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?"
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