Friday, August 10, 2012

"You Can't Equate Your Sin With My Skin" Will the National Organization for Marriage's plan to pit blacks versus gays work?

By Adam Serwer

The parishioners at Bishop Harry Jackson Jr.'s Hope Christian Church in Prince George's County, Maryland, are an eclectic mix. Some are in formal church garb; others wear sullen faces and casual dress, as though they would not be here but for sins committed the night before. Ushers shepherd elderly congregants to their seats as dancers in beige tunics and multicolored sashes dance feverishly to the congregation's singing.

An associate preacher takes the stage and turns to Jackson. "Thank you for having clean hands, thank you for having a clean heart, thank you for not propping up your image," she says. "Thank you for not trying to make a name for yourself." Collapsing into Jackson's and his wife's arms, her voice fills with the choking sound of tears. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Read more about NOM and the Mormon Church's crusade against gay marriage.
She then recounts how she accidentally stumbled upon a gay-pride parade the day before. A parishioner sitting next to me spits the word "pride" and shakes her head. The preacher describes a pregnant woman she saw at the event. "She had an entire belly exposed, and she had a rainbow painted on the belly," the preacher says, her face wrenching in disgust. The congregation gasps. "Brought this thing on the unborn baby."

As Maryland has become ground zero in the culture war, Jackson is on the front lines. In February, the state legalized same-sex marriage. Now a ballot initiative to overturn that law awaits voters in November, and activists led by the National Organization for Marriage believe they can prevail by appealing to African Americans, particularly socially conservative churchgoers. Some of the biggest mega-churches in the country are in Maryland, notes Derek McCoy, an associate pastor at Jackson's church and the director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, an umbrella group bankrolled in part by NOM. "The difference is they're African American."

Read more here:

Is Notorious Anti-Gay Group Behind Effort to Sabotage Obama's African-American Support?

By Alvin McEwen

Last week, a group of African-American pastors held a press conference announcing that they are starting a campaign to get black voters to withhold their votes from President Obama until he no longer supports marriage equality. Led by its president, Rev. William Owens, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) claims that President Obama is turning his back on the black community to garner the support of gays.

According to CNN, during a press conference at the National Press Club, Owens called out President Obama, disputed the notion that gay rights and African-American civil rights are the same, and also made some pointed comments (which he later retracted) comparing gays with pedophiles. Owens also claims that CAAP has over 3,000 pastors ready to begin the campaign.

On the surface this sounds like trouble for the Obama campaign, but there is more to the story. As it turns out, CAAP's actions may not be a genuine protest stemming from anger from the African-American community but an astroturfed effort by the National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group dedicated to eliminating marriage equality. William Owens, the leader of CAAP, has worked with NOM before. In fact, NOM has described him as its "liaison to the Black Church." Owens even participated in a 2011 NOM-produced video entitled "Will the Black Church Rise Up in New York For Marriage?"

Read more here: