Rev Irene Monroe

Obama the vote-whore with ‘ex-gay’ at his side

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | October 23, 2007 3:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: African-American, Barack Obama, Donnie McClurkin, election 2008, ex-gay, homophobic behavior, presidency, race card

It was intended to be an unprecedented example of how Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s grassroots political campaign could win over just as many religious conservatives as Republicans can. Instead, it has run afoul with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer supporters, as well as others, who bought into Obama’s rhetoric as a healer and consensus builder.

Speakerart.jpgAt the Values Voter Summit in Washington last weekend, Obama’s campaign announced that they, too, could help conservative voters have a voice in the presidential campaign. They then announced they would be hosting the “Embrace the Change! Gospel Series.” It’s a gospel fest to run in three South Carolina cities - Charleston, Greenwood and Columbia – this coming weekend with gospel mega-star Pastor Donnie McClurkin as part of the concert line-up.

It appeared to be an innocuous announcement showcasing some of gospel music’s most successful artists that would mark the final days of Obama's “40 Days of Faith and Family” campaign in South Carolina. But it’s actually outing some of the black gospel chitlin’ circuit’s closeted gays ministers and biggest opponents of queer civil rights.

A reporter at the New York Daily News wrote me in an e-mail asking, “I’m writing a piece … about Sen. Obama’s gospel tour and the fact that one of the performers, Donnie McClurkin, has suggested that gay tendencies can be ‘cured’ or resisted. ... I’m wondering how you feel specifically about McClurkin acting as an ambassador for Obama to the African-American Southern Christian community.”

Well, let me tell you. McClurkin is the poster boy for African-American ex-gay ministries. "There's a group that says, 'God made us this way,' but then there's another group that knows God didn't make them that way," McClurkin has told the media. “Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another, and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you.”

In the highly competitive race for black evangelical votes in South Carolina, McClurkin just might give Obama the needed edge. However, that edge will come at a cost far greater than having McClurkin at his side. It comes at revealing how Obama is not only a vote-whore, but a race-card user as well.

The Obama/McClurkin alliance introduces Obama to McClurkin’s black and white Southern evangelical base, which thinks Obama is neither Christian nor black enough.

And many observers are starting to realize just how much of a vote-whore Obama is. For example, MSNBC talk-show host Tucker Carlson suggested Obama's faith is "suddenly conspicuous," saying that Obama has only recently begun addressing his religious background as part of "a very calculated plan on the part of the Democratic Party to win" religious voters in the 2008 presidential race.

And though religion came to Obama late in life, and he was reared in a non-religious household, he came to understand "the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change." And how much Obama really covets the power of the black church for his own political aggrandizement, rather than for its religion, has raised questions in the minds of many.

When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Obama campaigned at the Salem Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side. It’s the 22,000-member black mega-church of Rev. James Meeks, who has called homosexuality an evil sickness. Outside of the hallowed walls of church the Rev. James Meeks is State Senator James Meeks.

Obama knew to pander to his base.

Obama will continue to speak and write about the special relationship he has with his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, as long as it doesn't run afoul of his ambitions. When news got out about Wright’s Afrocentric theology and Sunday sermons that disparagingly speak ill of whites and Israel, Obama immediately distanced himself. Yet these same sermons were not a problem for Obama when they were spiritually nurturing him into becoming a public figure. And when news got out that Wright was to deliver the invocation when Obama formally announced his candidacy in February, Obama canceled his appearance.

Many African Americans also suspect Obama of using the “race card” to win their votes, but his emotional detachment with issues blacks care about is a big turnoff. African-American journalist and CNN contributor Roland Martin stated, “You can't find one major moment where black voters have embraced him and showered him with love. I was highly critical of his performance at the June debate at Howard University because that was his crowd. But he failed to ignite the room. One huge Obama supporter told me that his daughter went to the event backing him, and came out loving [Hillary] Clinton.”

According to a recent CNN poll, Clinton leads Obama among black registered Democrats, 57 percent to 33 percent. African-American women overwhelmingly support Clinton 68 percent to 25 percent, whereas African-American men favor Obama 46 percent to 42 percent for Clinton. But it is African-American women who hit the polls in much greater numbers than African-American men.

McClurkin is not the only singer on the gospel tour who has publicly spewed vitriolic statements against LGBTQ people. But he is the biggest one Obama can use to try to win over black evangelical voters.

So once again, Obama is proving that his campaign marketed as “The Audacity of Hope” is really based on the audacity of hypocrisy.


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Rev Monroe, you're misrepresenting the truth.

McClurkin is not "the posterboy for African American ex-gay ministries." That's a straight up falsehood--he's not affiliated with any ex-gay ministry. To my knowledge, he's never even used the word "ex-gay" to describe himself.

You're also misrepresenting the truth about Jeremiah White, and it honestly causes me to start question your motives in this conversation. If you have a theology degree then you surely know about James Cone and Cornel West and the black liberation theology tradition White works from. So why parrot the conservative misrepresentation?

Pretty sad that you have to have Tucker Carlson, a guy who laughed about assaulting a gay man, making your points for you.

Also, you can't just say these things without backing them up. When have any of the other singers "spewed vitriol"?

What makes McClurckin "one of the biggest opponents of civil rights" as you claim? He has gone on the record as opposing discrimination.

Obama made a huge mistake. Rev Donnie and Mary Mary are the worst sort of evangelical extremist. More so than a Fred Phelps. They convince young teens that they can change their sexuality by praying. When that doesn't happen, these teens feel suicidal. It just pushes people further in the closet.

By agreeing to share a stage with these closeted dimwitted fuckwads, he has proven himself to be a follower and not a leader.

Find a fork,,,,cuz it is over for him....

jack jett

Hillary been endorsed by Rev. Harold Mayberry, who's "preached against homosexuality." And the Gay Community is quiet about that and now they are jumping in on Obama...can someone explain to me the reasoning behind gay community kissing up to the Clintons regardless all their antigay policies but Obama is their for them to bash...please stop the double standard

There has not been a peep from the gay community on Hillary's endorsement by anti-gay black ministers. This is a terrible double standard. Hillary never has had the guts to say the word "gay" in any speech she ever gave to a broad audience; she saves it for fundraisers to gay civil rights group. In Obama's first speech to a national audience, when no one would have demanded that he address the point, he did anyway on his own, because that's where his heart is. He famously said, "We have gay friends in the Red states," trying to get everyone to see the humanity in others.
When we start judging candidates by the personal views of people who just get up on stage on sing for them, we've really lost our way

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 23, 2007 6:22 PM

Oh, let's see here... Check out McClurkin's Wikipedia entry for starters (and his book and his published comments...)

McClurkin's still one sick puppy. He's turning the trauma he endured into a campaign against gays and himself. Classic case of self-hatred of a sexually abused person. As one person I read online today put it, "The boy needs therapy, not a tambourine...."

Disagree with these cretins and they call you a "fundamentalist atheist" or some other such thing and claim you're paranoid. After all, nobody is actually putting you down on your knees and forcing you to pray--are they? There's not an official, engraved in stone state religion, is there? If it's just by proxy it doesn't really count. If the water is just being heated slowly to the boiling point it's not so bad, right?

Yes, sucking up to anti-gay bigots and joining them on stage -- no, giving them a stage -- is certainly defying conventional wisdom as to how a Democrat becomes president. The Obama campaign is obviously prepared to write off the GLBT and GLBT-supporters' votes. The only other answer is that he's just plain stupid. And we don't need another one of those in the White House ....
I didn't trust him before and now I trust him even less. Wrong on nuclear energy, weak on Social Security, now, untrustworthy for gay people.

And if Obama dared to come to me asking for support I'd tell him to go ask his evangelical gay-bashers for it.

Coming Soon to a South Carolina barn near you,
the *Embrace the Change* tour,
starring Barack Obama,
in the title role of A Man Facing Long Odds
Who Gets Religion and Decides That His Only Chance is to Convince Backwoodsmen to Do The Same,
inspired by earlier money-making tours of
Billy Sunday,
Carrie Nation,
Aimee Semple McPherson,
Father Devine
and the collected
razzmatazz and occasional somersaults of Elmer Gantry.

Come hear Obama carry a tune.
Come see the real America.

Mr. Obama's religion turned me off when I read "The Audacity of Hope". It's just another suit he puts on to fool people.

And the oddest part of all about this is that Donnie McClurkin is probably one of the biggest hypocrites I've ever witnessed (he may be anti-gay, but trust me, he's not anti-have-sex-with-other-men).

This is nothing if not Obama doing all he can to appeal to the driving force of the Black
community: Black Church Ladies. (Think of the successes of Tyler Perry, Terri McMillan, Oprah, and the TV show, Girlfriends.)

What is even a little more interesting about McClurkin is the fact that most of his supporters know he's still gay. For them, as long as he publicly and mildly shuns homosexuality, they'll continue to support him. Weird, eh?

Writes one black het member of the United Church of Christ, the same denomination as Obama:

I saw him speak at our General Synod in Hartford, CT earlier this year. I was leaning heavily in his direction until now. The fact that he will knowingly take the stage with a person who condemns gay people and claims that that can and should be changed through prayer and the fact that so many of Obama's inner circle think that fighting gay rights is a positive moral endeavor, does it for me. Now I wouldn*t support the man for Dog Catcher. He is a disgrace to our denomination. He should leave the UCC and join the Southern Baptist Church where people like Donnie McClurkin believe that gay people are immoral and should be "healed" from their "sin" and denied their civil rights until they do. He's a bigger hypocrite than Bush, Giuliani, and Hillary combined. From what he's putting out to go with the McClurkin controversy, it's obvious that he's still trying to have that cake and eat it, too.

More on McGurkin from WaPo:
Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality," said yesterday he'll perform as scheduled at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, despite controversy over his view that sexuality can be changed by religious intervention. "I can't let off. I didn't call myself -- God called me to do what I do," McClurkin told The Post's Hamil R. Harris. The Grammy winner declared, "If this is a war, we are willing to fight. Not a war of violence, but a war of purpose."

And from a comment on Ex-Gay Watch on McClurkin's wandering sexual orientation:
It kinda reminds me of when the Winans sisters wrote that song "It's Not Natural." First they were doing the talk show circuit about being against homosexuality, then they were testifying in front of State Congressional Committees against pro-gay ordinances. And finally, they disavowed the entire process, claiming that they were used unfairly by anti-gay forces.

You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas -- and Obama's been denning up with antigay dogs for a long, long time. He's kept them as hidden as he could up until this time but they're always there -- and in his innermost circle of influence, too.

And make no mistake about it, neither he nor his key campaign advisers were ignorant about McClurkin when they picked him for this tour, either. They knew exactly what they were doing in the most calculating of ways -- including the companion piece claiming he's no foe of gay people or our equality under the law.

Sorry, Cousin Karen, Rev. Irene is right. Your boss sucks.

Oh also, Obama's campaign was not at the value voters summit, to my knowledge. Do you have a source for your strange assertion that they made an announcement there?

Not that I really expect you to respond to any of this, but it seems like basic journalism.

Marla, nothing in the wikipedia entry indicates that he has ever worked to oppose civil rights. I haven't read his book, (I read the excerpts online, and they are predictable yet relatively benign). Dude is messed up, but he's not the awful hatemongering bigot people are making him out to be. He's performed at

I'm so sick of this politics of demonization from both sides.

Marla, nothing in the wikipedia entry indicates that he has ever worked to oppose civil rights. I haven't read his book, and I suspect you haven't either. (I read the excerpts online, and they are predictable yet relatively benign). His statements to the media are being taken wildly out of context. Dude is messed up, but he's not the awful hatemongering bigot people are making him out to be.

I'm so sick of this politics of demonization from both sides.

Yes, he doesn't oppose civil rights accroding to you; he simply "advocates" (I know the word "activism" ruffles your feathers) the idea that gays and lesbians are decadent liars who may have been abused in their childhood. Can you tell me with a straight face that when someone of his influence says this, people who look up to him won't adopt prejudicial attitudes and thus be more likely to oppose LGBT protections? Let's stop with demonization, okay, but let's also get rid of apologetics. The fact that he is part of a church that tends to demonize LGBTs and oppose our issues without giving sermons in such churches dissenting with their perceptions makes him an obstacle to LGBT equality.

I am pretty tired of people cutting this ilk some slack because they're Christians and practicing their religious beliefe, but we go so far as to demonize white supremacist movements (who use religion to justify their beliefs) and other hate groups (who may also justify their beliefs with their religion) in the media to the point where we make sure they are rejected by public officials. If the use of religion to justify slavery and the subjugation of women, then why is it not wrong to use religion as justification for the demonization of LGBTs? The Christian supremacists would love to keep this faulty logic. If it were any other non-Abrahamic religion, they'd be called "socially backward" or "peculiar sects." It is time to topple Christians from their privileged double standard of self-justification.

Lucrece, I'm not advocating giving anyone a free pass. McClurkin's views on homosexuality are obviously ignorant--but they still represent a big step in the right direction for theologically conservative evangelicals.

It doesn't matter what he thinks of us, as long as he's not fighting to deny us of our rights.

