United States Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is on tour. The "Embrace the Change" tour, to be exact. And he's bringing along a bevy of gospel singers with him, including ex-gay activist Donnie McClurkin.
According to the Washington Post, McClurkin . . . "has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle 'the curse of homosexuality.'" The Post also reported that McClurkin, "wrote on a Christian Web site in 2002 that he struggled with homosexuality after he was molested by male relatives when he was 8 and 13. 'I've been through this and have experienced God's power to change my lifestyle,' he wrote. 'I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.'"
"This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level,” Joshua DuBois, the campaign’s religious affairs director, said in a release.
And it defies conventional science, too, which has loudly rebuked the claims of the ex-gay movement. Now, will LGBT voters rebuke Obama's decision to embrace McClurkin, too?
Obama's campaign staff is even going so far as to praise the ex-gay activist, saying that, " . . . in Donnie McClurkin you have someone who overcame great adversity to become a role model."
(Note of correction: This quote is actually from the New York Times' music critic, not the Obama campaign. It's an oversight on my part and was misattributed to the campaign.)
Sexual orientation, Senator Obama's team seems to think, is a "great adversity," and overcoming it qualifies someone to be a "role model."
The audacity of hope, indeed.
According to activist and author Keith Boykin, McClurkin's sermons on "struggling" with his sexual orientation, "began with [his] 2001 book, Eternal Victim/Eternal Victor," where he detailed his 20-year journey on the issue.
"Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you," McClurkin told the media. "He says," Boykin reports, "that God delivered him from homosexuality, and since that time, he has been counseling adolescent boys that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice that can be overcome."
And now he's on tour with "rock star" Obama's "Embrace the Change" junket across the south.
This, however, is not the change we need.
The New York Times reports that Obama's "tour stops in Charleston on Oct. 26, in Greenwood on Oct. 27 and in Columbia on Oct. 28."
So if you happen to be in Charleston, Greenwood or Columbia, you might want to think about showing up and reminding Senator Obama about those "gay friends in the red states" he so passionately spoke about at the 2004 Democratic convention.
Because Obama's friend McClurkin is no friend to gays.