CNN Reports Obama Under Fire

CNN Reports-

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- Democratic Sen. Barack Obama kicked off a series of local outreach gospel concerts Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, that unexpectedly came back to bite his campaign.

The concerts were meant to boost black voters' support for his presidential nominee bid -- the kind of events that would normally fly under the national radar.

The ensuing controversy highlighted that Obama's desire to unite disparate voting blocs -- especially religious voters -- under his umbrella of "change" is not without some serious pitfalls.

When the campaign announced the lineups for the three-city "Embrace the Change!" gospel tour last week, one name stood out to gay bloggers: Donnie McClurkin.

The Grammy-award winning singer is on record as saying homosexuality is a choice, and that he was "once involved with those desires and those thoughts" but was able to get past them through prayer.

To say the least, neither of those arguments is very popular in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

John Aravosis, a prominent gay blogger and co-founder of the Web site AmericaBlog, led the charge against the Obama campaign, writing that the Illinois Democrat was "sucking up to anti-gay bigots" and "giving them a stage."

When the story bubbled up into the mainstream media, it took the Obama campaign by surprise.

Obama's efforts in the Palmetto State have overwhelmingly targeted African-American churchgoers in a bid to win over black voters in South Carolina from rival Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The campaign has vigorously promoted the candidate's faith, launching "40 Days of Faith and Family" in September, which used Bible study groups to tap into the black electorate.

Campaigners have run three radio ads, one of which called Obama a "Christian family man," that aired on gospel stations across the state.

Earlier this month, Obama spoke at an evangelical church in the traditionally conservative city of Greenville, where he demonstrated a casual familiarity with Christian vocabulary, telling the crowd, to much applause, that "I am confident that we can create a kingdom right here on Earth."

After that appearance, the Obama campaign told CNN that Republicans no longer had a choke hold on issues of faith and values.

"I think that what you're seeing is a breaking down of the sharp divisions that existed maybe during the '90s," Obama said. "At least in politics, the perception was that the Democrats were fearful of talking about faith, and on the other hand you had the Republicans who had a particular brand of faith that oftentimes seemed intolerant or pushed people away."

But on Tuesday, Obama was forced to confront the uncomfortable truth that some Christians and gays are a little more than just strange bedfellows, especially among blacks.

Obama issued a statement saying, "I strongly disagree with Reverend [Donnie] McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as president of the United States," and argued that it is important to confront homophobia among religious African Americans.

A September poll of African Americans in South Carolina by Winthrop University and ETV showed that 62 percent of those surveyed said that "sex between two adults of the same sex" is "strongly unacceptable."

Obama held a conference call Wednesday with Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, and announced that the Rev. Andy Sidden, an openly gay South Carolina pastor, will appear at the same event as McClurkin on Sunday in Columbia.

Solomonese was not completely assuaged.

"I spoke with Senator Barack Obama today and expressed to him our community's disappointment for his decision to continue to remain associated with Reverend McClurkin, an anti-gay preacher who states the need to 'break the curse of homosexuality,'" he said in a statement.

"There is no gospel in Donnie McClurkin's message for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. That's a message that certainly doesn't belong on any presidential candidate's stage."

The State newspaper in Columbia reported Friday that Obama organized a conference call Thursday night with gay and lesbian leaders. After the call, the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement announced it will hold a protest vigil outside Sunday's concert in Columbia.

Privately, Obama aides say they believe Obama is a candidate of real, transformational change, and that uproars like the McClurkin controversy are necessary speed bumps on the road to bringing people with opposing viewpoints together to air their differences.

Will Obama's refusal to kick McClurkin off the concert bill hurt him? Like many political squabbles, despite the national story, it depends how much the controversy resonates with voters in those crucial early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

And in South Carolina, where African Americans make up about half of Democratic primary-goers, voters might not have a problem with McClurkin at all.


No votes yet longer can people with different perspectives join to support a candidate - and it seems some are saying that candidates can't have supporters who disagree on a single issue, even if they agree on everything else.

I thought the Dems were so proud of their tolerance of differing opinions...and now a particular group so closely aligned with the democrat party seems to say that tolerance is good only when you agree with them... Don't get me wrong - it isn't confined just to a single party or a single special interest group...

This is so sad...

I have to disagree. I don't think it's acceptable for the Democratic Party to accept intolerance. There's enough of that already

out of an entire lineup of concert performers has a different view towards homosexuality than the 'official' Democratic platform on this topic and it causes such an uproar?

I don't see the big deal here.

is where Obama stands on homosexual matters, not one performer in a faith-based concert tour.
Obama's the guy running for president.

Maggie...I would heartily agree that tolerance works best as a two-way street. However, I have to parse your comments in the pursuit of clarity. It seems you use the term "opposed to homosexuality as synonomous with "disapprove".

If one makes a concerted effort to assimilate the higher quality of tolerence I believe it would be acceptable to disapprove of a particular lifestyle on a personal level, in her own choices. To disapprove of another's personal choice (of course we are not talking about illegal activities like murder, rape etc.) is placing conditions on tolerance, whih begins to lessen this quality. It then becomes more of a display of the quality rather than a true expression. This is where problems arise.

To be fair, many of us are not capable of continually maintaining the true expression of tolerence (a higher expression of tolerance is compassion).

Since we are imperfect beings, to disapprove (judge) of anoother's personal choice is common and perhaps acceptable. However, when one opposses another's choice this implies participating in activities to prevent another's expression of a personal choice. This is yet one more step removed from the expression of the true quality of tolerance.

In terms of framing this topic in religiousness, Christianity in particular, These days there is too much emphasis on segments of Old Testament scripture to justify judging others, seeking revenge and other lower qualities. Today there is not enough emphasis of the New Testament qualities of forgiveness, compassion and love.

Sen. Obama did the right thing by not removing the one artist from the concert. Those protesting his decision are frustraed by the intolerance of the religious right maskarading with the authority to judge others. Frustrated people don't always make the best choices.

This says it all.

Or it should say, keep religion out of politics.

Funny how it is that some complain about other countries and how the leadership there uses a religious doctrine for their own purpose and here we have the beginnings of the very same thing.

Religious leaders trying to influence politics for their own self gain, spiritual, political and monetary.

Someone posted in here that the Democratic Party didn

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

Well said. This is a History lesson for a lot of people. Thanks for spreading the truth. People won't want to hear it but you can't deny truth!

Some, from all sections of the country, will simply deny the history of the country and as less and less of it is written into history books it will fade and become barely noticed, sadly.

"The whole point which led to this was the fact that some in the gay communitiy wanted a religious person excluded from a stage because the religious person was on record as saying homosexuality is wrong."

How does ones sincerely held religious beliefs based on the Bible, Koran, Torah, etc make one intolerant or homophobic if that is what they are basing their beliefs on?

When you label the individual as such, don't you get the same label for being intolerant or bigoted toward that person's faith?

The faith a person chooses is not the problem. It is the person.

Many of the faiths have little concern or care for the issues.

It is a small segment that seem to want people to believe as they do.

Faith and religion is for the humans, the creator does not need it.

In pressed through angry argumentation, looking down at people because of their characteristics or viewpoints, negatively portraying something due the contrast with one's own beliefs, etc. On a more extreme level, it can lead to violence - in its most severe form, genocide. Possibly the most infamous example in Western culture is the Holocaust. Colonialism was based, in part, on a lack of tolerance of cultures different than that of the mother country.

What Obama said:

Obama issued a statement saying, "I strongly disagree with Reverend [Donnie] McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as president of the United States," and argued that it is important to confront homophobia among religious African Americans.

A September poll of African Americans in South Carolina by Winthrop University and ETV showed that 62 percent of those surveyed said that "sex between two adults of the same sex" is "strongly unacceptable."

One disagrees with someone else'e viewpoint, another party is strongly unacceptable or, intolerant of an act or viewpoint.

Even though I believe we all strongly disagree with the viewpoint of this vile group, we have to tolerate their right to freedom of speech. Their views, of course, would be a prime example of intolerance.

Im confused on whats so "intolerant" about God healing someone..Thier not homophobes thier Christians. Seems like theres more anti-Christian sentiment than anti-gay sentiment to me..

...are you saying that those who do not approve of homosexuality are being intolerant but those who are gay are NOT intolerant when they cannot accept that there are people who do not approve?

Does not tolerance for differing opinions apply to both gays and those who oppose homosexuality?

Are you saying that the Democrat Party has no room for people who oppose homosexuality?

I'd appreciate if you'd clarify. Thanks.

....this statement,

"However, when one opposses another's choice this implies participating in activities to prevent another's expression of a personal choice. This is yet one more step removed from the expression of the true quality of tolerance."

I have some more questions:

1. you say 'implies' but that is not always the case, therefore, I'll accept that you mean 'in general' and not everyone actually does this.

2. If the GLBT community calls for an individual to be excluded from a campaign event because of their views on homosexuality, have they not done exactly what this statement says - that is, 'participate in activities to prevent another's expression of a personal choice'?

3. Does the perception that one position is 'more right' than the other position impact whether or not someone is being tolerant. That is, if one person has position A and another person has position B and the majority of people think position B is the 'better' position to have, does that give them more 'authority' (for lack of better word) to be intolerant of position A?

4. How does the whole "I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it" apply to this?

Again, I'm not trying to be confrontational, just trying to understand what seems to be a double standard in terms of tolerance, especially in light of the fact that two groups (individuals) with opposing views are supporting the same candidate. You'd think that they would want more support for their candidate, even from others with whom they agree on everything but this one issue.

I agree. Being a Catholic I follow the general teaching from Pope John Paul II to "hate the sin but love the sinner". So I have no problems with homosexuals however since sin is only something relative to me I choose not to engage in homosexual acts.

In fact I'm definitely in favor of civil unions. They are something that our whole society could benefit from. Also since I'm a Republican I disagree with the earlier statement that I'm willing to be more accepting of homophobic behavior. I look down upon people who are outwardly homophobic as generally ignorant.



to say Southern Democrats in the 1950's-mid-to-late 1960's were among the most intolerent of racial equility measures taken during that period of time.

After the JFK and LBJ administrations, which were at the forefront of the Civil Rights advancements, the South never returned to the Democratic Party fold nationally and has, with few exceptions, been a red-state (or Republican) voting block since.

...that was the original question. How could you be intolerant of such beliefs while claiming they are not being tolerant of you?

I understand and appreciate the points various people have made here on this issue, but I do not think I've gotten an explanation that explains this, though

... "we all strongly disagree with the viewpoint of this vile group, we have to tolerate their right to freedom of speech."

And they are being intolerant in their views, but we don't have to act in the same way...

If Democrats were tolerant of homophobes and racists we

What's a "Democrat Party"?

I guess I'm wondering if the questions I asked in order to understand (not criticize) are going to be answered or if y'all are just going to pick apart my wording and call people who are opposed to homosexuality "homophobes" which indicates a fear or hatred of homosexuals.

I do believe it is possible for someone to disapprove of such behavior without harboring any fear or hatred, so to imply that all those who may disapprove are fearful or hateful is just avoiding the original question.

Is it not possible to have tolerance for those who disapprove of such behavior as much as it is possible to have tolerance for the behavior itself? As I respectfully ask the question, it'd be nice if someone can explain to me why it appears that such tolerance for another viewpoint is only one way.

McCaskey - can you help explain this?


...are you saying that those who do not approve of homosexuality are being intolerant but those who are gay are NOT intolerant when they cannot accept that there are people who do not approve?

Yep. Exactly what he's saying in amerika today. It only goes one way.



"They keep talking about drafting a constitution for Iraq.Why don't we give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, and we're not using it any more".


'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

Intolerance breeds discrimination, and I feel we shouldn't accept it. I don't buy the argument that not accepting intolerance is being intolerant.

Question for you Maggie--what is a "Democrat Party"? Also, interesting that you actually type the word "y'all". Reminds me of Hillary Clinton using a Southern accent. Funny stuff.

1. Yes, in general
2.Yes, they have
3. No. it does not
4.Within the context of the original statement it carries a validity. In this context I would prefer to say: I may disagree with what you think and say but I will not interfere with you expressing your opinion. If and when your disagreement escalates to the level of opposision that hinders another's right to free expression, it is legitiment to reconsider ones position. I would not give my life defending an intolerant practice that hinders others. You might try rereading my original statement. I don't agree with the protesters, but I understand their frustrations.

I am curious, in general, Would you be willing to apply your peerless logic to the intolerance of the religious right or do you not find their position on this issue intolerant?

Good point McCaskey. Paul Krugman has an interesting article on this subject here

It sure is a funny twist of words. Not accepting intolerance is intolerant? But to not accept intolerance, there would have to be intolerance present in the first place. Perhaps if that intolerance did not exist initially, there would be no perceived intolerance of those not accepting intolerance. Was John McCain intolerant when he called Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance"? It's easy to understand how minority groups get a little on edge when people denounce who they are and/or what they do (after all the years they have fought for equal rights). Especially when these "agents of intolerance" start to play prominent roles in the campaigns of current and future lawmakers. Does that mean these lawmakers will not fight as hard to protect minority rights? Will it be easier to discriminate in the workplace (for example)?

I'm too tired and need to go beddy-bye. LOL

However, Chico's comments below are worth a look at.

Maybe I'll take a stab at it tomorrow (today)....yawn Nashville and have used "y'all" on many occassions in my posts. I find I do it more often after a trip to visit my family who is now in Memphis.

As for the 'Democrat Party' ... this is the second time you've asked that question - so I have no idea what you're implying ... Democrats/Republicans ... their parties ... what am I missing here?

