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Obama Reached Out to Evangelical Pastors Immediately Following Gay Marriage Endorsement

The NYT reports that immediately after making his endorsement of same-sex marriage last week Obama reached out to evangelical pastors in order to assure them that his announcement was not an attack on religious liberty:

ObamaIn the hours following Mr. Obama’s politically charged announcement on Wednesday, the president and his team embarked on a quiet campaign to contain the possible damage among religious leaders and voters. He also reached out to one or more of the five spiritual leaders he calls regularly for religious guidance, and his aides contacted other religious figures who have been supportive in the past.

The damage-control effort underscored the anxiety among Mr. Obama’s advisers about the consequences of the president’s revised position just months before what is expected to be a tight re-election vote. While hailed by liberals and gay-rights leaders for making a historic breakthrough, Mr. Obama recognized that much of the country is uncomfortable with or opposed to same-sex marriage, including many in his own political coalition.

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  1. >"one or more of the five spiritual leaders he calls regularly for religious guidance"

    WTFBBQ?!?! Why isn't he ashamed to admit that? In any civilized country, the leader would not consult with and kowtow to theocratic fanatics. Separation of church and state my ass.

    Posted by: Steve | May 14, 2012 2:39:33 PM


  2. Steve, you took the words out of my mouth. That shocked me coming from such a bright man.

    I also have trouble believing that it will be a tight reelection unless I live in some crazy bubble and don't realize how many people will vote for Romney simply because they irrationally hate Obama.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 14, 2012 2:44:09 PM


  3. Religion is a huge part of America, and therefore it's only prudent to take religious leaders' thoughts INTO ACCOUNT (if not taking them as word of law) and quelling their fears. It's not kowtowing, it's good politics. And it's even smarter bc one of the biggest flaps about marriage equality is that fake scare tactic that it means churches have to accept it or they'll be taxed or their pastors jailed, etc., etc.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | May 14, 2012 2:44:38 PM


  4. I'm not one to heap sycophantic praise on Barack Obama, but I'll allow him this much: Nobody carries two faces on one head as skillfully as he does!

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | May 14, 2012 2:47:54 PM


  5. I agree MATTHEW. Look how things have changed. The president is on the cover of a major magazine accepting gays and off to the side saying "but youre still cool, too" to the religious nuts of the country. It used to be exactly opposite in this country. The nominee would privately tell gays he was ok with them in small ways and thin kiss clergy ass in big media ways. We are going in the right direction.

    Posted by: DrJWL | May 14, 2012 2:49:09 PM


  6. i say it might have been a smooth move for the President, but I say "screw them" ... stop giving these crazy people power!! This is a civil rights issue not a religious one, so stop making it become a religious issue!
    Secondly, from a debate perspective the religious arguments can be dimantled... but the civil rights issue has power and standing.

    Posted by: tommyboy10 | May 14, 2012 2:59:06 PM


  7. Exactly. He needs to say "Screw you. This country is not a theocracy. This is about civil marriage and you have no say in the matter. Religious marriage is something else entirely."

    Stop giving in to their egos and overinflated sense of importance. They only have the power you give them.

    Posted by: Steve | May 14, 2012 3:03:35 PM


  8. I don't begrdge him this one single bit. Hell, the marriage equality bill before the legislature here in Illinois is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Every freaking state that has enacted marriage equality has bent over backwards, forwards, sideways, etc, to make the point that this isn't about forcing religions and churches to perform marriages they oppose. Fat lot of good it does, since they hate these marriage equality bills anyway.

    Posted by: Terry | May 14, 2012 3:23:18 PM


  9. if Obama has to explain to these Mental Midgets / Christo facists - then obviously they're TOO stupid....

    Posted by: Disgusted American | May 14, 2012 4:00:27 PM


  10. I can’t honestly say that I expect any different from the President. After all, I too feel it necessary to either keep my mouth shut entirely or assure my racist, bigoted friends, family members, and complete strangers that, even though I voted for a bi-racial, black-washed man with an ethno-linguistic name of both Luo and Swahili, who had a VERY WHITE mother who raised him for part of his life in the Muslim backdrop of Indonesia, blackwashing notwithstanding, that yes indeed, I still love them and that I really didn’t mean to hurt their feelings by doing so. In fact, I apologize for even existing because I am gay and don’t deserve to live in the same universe as the hetero normative population because my sexuality is apparently illegal according to a piece of paper written a few thousand years ago via fairly unknown origins…because GAWD said it was so, and that very law is supreme above all other laws, like stoning your not-virgin bride for well, you know, and a few hundred others that nobody bothers to mention OR follow anymore because I imagine, it must be rather tiresome and inconvenient to have to do ALL OF THAT WORK daily, you poor things.