I will consider him as remaining neutral and not fighting against our cause when he stops putting himself in the spotlight to serve as an example for the black community to follow. As long as he's influential and voices the view that one can pray away the gay, he is still going to instill prejudice in the black (heterosexual)community, making it likely to fight against our cause. He is an opponent- an indirect one- but and opponent still. I do acknowledge that the other democratic hopefuls also don't have as clean a record, but none of them make such a strong image appeal to religious organizations in the form of "gospel tours." Also, I'd venture to say that the black church has had plenty of time to evolve with other denominations that have grown more accepting of LGBTs, but they have chosen not to.

For me, it comes down to the fact that we shouldn't appeal for acceptance to the religious (mostly Abrahamic) sector; they have not had the cleanest record on history. There is a clear separation of church and state engineered in our Constitution; governmental policy should never have religious notions as their driving force. People need to realize this: That it is in everyone's best benefit that religion does not involve itself into government proceedings and vice versa.

While of course the separation of church and state is mega-important, the fact remains that religious people are always going to be motivated by their religion as a place for grounding their values, and orienting the way they think about themselves and their place in the world. And that's not always a bad thing--one of the most powerful aspects of the sixties civil rights movement was the way it drew upon religious arguments to make its moral claims for equality.

We can either choose to condemn them all as hateful bigots or invite them to think critically about their faith and work to find common ground.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 23, 2007 8:54 PM

Kevin --

When somebody declares war on me, I take that seriously. What's the matter with you that you're not?

In battles of ideas, words are either the weapons of the thing or the means to peaceful understanding. McClurkin has chosen the former, thus more than earning his approbation.

-- Marla

Marla, the thing you're missing is that McClurkin never said he declared war on gays. That's taken way out of context.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 23, 2007 9:41 PM

Obviously Sen. HRC's pandering to antigay ministers is known and has been the subject of comment in the gay media -- and nobody's preventing it from being mentioned again here. In fact, it's welcome and appropos. But two wrongs don't make a right and the crit of Obama in this regard is still just.

Also, speaking at a church is a bit different than organizing an event with an ex-gay antigay liar as one's spokesperson/front man. It's a qualitative difference, to be sure, but also a substantive one.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? | October 23, 2007 10:04 PM

Kevin get REAL!!!

"homosexuals are trying to kill our children.”
Donnie McClurkin
http://www.republicoft.com/2007/10/22/why-oh-why-obama/

"They have issues and need somebody to encourage them like everybody else - just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute, everybody needs God."
Erica from MAry,MAry
http://www.vibe.com/news/news_headlines/2007/03/mary_mary_interview/

Hezekiah Walker is well know for his anti-gay views


Its also important to note that NBJC opposes this tour just as they opposed Bush and McClurkin teaming up during his last re-election campaign.
http://www.aegis.com/news/bayw/2004/BY040903.html

Furthermore (Kevin and others) these anti-gay acts are performing at 2 of the 3 days thats a majority of the shows.

You can play the semantics game all you want but its VERY clear these are awful remarks that represent people who are bigots and Obama is associating himself with them which is the opposite of what he claims to represent. The question is what is he going to do now?


How else can this quote be taken???
"homosexuals are trying to kill our children"

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 23, 2007 10:12 PM

I've read the quotes -- in context -- and beg to differ, Kevin.

You guys seem to be speaking from a place of ignorance regarding what's happening in evangelicalism. You sure seem pretty eager to condemn a guy that until two days ago, you'd never even heard of.

It doesn't appear that McClurkin said "Homosexuals are trying to kill our children." The quotes are placed in a different place when you quote it, and the source is not even named.

The full quote from the Mary Mary interview: "I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but you have a large gay following. How do you feel about homosexuality and having a gay following?"
"Erica: We are aware. Um... how do I feel about homosexuality? I feel how God feels about it, um… but I still love them. You know what I mean? I don't agree with the lifestyle, but I love them. They can come to the concert; I'm going to hug them just like I hug everybody else. They have issues and need somebody to encourage them like everybody else - just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute, everybody needs God. What your struggle is may not be what my struggle is, but we all need Him. So, that's what our music is about: giving and God. Not to condone the lifestyle or to say, Oh it's okay, but not to bash - but just to give them God. I mean, I'm appreciative of all of our supporters and fans. Hopefully what their hearing and saying in our music is my love for God.
Tina: You know, I think the fact that our music is very, very upbeat and works well in clubs - you know, I think that's something that makes more people gravitate to it. Like Erica said, we don't necessarily agree with the lifestyle, but we don't pride ourselves on bashing. Everyone has things in their life that they need to correct, everybody has struggles. Even though that's the way we feel, we don't bash, and we embrace everybody who enjoys our music."

Gosh! What vitriol they are spewing!

That's pretty basic moderate evangelical theology. They view homosexuality as sinful, but they view all sins as pretty much the same, because all fall short of the glory of god, so they don't discriminate. That's far less than ideal, but it's pretty benign, especially when they're willing to get behind a candidate who is so pro-gay. It's kind of ignorant but it's sure not hateful.

Marla, the quote in context does not say anything about declaring a "war on gays". He was describing his feelings about the criticism about the participation at the Republican National Convention.

Meanwhile, still waiting for Rev. Irene to provide a source for her bizarre assertion that Obama's team made a statement at the Values Voters summit (which they didn't even attend).

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 24, 2007 12:00 AM

Besides, saying that the love I share with my wife is a "curse" that needs to be "cured" -- well, those are fighting words. You don't insult someone's wife like that and think you're going to get away with it.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 24, 2007 12:26 AM

Laundry-listing me and mine with prostitutes and murderers is benign? Hardly. It is standard dehumanization propaganda technique straight out of the Goebels playbook.

Ditto the insulting "lifestyle" terminology -- as if being gay was as trivial as whether one prefers backyard barbecues over fine dining restaurants or jeans and tee shirts versus a preppy look. It's part of a campaign to make us appear less than fully human so that we can be denied everything from civility in social settings to equality under the law and our very lives and physical safety.

It's more polite than the average violent skinhead but it's still solidly on ol' the hate meter.

It's the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" lie that tries to pretend that they're not hating someone when they hate their core essence. It's one of the worst, most twisted, crazy-making, suicide-inducing kinds of hate there is -- and one of the hardest for the hater to see and repent from.

Give me an honest Klansman who makes no bones about his hate any day. At least he's not lying to himself or me about his hatred and is actually easier to move away from it than one of these two-faced creeps.

