Rev Irene Monroe

Obama’s playing us stupid

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | January 29, 2008 4:07 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, black church, homophobic behavior, Kirbyjon Caldwell

Is it mere happenstance that once again, and seemingly unbeknownst to the Obama campaign, another anti-gay African American minister has endorsed the presidential hopeful?

But with an Obama endorsement coming from the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, longtime spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush and senior pastor of one of Houston’s black mega-churches, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, this isn’t deja vu all over again.

Why is Obama, a supposed healer and consensus builder, continuing to do this?

One answer: Perhaps Obama was unaware of Rev. Caldwell's background and views regarding LGBTQ folks?

The real answer: how many sides are there to a politician's mouth?

Obama’s cavorting in the highly competitive race for black evangelical votes and is as calculated as when he had gospel mega-star Pastor Donnie McClukin, poster boy for African-American ex-gay ministries, as part of his “Embrace the Change!" Gospel Series in October 2007.

Caldwell has always been a player in Obama’s campaign, and he played a vital behind the scene of Obama’s S.C. gospel tour that featured McClurkin.

And Caldwell does a lot of the behind-the-scene stuff. His church ran an ex-gay ministry, “Metanoia Ministry,” supposedly unbeknownst to him. The ex-gay ministry's welcoming words stated the following until the website was recently taken down:

We are pleased to announce the creation of "The Way, The Truth and The Life", a program created to provide Christ Centered instruction for those seeking freedom from homosexuality, lesbianism, prostitution, sex addiction and other habitual sins.

Caldwell came out of the closet too soon with his endorsement of Obama because it came on the heels of Obama’s MLK speech to embrace to entire African American community at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where King pastored.

If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them.

But if truth be told Obama plays the LGBTQ community as a political pawn. He dangles a carrot our way every once in a while like his mentioning of us in his MLK speech, but Obama has no accountability to us. Obama will talk the talk but he won’t walk the walk. Case in point: his campaign refuses, at the continued request of the African American LGBTQ community and our straight black cleric allies, to speak out against the black church’s homophobia.

And Obama will advocate for us as long as it doesn’t run afoul with his run for the White House. But when Obama gets called on the carpet for his homophobic dalliances with anti-gay ministers, like in the McClurkin incident, he gets defensive. Obama haughtily told a reporter from the Advocate, "If there's somebody out there who's been more consistent in including LGBT Americans in his or her vision of what America should be, then I would be interested in knowing who that person is."

Well, duh, the answer, of course, is Dennis Kucinich.

But Obama knows the political power the black bible-thumping church plays in every major election, which is why he gets into this triangulation with LGBTQ voters and black Christian conservatives.

H. Alexander Robinson, CEO of National Black Justice Coalition, said that Obama is “too inexperienced at playing at his level. He’s stubborn and he refuses to back off because he wants it both ways.”

And because Obama wants it both ways he speaks from both sides of his mouth.

Obama’s charismatic Orwellian call for justice we think only creates a triangulation for LGBTQ voters, but truth be told Obama’s playing us all.

“It's a piece of rhetorical wizardry, this conjuring of hope from the grounds of despair, the oldest trick in the preacher's book, but Wright [Obama’s pastor] carries it off with exhilarating command, and one sees immediately how much Obama has learned from him,” writer Jonathan Raban for The Stranger wrote in “The Church of Obama: How He Recast the Language of Black Liberation Theology into a Winning Creed for Middle-of-the-Road White Voters.”

“While Wright works his magic on enormous congregations, with the basic message of liberation theology, that we are everywhere in chains, but assured of deliverance by the living Christ, Obama, when on form, can entrance largely white audiences with the same essential story, told in secular terms and stripped of its references to specifically black experience. When Wright says 'white racists,' Obama says 'corporate lobbyists'; when Wright speaks of blacks, Obama says 'hard-working Americans,' or 'Americans without health care'; when Wright talks in folksy Ebonics, of 'hos' and 'mojo,' Obama talks in refined Ivy League.”

Obama is too intelligent to be stuck on stupid on the gay issue. His “homophobic mishaps” are calculated moves to win an important voting bloc: black churchgoing homophobic Christians.

One would think with one of Obama’s top LGBTQ advisors being black and well as his campaign’s religious affair director that someone is asleep at the wheel.

But truth be told Obama’s campaign isn’t asleep.

We are!


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Rev Irene, this vendetta of yours is getting ridiculous.

Isn't it obviously great that people who once would have voted for anti-gay candidates are willing to support an unambigiously pro-gay candidate?

Obama is ALWAYS speaking against homophobia in and out of the black church. To claim otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

With all due respect Rev. Moore, do you think Clinton is less beholden to homophobes?

Politics are complicated, and he simply cannot win with as much broad support Clinton has with the Black political establishment, incuding Black ministers. So he's gonna have to court their vote. If they are willing to back him--even though he has talked about homophobia at the Ebeneezer event AND back in June at the Howard U debates--then they understand that he doesn't agree with them on that issue.

So I fail to see what your particular beef is on this one. It was certainly more safe for him not to talk about homophobia in those venues than not.

Kevin, your obsession with the phrase "intellectually dishonest" is getting ridiculous.

I don't know how many comments I could find on here by you that use that phrase.

I'll be willing to claim otherwise. There's that one speech I watched of him at the Ebenezer Church on MLK Day where he didn't speak against homophobia in or out of the black church. I'm just going to say right here that I thought his comment was trite, ambiguous, and wasn't calling anyone out for anything. I think if he wanted to legitimately claim he was calling out someone he'd have to at least spend 30 seconds on it in a half hour speech.

Would claiming otherwise there be intellectually dishonest?

And there's more here than just Caldwell's voting record... heading up a church with an ex-gay ministry is a bit much.

But I guess the intellectually honest position here is that people should be allowed to change their sexuality if they feel like it?

Bruce Parker Bruce Parker | January 29, 2008 5:49 PM

The Rev. is intellectually dishonest, Alex is intellectually dishonest, Kevin is intellectually dishonest, This whole damn blog is intellectually dishonest.

Okay, just kidding.

"The real answer: how many sides are there to a politician's mouth?"

I dunnow. What are the chances of exhuming the corpse of Lyndon Johnson in order to find out? He was arguably as dishonest as Dubya - but, unlike Dubya, in addition to creating a needless war LBJ actually used his political savvy to engineer legislation that was actually progressive.

If one of the sides of the mouth of a given politician manages to spew something that results in trans-inclusive civil rights legislation (read: Obama), I'll rate that politician higher than a politician who spews nothing but civil rights skunk excrement (read: HRC's HRC.) If something from one of the other sides of Obama's mouth convinces the Kirbyjon Caldwells of the world to go for him, I'll take the chance that whatever he's said to them is more of a lie than his co-sponsorship of that trans-inclusive civil rights bill in Illinois was.

Michael Bedwell | January 29, 2008 6:32 PM

Ah, it took so little time for an Obamaniac to clock in and repeat the same myths that always dot their posts like a bad case of adult acne.

