Barack Obama has distanced himself from the feelings of some of the anti-gay gospel singers attached to his three-city gospel tour that kicks off in Charleston on Friday in a message on the LGBT section of his web site.
"I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts of our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country.
I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division."
It's terrific that he's keyed in to the controversy and sides with the LGBT community. It's a little disconcerting that this message is relegated to the gay pride section of his website and not given the attention that, say, the gospel tour itself receives.
Meanwhile, more "love the sinner" type stuff is coming out of the line-up. This time from gospel duo Mary Mary who will be performing at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.
I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I love them. They can come to the concert; I’m going to hug them just like I hug everybody else. They have issues and need someone to encourage them like everybody else -- just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute -- everybody needs God.
The ladies say they aren't gay bashers though.
Hopefully our music is impacting them in a way that if they see there's some things in their life that's not quite right and doesn’t align themselves wiwhat the Bible says -- hopefully our music impacts them in a way that makes them want to change it.
The problem here is that these people are basically good people and great musicians, and they aren't sharing the stage to further their ex-gay or anti-gay message. They're there to support Barack. But, while Obama may be an ally, him sharing the stage with people who think our relationships are sinful is a tough pill to swallow. Can I understand why Obama wants to have a bigger tent where gay and anti-gay folks can get together? Yes. Can I understand why gays would be disgusted by these folks? Certainly. In the end, Obama walked the tightrope the best he could, but there's no doubt that he's losing gay votes.