If 'not accepting intolerance' is not being intolerant, what is it then? According to, tolerance is defined as: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward (those whose) opinions and practices that differ from one's own. So even if you believe someone else is being 'intolerant,' do you not adopt the same attitude of 'intolerance' by not 'allowing' (for lack of a better word) that person to have such an attitude?

And if you say people should be tolerant of ideas/opinions/practices that are different from one's own, should you not be tolerant of people who do not 'approve' of homosexuality as much as such individuals should be tolerant of people who do 'approve' of homosexuality?

Again, I go back to the concept of why there appears to be a double standard - that we should be tolerant of A but not of B .... why is that?

and I'm truly seeking understanding here...

First, Obama didn't cut loose the performer with the more 'intolerent' views on homosexuality compared to the standard Democratic viewpoint on this issue, and I think it was the right move.

I'll say it again; Obama is the individual running for president and it's his viewpoints that should be scrutinized, not every person associated with his campaign on a periphery basis.

The 'intolerence' argument works both ways in almost all cases, no matter the subject matter, including straight/homosexual situtations.

About ten years ago my wife and I happened to be in San Francisco the same weekend as the Gay/Lesbian parade. I'd heard about and seen footage of this event; it gets big play every year because of its outrageousness and I thought it'd be a gas to watch this thing. And, it was alot of fun. I mean, until you've seen the topless 'Dykes on Bikes' roar past on their 'cycles, well, you just haven't lived, LOL.

The crowd watching the parade, and it's a huge crowd, seemed to be about 50/50 straight/gays, but it was kinda funny, because most of the straight couples, including us, made a point of holding hands, as if to identify our sexuality.

Anyway, there were a couple comments tossed our way from gays, muttering 'breeders' as they walked past. 'Breeders' is a derogatory term gays have for straights.

It wasn't a big deal, it didn't spoil the day, but it points out there are those from all sides of the sexuality issue who, on occasion, exhibit 'intolerent' tendencies.

There are assholes in every crowd, in every 'group.' You laugh and move on.

...and I do so in various ways already...

unlike many, I don't apply the principle only to groups I like/don't like...or opinions I agree with/don't agree with.

The whole point which led to this was the fact that some in the gay communitiy wanted a religious person excluded from a stage because the religious person was on record as saying homosexuality is wrong. This appeared to be a conflict within the DemocratIC (thanks Chris) Party in terms of their professed tolerance.

I would guess that so many on the left wouldn't call the Republican Party 'tolerant' so no such comparison in terms of the specific situation would

Don't get me wrong Maggie, I like Southern accents. They sound funny. I just think it's funny that you'd actually type that way. Is that common practice for the South (I honestly don't know)?

As for the "Democrat Party", my apologies. I thought you were purposing using the conservative political epithet. But perhaps you just didn't know, it's actually the Democratic Party. Funny that a former politician wouldn't know that---or is that just how they type in the South?

As far as the question of intolerance, I understand your point. But let me ask this to futher emphasize my point. Let's say you ran for office, and you receive large campaign contributions from the KKK. Would you be pushing as hard to preach tolerance of the intolerant? bring a smile to my face...

:) to the Democratic Party...actually, no one's ever brought up this issue to me before...strange - you'd think that someone would..

yes, they type 'y'all' in the south...the funnier thing is the "all y'all" to indicate the plural...LOL

as for your question... First, I doubt the KKK makes political contributions as a group, but to follow the example - yes - I'd be pushing as hard to preach tolerance of the intolerant. Is it not hypocritical to do otherwise? I don't approve of the KKK or their message, but would defend their right to speak it. In fact, the more offensive the speech might be to me personally, the more it needs defending - the right to speak, that is, not the content of what is said...

In the case of homosexuality, there are many people who believe it is wrong - and many of those base this belief upon their religious teachings. Hopefully they all practice the teaching to 'hate the sin - love the sinner.'

I think in many ways that the world would be a better place if we all had a bit more tolerance of those who have differing opinions ... understanding that tolerance doesn't not always imply agreement. Sort of the 'agree to disagree' approach...

Hey Y'all,

Having lived in the south for 5 years, it took awhile for me to get used to the grammar. Don't let bad grammar fool you into thinking that bad grammar means bad logic or lack of common sense. Conversely, good grammar does not necessarily mean people's arguments are logical.

Some of the people that I've met who spoke in that dialect had more common sense and used better logic than what I've seen from some of the people in NW Ohio -- especially the mayor.

I understand your point of view. However I would have to add that intolerance breeds discrimination, and there's a difference between being intolerant of someone's point of view, and being intolerant of a particular group of people.

I agree wholeheartedly. I just didn't realize as Maggie says they type or write out their accents phonetically.

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