To claim that "Obama is ALWAYS speaking against homophobia in and out of the black church" is ignorant at best and dishonest at worst. He RARELY speaks about "homophobia" explicitly ANYWHERE. The alternative myth language is that he “regularly” speaks about “gay rights” or “gay equality” or “challenged his audience to examine their own prejudices.” The fact—PROVE ME WRONG IF YOU CAN—is that on his own, as opposed to responding to questioning as all candidates do—he sometimes, but selectively [e.g., significant gay San Francisco, Nov 07, Yes; predominately black Oakland, March 07, No] speaks "around" those things. And when one is promising radical change in an America in which 45 states have outlawed any kind of gay relationship recognition, and 30 still have no LGBT job protections that difference is far more than semantics.

His undeserved legend as a Black Knight in Shining Armor for the Gays began at the 2004 Democratic convention [hagiographers like Kevin probably think of it as Obama's Nativity Scene]. I always want to ask them what they THINK he said. Regardless of their memories or imaginings, twenty years after Jesse Jackson waxed eloquently and explicitly about gay CIVIL RIGHTS in his 1984 Dem convention keynote, Obama only said, “we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States.” I don’t know about Kevin, but my primary interest is not “friendship” with homophobes but first class citizenship that will only be achieved when their homophobia IS directly challenged.

He’s also said, "We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants." And, “We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants." Nota Bene: NOTHING explicitly about homophobia or gay civil rights in either statement. By contrast, Hillary included “gay rights” in her list of those things the Party supports during a speech to 9000 Iowans in November.

As some people still have hard nipples because he simply used the G-word four years ago, it follow that multiple orgasms are still rippling through his gay supporters for suggesting two weeks ago that rather than “scorning” gays people should be “embracing” us. True, of course, but the religious arm of the Antigay Industry discovered the propaganda benefits of such pseudo words of love long before any of us had heard of Obama.

Even I happily admit that he deserve credit for explicitly mentioning “homophobia” to both black and white evangelicals in reference to fighting HIV/AIDS. But he puts it on the table as simply an “obstacle,” not an unChristian evil in and of itself. Further, like gay rights, he makes no reference to AIDS, black/white/straight/gay/American/African, in his 64-page “Blueprint for Change,” and he would increase AIDS funding by only one-fourth of what Edwards and Sen. Clinton would.

There was a glaring irony in the midst of all hubbub about his glam endorsement yesterday. Saturday night in South Carolina, in front of a sea of signs suggested by Donnie McClurkin’s Grammy-winning gospel hit “Stand,” while ticking off the political identities of 21 different kinds of Obama supporters, some repeatedly, he was admirably said, "The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white.” It took Ted Kennedy to add “straight versus gay.”

There are other Obama Myths some are too busy swooning to see. His phony position on DOMA Section 2. His exaggerated participation in the passage of an LGBT rights bill in Illinois. His powers as a “unitr”/’persuader” when he couldn’t even get one of his closest friends to vote for that bill. Totally-out-of-someone’s-ass claims such as, “He has taken stronger positions on dismantling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and on fully inclusive workplace protections than any candidate in this race” by gay Obamaniacs in “Gay City News” this week.

Seeing the same selective perception, the same boilerplate nonsense repeated over and over, I am not very hopeful. But some of the skepticism—and documentation of aspects of The Myth—must be making some dent as the latest spreading spin is that we should celebrate that Barack’s Big Tent holds so many people who hate us, who will always hate us, because the coalition makes a Democratic win more likely and isn’t that what we all want?

Well, yes, I want a Democratic win, but I’d prefer it be by someone who’s being judged on what they’ve done/not done recently not an attempt at a second impeachment of someone not on the ballot for things they allegedly did/did not do 15 years ago.

Rev. Monroe is to be applauded for being the first I’m aware of months ago to sound the alarm on the distance between what Obama says he is and what he actually is. As a woman of color it must have hurt her particularly acutely to discover the first viable African-American candidate for the Presidency was surrounded by so much smoke and mirrors. She called him on throwing gays of all colors under the McClurkin campaign bus in exchange for homophobic black votes, and, thus, called the South Carolina results three months before any network did.

Those of us with primaries still before us should remember her wise warnings when we enter the voting booth.

Michael Bedwell | January 29, 2008 8:32 PM

In a related note, over at "Anybody But Hillary" excuse me "Citizen Crain," another Priapismic Obamette is squealing and cooing about how Obama "without batting an eye" went off his pre-released prepared remarks and "on the fly"...wait for it....INSERTED THE G-WORD!!!!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halleeeeeehlujah!!!!!

And that this proves "that gay and lesbian people indeed are internalized in his core beliefs."

One could just as easily, and more logically, say it proves what we already know: that whatever else he is and is not, Obama is no dummy, and after your highest profile endorser-to-date uses the G-word in his remarks introducing you that you better damn well include it yourself [even if you inexplicably didn't add it when you reviewed the speech beforehand].

EVERYBODY:

For the Lord God Obama reigneth. King of kings! And Lord of lords! King of kings! And Lord of lords!



Alex, I think a lot of people are ignorant about how megachurches are structured. There's a whole lot of latitude in how "ministries" are set up. They're more like affinity groups. Pretty much any parishioner can form a ministry. Megachurches are likely to have a few hundred of such ministries. They're a lot like college activities groups, actually. It's not uncommon to find a "rock climbing ministry" or a "gardening ministry". There's literally hundreds at many churches, including Caldwell's. So it's quite possible that Caldwell wasn't aware of that particular ministry. Not that it matters at all--he's just some guy. Although Rev Irene seems intent on exaggerating his role in the campaingn, he's not giving speeches or consulting on public policy. This is much ado about nothing.

Rev Irene feels entitled to speak on behalf of "the African American LGBTQ community". Really though, it's increasingly clear she's speaking on behalf of Billary in an effort to smear Obama with accusations of homophobia. I guess that's politics; every candidate's got some supporters that like to play dirty. But she really should not act like her views are representative of a very ideologically diverse demographic.

Ye Olde Fart | January 29, 2008 10:01 PM

Michael: You seemed to be very well informed on all the minutest details on Obama. Exeptionally so.
Tell me, who do you work for?

Michael Bedwell | January 29, 2008 11:48 PM

YOF: Unfortunately, I am not employed by anyone's campaign. LOL. Quite the reverse, I've given money to both the Clinton and Edwards campaigns but have yet to do any volunteer work for either. For whatever it's worth, I also give money to various AIDS and gay groups, most recently the Matthew Shepard Foundation. While it was long ago, I was once president of the gay group at Indiana University and, later, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club in DC. For some time I have worked [unpaid] on a proposed LGBT youth Website envisioned by Chip Arndt, out co-winner of the 2003 edition of "The Amazing Race," and currently the president of the LGBT Democratic caucus in Miami and a founding member of the board of the Gay American Heroes Foundation. He, by the way, has campaigned for Obama.

As for my information, I'd like to imagine what Archimedes or Joseph Conrad could have done with Google. I am neither as intelligent nor as wise as they, but extensive Googling has resulted in the information I present, though I must hasten to add that what I aggregate is almost entirely from random others, such as the Illinois resident who uncovered the fact that startled even an Obama-skeptic like me: that, for whatever reason, Obama did not join as a cosponsor to the gay rights bill that finally passed in Illinois after having cosponsored, but not, nota bene, introducing, previous versions. By the time it came to vote, he had resigned to take his seat in the US Senate.

My motivation, other than the hopefully obvious one of trying to identify the best candidate, is to concentrate criticism—or praise—of any candidate upon substance and significance not spin and sensationalism. “Sound the sirens! Wake the villagers! Light the torches! Hillary Was A Goldwater Girl!” Stop the fucking presses, Mary, please! She was 17! Adding to the madness is that so much of it is shit that was originally stirred by right wing troglodytes like Robert Novak. But now it’s other Dems that are shoveling it, and romantic cynic that I am, the fact that so many of the missle launches and carpet bombing ["THEY'RE RACISTS!!!!"] now originate from inside Obama's Love Camp & Organic Orchard enrages me. There's a shelf life on even the Clintons' sins, and let's act accordingly.

I can still remember how thrilled I was that we might have our first woman or black President. The first demonstration I ever participated in was against rabid racist George Wallace when he ran for President. But my initial goal was electibility, and not long after I realized determining that was beyond my ability to know, the bells, sadly, began going off in my head about Obama, and I decided to look behind the curtain. Thus.......

Fascinating conversation -- thank you, Irene, for instigating it.

MB~

To claim that "Obama is ALWAYS speaking against homophobia in and out of the black church" is ignorant at best and dishonest at worst.

Dishonest at worst, or intellectually dishonest at worst?


Kevin~

Thanks for the clarification. I was never a part of a megachurch like Caldwell's, and I assumed that a ministry would be something he'd have some control over. Or awareness of. I would hope that someone starting an ex-gay ministry in his church and then describing it on his website would be something he'd be aware of, but I guess there's plausible deniability here. I would also hope that his church would have developed enough awareness around these issues that if someone would tell him if others were starting an ex-gay ministry, but megachurch, plausible deniability.

Billary? Seriously, Kevin? We don't have anything better to say against Hillary Clinton? Why not just say that America isn't ready for a woman in charge, especially not one who'll probably just listen to her powerful husband, you know women can't think for themselves!

I think we can discuss these issues without the right-wing smears, since one of these two is going to be the Dem nominee. If we start repeating sexist memes about them it's not going to do anyone any good.

Although you do raise an interesting question, and pretty much the reason that I didn't write about this last week when the LGBTQ blogosphere got all into it (our scope here is always a bit off the other queer blogs for some reason) - what's the big deal about him endorsing Obama? I'm sure if we looked into the pasts of anyone who endorsed any of the candidates, we'd find some pretty shady business going on. It's just someone saying they like the candidate, it's not saying that the candidate supports everything they've done.

Excellenr piece Rev. Irene!

Thank you for this post. I find Obama's refusal to support marriage equality and his continued alliances with anti-gay forces particularly painful because of his rhetoric of hope and justice. One liners about gays in speeches does not make for an ally, and the community should stop falling all over ourselves for these crumbs. His statement "I am not someone who has embraced gay marriage. I don't think the country is ready for that" is the antithesis of his rhetoric of new politics, hope and change.

Michael Bedwell, thanks for the very useful compilation of information. One criticism: Using "nota bene" is distracting and makes you sound pretentious, not intellectual. But the information itself is very helpful.

Michael Bedwell | January 30, 2008 11:47 AM

LOL! That's fair, Steve. The downside of the love of words themselves. It's even harder to work in "epistemological" but I've tried. As I've always said, only a sciolist would know what a sciolist is.

Thanks for the thanks, and for the suggestion.

Alex: sometimes dishonest is just a cigar.

ok my two cents here a "Big Tent" person like Senator Obama will undoubtably have lots of supportors all of use will find objections to before this campaign is done.Right now he stands the best chance of winning over Billary in the General election depending upon who he faces.Unlike Billary who will face a large number of I will hold my nose Republicans and vote againt her not just for the parties nomine.So check him out and see where he stands on the issues then my Democratic friends ask yourselfs this.Do we realy what to win the White House with Billary as our standard barrer?

Rev Monroe,

As I have told you before, I have admired you for many years.

I first learned of you in an "In the Life" TV segment about you and Peter Gomes at Harvard.

I made a point of attending your workshop at the WOW 2000 conference outside Chicago because I have such great respect for you.

I was greatly impressed by you during that workshop and many times since.

I read ALL you columns with great interest and often find your insights helpful and challenging.

I have been in prayer for you about your recent bout with cancer. I am SO GLAD you are doing well.

I also shared your outrage about Barack Obama and his inclusion of Donnie McClukin on his gospel tour.
I sent out many emails myself on that topic.

But by now I have come to the conclusion as an anti-racist white gay man that supporting Obama is the just and right thing for me to do.

I do not like all the folks who support him but I do not blame him for their support.

He does mention gay righhts in Black church settings - as he did at Dr Kings church - and elsewhere.
I do not believe he is anti-gay.

I wish he had stronger positions on marriage equality and other things but NONE of the contenders still running are perfect on that score.

Obama has spoken at my former church in DC. He spoke at the national synod of my denomination - the United Church of Christ. His pastor spoke last year at my current church. His pastor, Jeremiah Wright and Obama are part of the most LGBT friendly mainline denomination. Wright has not been perfect but has been fairly supportive esp in the context of pastors of Black mega churches. Obama mentioned gay rights just this week in DC at the event where Kennedy endorsed him.

Clinton is running a racist, race baiting, classist, divisive, smearing campaign. A friend from South Carolina tells me of Black churches flooded with literature portraying Obama as not really "Black enough", elitist etc etc - trying to divide folks by class.

Some of the emails I have received alleging Obama's secret Muslim ties and trying to link Obama to Farrakhan and other haters are just deceitful, hateful smears.

I can see your critiizing the views of anti gay folks who support Obama.

But I urge to also speak about the racial dynamics and other troubling aspects of what the Clintons are trying to do to Obama.

The LGBT piece is ONE piece of the justice puzzle and I do not presume to tell you your priorities but as a longtime fan and admirer who respects you immensely I ask you to speak about more aspects of the campaign than just the homophobes who support Obama.

I believe Obama has the potential to bring all kinds of unlikely folks together as few others can.
Perhaps the fact that he attracts homophobes as well as LGBT/SGL folks and all kinds of folks speaks to that.
One 90 year straight white Republican man at my job ( with whom I have rarely agreed over the last quarter century) astounded me yesterday when he told me he and his wife are "for Obama of course". It seems the Spirit of change is moving.

I pray it may be so .

With love, admiration and respect,

Deacon Charles Keener, Lincoln Temple United Church of Christ, Washington DC

p.s. Toni Morrison would not endorse a hater.

Alex, I don't think there's anything sexist about pointing out that Bill is doing Hillary's dirty work in this campaign. The implication isn't that Hillary is relying on Bill for policy-making, but that the same guy who sold us out in the 90s is taking on a role that is without precedent for an ex-prez. And when Hilary herself is talking about "two for the price as one", it's not sexist to question it.

I recognize your point that we have to be careful about giving ammunition to the right. But it's a simple matter of historical fact that the two Clintons are a tag-team of dirty campaigning. Remember, Hillary is the one who, during Bill's campaign, suggested hiring Dick Morris, who was working for Jesse Helms' race-baiting campaign.

Michael Bedwell | January 30, 2008 3:06 PM

Deacon Keener,

With all due respect, and my apologies to others who are not reading this for the first time.

Obama did NOT "mention gay rights" at Dr Kings church!!! He did NOT "mention gay rights" when Sen. Kennedy endorsed him.

