Obama’s election-season “evolution” on gay marriage just before hauling in about $15 million from Hollywood has black clergy calling for their congregations to stay home on election day.
This is troubling news for Obama, who received 95 percent of the black vote in 2008.
However, some pastors of large churches are being asked by members of their congregations “how a true Christian could back same-sex marriage, as President Barack Obama did in May,” this according to an Associated Press report published Sunday.
Black clergy in many churches who do not support Mitt Romney but also do not support gay marriage are telling their congregation to sit the election out.
Obama is counting on a majority block vote from African Americans to push him over the top in November.
While the AP piece said it isn’t clear how widespread discontent for Obama’s endorsement for gay marriage is among black Christians and in black churches, in a tight election during a stalled economy and with his foreign policy under scrutiny, African American parishioners are a crucial element to Obama’s reelection hopes.
Weeks before Obama's gay marriage announcement, Baltimore-based Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant formed the Empowerment Network, a national coalition of about 30 denominations working to register congregants.
However, in an apparent rebuke of Obama’s gay marriage endorsement last month, Bryant told The Washington Informer, an African-American newsweekly, "This is the first time in black church history that I'm aware of that black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote."
Bryant said that the president's endorsement of gay marriage is "at the heart" of the problem. Bryant, like many black pastors, reportedly does not support gay marriage.
In Texas, Rev. George Nelson Jr., senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Brenham and other African-American pastors shared their views in a conference call the day after Obama's endorsement of gay marriage. Reportedly, the ministers agreed on their opposition and planned to oppose gay marriage. Obama's public support of gay marriage caused a "storm" in the African-American community, said Nelson.