    And to the President, I apologize. I apologize to you FOR Vice President Biden having forced your balls to actually grow a tad bit larger ahead of schedule, whatever the hell that schedule was anyway, because after all, when YOU get damn good and ready for something, I’m sure that’ll be just fine, especially for the hundreds of thousands of others out there that won’t even live long enough to benefit from all of those great moments you’re making in history.

    Posted by: ESA | May 14, 2012 4:05:01 PM


  11. "He needs to say "Screw you. This country is not a theocracy. This is about civil marriage and you have no say in the matter. Religious marriage is something else entirely."

    So, essentially, it is more important to say something immature and politically unwise than it is to win elections through diplomatic tones. We see that winning is not your priority.

    Posted by: Javier | May 14, 2012 4:34:04 PM


  12. If you think that telling them the truth and saying something that they should known anyways is "politically unwise" then that tells us all about the sorry state of the country.

    He doesn't have to say "screw you", but these freaks need to be told to stay out of politics. It's as simple as that.

    Posted by: Steve | May 14, 2012 4:44:19 PM


  13. The President is entitled to consult his advisers, even if some of them claim to speak to and for an imaginary being in the sky.

    He is equally entitled to consult the expressed and implied views of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

    Any President that does not receive conflicting advice is either not listening or not doing his job.

    At the end of the day, the President is required however to preserve, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.

    Posted by: Rich | May 14, 2012 5:14:23 PM


  14. He has a huge political problem because he insisted that religious organizations fund birth control plans. They could easily assume he would insist they perform gay marriages. I don't think they'll ever trust him after the birth control thing though, regardless of what he said. There is also this fear among evangelicals that a judge somewhere will force them to marry gays, like in England, where they require accommodation.

    Posted by: anon | May 14, 2012 5:19:08 PM


  15. Evangelicals believe that Anne Frank and Gandhi are sharing a flat in Hell, and should therefore be ignored.

    in a just world

    alas, we're not in one yet, so no doubt the President's words will offer society's non-cognitives some reassurance that they won't be forced to marry gay people, watch Ellen, or drink other people's AIDS.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 14, 2012 5:24:25 PM


  16. All the marriage equality bills passed by state legislatures have very similar language in them: they emphatically state that religious liberty will be protected. Of course, it should be unnecessary as no church will be forced to sanction or not sanction any union, but we live in a country where no one dares to step on so-called religious freedoms, only civil freedoms, like the freedom to marry. What he did was completely in line with what has happened in all the marriage equality states. Eventually, anti-gay religious "leaders" will be marginalized because their religious views will be completely out of step with cultural views--their time will pass.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 14, 2012 11:12:28 PM


  17. There is also this fear among evangelicals that a judge somewhere will force them to marry gays, like in England, where they require accommodation."

    Anon: I don't know what your source is for this notion, but I don't believe any church in any country has ever been forced to marry gay couples.

    It certainly is not even remotely possible in the United States. Women can vote in US elections, but not in Baptist decisions. Orthodox Jews can marry Catholics in civil ceremonies, but not in either a Catholic Church or in a synagogue. Divorcees can get married St the county courthouse, but not in a Catholic church.
    The examples could go on for hours, but churches don't have to do much of ANYTHING they don't feel like doing, including paying their share of friggin' taxes.

    Posted by: Gregv | May 15, 2012 12:15:35 AM


  18. Typical Obama talking out of both sides of his mouth. Another pretty speech about equality yet, no action will be taken, except he feels he needs to do damage control with the evangelicals who will never vote for him. Whatever. I'm still not impressed with him and I still think he's a homophobe.

    Posted by: Brad | May 15, 2012 12:21:59 AM


  19. Ugh the naïveté of some posters here is mind boggling. Ofcourse he has to reach out too these pastors. Whether you like it or not these pastors have influence over large segments of the American voting populace. Many of these voters live in states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. Heck, Obama even won a large portion of the religious vote in 2008.

    America is still and will be for a long time to come a very puritanical society. If you want to win elections you have to pander.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | May 15, 2012 1:07:05 AM


  20. Yes, indeed, NY2.0, that is the truth about politics, so we have great need to vocalize our disdain, distrust, and disgust for such behavior. To allow such stupidity and ignorance to run rampant and unchecked is irresponsible and to remain silent is to warrant a religion-inspired imprisonment in a closet of your own making.

    Posted by: ESA | May 15, 2012 9:49:57 AM


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