While he has mentioned gays at state meetings of the UCC, Iowa's, as I recall, I assume it was some variation of what he apparently said at the UCC national convention: "At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design" [according the pre-released text]. Notice he did not say something affirmative about"gay rights." Oddly, too, he did not, according to someone I know who attended, mention gays while rightly praising the denomination's long history of support for other controversial causes.

Stranger still, and you must admit the above was strange, while he trumpets how much UCC means to him, while the denomination's governing body supports gay marriage equality, Obama has chosen to side with other denominations that do not.

No, I don't think he's "antigay," but neither is he the US Senate version of SF Mayor Gavin Newsom who could not be any more "progay" if he kissed boys himself. I believe that Obama's apparently never explicitly mentioning gay civil rights in his speeches[versus in answers to interview/debate questions as all candidates do] shows a desire to have it both ways [as he unequivocably did during McClurkingate].

And I think his "fratboy moment" during the Howard University debate when he loudly proclaimed that he got his HIV test with his wife rather than Sen. Biden who brought their independent tests up, shows a residual trace of homophobia, defined in this case as fear of being thought of as gay, as if anyone in that audience would have. It was unnecessary, silly, and only reinforced the homophobia of some in the black community that he deserved credit for mentioning as an obstacle to fighting AIDS earlier in the debate.

Your selective perception, or acceptance a priori of that of others, is worse still, and, as a former United Methodist lay minister, may I say "unChritian" in your groundless demonization of the Clintons as "racist, race baiting."

Finally, both guilt and grace by association is a limited litmus test. Even though, again, I do not believe Obama is "a hater," trying to raising him up by mentioning Toni Morrison can be balanced out by mentioning that, among people of color, Maya Angelou, Glide Memorial's Rev. Cecil Williams, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and Congressman John Lewis, among others, endorse Sen. Clinton.

Peace be with you.



Support for LGBT rights on Obama's web site :

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/lgbt.pdf

http://advocate.com/news_detail_ektid51906.asp


Obama, Kennedy Include Gays in Endorsement Remarks


Senators Edward Kennedy and Barack Obama both included gays and lesbians in their speeches during the event Monday at which Kennedy endorsed Obama in his presidential bid. Obama's inclusion of LGBT people came while he was discussing the legacy of hope that both John and Robert Kennedy inspired in people: "And it lives on in those Americans -- young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian and Native American, gay and straight -- who are tired of a politics that divides us and want to recapture the sense of common purpose that we had when John Kennedy was president of the United States of America."

The insertion of "gay and straight" was a departure from the script of Obama's "prepared remarks" forwarded to news outlets ahead of the event by his campaign.

Kennedy, who spoke before Obama, made a similar reference to gays and lesbians. "With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion," said Kennedy. "With Barack Obama, we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay."

http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc3=&id=55168&pf=1

Obama Decries Homophobia at King's Church
by Steve Weinstein
New York Editor-In-Chief
Monday Jan 21, 2008




Democratic presidential contender Barak Obama used the occasion of Martin Luther King Day to bring a message of outreach to blacks about tolerance for gays. Obama spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where King himself was the preacher.

"For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man," he said. "And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them."

Obama also made reference to the recent flap about rival Hillary Clinton's remarks about King having the vision but President Lyndon Johnson the political muscle to forward civil rights.

Obama's message played against the background of a controversy over his endorsement by "ex-gay" preacher Donnie McClurkin, who traveled on an Obaama-sponsored church tour. But it wasn't the first time Obama has tied gay and black struggles.

In a speech in June 2007 at Hampton University, Obama equated scapegoating blacks and gays, "When we try to have an honest debate about the crises we face, whether it's from the pulpit or the campaign trail, the pundits don't want us to find common ground, they want us to find someone to blame. They want to divide us into Red States and Blue States, and tell us to always point the finger at somebody else-the other party, or gay people, or people of faith, or immigrants."


Two of DOZENS of commentaries on the racist aspects of "the Clinton's" campaign :

http://www.slate.com/id/2182938/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/white-voters-deserve-more_b_83604.html


Michael Bedwell | January 30, 2008 3:51 PM

Reverend. Specificity, please. "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between ligtning and the lightning bug." - Mark Twain.

These are "characterizations" of what Obama has said. You/they hear, "gay rights," "homophobia"; I hear touchy-feely words that were moldy twenty years ago. Again, without SPECIFICITY, without being put into the context of CHANGE of laws, change of THE LISTENER, they are no better than, "some of my best friends are gay"; "hate the sin; love the sinner"; or the hucksters behind the phony gay "conversion" conventions called "Love Won Out."

No, I am NOT equating Obama to them; nor what he believes [anymore than I ever suggested he had no LGBT rights-related stuff on his offical site—however confused and lacking in ACTION words it often is].

But I am saying that the words you quote are no more than parsley next to the steak, and genuine homohaters in his audiences can walk away unchanged having simply brushed the parsely aside in their minds.

In order to believe in the divinity, the reality of the acts of a man [man/god?] 2000 years ago we are forced to suspend disbelief, make a leap of faith. In 2008, we are witnesses ourselves and, thus, are called to examine objectively empirical evidence before canonizing anyone.

As far as we know at this point, the next president will be either Obama, Clinton or a Republican.

I have no fear of Obama on LGBT/SGL issues. He will very likely be far more affirming than Bush.

I find Obama to be a far less polarizing and divisive figure than Clinton. I also find than on the whole his campaign tactics are less dishonorable and far more hopeful than those of the Clintons.

I believe that there is a strong current in the country against a third term for the Clintons and than a Clinton nomination will spark a flood of revisitations of the countless scandals of their first time in national office.

I believe Obama is more likely to bring folks together and to bring new participants into the political process.

He is already doing so.

I believe he has a good chance to become our first African-American president - an important gruondbreaking in my view.

I do not find it productive to continue to attack him for not being as progressive on LGBT/SGL issues as we woould like.

It is not as if the Clintons are perfect on our issues, having helped bring us "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and DOMA on their previous watch and even now not supporting full marriage equality.

For me, Obama is an honorable, inpiring man who is giving hope to many - including myself.

I believe he will be a fine President.

Blessings & Shalom...

Charles

From an undecided Latino gay voter: Barack Obama and LGBT rights :

http://blabbeando.blogspot.com/2008/01/from-undecided-latino-gay-voter-barack.html


http://www.westsidetoday.com/article.php?articleid=395

Rosendahl endorses Obama, cites stance on gay issues

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is touted as the first and only openly gay member of the Los Angeles City Council, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama (D-Il) for President of the United States.

In a press release that was distributed by Rosendahl's private campaign organization, he said "I am convinced he [Obama] is the candidate who is most genuinely committed to fighting for our civil rights."

Rosendahl represents Council District 11, which stretches from Mulholland to LAX and from the 405 freeway to the ocean.

Here is the full text of his press release:

BILL ROSENDAHL ENDORSES BARACK OBAMA
AS BEST CANDIDATE FOR LGBT COMMUNITY

Gay Councilmember Says Obama 'Genuine, Committed" to Civil Rights

LOS ANGELES - Openly gay City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl has endorsed Barack Obama for president, saying the Illinois Democrat is clearly the best candidate on issues of importance to the LGBT community.