My being gay is not a struggle or something that intrinsically requires one -- although fighting against antigay oppression is one as long as the oppressors choose to oppress. My being gay is a joy, a gift from nature and the entire pantheon of Gods and Goddesses of every decent religion and then some, it is a vehicle for love and creativity and life and so much more.

Do not settle for less just because someone has moved past the outright mass murder of us that their Bible wrongly demands in places to condoning mere psychological murder of your soul. You deserve better than that -- and so do they as their hatred hurts them more than it will every hurt me or you.

Marla, I suspect you haven't spent much time around evangelicals lately. You don't understand where they're coming from theologically. I don't mind being laundry-listed alongside murderers or prostitutes or whoever, because they would list themselves there too. In their context, they're humanizing, not dehumanizing. The key phrase is "just like everyone else" That's how they view all of humanity: as imperfect people in need of god's grace. They're just wrong about the sinfulness of homosexuality.

Young evangelicals in particular are increasingly disgusted by the focus on anti-gay attitudes at the expense of more important issues, and they're disgusted with the republican party because of it. There are a lot of people who, while not yet willing to make the jump to your very true statement that "being gay is a joy and a gift", they know that anti-gay politics are meanspirited and wrong and are distancing themselves from it.

I spend a lot of time dialoging directly with evangelical people, debunking their myths about what it means to be gay (or trying to) and I always find folks to be pretty open to listening and thinking critically, especially the younger generation of evangelicals.

Yeah it sucks that half the country believes that homosexuality is wrong. But it doesn't mean I can't find common ground with these people, especially when they're willing to step up to the plate and oppose discrimination.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 24, 2007 1:15 AM

Kevin,

One cannot oppose successfully what one is actively creating with practically every breath.

I don't spend much time with evangelicals anymore because their hatred of me is poisonous and pervasive, howevermuch they'd like to believe otherwise.

What common ground is there when it's a relationship built on a lie -- pretending that the big elephant sitting in their laps doesn't exist or that, if it does, it doesn't have the effect of an elephant sitting in someone's lap?

Either being gay is a sin or it's not. There's no wiggle room there. The elephant is just too big for that.

To pretend that they do not think my very existence, my marriage, and my heart are not vile robs me of my integrity and robs them of any chance to change, thus it's a terrible thing all the way around.

Why is it that you are willing to rob yourself of that most basic dignity? What is it that you're afraid of losing? My guess is that what you fear losing is some illusion of being loved and cared for by someone or more who you love and want to be loved by. I guess that because it's just so ordinary a reason.

But you deny them the ability to grow to really love you for who you are when you let them settle for this faux love -- and you deny yourself the possibility of every finding real love from them, too.

You risk losing them altogether if you demand your integrity by demanding that they abandon their lie that they can love what they do not. But it is worth the price because you have already paid it when they don't love you now because you're gay.

Marla,
I'm not going to argue that "opposed to homosexuality but also opposed to discrimination" is a logically coherent, tenable position. It's not--you're right about that. But it's a transitional position that a lot of people go through in the process of coming around to change their mind about homosexuality. I see this over and over and over again. So let's help them through the process.

I don't feel like my friendships with evangelical people are insincere, or rob me of my dignity. We learn from each other. We challenge each other. We support each other too. I'm not going to question their love for me--it's not my place to define other people's feelings for them. I guess I'm not really concerned with what people think about me at all. But I sure don't feel hated by them!

But also, the evangelical church today is VERY different than it was even five years ago. The religious right is crumbling and they're looking for answers to all sorts of questions. Are we going to face them with love or condemnation? I think the best course of action is to say "welcome to the team, folks!"

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 24, 2007 1:49 AM

Well, I guess you'll just have to keep them away from me while they're transitioning from bigot to decent human.

The evangelicals I do see, other than my wife's family, are not at all different from the past, which begs the question -- is what you're perceiving real or just wishful thinking? If it is real, is it as pervasive as you believe or just a limited, anecdotal personal experience?

It would take more than what either of us know to know the answers to those. Absent hard data, given the possible terrible consequences of misjudging to the overly generous, great caution is more advisable.

At the moment, the evidence I can see is what they themselves are saying -- and it's damning. If they are making real changes, then they'll want to do more, not less, to prove me wrong, so my open skepticism and even condemnation is doing no harm.

Well, we do have hard data. Republican party identification is way down among evangelicals. And the recent barna polls indicate that young evangelicals (18-27) are deeply embarrased by christians focusing too much on the supposed sinfulness of homosexuality above all other issues.

The rise of Jim Wallis & Sojourners is another great development. The emerging church movement, with people like Shane Claiborne and Brian McClaren. Something big is going down.

Skepticism does no harm--but condemnation sure does.

Hey Irene? are you even reading this? Any luck finding a source for your nutty assertion about the values voter summit?

Also, Irene! Can you be sure to always use that totally awesome clip art in all your future posts?

Are these people delivering their anti-gay message as part of the campaign? Or is it separate?

Unlike the lock-step religious right, progressive folks usually have a variety of opinions. If such differences keep us from working together for goals where we agree, we will ultimately fail.

Friends Congregational UCC in College Station, TX worked with Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship. They didn't agree on same-sex relationships, but they agreed on the mission of caring for children of imprisoned convicts.

Of course, Prison Felowship later decided to divorce Friends Congregational because Friends is Open and Affirming of Gay and Lesbian people.

The question in my mind is - do we want to be more like Friends Congregational and reach out, or more like Prison Fellowship and build walls?

http://cindik.com/spirituality/trans-cendental/2007/10/with-us-or-against-us.html

Wow, Kevin. Has the conversation devolved into attacking the clip art? I'm not sure that's going to advance your argument...

Just for the record, I added the clip art to Irene's post. But the next time I add a graphic to the site, I'll be sure to get your artistic approval first. Geez.

Donnie McClukin is very much part of a war against LGBTQ people because he is an African American conservative minister, like so many of the renown black gospel singers of today , who in their ministries- preaching or singing - employ and espouse the theological qualifier “to love the sinner but hate the sin.” McClurkin’s view of LGBTQ people are that of pedophiles lost in their lust for human flesh with an unbridled predilection for children. In 2005 on the Christian Broadcasting Network's website McClurkin is quoted saying "I'm not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children." With an African American community besieged with high rates of unemployment, prison incarcerations, high school drop-outs, children born out of wedlock, HIV/AIDS, homicides due to black- on- black violence, etc. homosexuality is viewed as an abhorrent behavior and lifestyle than a sexual orientation. The view of black Christian conservative ministers is that people's behaviors can change and be modified but not things innately part of a person like gender, and skin color. When black transgenders came out of the closet, especially MTF ones, the Black Church could no long employ its theological qualifier, and decided instead to not address this issue at all.

