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The Voice of the Black Community


Same-sex marriage divides allies
Faith, political leaders argue over policy, ballot
Published Monday, October 8, 2012 3:18 pm
by Kimberly Harrington, For The Charlotte Post

When President Obama publicly stated his personal approval of same-sex marriage, the black church went into a state of controversy.
How can you be a Christian and support homosexuality? How does a Christian support a president who believes in same-sex marriage? Where does the black church go from here with their support of the president?

These and a myriad of other questions proliferated from the hearts of clergy and faith leaders across the country. What do they tell their congregations?

One unfavorable response has sparked a movement that is getting the attention of congressional members. Some pastors are instructing their members to stay at home and not vote at all, rather than vote against Obama.

The recent Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference dedicated a roundtable discussion on the black church and same sex marriage.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) opened up the session saying, “With the president taking that position, does it mean we don’t support him? He has not asked anybody to introduce legislation on same-sex marriage. What the president did is stand up one day and say, ‘This is my position.’ That’s it.” And it was his personal position.

The panelists had different views on the issue, even delving into the contextual explanations of scriptures versus literal interpretations.

The staunchest opposition to Obama’s stance came from the Rev. Annette Wilson, overseer and senior pastor of Cathedral of Love in Salisbury, Md.

“When God says a man should not lie with another man as a woman, that’s what he meant. When He says that two women should not lie together as a man would a woman, that’s what he meant.”

The Rev. Mankekolo Mahlangu-Ngcobo, a native South African, of Life Restoration Ministry and Shiloh AME in Baltimore, said although she is against homosexuality, she will not allow that issue alone to keep her from supporting Obama, likening the situation to eating chicken.

“You eat the meat and throw out the bones.”

An African immigrant, Mahlangu-Ngcobo supports Obama’s immigration policy. As an educator, she supports his education platform. And because she is in health care, she supports Obamacare.

“Even though I disagree with him (on same-sex marriage),” she said, “I support him (on other issues).”

And when all was said and done, that is the overriding message that faith and political leaders would like for everyone to embrace: Do not let this one issue keep you from voting and/or supporting the president.

Cleaver said Obama’s opponents know “we are a people of faith and they can get us on faith issues.”

The Rev. S. Todd Yeary of Douglass Memorial in Baltimore agreed that same-sex marriage is being used as a wedge issue to divide the black vote and suggested that by falling for it, African Americans are participating “in our own subjugation.”

“Don’t win the same-sex debate and lose the right to a house, health and education,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “I don’t want anyone to jump line and impose on us their priorities.”

During a question and answer period, someone asked what do they go back and tell their congregations regarding this issue.

U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), answered: “We can never tell our people not to vote. We should not have to argue the case of the vote. Tell your congregations this is bigger than you. It’s about a generation yet born.”

First Lady Michelle Obama echoed that sentiment during the Phoenix Awards Dinner on the last day of the convention.
“Make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time. Marching door-to-door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. That effort is the movement of our era — protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election but for the next generation and generations to come,” she told the crowd.

“We cannot let anyone discourage us from casting out ballots,” she said.


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