"Barack Obama is a leader of uncommon vision, great principle and deep conviction. He has a proven track record of standing up for LGBT civil rights," said Rosendahl, the highest-ranking gay official in the City of Los Angeles. "I am convinced he is the candidate who is most genuinely committed to fighting for our civil rights."

Rosendahl, the first and only openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council, joins West Hollywood Mayor John Duran and West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Prang as Los Angeles-area local gay officials who have endorsed Obama.

Rosendahl said he was impressed with Obama's track record on issues of importance to the LGBT community. He specifically noted the following:

·Obama supports the repeal of the entire federal Defense of Marriage Act, and has done so ever since he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004.

·Obama has taken stronger positions on dismantling "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and on fully inclusive workplace protections, than any candidate in the presidential race.

·Obama is a strong supporter of every major piece of LGBT legislation in Congress today.

·Obama supports fair tax treatment for gay and lesbian couples.

·Obama supports equal immigration rights for gay and lesbian couples.

·Obama supports domestic partner benefits for federal workers.

·Obama, while in the Illinois Senate, sponsored a fully inclusive anti-discrimination law that included both sexual orientation and gender identity.

·Obama sponsored the Microbicide Development Act to fund research critical to combating HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world.

·Obama spoke out on World AIDS Day to an audience of evangelical leaders at Saddleback Church, publicly disagreeing with the leaders in attendance who opposed condom distribution.

·Obama, in Illinois, worked to enact a law that authorizes licensed pharmacists to provide clean needles in small, controlled numbers, a reform that is credited with achieving dramatic declines in the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users.

·Obama, in the U.S. Senate, supported efforts to lift the ban on federal funding for regulated needle exchange programs that are proven to work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

·Obama has continued to raise the issue of LGBT civil rights in forums and town halls nationwide. During a high-profile speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at King's Ebenezer Baptist Church, he challenged his audience to support gay and lesbian rights with the same fervor they brought to their own struggle for civil rights.

"The more I have listened to Barack Obama," Rosendahl said, "the more convinced I have become that his commitment to our civil rights is deep and heartfelt. I am impressed that he continually raises the issue of gay civil rights, even in front of audiences hostile to our issues. I look forward to a Democratic administration that takes up our cause, instead of taking us for granted.

"I strongly urge my fellow LGBT voters in California and across the country to vote for Barack Obama for President."

Rev. Irene Monroe | January 30, 2008 6:43 PM

To clear up the confusion of whether or not Obama challenged his audience to confront the homophobia that lingers in the African American communities I have enclosed Obama's sermon on the eve of Martin Luther King Day at Ebenezer Baptist Church found on youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf0x_TpDris (esp. 9 min 4 sec -- 13 min 19 sec)

Rev. Irene Monroe,
the comments here about what Obama said at Ebenezer is a non-starter, considering that Hillary doesn't talk about "gay brothers and sisters" at ALL outside the halls of an HRC dinner.

Obama is building bridges between opposing communities. I'm not sure how that is a bad thing. He's NEVER said to the Christian audience that he wouldn't support us in legislation.

It's always helpful to remember that Hillary supports to this day, Bill Clinton actions in the 90's concerning DOMA and DADT.

Could you imagine what would happen to Senator Clinton if she embraced, like Obama has McClurkin and now Caldwell, white evangelist who said Jews should all burn in hell. or a former KKK member.

Why is this different?

Well Sarah, Hillary's embraced plenty of white evangelicals who believe that all Jews burn in hell. In fact, she attends bible study on capitol hill with some of them.

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/hillarys-prayer.html

Michael Bedwell | January 30, 2008 8:51 PM

Then explain, please, Marti, how it is that Sen. Clinton endorsed "gay rights" not just "Obama-Hugs" in front of the NINE THOUSAND attendees of the conservative Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in November? Is that secretly an HRC event, too?

And, please, somebody, anybody, BUY MARTI A CALENDAR—they're all at least 50% off now. Hell, I'll chip in! Then she might realize it's 2008. Dump your cassette player, buy an iPod, and stop rerunning the 90s. They're OVER, girlfriend!

Oh, Kevin, please. The "Mother Jones" diatribe is nothing but a guilt-by-association hitpiece. I think that's called McCarthyism. We criticize Obama not for whom he associates with but for whom he plants on a stage he paid for to promote his candidacy alongside that of the demonization of gays. You're talking Bible study, we're talking beating gays over the head with it.

As for the Obama propaganda Beloved Community is recycling, point-by-point:

Obama supports the repeal of the entire federal Defense of Marriage Act, and has done so ever since he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004. >>>>>Entire repeal is meaningless, a lavender herring, the ignorance about Obama has shamelessly exploited. What Rev. Monroe might call "playing us stupid." Repealing the toothless DOMA Section 2 is meaningless but it is very meaningful that Obama brags about that while he STILL supports the principle of “states rights” to which it refers to legally ban any kind of gay relationship even after he would do his hat trick with DOMA. If he’s supported repealing it for four years, why didn’t he submit a bill to do it?
•Obama has taken stronger positions on dismantling "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and on fully inclusive workplace protections, than any candidate in the presidential race.>>>>Exactly HOW are they stronger?
•Obama is a strong supporter of every major piece of LGBT legislation in Congress today>>>>Ditto Sen. Clinton.
•Obama supports fair tax treatment for gay and lesbian couples. >>>>Ditto Sen. Clinton
•Obama supports equal immigration rights for gay and lesbian couples. >>>>Ditto Sen. Clinton.
•Obama supports domestic partner benefits for federal workers. >>>>Ditto Sen. Clinton.
•Obama, while in the Illinois Senate, sponsored a fully inclusive anti-discrimination law that included both sexual orientation and gender identity. >>>>And then walked away from the issue entirely when he was too busy running for US Senate. He did NOT sign on as a cosponsor to the bill that passed. He did NOT convince his personal friend and spiritual counselor the aggressive homohater Rev./Sen. James Meeks to vote for it. One less vote and the bill would have failed.
•Obama sponsored the Microbicide Development Act to fund research critical to combating HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world. >>>>Not a gay issue alone, but, in any case, he did NOT introduce the original bill which came before he was in the Senate. While he was given the privilege of verbally announcing the latest version [S823], he was speaking for himself and COsponsors INCLUDING Sen. Clinton. The word choice here, “sponsored,” is another example of Sen. Obama’s deliberate misstatements to make it appear he is doing more than others. In addition, SEN. CLINTON would INCREASE global AIDS funding by $20 billion over five years. He would increase it only by $5 billion.
•Obama spoke out on World AIDS Day to an audience of evangelical leaders at Saddleback Church, publicly disagreeing with the leaders in attendance who opposed condom distribution. >>>>Sen. Clinton supports condom distribution, though it is not a gay issue per se.
Needles as related to HIV/AIDS are even less a gay issue, but Sen. Clinton ALSO supports needle distribution.

•Obama ...challenged his audience to support gay and lesbian rights with the same fervor they brought to their own struggle for civil rights.>>>>>>>Once again, he said NOT ONE WORD ABOUT SUPPORTING GAY RIGHTS. See tape above.

And if all of these issues are SO important to Sen. Obama; so "deep and heartfelt"; if we are to believe that he would FIGHT for every one of them from the White House, WHY is NOT one sentence, one word, one syllable about ANY of them in his official 64-page "Blueprint for Change—Barack Obama's Plan for America"?

