Barack Obama took some time yesterday to address the Donnie McClurkin controversy.
For those of you not keeping up, Democratic presidential candidate Obama announced his “Embrace the Change” gospel tour, which includes McClurkin and Mary Mary, both of whom have anti-gay pasts. It’s McClurkin who’s really caught people’s ire, because the preacher preaches – and practices – ex-gay conversion. Needless to say, the queers aren’t gay about it.
As the fury reached a fever pitch yesterday evening, Obama finally released a statement disavowing McClurkin’s anti-gay ideology:
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 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.
Obama can’t feel that strongly about it, because McClurkin and his representatives say the tour’s still a go.
Meanwhile, you guys may want to read Jasmyne Cannick’s assessment of the situation, in which she sheds some more light on Mary Mary’s homophobic attitudes, including this doozy from a 2007 interview with Vibe:
I feel how God feels about it, umâ€¦ but I still love them. You know what I mean? 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 somebody to encourage them like everybody else – just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute, everybody needs God.
Cannick also uses her column to deflect blame from Barack Obama to his ignorant white staff. Yes, really. Cannick would rather point a finger at Obama’s melanin-deprived staffers than the candidate – a candidate who should a. know better and b. have the brain power to check his staff’s decisions. Here’s Cannick’s take:
However, I am surprised that given the number of high profile openly gay men and women working on Obama’s campaign, that neither one of those choices set off a red flag for any of them. Perhaps that’s because most, if not all of the gays working on the Obama campaign are predominantly white, followed by Asians and Latinos. Pair that up with a set of campaign advisors that probably never heard of Donnie McClurkin or Mary Mary until recently, and you can easily see how the stage could be set for something like this.
It’s not Obama’s fault! He can’t be held accountable for his own campaign!
Are we the only ones who see fundamental flaws in this argument?
Cannick also says that Obama needs to sit down with black gay people to get a sense of their lives and issues. By neglecting to do so, she says, Obama’s ruling out an important social population. We totally agree with Cannick’s thinking, but does she truly believe Obama’s going to give up millions of gospel-loving churchies for a few black queens? It’s not likely…