The Barack Obama campaign's sophomoric response to the Donnie McClurkin fiasco continues to dominate yet another news cycle. Over the weekend, the Democratic presidential campaign was forced to explain his record on LGBT rights to NBC News' Meet the Press and one of the leading gay opinion blogs.
First, the appearance on MTP. (Transcript here.) After muddling through talking points on what are becoming the signature non-issues of his campaign—such as Social Security solvency and Iran, which Taylor Marsh at The Huffington Post deliciously deconstructs as "Clintonian language that was worthy of the best of the triangulators"—Tim Russert asked Obama to explain his relatively strong positions on gay rights and civil unions.
MR. RUSSERT: And yet you had a group of supporters on a Bible tour in South Carolina headed by a singer called Donnie McClurkin...
SEN. OBAMA: Mm-hmm.
MR. RUSSERT: ...who said that homosexuality was a curse and that he had been cured by prayer. Do you believe homosexuality’s a curse?
SEN. OBAMA: No.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that it is something that you are born gay and that—or that you can change your behavior?
SEN. OBAMA: I do not believe being gay or lesbian is a choice. And so I disagree with Reverend McClurkin. But understand, Tim, part of what I hope to offer as president is the ability to reach to people that I don’t agree with, and the evangelical community is one where the Democratic Party, I think, we have generally seen as hostile. ... There’s a problem of homophobia in the African-American community. I will go into churches, I will go into meetings with ministers and say, “I disagree with you on these issues. This is not how I interpret my faith.” But the fact that we’re having a conversation, I think, allows the possibly that I will change their minds, make them more tolerant of these issues.
Sure, homophobia is a problem in the black community, but, it's only a microcosm of the rampant homophobia expressed cross our society. (The Republican Party, James Dobson, evangelical mega churches, most state legislatures ... very homophobic and mostly white.) That's exactly why the campaign should have used the South Carolina opportunity to include an openly gay black pastor or a straight ally. Didn't happen.
Moving along. Barack Obama also made a weekend appearance at The Bilerico Project, a boutique gay community blog along the lines of HuffPo whose contributors include many of the movers and shakers in the LGBT community, and, fellow presidential candidate Bill Richardson. Obama's post at TBP doesn't break much new ground—he reiterates his opposition to Rev. McClurkin's ex-gay philosophy, but, never explains why the pastor was allowed to emcee and sermonize at the event.
However, there is one nugget in the Obama post: "The American people have been poorly served by two terms of an administration that seeks to manipulate us through fear: fear over national security, fear over immigrants and fear over gay and lesbian couples in loving relationships. Americans are yearning for leadership that will put an end to the fear mongering and instead begin empowering us once again to reach for the America we know is possible." Here, here.
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