Then explain, please, Marti, how it is that Sen. Clinton endorsed "gay rights" not just "Obama-Hugs" in front of the NINE THOUSAND attendees of the conservative Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in November? Is that secretly an HRC event, too?

WOW. November? Hmmm... I don't have a calender, but that seems to me to be quite a long time ago.

And, please, somebody, anybody, BUY MARTI A CALENDAR—they're all at least 50% off now. Hell, I'll chip in! Then she might realize it's 2008. Dump your cassette player, buy an iPod, and stop rerunning the 90s. They're OVER, girlfriend!

Wow. You're shilling for Clinton, and you're talking about going back to the nineties?

Irony.


Rev Irene feels entitled to speak on behalf of "the African American LGBTQ community". Really though, it's increasingly clear she's speaking on behalf of Billary in an effort to smear Obama with accusations of homophobia. I guess that's politics; every candidate's got some supporters that like to play dirty. But she really should not act like her views are representative of a very ideologically diverse demographic.

Wow. I didn't realize that when I invited Rev Monroe to post here i was going to have to put "on behalf of the African-American LGBTQ community" behind her name. Well, you heard it here folks - all the other African-American contributors on Bilerico can just pack it up and go home now. Kevin has let us know that it's all a big conspiracy to keep the Rev Monroe on top of the heap.

Geez. I'd imagine Michael Crawford, as an African-American gay man and member of Obama's LGBT steering committee, would probably disagree with Rev Monroe's views and he regularly posts pro-Obama pieces.

So speaking for the entire community? Can't you come up with a better insinuation than that? I expect better, Kevin! That's intellectually dishonest!

Ultimately, for me it does not mostly come down to who endorses what on a list of "gay issues".

The Clintons promise alot now, just as they did when they last ran for the presidency. But the reality we ended up getting - Don't Ask Don't Tell, DOMA - was a far cry from the promises. So whether Hillary dots her i's better on certain position paper points now is not persuasive to some of us. Obama's positions are certainly not anti-gay. He is generally supportive . And I do not think that any of his critics are saying that he has ENDORSED the bigoted statements and beliefs of some who support his candidacy.

At the end of the day I find the Clintons to have at best a faulty moral compass and a shaky ethical framework and that they stoop to win at ANY cost tactics which repulse me.

I do not believe the majority of voters in the country will support a third term for the Clintons. Choosing Hillary now will only assure a Republican victory in the fall.

I believe Obama can bring a diverse coalition together to win in November and can bring this country together in ways that the Clintons did not do in the 90's and are even less likely to do now.

Charles Keener

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 31, 2008 12:56 AM

when Obama gets called on the carpet for his homophobic dalliances with anti-gay ministers, like in the McClurkin incident, he gets defensive.

He and his campaign also got very defensive and lashed out when Paul Krugman criticized his healthcare plan.

IMHO, when someone with the economic and progressive credentials of Paul Krugman criticizes your healtcare plan, the wise thing to do would be revise the plan and invite Krugman to become further involved in the campaign.

Bil, I apologize if I was unclear. I was referring to this sentence of Rev Irene: "Case in point: his campaign refuses, at the continued request of the African American LGBTQ community and our straight black cleric allies, to speak out against the black church’s homophobia." I found this rather presumptuous of Rev Irene, because clearly there is some real diversity of thought among African American LGBTQ individuals. Michael's a good example. So is Pam Spaulding, who hasn't endorsed a candidate but noted that she was " disheartened by the burden Obama has been saddled with, as a person of color, to be the sole party delivering [that] message."

Yet Rev. Irene would have us believe that "the African American LGBTQ community" speaks in one united voice on this issue. Clearly, that isn't true. She knows it.

I'm voting Socialist. Thanks Irene. Your friends in Hartford Love You! The above is why many of us do not support nor get into mainstream elections where the candidates talk with a forked tongue and the people tit for tat about what the candidates have said or didn't say. At 60 I have seen and heard far too many lies. Let's get real. They really don't like us.

the article that was written above i did read and understood completely where rev. irene monroe was coming from. i have been very hesitant about giving in to all of the hype the presidential hopefuls are telling us. as far as candidates go on the democratic side i really respected john edwards because of his honest views on where he stood as opposed to where his wife stood on equal marriage and glbt rights. i respected john edwards because i felt that he was very honest in the way he expressed himself. one thing i like about his relationship with is wife is that elizabeth was an advocate for us in the equal marriage arena, but john edwards was an advocate for glbt rights period. so after thinking about it (and prior to him pulling out as a nominee) i wold have cast my vote for him. as the rev. irene monroe has stated there are some causes for concern when it comes to how obama has handled a few issues during his campaign. with that said, i hope you readers will be a little open minded about a few of my views. if i could present a view in these terms maybe you will undestand what i am trying to say. of every candidate out there right now both republican and democratic, there is not one republican who is willing to stand up and say he is willing to stand up for the rights of every american and literally use the term glbt or gay community. every time any republican candidate has come forward they are just acting as an extension of the bush administration. they are in essence saying if you like the country the way it is now under the current administration "vote for me." for where i stand in view of the past almost eight years and the catastrophe that has unfolded over time is unthinkable. some followers of the republican party may support that candidate by saying well anything is better then equality even if that means keeping the country divided, continuing the war and put healthcare on the back burner. they prefer hate and division as opposed to someone who is willing to step up and try and help facilitate a change that is going to set forth a process of healing that is much needed in our country. for me no republican candidate has our (gay community's and other minorities) better interest in mind, so there goes the continuation of a republican reign, in my eyes at least.

now it stands that the two biggest democratic contenders are hillary clinton and barack obama who my friends have been calling "the bickersons" are up to bat. beside from the normal "you can't do this for the country, but i can" political arguments here is what i have learned. when the the five democratic front runners were on the logo network (last august i believe) they all spoke individually and we were able to see where they all stood on certain issues specifically for the glbt community from aids funding to equal marriage. since that time they have been wittled down to these two candidates. i remember watching hillary clinton when she was asked about where she stood on equal marriage by one of the moderators of the evening. i remember feeling that she may have been in support of a few more "crumbs from the table" than the none we were getting from the previous administratino. but as my friends and i discussed it when it was over she didn't seem to really have her heart in her convictions. now, i think she is a very intelligant person, but as the learned woman i think she is she is forgetting that the country has been dragged through the mud and a few minced words promising to use a band aid as a solution when we are in need of some major reconstructive surgery left us feeling doubtful. after all her husands handprint is still on our lives from dadt and just the feeling that he could be advising her wasn't too appealing for us. which brings me to the only candidate left obama. i know we have had some issues with the way he has handled a few things along the way. i have heard numerous arguments on how he used a (still believed gay man) donnie mcclurkin as a talent while helping obama drum up votes within the black community. i found myself scratching my head about that one too. the point is after considering what he stands for and what he has presented his dream to be. it sounds more like he is still doing the best to include the glbt community and he has openly said that out loud. not one other person has boldly claimed a stake to be an advocate for inclusivness and a perpetuator of healing our broken country. i know he is still a politician and we have to tread lightly but i belive he may be on the road to success.

if he is talking of change, he seems to be practicing what he preaches. if he is traveling with donnie mcclurken who has been known for standing on the anti-gay team and is receiving the endorsement from the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush, then maybe he is starting on the road to recovery. maybe he is trying to start at a place where he feels would be most beneficial at this juncture. i much prefer to see a man that says i stand for equality and then go to the church's where glbt people are mostly persecuted and say see you can vote for me and in turn i am going to stand for equality for all people. maybe his term for civil-unions are the same as the united kingdoms. they call theirs civil-unions but everyone knows they are marriages, because they get the exact same benefits. we seem to be behind a lot of countries in the world and i for one am strongly considering casting my vote for a man that can appear to substantiate change by going into the lions den. after all the change is not going to come from within the gay community (because we would have had it already) because we are not the majority of society. but change is going to come from our straight brothers and sisters who have not known our struggles. the change will come from people who have been sitting on the fence not knowing exactly how they should feel about the change he is proposing in our country. not one of the other democratic candidates and definately no one in the republican party can bost the same.

