang help for Obama in Texas or Ohio for supporting gay rights. Texas? Remember, this is the state that fought tooth and nail to keep the sodomy laws. This is the state where a church is considering firing a minister for being too gay positive even though he banned displays of family photos that might show gay family members.

    Had Obama released this position before a primary in a more progressive state with a strong, politically active gay community I would his moves cynical. In Texas, I think he has more to lose by these remarks.


    Posted by: noah | Feb 29, 2008 12:57:01 PM


  14. CHRIS: how the fuck can you pander to black Christians by telling them that one of their beliefs makes them un-Christian.

    EXCUSE ME, we've had a rash of killings of gay people, and an overall increase in violence against gay people. Do not tell me that it isn't important to have our leaders go into places that are hostile to gay people and say, "hatred and violence against gay people is wrong."

    I have to wonder about any gay person who does not appreciate what Obama did --do y'all really care about the murder and lynching of gay people just because they're gay? Obama seems to care. He's telling folks who think it's OK to hate gay people that it is wrong to do so. Have any members of the Southern Baptist Convention done this?

    Those of you who don't appreciate Obama's earnest effort to stop hate may as well vote for Huckabee. He must have the message for Christians concerning gay people that y'all want to hear.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 29, 2008 12:57:25 PM


  15. I've been a Hillary supporter, critical of Obama for Donnie McClurkin, but this is impressive. To say these things to people in Beaumont, Texas - not Austin or Dallas or Houston - but Beaumont, took backbone. Especially considering that the crowd was demonstrably hostile to gay rights as demonstrated by their silence when he brought it up. I need to re-assess Obama. This is a great story.

    Posted by: sam | Feb 29, 2008 1:04:05 PM


  16. Lord help me, just because he speaks out on gay rights does not mean he is the best person for the job. This is not ALL about gay rights, I consider myself an American, a man, a liberal, a person, not just GAY. I'd rather vote for someone who will do more with healthcare, education, poverty, gun control and also equal rights for gays and lesbians. Hill is the woman to do all that.
    Hillary 08!

    Posted by: davey | Feb 29, 2008 1:07:04 PM


  17. I'm going to have to somewhat agree with Noah and Derrick. Although I don't think it hurts him. In fact, I don't think it affects that demographic at all.

    Look, the black folks in that audience were going to vote for Obama anyway. He certainly doesn't need to mention homosexuality in any of his speeches to get black voters to the polls. They've been going for him at a rate of 9-to-1 regardless.

    Black folks aren't really "values voters." They're just...not. If anything, it's designed to get race baiting GWMs off his back (no pun intended) for the McClurkin thing.

    Posted by: John | Feb 29, 2008 1:08:37 PM


  18. I don't know why, but I just don't trust him. I think he's pandering for the gay vote and once in office it'll be gay who? There is no sincerity in his overtones to our community. I firmly believe he’ll pull a Bill Clinton on us.

    Posted by: Bojo | Feb 29, 2008 1:09:36 PM


  19. Sam,

    Thank you for being open to re-examining Obama despite the McClurkin flap.

    When Obama refused to cut the preacher from his tour appearances, I was deeply disappointed. I thought it displayed, if not craven election-year politics, then at least political naivete. But I respected Obama's explanation that he wouldn't disinvite McClurkin because we can't expect to ever secure change if we refuse to be in the same room with people who have different beliefs and opinions.

    I respect him even more for that conviction in light of this latest action. And I think it's consistent with Obama's whole approach. He does have core beliefs that he is not willing to sacrifice for political expediency. And he's willing to do the outreach necessary to change people's minds on issues he strongly believes in.

    If you'd like to read about another example of this ethic, this article tells about how Obama proposed and stuck by legislation in IL that requires all interrogations and confessions to be videotaped:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR2008010303303.html

    When the bill was first introduced, it was loudly denounced by both Senate Republicans and law enforcement, but Obama refused to let it fail. He reached out to its opponents and eventually succeeded in passing the bill by unanimous vote in the Senate.

    There is certainly something solid behind his campaign slogan of Change We Can Believe In.

