A group of black pastors has launched a campaign to challenge black voters to rethink their support for President Barack Obama, saying that his endorsement of same-sex "marriage" places him at odds with America’s Judeo-Christian foundations and with the values embraced by a majority of black Americans.
“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” said the Rev. Williams Owens, Sr., founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), during a July 31 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “I am ashamed that the first black president chose this road, a disgraceful road.”
Owens, who said that he voted for Obama in 2008, said his group would launch a “nationwide campaign rallying black pastors and African Americans to voice their opposition to the president’s position on same-sex marriage, and withdraw their support from him. We will see that the black community is informed that the president is taking them for granted while pandering to the gay community.”
In mid-July the CAAP announced its opposition to the NAACP’s endorsement of same-sex "marriage," a move the civil rights group made in response to Obama’s own announcement in May that he had finally reconciled his own “struggle” over homosexual marriage and would work for its legalization.
Owens recalled that upon hearing of Obama’s embrace of same-sex "marriage," his group sent a letter to the president and Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a meeting to discuss the issue. “We wrote the president and Mr. Holder on May the second, requesting an audience with him to discuss this very issue,” Owens said. “He has not given us the courtesy of any reply.”
Owens, who was joined by a handful of other black pastors, said that as many as 3,700 black clergy were joining the campaign to derail Obama’s reelection. The effort includes a campaign to gather ten thousand signatures from black pastors, voters, and “allies of the black community,” pledging support for traditional marriage.
The written pledge proclaims that “the institution of marriage was established and ordained by God (Genesis 2:24),” and that “since the beginning of recorded history … marriage has been defined as the lawful union of one man and one woman.” It goes on to declare that homosexual unions “are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God,” and “to legalize such unions will signal social approval of homosexuality and sexual deviancy as legitimate lifestyles equal with God’s design of heterosexual normalcy.”
The pledge concludes: “We therefore declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female, notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land or acts of legislative bodies in support of same-sex ‘marriage’ and/or civil unions. And to call on Pres. Obama to repudiate his assertion that gay marriage is a civil right.”
Owens accused Obama of taking the black voting bloc for granted and ridiculed the idea that the effort to normalize homosexual behavior and legalize “gay marriage” was similar to the black civil rights movement of the 1960s. “We are really tired of the homosexual community hijacking the civil rights movement,” Owens said in mid-July as the NAACP endorsed same-sex "marriage." “I did not choose to be black and you did not choose to be white — and homosexuals make a choice to be homosexual. So why compare what we went through with your situation? It’s not the same thing. There’s no comparison.”
In the press conference Owens compared Obama’s support for homosexual marriage to tolerance for child molestation. “If you watch the men who have been caught [abusing boys,] you will note that all of them will say that they were molested as a child,” Owens said. “For the president to condone this type of thing is irresponsible.”
Owens’ son, the Rev. William Owens, Jr., who is part of the “Mandate for Marriage” effort of CAAP, predicted that as the presidential campaign heats up the importance of the marriage issue is “only going to increase” in the minds of conservative voters. “It’s only going to increase because the very core of America is founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs,” Owens, Jr. said. “That’s debatable to some people, but you can’t do away with history. When you begin to take on those core values you begin to take on what’s the core for America. So when more and more begin to realize what is getting ready to happen, it’s going to have to become an issue if we want to save our country.”
The announcement by CAAP that it would begin to challenge Obama’s popularity with black voters came just days after the Democratic Party announced that it was moving toward making the legalization of homosexual marriage one of the planks of its platform for the November elections. Owens, Jr. told the Christian Post that such a move would be a benefit to conservative candidates in terms of their support from black voters, who in the past have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates.
“It’s going to work together more for our benefit than theirs because when you look at the numbers, without a doubt, black Americans have unanimously come out to stand against same-sex marriage,” he said. “So if the Democratic Party is foolish and bold enough to believe that just because it’s going to make it an issue on the platform they’re going to sway it, they’re not going to sway it because it’s causing more and more people to stand up and say, ‘We’re drawing a line,’ and so this is a good thing.”
The Rev. Owens, Sr., who took part in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s, said that the effort of CAAP is not meant to be political in nature. “We want to make this very clear,” he said. “We are not Democrat or Republican. This is not the platform of any political party. It is our conscience. We will vote for what is right and what is scriptural. We’re asking black America to step up to the plate and do the same.”