I wrote a piece titled "Black Community's Throwaway Kids" that appeared on this blog and on Black Commentator.

Here are the typical responses I got from people who read the piece on Black Commentator’s website.

“Given that our resources are tight & these youth are not at all psychologically prepared for our liberation struggle, they are expendable. Such are the realities of war. It's gonna take all of our resources to salvage the heterosexual youth, who will hopefully form strong, loving, heterosexual relationships & produce healthy children. This is how we will produce a strong black nation/community. The dysfunctional youth you are asking us to rescue cannot/will not be able to make the contribution we need, so they are expendable.”

Rev. Monroe,
I've just read your article on the Black Commentator website about throw away kids which lead me to your website. I read several of your articles about homophobia, etc. My question is... why is there a rise in homosexual behavior in our youth? Has it always been there and now just coming to light? I'm wondering if people are just experimenting or is this lifestyle a natural course for them? I assume it must be natural because i can't imagine any one choosing this course due to the homophobic attitudes of most people.

McClurkin is part of cadre of African American ministers who are against marriage equality because they don't see it as a civil right. They uphold a theo-political rhetoric of the “endangered black man “that in many ways is not only a war against LGBTQ people but women, other people of color because embedded in this discourse is a hierarchy of oppressions mentality where these minsters think that the most oppressed group in this country is African American heterosexual men. And they mainly view LGBTQ people as white, albeit there are tons of us in their faces everyday and especially in church. However, McClurkin, perhaps unbeknownst to him, in his vitriol, is speaking about closeted black church men. Here’s his quote:

"There was a big 20-year gap of sexual ambiguity where after the rape my desires were toward men, and I had to fight those things because I knew that it wasn't what we were taught in church was right. And the older I got, the more that became a problem, because those were the first two sexual relationships that I had. Eight years old and 13 years old. So that's what I was molded into. And I fought that. When I tell you from eight to 28, that was my fight -- in the church. And you were in an environment where there were hidden, you know, vultures I call them, that are hidden behind frocks and behind collars and behind -- you know, reverends and the deacons, and it becomes a preying ground, a place where the prey is hunted, and that was what it was like."

On another note, I want to talk about how sensitive topics discussed on this blog devolves just short of character assassinations. My purpose to writing for this blog is to dialogue with a population not at my reach here in Cambridge, MA, and I feel honored to have this opportunity. And I marvel at how the internet can dwarf distances, people and communities. But as our community of dialoguers grow we must learn how to talk across our differences that honors every voice so willing to share. I wrote a piece on this blog in August titled "Learning to talk across our differences" and I welcome all to visit. Rev. Irene

Kevin seems to be ironically (but not surprisingly) making gross assumptions about everyone else whos posting and professing to be some religious expert and moral authority. Kevin seems to have made up his mind and is always right in his world so I wont even bother addressing his ridiculous comments. Although I will suggest he take his medication before making any further comments or at least not mixing his medication with alcohol.

Cindi,
Do you think you can really separate a message of hate?

If one is claiming that a particular group of people are like murders or are destroying and killing our children how then can that be separated from who they are?

If people are extreme in their thinking (left or right) and making all of these unfounded derogatory comments I do not believe you can separate it.

In this specific case we are not just talking about a system of beliefs. If there were a person that i worked with that had these beliefs we would simply disagree, but this is so much more profound because of the circumstances.

We're not simply talking about people having different beliefs Its a belief that they are spreading to others which to me means they are spreading/teaching ignorance and hate. Furthermore Obamas affiliation with these people is even more horrific because they represent a thought and idea that Obama swore and promised he was against so by being on a project with these people causes a conflict, contradiction, and doubt in his claims for the future. It brings into question his actions and promises.

I think this would be a different story if these were racist comments being made, but people are still on the fence about defamatory remarks on the GLBT community defending them with (and even hiding behind) religion which is completely ridiculous. Im not saying we live in a society that is accepting of race differences and some ignorant racist fools out there are still doing and saying awful things however its more clearly defined.

I'm not saying one discrimination is worse than the other I think they're all disgusting but the reason why I bring up race is because if we all want to follow the bible then we would all be in agreement that theres nothing wrong with slavery (as a large portion of society did many years ago) does that make it right? This is obviously a despicable way of thinking. My point is some people pick and choose what they want to condone or condemn then hide behind the bible as the reason- this is even more sickening.

Whether Donnie says hes an "ex-gay" or not he makes the same claims as an ex-gay person would, he is also praised by ex-gay organization such as Exodus. Thats like saying even though he's made comments similar to racists Trent Lott isn't a racist because he's not part of the KKK!?!?!?!

Look at the MCC church or Cathedral of hope not all churchs embrace this sort of ignorant set of beliefs and if Evangelicals out there want to take the literal translation of the bible then what do they have to say about slavery?

www.religioustolerance.org

I'm not attacking the clip art! I just think it's funny! Sorry for my botched attempt to inject some levity into a heavy discussion.

I do think it's problematic that Irene still has failed to correct her assertion about Obama's team's presence at the values voters' summit.

No problem, Kevin. :) You've been so involved in these discussions - and passionate! - that I assumed you weren't joking.

By the way - I'm glad your account is active now. You've been so prolific on the Obama subject, that I don't think half of the discussion would have happened if we'd had to approve each comment. Keep up the discussion - I'm enjoying it.

Can I note the irony in Irene warning against "character assassination" while calling people whores?

This whole manufactured controversy has been nothing but an exercise in character assassination.

What's also ironic, Kevin, is that you're defending Donnie being part of the Obama tour in part by saying that you don't have to agree with someone on 100% of the issues in order to be able to work with them, and then you go and just insult everyone who disagrees with you on this issue.

Honestly, I haven't participated in the comments on this issue because I just don't care (also because the Bilerico contributors have been doing a wonderful job keeping everyone updated). Donnie's not going to be advising Obama on substative policy issues, so I'm left wondering what the big deal is. I'm thinking he can at least bring out a crowd who normally wouldn't show up at an Obama rally and maybe then they can start to think about these issues. I think it would be awesome for Obama to speak positively about LGBT issues on this tour (not 100% of the time, but a mention would be nice).

I mean, it might be more comfortable to preach to the choir, but we need to be able to exit our comfort zones and speak to the choir director as well.

Oh, that's pretty good. I think I might post something on this just to use that line.

WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS.... | October 24, 2007 5:58 PM

"Donnie's not going to be advising Obama on substantive policy issues, so I'm left wondering what the big deal is."