In response to Jystiinn's post, I would agree that some of the homophobic preachers who are supporting Obama may in fact be inching toward a different view. I understand that Caldwell had certain anti-gay items and links removed from his church's website. Maybe that is cause for hope that God is touching his heart and opening his eyes to see things in a new light. I can personally attest to just such a transformation.

The Rev Dr Alvin O Jackson was the senior pastor of the Mississippi Blvd Christian Church in Memphis TN - an African-American congregation which grew under Dr Jackson to over 8000 members and was the largest church in the Disciples of Christ denomination. Dr Jackson has stated that while he was at Mississippi Blvd he preached sermons denouncing homosexuality, describing it as "an abination in the nostrils of God". He preached about "Adam and Eve , NOT Adam and Steve" and fostered an "ex-gay" ministry at the church. Yet through a close friendship with a music minister who was coming to terms with being gay, Dr Jackson began to question his long held views. Initially that change took the form of a more humane approach to HIV / AIDS and the stigma attached to it. In time Dr Jackson moved to Washington DC , where he was my pastor for 7 years. There he truly blossoms as a gay-affirming pastor. In the beginning he admitted that it was a stretch, that his head was ok with it but his gut was not yet. He noted that growing up in the Mississippi Delta there was nothing worse to call a man than a nigger or a sissy. Through those 7 years in DC I watched Dr Jackson keep growing and deeping his sense of inclusive ministry. He spoke at gay events, attended gay pride and supported many gay events hosted in the church and an active LGBT mistry - which I led. He even performed the church's first gay marriage. He now pastors the Park Avenue Christian Church in NYC where LGBT folks have long been in key leadership positions. I visited in Otober and Dr Jackson told me with pride of how he was withholding the church's usual contribution to the denomination in that region because they had recently blocked the ordination of openly gay clergy. God has indeed brought Dr Jackson a mighty long way.

We should not discount the possibility that some of the historically homophobic clergy now backing Obama may also be beginning a ourney toward inclusion. After all, Obama's positions and public statements are certainly not reflective of the homophobia these ministers have promoted in the past.

Deacon Charles Keener, Washington DC

thank you deacon keener for understanding what i was trying to express in my comments. the funny thing to me is that the church's are filled with gay men and women. coming from a mixed family myself i can speak with experience that mostly all or every black church has innumerous gay/lesbian singing in the choir, choir directors, organists/pianist and other musicians. i don't know if you have experienced this as well. let me put it this way, if we emptied out a single black church on any given sunday of it's gay and lesbian members there would be no music worship that sunday! i believe that we should not try and reach the strong opinionated right wingers (by that i mean any supporter of division and to segregate gays from straights in the name of religion) but where we are going to get our most support and that is from those people who are undecided. i was glad to hear that rev. jackson was a "success story" in his way of coming to terms with what god's word really is. i don't want to go down that religious path right now but stick to our initial train of thought. i also believe that there are quite a few people that may have voted for the present administration who are extremely sorry that they did. "we the people" have been lied to repeatedly and we don't even know what the true devastation of this administration has been yet and won't know until the white house has been advocated and we know what we are dealing with. my spouse and i have mentioned so many times that this is the worst president (we believe) that has ever been in office in the history of our country. when he is finally out of office, i can't tell you how many authors will be writing book expressing the outrage that people have felt after experiencing eight years of tragedy. at the very least these books will be flying off the shelf! at the very least we (the glbt community) need to come together for once if we are not going to allow another four or possibly eight years of a new dictator governing our lives. i know the glbt community haven't strategize well in the past by coming together, but how much more will we put with? haven't we had enough?

http://gaycitynews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19249408&BRD=2729&PAG=461&dept_id=568864&rfi=6

ENDORSEMENT: What We Can Do For Our Country
By: GAY CITY NEWS

In a presidential inaugural address that inspired a teenager from Hope, Arkansas named Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy famously urged Americans to focus not on what the country could do for them, but on what contributions they could make to the nation.

Mind you, we in the LGBT community are not yet nearly at the point where this nation has made good on the contributions it owes to our lives, our families, our well-being, even our equal citizenship. Faced with the choice of two progressive Democrats who have spoken at length and with conviction about the challenges facing our lives, we still don't have the luxury of picking a candidate who will advocate for our right to marry. We must yet take it on faith that the next president will have the fortitude to insist that Congress - including too many stragglers within the Democratic Party - open up the nation's military to out gay and lesbian patriots. It is far from certain that the next time the Democratic Congress takes up an employment nondiscrimination measure it will include transgendered Americans as well as gay men and lesbians among those protected.

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But after seven years of George W. Bush, and compared against the prospect of either John McCain or Mitt Romney, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama truly offer hope to LGBT Americans that help is on the way.

Given that the two Democratic contenders share a similar, generally friendly and supportive posture toward LGBT Americans, we ought to think about the message our choice sends about a fundamental question - what our politics should be all about. We are finding our place here and there at the table, but we have also spent much of our life on the outside. The nation needs to hear our views on how American politics can accommodate new voices in the mix.

Judged by that measure and taking full stock of how the Democratic nomination contest has unfolded, we believe the choice is clear.

Gay City New endorses Barack Obama.

The Illinois senator has spoken of a politics of hope and change, not surprisingly given a life that has included a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, a term as president of the Harvard Law Review and a job as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago.

Obama is a relative newcomer to the national scene, and it is not unfair to ask that he explain as clearly as possible how his skills, experience, and vision qualify him for the toughest job on earth. He deserves kudos for his courage in standing up against the rush to war in Iraq at a time when conventional political wisdom counseled a would-be national figure to do otherwise. He will serve the nation well if he can articulate a comprehensive approach not only toward the mess in Iraq but also the broader and more explosive question of America's standing in the entire Islamic world.

In his recent comments about what Ronald Reagan offered to Americans hungry for optimism and new ideas, Obama ought to have made more clear his understanding that at critical moments the hope for unity cannot substitute for hard choices. This newspaper was probably tougher on Obama than anyone else was for his ill-considered decision to call on Donnie McClurkin - a so-called "ex-gay" gospel singer vitriolic in his attacks on the LGBT community - to reach out to churchgoing African-American communities in South Carolina. We are counting on him to make wiser choices in future efforts to "build bridges" - and on that score applaud the loving words about his "gay brothers and sisters" Obama enunciated from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Atlanta pulpit last week.

The McClurkin episode, unfortunate as it was, pales in comparison to the divisiveness that Senator Clinton has allowed her campaign to devolve into. Her comparison between the roles played by Dr. King and President Lyndon Johnson in advancing civil rights can be chalked up to inartfulness. The comments coming from her surrogates are far more disturbing, forming a pattern that sadly can no longer be ignored.