    Posted by: 24play | Feb 29, 2008 1:19:24 PM


  20. Criminey! What does it take to please you people? Obama is running CIRCLES around Hillary Clinton in this regard. But I get the feeling that some people are so nostalgic for the halcyon days of the 1990s, praying for a return to those comfy pre-9/11, GWB years, that they think that merely installing the Clintons in the Whitehouse will set the Wayback Machine to 1992 and all will be rosy.

    You know what? It ain't gonna happen. We live in a profoundly changed world - due in part to the Clintons' eight years in the White House but mostly to the "War on Terror" and seven years of Christo-fascists running the country.

    There is no evidence - ZERO - that Hillary Clinton will change this. In fact, she's the odds-on favorite for more of the same. (Reference, please, her latest fear-mongering commercial.)

    Barack Obama symbolizes a sea-change in American politics. It's radical, revolutionary, and it's just what America needs now. I do NOT agree with most of his policy positions - esp. in re: taxes and government programs, etc. But his stance on the war in Iraq, civil liberties, individual rights, and now apparently his willingness to toss back to the Christianists their own doctrine and to see whether they will catch it or fumble – well, all of that impresses me more than Hillary's overblown record and claims about tens of years of experience.

    Posted by: GM | Feb 29, 2008 1:21:02 PM


  21. Are gay people really so desperate to be validated? Jeez. When Obama does something tangible,concrete and REALLY brave for GLBT folks like what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did a few years ago regarding the gay marriage issue then MAYBE he would be worth supporting but sorry folks his fear of being photographed with Newsom and his McJerkin actions speaks MUCH louder than his hollow political words. It will be interesting to see if he picks another Jesus Lovin Christian to be his VP or if he chooses an extremely conservative Democrat to balance out the ticket?

    Posted by: SFshawn | Feb 29, 2008 1:27:05 PM


  22. This is Beaumont, Texas! Beaumont! Those of you who do not know Texas also do not know how big of deal this is. Beaumont is the reddest of the red as far as politically.

    I managed a congressional campaign outside of Beaumont a few years ago. The area is one of the most right wing in the country. The fact that he even brought up gays is astonishing. The fact that he brought us up twice after not being well received the first time is courageous.

    Posted by: Jon-Marc | Feb 29, 2008 1:31:16 PM


  23. I'm convinced that prejudice drives this idea that blacks are somehow more homophobic than any other group.

    Posted by: Sean | Feb 29, 2008 1:36:53 PM


  24. SEAN, you are absoulutely correct. The problem is too many blacks, especially church black folks, don't mind being portrayed that way. It enhances their feeling of being "different" from white folks.

    But, yes, the percentage of homophobes within the white & Latino communities is probably no lower than in the black commnunity. Black homophobes just get more attention because they like to run their mouths more than....ooops. Well, also the media feels it's their mission to portray black males as villains--being mouthy homophobes helps in that portrayal.


    And I don't believe I just wrote that. Maybe Barack's integrity and courage is rubbing off on us...well, a little bit of his courage. I don't have the courage of Barack, honey.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 29, 2008 1:52:54 PM


  25. "Look, the black folks in that audience were going to vote for Obama anyway. He certainly doesn't need to mention homosexuality in any of his speeches to get black voters to the polls. They've been going for him at a rate of 9-to-1 regardless."

    Um, I hope you do not really think he was talking about that b/c he gives one shit if those people in that audience are going to support him. They paid money to come out and see him, you can be assured his comments on gays will not change their vote. He said what he said because he isn't stupid and knows it will be on this and thousands of other blogs tomorrow and on the news. He's thinking about the general at this point.

    Black people are not stupid enough to think that if they are voting for a Democrat they are going to be voting for one that is homophobic like they are. They might not like it, but I doubt they are that delusional.

    I appreciate what he says, but it really doesn't change my opinion overall and my support for Hillary, who has made plenty of overtures to the gay community since the election began. This might up his ratings with gays but it doesn't diminish her's in return. it's like I'm supposed to hear this and go, Oh god, thank god I can not vote for Hillary now. No thanks.

    Posted by: BANNE | Feb 29, 2008 1:53:47 PM


  26. 1 2 3 4 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Hillary Clinton Ad Depicts Candidate as Nation's Night Watchman« «