It does not appear that Barack Obama has any plans to drop “ex-gay” reverend Donnie McClurkin from his three-day South Carolina gospel tour, and McClurkin is speaking out about it.
McClurkin, with whom Obama connected, according to the Chicago Tribune, at the Oprah Winfrey fundraiser in California last month, told the paper that he’s not anti-gay and he was surprised at the controversy that erupted around his inclusion.
“I don’t believe that even from a religious point of view that Jesus ever discriminated toward anyone, nor do I. Most of the things that were said were totally out of context and then other things weren’t true. My only concern is to be in place with Sen. Obama in unity and bring all the factors together for the sake of change. That’s my only thing. Of course some agents have twisted it as though he [Obama] were embracing a racist or a Nazi, and that is anything but true. I believe in his stance. I believe in his platform and his agenda. So when they asked me if I would be a part of it, there was no problem. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on the main thing: that there needs to be change and I believe he is the candidate to bring it. There’s never been a statement made by me about curing homosexuality. People are using that in order to incite anger and to twist my whole platform on it. There’s no crusade for curing it or to convert everyone. This is just for those who come to me and ask for change.”
The WaPo published a few of his quotes last Sunday.
Yesterday, Wayne Besen, who heads up the Truth Wins Out organization dedicated to debunking myths about “ex-gays”, called Obama’s statement “inadequate and disappointing” and has called for Obama to dump McClurkin. The Human Rights Campaign has expressed “strong reservations” about the decision.
Paul Jenkins at the Huffington Post defended Obama, using Hillary Clinton’s friendship with Harold Mayberry of the First African Methodist Church in Oakland as an example that many of the candidates cozy up to anti-gay religious folk. Said Jenkins: “her press release on the meeting/endorsement left out the fact that Mayberry believes homosexuality to be comparable to thievery.”
Yesterday, Barack Obama released a statement on his involvement with McClurkin, but a campaign spokesman said he has no plans to drop McClurkin from the tour.