Three Clintonites - the husband of former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, and, most damningly, key strategist Mark Penn - all injected Obama's acknowledged youthful cocaine use into the debate. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo inexplicably used the phrase "shuck and jive" in describing what a presidential candidate might try to pull with the media, and then had his operatives bombard the press with official umbrage that his words might be construed as targeting the African-American senator.

Nobody, however, has been more egregious than Bill Clinton. In his ardent championing of his wife, the former president has dissed Obama as "a kid" and this past Saturday was quick to mention Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 South Carolina primary wins to contextualize Obama's commanding victory.

Notwithstanding the role of BET's Johnson and the ardent support for the New York senator from towering African-American members of Congress such as Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters, the Clinton campaign's intent is clear - Barack Obama, after his strong showing with white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, must be marginalized as the "black candidate," or Hillary runs the risk of losing.

That is unacceptable, and the LGBT community should lend its voice to a growing progressive chorus in turning its back on this kind of politics. For us, winning in the ghetto is no longer good enough - not for blacks, not for gays, not for anyone.

There is a great deal we admire about Hillary Clinton, and our conclusion about the direction of her campaign is arrived at with a heavy heart. Should she prevail in the nomination fight, we have hope that the better angels of her nature will come to the fore in the fall campaign.

But at this moment we put our faith in the hope that remains undimmed. We urge a vote for Barack Obama.

©GayCityNews 2008

http://advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid52017.asp

Obama Picks Up LGBT Supporters from Edwards
A critical mass of John Edwards's LGBT steering committee is going public with their support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton.
By Kerry Eleveld
An Advocate.com exclusive posted February 1, 2008

A critical mass of John Edwards's LGBT steering committee is going public with their support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Twenty-two members of the Edwards campaign's original 59-person gay and lesbian committee will now be working to elect Senator Barack Obama next Tuesday and throughout the rest of the primary season.
The new Obama converts include Eric Stern, who headed up Edwards's LGBT steering committee, and longtime gay activist David Mixner, who famously campaigned for Bill Clinton in 1992, holding some of the first-ever gay fundraisers for a U.S. presidential candidate.
Mixner, a former peace activist during Vietnam, came out early for Edwards after the former North Carolina Senator made an unequivocal case for ending the Iraq War at the historic Riverside Church in New York City.
Mixner said Sen. Obama's clear and consistent opposition to the war is also driving his decision on this go 'round. "Moving from one candidate to another is never an easy process," he said, "but the times demand that we all participate fully and completely to bring about change. Originally, my support went to Senator Edwards because of the war in Iraq. For the very same reason, I am supporting Senator Obama. This is not even a close call for me."
Stern, who served more generally as a political adviser to the Edwards campaign, said he met personally with the Hillary Clinton's director of LGBT outreach, Mark Walsh, as well had several phone conversations with Tobias Wolff, the chair of Obama's national LGBT policy committee.
"I have mentors working on the Clinton campaign," said Stern, who is also a former director of LGBT Outreach for the Democratic National Committee in California. "Their outreach was as aggressive and as sincere. It's been a difficult choice for many of us."
Of the remaining 37 former steering committee members, Stern said another eight were leaning Obama, three were fully committed to Clinton, and others remained undecided or had not contacted Stern.
Stern admitted that he had already been leaning toward supporting Obama, mainly because similar to Edwards, Obama has refused to take money from special interest groups. He also feels that Sen. Obama has the "purest position" of the any of the three candidates in supporting full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act since 2004. Clinton supports repealing only the part that prohibits the federal government from recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages, leaving in place the portion that allows states to ignore legal marriages performed in other states.
After meeting with both of Obama's and Clinton's LGBT leaders, "it became clear to me personally that our committee had a vision for the role of the LGBT community that was similar to the role that LGBT supporters were already playing in the Obama campaign," said Stern. "It is a pure grass-roots, activist oriented operation," he added, noting that the 22 committee members will now be taking part in Obama's field operations, the policy department and the press department. "Thus far, it's clear that we will play a similar role in the Obama campaign."
The new LGBT Obama converts will spend the next several days doing exactly what they had planned to do for Edwards, a strategy that Stern called both a "viral and local grass-roots effort" – sending emails out to their respective networks, as well as phone banking, canvassing and encouraging others to get involved with the campaign.
"We believe that Obama can pick up more delegates if the 12-15% of Edwards supporters nationwide – and even more in some states – will turn out for Obama," he said. "We believe we can make difference."
Besides Stern who is based in San Francisco and Mixner who lives in New York, some of the members who made the leap to Obama are heavy hitters in the February 5 voting states:
Arizona – Linda Elliott, Human Rights Campaign member of the board of directors, and a major fundraiser for defeating the state's constitutional marriage amendment;
Georgia – Kyle Bailey, chair of Atlanta Stonewall Democrats; LGBT Caucus vice chair of the Young Democrats of America; former state board member of the National Stonewall Democrats;
Northern California – Evan Lowe, an openly gay Councilmember for the City of Campbell
Southern California – Pam Cooke, National Stonewall Democrats board member; past president, Stonewall Democratic Club of Los Angeles
Tennessee – Jim Maynard, president of Memphis Stonewall Democrats
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Below is the full List of former Edwards supporters who are now publicly supporting Obama as provided by Eric Stern:
Eric Stern, Former Political Advisor to the John Edwards for President Campaign, Former National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director; Former Director of LGBT Outreach for the Democratic National Committee (CA)
David Mixner, Writer/ Democratic Party Activist (NY)
Linda Elliott, Member of the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Campaign (AZ)
Evan Low, Councilmember for the City of Campbell, CA
David Garrity, Vice Chair of Maine Democratic Party
Andy Szekeres, Former Colorado Stonewall Democrats Co-Chair; Former Wisconsin LGBT Field Director, Kerry-Edwards (CO)
Kyle Bailey, Former Board Member--National Stonewall Democrats (GA); LGBT Caucus Vice Chair of Young Democrats of America; Chair of Atlanta Stonewall Democrats
Pam Cooke, National Stonewall Democrats Board Member; Past President, Stonewall Democratic Club of Los Angeles, CA
Bill Hedrick, President of the Central Ohio Stonewall Democrats
David Mariner, Former Out for Howard Dean Co-Chair (MD)
Jason Lansdale, Past President of Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio
Daniel Hinkley, Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus President
Misty York, Communications Director for the Kentucky Fairness Alliance Christopher Prevatt, Chair of Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club (Orange County, CA)
Jim Maynard, President of Memphis Stonewall Democrats
Daniel Graney, Past President of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio
Arthur Nunn, Former Missouri for Edwards Volunteer Organizer and Founder of LGBT for Edwards Myspace Group
Brad Reichard, Public Relations Executive (MA)
Michael Shannon, National Security Expert (DC)
Les Krambeal, Board Member for the National Stonewall Democrats (AZ); Co-Chair, Southern Arizona Stonewall Democrats
Robert D. Horvath, Jr., Member of the Board of Directors for the Mautner Project (DC)Patrick J. Lyden, LGBT Community Activist (DC)
*All organizations listed for identification purposes only.
Kerry Eleveld is news editor of The Advocate.