The Gospel According to Obama
The political road to the White House is obviously paved with more land mines than any region on earth and luckily top tier Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama has mastered the "electric slide step" to perfection. Recently Obama has been criticized by gay factions concerning his upcoming gospel tour featuring, pastor Donnie McClurkin who has espoused various views concerning homosexuality. The Obama camp has tried to defuse the situation with statements that Mr. Obama said through a spokesman that he “strongly disagrees” with Mr. McClurkin’s views. He did not indicate he would cancel Mr. McClurkin’s appearance, but said, “I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts of our community so that we can confront issues like H.I.V./AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country.” From my vantage point I believe that this is a non-issue among the "real" issues such as health care, ballooning war spending, immigration reform and national infrastructure that should be front and center of the campaign. Of course I've not spoken to Pastor Mc Clurkin himself, but apparently he's been forthcoming that his personal journey included sexual abuse from an uncle and his contention that he was "cured" through prayer solely belongs to him. Furthrmore, his affirmation that being gay is optional and involves "choice" is problematic to me personally, but in this democratic society everyone is entitled to their opinion. The African American community has a stew pot of issues to deal with and yes, homophobia, self-esteem dilemmas, gay bashing and the ongoing health crisis are all in the mix as well. I don't think that Mc Clurkins' statements should be seen as a line in the sand, but rather another plate at the table, where full-throated discussions can be and should be facilitated. So McClurkin sang at the 04 Republican convention, ultimately he has a "entertainment ministry" and I believe the brother probably will sing for whoever has the check. Let's not forget that Rev. Al Green was recently in town belting out "Love and Happiness," just before "Amazing Grace". I'm not endorsing Mr. Obama, but certianly applaud his decision to at least take a stand on this latest dust up from the campaign trail and those alledgedly offended gays who are in "pile on" mode. Meanwhile flipping the script, Mrs. Clinton has been endorsed by Rev. Harold Mayberry of Oakland, California, who also has controversial views on homosexuality that hasn't gotten the extreme play that has put Mr. Mc Clurkin on blast. Mayberry although non-supportive of an constitutional amendment, he has openly preached against same gender marriage and has told his mega congregation of 2,800 that" the scriptures direct people how to lead a moral life." Sounds like Sunday morning pulpit stuff I've heard for years. The statewide tour scheduled to begin in Charleston as an outreach to black evangelicals is Obama's means to keep his candidacy viable juxtaposed to the Hillary machine that's purported to be ahead in South Carolina. In conclusion, I don't own any of Pastor McClurkins recordings, but at this stage in my life I find his music a source of inspiration as I continue to carefully choose my steps in my journey's pathway. Afterall, each of us will have to face the creator on our own merits and deeds, because we've all fallen short at some point or another. Let the tour roll on and let's stay focused on some core issues.