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May 16, 2012

Column #1,603

Religious Leaders Mobilize Against Obama

By Mike McManus

            Black clergy are mobilizing to defeat Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

            “Some African Americans are being called `Uncle Toms’ because they disagree with him on matters of principle,” said Bishop Harry Jackson on the Sean Hannity Show this week. 

            “Marriage is the issue that will make (black) opinion shift. Next week we are bringing African American leaders to Washington to draw a line in the sand and make him accountable.”

            Jackson is Pastor of Hope Christian Church in the Washington D.C. area, and leads the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, a group of black urban churches who speak out on issues of justice. He also has a Harvard Masters in Business Administration, is author of award-winning books and led a losing fight against same-sex marriage (SSM) in Washington – and is a Democrat.

            “We have been called Neanderthals and `hatred-filled,’ but are taking a common sense approach to a very serious problem in our culture – the disintegration of family and marriage,” he asserted. 

            As recently as 1970, two-thirds of blacks were married, but now only about a third. Result: 72% of black births are to unmarried women. Gay marriage won’t help. 

            Another black opponent of SSM on Hannity was Herman Cain, who said Obama “has doubled down on this issue.  He has put Congress on notice that he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.” 

Cain cited recent polls showing that “25% of people are less likely to vote for him for his stance on this issue, while only 10% say `Hip, Hip Hooray.’ That 15% differential will be important in a tight race. That will be a difference-maker.”

Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told me: “If it had not been for blacks supporting Proposition 8 in California, it would have lost.  African Americans carried it over the top.”  Prop 8 passed by a 52-48 margin while Obama crushed McCain by 26%.

Land predicted the issue will also motivate whites to oppose Obama.  “Marriage is the only issue that will unify Southern Baptists greater than abortion unifies Southern Baptists, and nine out of ten are pro-life.”  He said Baptists played a “huge part” in passing a one-man, one-woman amendment to the North Carolina Constitution last week by a big 61-39 margin.

Rev. Galen Carey, Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, asserted, “We don’t think marriage should be re-defined.  It is not adding a benefit to marriage.  All children deserve to have a mother and father.”

He acknowledged that there are people in both parties who support same-sex marriage, including a fourth of young evangelicals who “have no problem with same-sex marriage, though the vast majority hold to the traditional view.”

I live in Maryland where our legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage. I testified against it three times.  Recently, I put my computer aside and became trained as a volunteer to gather signatures for a referendum so that we might overturn the law.

To my surprise, when I called ten churches near my home to organize a meeting of clergy to ask if I might train volunteers to gather petitions of registered voters – only two Catholic churches agreed to help.  One pastor whom I’ve known for three decades, replied, “Mike, you can have your meeting here, but we will not allow tables to be put up.”  An Orthodox priest said, “We are opposed to same-sex marriage, but we don’t want to mix politics with religion.”

I felt like quoting James’ admonition, “Faith without deeds is dead.”

My column last week began, “Obama has just made himself a one-term President by telling ABC, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Jennifer wrote she was “disgusted” by my column. “Being gay is not a choice…YOU are writing about discrimination, hatred and unfairness.  You are a BULLY who is against gay Americans.”

I replied that I knew many formerly gay people who are now happily married after decades of living in the homosexual culture. “In fact, there are a couple of hundred organizations helping gays and lesbians out of that lifestyle, associated with Exodus International.”  I referred her to studies reporting that half of gays are able to change.

“A major purpose of marriage is to give each child a married mother and father to bring them up.”  I could have added that most gays are not interested in marriage.  Less than a tenth of gays have married in Massachusetts where SSM has been legal since 2004.

Committed Christians will carry the day.

Copyright © 2012 Michael J. McManus is a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers.

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