A group of black pastors who call themselves the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) recently traveled to the NAACP annual convention in Houston with a message demanding that President Obama meet with them to discuss his support of marriage equality. They are also supposedly angry that the NAACP has come out in support of marriage equality.
According to the Huffington Post:
The Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), headed by Rev. William Owens of Memphis, Tenn., said that the NAACP had abandoned its core mission by supporting same-sex marriage.
“This is supposed to be an organization for black people who were beaten, who were mistreated and who were enslaved,” Owens told The Huffington Post. “You’re advocating for something that’s not normal, that’s not natural. It’s still out of line, it’s against moral law.”
Owens and CAAP is asking that African-Americans withhold their votes until supposedly this issue is resolved.
Personally I think that asking African-Americans to withhold our votes is a worse insult to the civil rights movement than marriage equality. Many people have been beaten and killed for us to have that simple right to vote so I have a serious problem with anyone attempting to speak for our community in that regard.
And I also think that this story needs a bit of levity before it blows up – and it will.
Owens and his Coalition of African-American Pastors have a history participating in anti-gay actions.
In 2007, he was involved in campaign which falsely claimed that adding gays under present hate crimes legislation would lead to pastors being arrested in their pulpits if they called homosexuality a sin. The following full page ad ran in a DC newspaper:
You can see Owens on the lower left hand corner. The claim about pastors being arrested in their pulpits was a lie:
. . . the Hate Crimes Prevention Act only addresses violent crimes causing “bodily injury” – not speech, not preaching.
A larger copy of the ad can be seen here.
The Don’t Muzzle Our Pulpits campaign was led by Bishop Harry Jackson’s High Impact Leadership Coalition. The People for the American Way published a huge expose on Jackson, accusing him of being a point man for a wedge strategy of dividing the black and gay communities:
Apparently Owens is of the same ilk as Jackson. Last year, he partnered with the National Organization for Marriage in its unsuccessful fight to stop marriage equality in New York. He was even the star of a NOM video called “Will the Black Church Rise Up in New York For Marriage?”
To make matters worse, he continues to partner with NOM as a liaison to the black church even after documents came out that the group was attempting to sow division between the black and gay communities on the subject of marriage equality.
And NOM is supporting Romney.
You see, that’s what this entire protest is about. It’s a sham. Owens knows that President Obama will not meet with his group and that the NAACP will not change its mind on marriage equality.
The entire protest by him and CAAP is simply a way to divide the black and gay communities because they are two groups who support President Obama heavily.
If these two groups are divided over a hostile war over marriage equality, Obama will have problems.
So to folks in both communities who may hear about Owens and his organization’s protest, I say this:
Folks are attempting to manipulate your emotions. Don’t fall for it.