Check out truthwinsout.org

Alex,
I will explain what the "big Deal" is. When you're a politician and associate yourself with someone who is outspoken on an issue that completely contradicts what you have proclaimed in the past it shows an inability to stick by your words and makes any further statements suspect.

I also suggest you read up on the damaging affects of the ex-gay movement socially, politically and spiritually, but I will briefly outline them here.

The ex-gay movement claims that one can change their sexual orientation, or at the very least suppress it and not "act on it". They view not "acting on " ones desires a success.

SO WHY SHOULD YOU OR ANYON EELSE CARE??? READ ON

Religion- the ex-gay movement claims that being GLBT isn't gods plan and literally tell people that God hates them.

Socially-There is therapists (form NARTH) that believe that reparative therapy along with prayer can "cure" someone of being GBLT. They are pushing this issue for politically and personal reasons- many of them are "ex-gays" This organizations blame bad parenting and/or sexual abuse as a reason for homosexuality. NARTH members are so insane that they have also state that slaves were better off in America then in Africa.

Politically-If its proven one can "choose their orientation" then many feel GLBT rights shouldn't be protected - which there are judges that have literally told people this only a few weeks ago in regard to gay marriage.


All of these issues tie in together. If you are a parent, a child, gay, straight, trans, bi, participate in religion, politics, have received or given counseling, or I don't know live or breath then you are affected by these issues whether you see it or not.

Religious, psychological, political organization are making decisions on this topic an done that relate to it and someone parading around saying that there an "ex-gay" impacts all of us.

SIDE NOTE
The APA is reviewing their guidelines n homosexuality as reparative therapy

Currently reparative therapy is opposed by every major medical and mental health organization including the APA

Why don’t you read or watch videos about how people have committed suicide after attending these ex-gay ministries or the women who marry ex-gay men only to have their marriages fall apart when they come out of the closest or have you witnessed the Larry Craig incident? These are all related issues and I don’t want these weirdo’s telling me how my God thinks or blaming anyone for being gay or trying to pander politicians so discriminatory laws are passed. Take a look around and you’ll see why this is such a big deal. In the end discrimination and ugly statements are just plain wrong regardless of your view the sooner people realize that the better we’ll ALL be.

Alex, I have no problem with honest disagreement.

I have a huge problem with disagreement that involves intellectual dishonesty, demagoguery, taking statements radically out of context, and outright lying. That's what's going on here.

Aravosis called McClurckin one of Obama's "top surrogates". That's a straight-up lie.

Hillary's behind-the-scenes slime machine

Remember how we learned from a Washington Post article that it was
Hillary's campaign that spread a HuffPo article about McClurkin at the
gospel tour to all the news outlets?

Well, thanks to Salon.com, what we've suspected all along, and now know

for a fact, this was hardly an isolated incident. It seems the Hillary
campaign goes out of it's way to send possible damaging articles about
her opponents to all the news outlets regularly. And as Salon.com
readily states, they've never once had the Obama or Edwards campaign do

the same.

If you thought Bill Clinton strongarming GQ into not running a negative

piece on Hillary was a good indicator of how they work behind the
scenes, here is some more.

This woman has the audacity to have her campaign whine about being
'piled on' at the debate, while she and her attack dogs have been
secretly sliming her opponents in about the most cowardly and
unprincipled way. The woman who proudly proclaimed at the debate, 'you
shouldn't always tell people what you're thinking' and who hides the
record of her so-called experience until 2012, is once again revealed
to
be as secretive and conniving and underhanded as our present commander
in corruption.

Here's a link to the article. Kudos to Salon.com. Funny no other news
outlet has seen fit to let on about the shady behind the scenes
smearing
by the Clinton campaign.


====================

TUESDAY, OCT. 30, 2007 13:36 EST
The politics of hope

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2007/10/30/hope/index.html

Ever hear of Harold Mayberry? He's a black preacher, too. Like Donnie McClurkin. And he uses his giant 2,800-member Oakland, California, pulpit

http://www.thebarackobamareport.com/

READ:::
I read the following letter to the Human Rights
Commission and couldn't agree with it more. Not even
Senator Obama's sending a openly Gay minister on the
Gospel tour in South Carolina is pleasing this group
or any Gay Rights groups, yet they give a pass to
Hillary Clinton on HER endorsements by people who are
DECIDEDLY anti-gay rights. It appears to me to be a
double standard here or are they just AFRAID of her
highness Hillary Rodham Clinton? They examine Senator
Obama under a microscope and criticize, urged on by
their gal and her gang, the Clintonistas, and if he
doesn't bow down to their every demand they attack,
just as is the method of Senator Clinton. Attack the
smallest detail and make it in to a big story.
Despite the interview given by Mr. McClurkin, and
despite an openly Gay minister being part of the
Gospel tour, they are still demanding that Mr.
McClurkin be removed from the Gospel tour.

The following is the letter written to The Human
Rights Commission:

You're Threatening Obama Now? (subject line)

This is unspeakably short-sighted and
counterproductive.

I've always admired and supported the work of the
Human Rights Campaign, But do you honestly believe
that any other candidate in this race has
greater potential than Barack Obama to move this
country further along the path toward being a
pro-diversity society -- a society that creates more
acceptance and opportunity for everyone, including
lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people?

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to take a
deep breath, then take a good, long look at the forest
-- instead of the trees.

Of course, if you insist on going down this misguided
path, you might consider exercising a little fairness
in the matter.
Ever hear of Harold Mayberry? He's a black preacher,
too. Like Donnie McClurkin. And he uses his giant
2,800-member Oakland, California, pulpit
to preach against homosexuality.

When asked about this in 2004, Mayberry gave the
classic "love the sinner, hate the sin" =

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/03/14/MNGJB5KB9N1.DTL&type=printable



defense:

I'm comfortable in what I believe in. I'm not
rejecting people. As God loves, we love. I don't
reject thieves, I reject thievery.

But just this past August, Hillary Clinton met with
Mayberry and thanked him for his "commitment to
fighting for civil rights and equality." =

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=2857

"""which hillary blames on the bush administration but
it was THE 1994 CLINTON CRIME BILL WHICH REMOVED PELL
GRANTS FOR PRISONERS"" =

http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/mar95wright. htm

"""Pell Grants in Prisons Reduce Crime Rate - New York
Times
Pell grants are among the very few opportunities
prisoners have to get ... A tough and dumb crime bill
will only add prisons, prisoners and more debt to a
...""" = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04EED8153AF935A35751C0A962958260

As a tutor at the Fortune Society, I have seen scores of former prisoners gain self-respect and their high school diploma, and go on to higher education and a productive life. The Hutchison amendment deserves the same fate as the Helms amendment. A tough and dumb crime bill will only add prisons, prisoners and more debt to a deficit that is hindering programs to really reduce crime and get the criminals off the streets. HARVEY ISAAK Bronxville, N.Y., Jan. 27, 1994




Ever hear of Darrell Jackson? Another black preacher.
Like Donnie McClurkin. In South Carolina. Like Donnie
McClurkin. He's a State Senator, too.
And a political consultant. Busy guy.

