WH getting blowback from African-American churches over gay-marriage stance

posted at 10:01 am on May 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Barney Frank told the panel on ABC’s This Week that “I don’t think anyone’s vote was changed” when Barack Obama endorsed the legalization of same-sex marriage — but that might be too optimistic an analysis.  The New York Times reports that the White House went on a charm offensive with leaders of faith organizations, including and perhaps especially African-American churches where opposition to gay marriage runs high. So far, the charm offensive has had mixed results:

About two hours after declaring his support for same-sex marriage last week, President Obama gathered eight or so African-American ministers on a conference call to explain himself. He had struggled with the decision, he said, but had come to believe it was the right one.

The ministers, though, were not all as enthusiastic. A vocal few made it clear that the president’s stand on gay marriage might make it difficult for them to support his re-election. …

In the end, Mr. Coates, who supports civil marriages for gay men and lesbians, said that most of the pastors, regardless of their views on this issue, agreed to “work aggressively” on behalf of the president’s campaign. But not everyone. “Gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture,” Mr. Coates said. “There are people who are really wrestling with this.”

This was the danger of going on the record, a danger Obama’s allies on the Left apparently discounted.  Obama drove turnout in 2008 in part through the enthusiastic participation of these very same churches.  Having now sided with the people who call these black pastors and congregations “bigots,” especially in North Carolina where two-thirds of black voters supported Amendment One, Obama is not at risk of having them flip to Mitt Romney — but he does risk losing that enthusiasm, fundraising, and organization.

It’s not just about the policy itself, either.  The churches now wonder whether Obama will back efforts to force churches to perform same-sex marriages, a topic which one religious leader broached with the President during one of the calls:

“Some of the faith communities are going to be afraid that this is an attack against religious liberty,” Mr. Hunter remembered telling the president.

“Absolutely not,” Mr. Obama insisted. “That’s not where we’re going, and that’s not what I want.”

Really? The Obama administration’s track record on religious freedom singularly argues otherwise.  Most recently, the White House stabbed their allies in health-care reform in the Catholic Church in the back by using the ObamaCare law that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops supported to create a mandate that requires church organizations to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.  Even more to the point, the Obama administration tried to apply the ADA to force a church to rehire a minister they’d terminated, an attempt that got a 9-0 rebuke from the Supreme Court.

The only time this President is solicitous of religious freedom and principles is when he’s trying to cover his own rear end.

On the other hand, Obama’s declaration has resulted in a lot of enthusiasm at churches … for Romney, as Andrew Malcolm explains:

Near the end of the competitive part of the recent Republican presidential primary season, Gov. Mitt Romney began showing growing support among evangelical voters. The Mormon had been losing that influential portion of the GOP base by lopsided proportions. Not anymore.

Thank you, Barack Obama. …

In a major examination of evangelical support for Romney the Deseret News Sunday quoted several Southern academics. Dave Woodard of Clemson University called Obama’s carefully-staged statement a gift for Romney highlighting his candidacy’s uniqueness in supporting traditional marriage.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s sealed the deal,” with most evangelical voters, Woodard told the paper. “I think he can make up for any other problems he has with them with just this one issue.”

Woodard added: “There is beginning to be some genuine enthusiasm for Mitt Romney. They’re not just going to talk about his Sunday morning activities. He has the convictions on the issues they like.”

Newsweek may have crowned Obama with a secular halo this weekend, but he’s not getting hosannas from the churches — and that might be all it takes to send Obama into retirement in January 2013.

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Real Men don’t vote for Democrats, ever!

wren on May 14, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Speaking of blowback…

How is the Arab Street reacting to Obama’s push for gay marriage? Crickets?

Don’t Islamists in Arab countries hang homosexuals from cranes or something? Seems they’d be apoplectic about gays marrying…and Obie being all for it.

marybel on May 14, 2012 at 4:45 PM

This time, definitely a knee jerk reactionary.

That you actually truly believe your side of the aisle doesn’t knee jerk shows how utterly detached you are from being able to objectively assess the reality around you. I’ve got plenty of evidence here of calling bullsh*t on the left and the right. How about you.

Dave Rywall on May 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Whatever, Drywall. This isn’t the first time you’re jerked. It’s pretty much a habit with you.

Your patented reaction pretty much renders your diagnosis of my inability to objectively assess reality moot. I don’t have nor need evidence. Most folks don’t keep a record of what goes on in comment sections on blogs. I try to just not be an eighwhole like you were in the comment earlier. You’re only as objective as your last remark.

CycloneCDB on May 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Finally, a newsweek cover that tells the truth.

Machismo on May 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Because most of the 95% of conservatives for Mitt are voting on policy and opposition to 0bama’s, and most of the 95% of blacks for 0bama are voting on skin color instead of policy?

One decision is political choice; the other is crass racism.

cane_loader on May 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Speak for yourself, Butch. I’m not voting for Romney based on policy. I’m voting against Obama and helping Romney because Romney’s not Obama. I suspect there is a significant number of anti-Obama voters who feel the same way I do. Besides, I’m not talking about crass political considerations on the part of the voters — I’m talking about crass political considerations on the part of the politicians seeking votes.

gryphon202 on May 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Why does he have a giant rolled up condom ready right above his head?

CoolCzech on May 14, 2012 at 6:37 PM

These religious leaders, along with the rest of the black community had no problem supporting and voting for Obama before, knowing his position on Abortion. And I seriously doubt his newly-stated position on Gay Marriage came as a surprise to them. This will not damage him in the least among black voters. Voter apathy? Maybe. But his social postitions? I really doubt it, although I hope I’m wrong!

Dork B. on May 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM

These religious leaders, along with the rest of the black community had no problem supporting and voting for Obama before, knowing his position on Abortion. And I seriously doubt his newly-stated position on Gay Marriage came as a surprise to them. This will not damage him in the least among black voters…

Dork B. on May 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Obama’s supporters appear to find one thing important and one thing only: he’s Black, so they allege (though he isn’t “African,” and he has no ancestry shared with “American Blacks” as to slavery, AND he’s as White as he is Arabic [he’s Arabic, he isn’t “Black”]).

These “Black voters” defy all their Sunday claims with their support for Obama and will continue to. He could share that he chows down daily on the bodies of African Americans and they’d still vote for him. They’re focused on race and only on race and because Obama LOOKS “Black,” that seems to be all that matters to them.

Lourdes on May 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM

These “Black voters” defy all their Sunday claims with their support for Obama and will continue to…

Lourdes on May 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM

My lack of confidence in any more knowledgeable voting by the Left is due to the fact that, though there are these claims that “Hispanics and Blacks are religious”, etc., they STILL vote Democrat which means they’re voting for abortion (it’s in the DNC party platform).

So how “religious” are they, actually? It seems mostly to be for-show because if they WERE sincere in their beliefs, they wouldn’t go near a the Democrat Party nor any of their candidates, and that includes Obama.

And, yes, I do agree that Obama’s “stance” on “‘gay’ marriage” IS and is an intentional attack on religious liberty. It’s part of his overall attack on religious liberty, to be more specific. These “voter blocks” by ethnicity and race should all be ashamed of themselves for lending so much as any votes to Obama, as and if any of them consider themselves ‘religious,’ and I mean that wholeheartedly: they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

Lourdes on May 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM

He’s a uniter.

shick on May 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3