In fact, just after Jackson endorsed =
http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=1339
Clinton in February, he admitted that he's also
negotiated a $10,000-a-month consulting contract with
her campaign. =
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021900655.html

Gospel singer says he is not anti-gay
By Kelley L. Carter | Tribune staff reporter
6:09 AM CDT, October 24, 2007

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-1024mcclurkinoct24,1,4690186.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Gospel music superstar Donnie McClurkin says he was surprised to wake up Tuesday morning to a media firestorm.

The 47-year-old Grammy Award-winning musician is scheduled to perform this weekend at Sen. Barack Obama's three-day concert series in South Carolina. But in the wake of accusations by a gay-rights group that McClurkin falsely asserts that homosexuality is a choice, bloggers are calling for the Democratic presidential candidate to cancel the singer's Sunday night appearance, saying McClurkin's views are anti-gay and incite hate.

McClurkin told The Associated Press on Monday that "sexuality, everything is a matter of choice." But on Tuesday he told the Tribune that his ideals, and most importantly his ministry, were severely misconstrued.
etc
etc
etc

"There's never been a statement made by me about curing homosexuality. People are using that in order to incite anger and to twist my whole platform on it. There's no crusade for curing it or to convert everyone. This is just for those who come to me and ask for change."

.............................. ....
I believe him and think all of this is being pushed by clinton supporters.
Danielle Clarke a transsexual transbian

PS: Remember Barack invited a transgender girl to
dinner a few months ago on his web site.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/06/25/2007-06-25_transgender_may_ko_barack_dinner-1.html

REMEMBER THE LOG DEBATES:

LOGO GAY DEBATES Who got your vote? Any surprises?
http://visiblevote08.logoonline.com/2007/08/13/who-got-your-vote-any-surprises/

WHO’S YOUR CANDIDATE?
Barack Obama 45%
Dennis Kucinich 25%
Hillary Clinton 14%
Mike Gravel 8%
John Edwards 5%
Bill Richardson 3%

Please know that Donnie McClurkin has also performed
for the Clintons as well…and Oprah…and so many more
people who are not anti-gay. =

http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/before-yall-start-blasting-obama-for-having-donnie-mcclurkin-sing/

who is the whore? You for selling out to hillary clinton while people of color are the ones who suffer the most at the hands on the clintons!


PS: Just in case the author doesn't know Marian Wright Edleman is a true woman of color who cares!


Here is what she did during her time with the
www.childrensdefensefund.org and this doesn't count
what she may have done with walmart.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=c2pp_summit2007
2007 Cradle to Prison Pipeline®
Crisis in America National Summit

September 25 - 26, 2007
Howard University
Washington, D.C.



http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:E_T52L02xVsJ:www.answers.com/topic/marian-wright-edelman+marian+wright+edelman+hillary+clinton+children+prison&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

In 1997, Edelman criticized President Clinton for his
welfare reform package by warning it could lead to
record numbers of uninsured children, increased child
abuse, and rising firearms deaths. The CDF's "The
State of America's Children Yearbook 1997" criticized
the package and warned that "if America does not stand
up now for its children, it will not stand strong in
the new millennium."



In the same interview, Edelman also criticized the
welfare legislation that the Clinton administration
created. This legislation cut $54 billion from such
programs as food stamps and child and family
nutrition. "I'm not trying to defend the former
welfare system," Edelman said. "But I'm for ending
child poverty as we know it, not just for ending
welfare as we know it." The CDF developed a volunteer
program to document the effects of this legislation,
hoping to discover if those who left the welfare
program now had jobs, health care, and child care.

the CLINTONS and KIDS

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0011,hentoff,13268,6.html

""The Clinton "welfare reform" law mandates a
five-year cumulative lifetime cap on the benefits. You
are off the rolls forever. The "safety net" that
Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband worked so hard to
get into law has been torn apart by William Jefferson
Clinton—to the applause of his wife""

etc
etc
etc


;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

AMY GOODMAN: Marian Wright Edelman, we just heard
Hillary Rodham Clinton. She used to be the head of the
board of the Children's Defense Fund, of the
organization that you founded. But you were extremely
critical of the Clintons. I mean, when President
Clinton signed off on the, well, so-called welfare
reform bill, you said, “His signature on this
pernicious bill makes a mockery of his pledge not to
hurt children.” So what are your hopes right now for
these Democrats? And what are your thoughts about
Hillary Rodham Clinton?

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Well, you know, Hillary Clinton
is an old friend, but they are not friends in
politics. We have to build a constituency, and you
don’t -- and we profoundly disagreed with the forms of
the welfare reform bill, and we said so. We were for
welfare reform, I am for welfare reform, but we need
good jobs, we need adequate work incentives, we need
minimum wage to be decent wage and livable wage, we
need healthcare, we need transportation, we need to
invest preventively in all of our children to prevent
them ever having to be on welfare.

And yet, you know, many years after that, when many
people are pronouncing welfare reform a great success,
you know, we’ve got growing child poverty, we have
more children in poverty and in extreme poverty over
the last six years than we had earlier in the year.
When an economy is down, and the real test of welfare
reform is what happens to the poor when the economy is
not booming. Well, the poor are suffering, the gap
between rich and poor widening. We have what I
consider one of -- a growing national catastrophe of
what we call the cradle-to-prison pipeline.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/24/1431211


America's Cradle to Prison PipelineSM This CDF report
documents America's Cradle to Prison Pipeline, an
urgent national crisis at the intersection of poverty
and race that puts Black boys at a one in three
lifetime risk of going to jail, and Latino boys at a
one in six lifetime risk of the same fate. Tens of
thousands of children and teens are sucked into the
Pipeline each year
etc
etc
etc

http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=c2pp_report2007&JServSessionIdr008=ywf26wlxm7.app5b


Oh yea thats right Bill Clinton passed the 1994 crime
bill that removed
pell grants for prisoners

Federal Crime Bill By Paul Wright

On September 13, 1994, Bill Clinton signed the final
version of the
crime
bill into law. The same week congress passed the crime
bill it also
passed
the "Bank Reform Bill." Included in this law is a
provision which will
prevent the government from pursuing negligence cases
against the
individuals who caused the collapse of the savings and
loan industry
(mainly by looting the institutions they were
entrusted to run or that
they owned). Thus, it is apparent that "crime" isn't
the issue, the
issue
is who steals what from whom. The mood of congress was
accurately
captured
by Senator Joe Biden, an admitted plagiarist, who said
"If someone came
to
the floor and said we should barb wire the ankles of
anyone who
jaywalks,
I think it would pass."

Officially titled the "Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of
1994," the final version of the bill is 120 pages
long. It contains
many
administrative amendments to existing laws,
clarifications, etc. in
addition to its substantive portions.

etc

This law abolished Pell grants for prisoners. The
federal Pell Grant
was
created in 1965 by Senator Claiborne Pell, D-RI, to
aid low income
students for college. The 1965 bill stated that no
qualifying low
income
persons would be excluded, prisoners were specifically
mentioned in the
bill and were intended to be included in the grant
program. Media
hypsters
insinuated that prisoners were taking advantage of the
opportunity for
Pell
Grants because of an oversight in the original Pell
Grant Bill that
failed
to specifically exclude them.

The $6.3 billion program is considered a
quasi-entitlement, says the
U.S.
Department of Education, and receives whatever funding
is necessary for
grants to all income eligible persons. Of that $6.3
billion in the most
recent fiscal year, a total of $35 million was
allotted for prisoners.
Most of that amount was in the form of federal aid
paid not directly to
individual prisoners, but in the form of payments to
state programs
designed to provide educational services to their
prison inmates. The
$35
million allotted to prisoners represents less than six
tenths of 1
percent
of the $6.3 billion total. Political rhetoric has
propelled the myth
that
the money wasted on prisoner Pell Grants will now be
used to provide
assistance to more worthy recipients in the community.
The truth of the
matter is that the $35 million saved won't stay in the
education
budget.
It will be retained by the U.S. Treasury (presumably
to help pay for
the
$9.8 billion earmarked for construction of more
prisons).

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c103:H.R.3355.ENR:)

And if you think Dennis is all that great read below and see how he backed down helping crminals get educations benefits!

NOTE: We all pay the taxes to keep prisoners in jail especially those crack users which cost us 100k a yr so that the privatized prison system can rob the tax payers to keep them in there.


Democrats should change their party emblem from a donkey to a chicken. Seriously.

Last week the Democratic Congress had an opportunity to repeal a federal law that denies student loans and other financial assistance to students who commit drug law offenses. Rather than fight, Democrats cluck-cluck-clucked their way to retreat. But they have several more chances to do the right thing, and we’re hoping that flooding Congress with faxes and e-mails will convince them there is public support for repealing this draconian drug law.

So please take action today, and forward this alert to everyone you know.

Background

In 1998 Congress passed an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) offered by Representative Mark Souder (R-IN) that bars people with drug law convictions -- no matter how minor -- from receiving student financial assistance for specified periods of time (a year to life depending on the severity and number of drug law offenses). More than 200,000 people have been denied student loans and other assistance because of the law.

In 2006, Congress passed a partial reform of the penalty. This change amended the Higher Education Act to allow some students with past offenses to receive aid, but it still retains the penalty for those who commit offenses while enrolled in school and receiving aid. In other words, thousands of students are still being kicked out of college for minor drug law offenses like marijuana possession.

Earlier this year House and Senate Democrats indicated they would make repealing the HEA Aid Elimination Penalty a priority when considering legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Senate Democrats included major reform language in their version of HEA Reauthorization. When the bill got to the floor, however, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered an amendment killing the reform. Senate Democrats accepted the amendment without any opposition whatsoever.

Last week Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) was prepared to offer an amendment in committee to HEA Reauthorization that would repeal the Aid Elimination Penalty. The amendment was co-sponsored by Danny Davis (D-IL), Donald Payne (D-NJ), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), and supported by other members of Congress, including Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). But they were asked by the committee’s powerful chair, George Miller (D-CA), not to offer it.

The rumor on the street is that the House Democratic leadership doesn’t want the amendment in the bill because Republicans would try to take it out on the floor, which would lead to a floor vote putting Democrats on record in support of repealing the provision. In other words, Democrats are chicken. Actually, they’re not just chicken, they’re short-sighted. Kicking students out of school for drug law offenses increases drug abuse and hurts families. This is why the American people want the Aid Elimination Penalty repealed.

Fortunately, there will be several more chances to pass this amendment - possibly this year, but most likely early next year. If we can get thousands of Americans to write Congress in support of repealing this provision we can convince the Democratic leadership to do the right thing.

Thank you,

Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

Contact the Drug Policy Alliance:

Drug Policy Alliance
70 West 36th Street, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Obama: Jesus would allow gay hospital visitation (text and video)

http://pageoneq. com/news/ 2007/Obama_ Hospital_ visitation_ for_gay_spouses_ is_not_a_ special_r_ 1121.html

Obama: Hospital visitation for gay spouses is not a 'special right'
by PageOneQ


During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), seeking the presidency in 2008, responds to a question on "special rights" for LGBT citizens.

Obama disagrees with the notion that things like hospital visitations for same-sex spouses are "special rights."

"How would Jesus feel about somebody not being able to visit somebody they love when they're sick?" the Senator asks. "Certainly, as a public official," he continues, "it's important for me to make sure that those basic rights--that basic equality--is available."

Video of the exchange can be viewed below, as broadcast on The 700 Club on November 9, 2007.

Danielle, while you thanked me for authorizing your account for you, please cease posting articles about Barack Obama to just about every thread possible. You're stretching our "on topic" term of service about as far as it can possibly go. This thread is about Conservapedia - NOT Barack. You left this same comment on 3 posts. Enough. Stop it.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 24, 2007 1:09 PM

Re: WWJ-aka Barack--D about Hospital Viz:

Well, duh!

The particular forum notwithstanding (as it's his comfort zone and I must be careful not to apply how I would be feeling if it were me there instead), Obama's stand requires about as much courage as saying one stands against racial discrimination. It fits right into his opposition to Brown v Bd of Ed equivalent position on civil marriage equality. Declaring it Whoopee-shit would be being generous.

Now, if he would say he opposes DOMA and will make its repeal a priority of his admin's first term...

Short of that, he's just leading from behind...sorta like that vote on the war when he and Sen. HRC waited until the very end to test which way the wind was blowing before they cast their votes.

It's not enough to just look all pretty and presidential and spout presidential-sounding platitudes. Gimme a short, fat, ugly ol' grump who actually gets out in front and leads any day of the week over some pretty boy with a glib tongue who seems to be running as much for HPIC -- Head Preacher In Charge -- as anything.

* Note that Edwards may be pretty but he's very short.