Still, as the election nears and no clearcut narrative about black voters (other than we're voting for Obama) has emerged, some in the media (read: The AP) are re-examining the effect of President Obama's embrace of gay marriage on that mythical monolithic entity known as "The Black Church".
Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day. That's a worrisome message for the nation's first African-American president, who can't afford to lose any voters from his base in a tight race.Let me just say this for the record: I'm sorta in-between churches now. When my family moved awhile back, it became a lot harder (okay, impossible) to reliably make the 45 minute Beltway pilgrimage to our old church. So we've been "hunting" for awhile, and as a result, I've visited quite a few churches (black, white, and other) in the past couple of years. Only one had opposition to gay marriage as a common theme among the regular teachings. If you watch Fox News, you are prolly quite familiar with its Pastor, so I'm not gonna throw any shade here. Google it yourself.
The pastors say their congregants are asking how a true Christian could back same-sex marriage, as President Barack Obama did in May. As for Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon nominee from a major party, congregants are questioning the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its former ban on men of African descent in the priesthood.
In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of black voters and is likely to get an overwhelming majority again. But any loss of votes would sting.
It's unclear just how widespread the sentiment is that African-American Christians would be better off not voting at all. Many pastors have said that despite their misgivings about the candidates, blacks have fought too hard for the vote to ever stay away from the polls.
Black church leaders have begun get-out-the-vote efforts on a wide range of issues, including the proliferation of state voter identification laws, which critics say discriminate against minorities. Last Easter Sunday, a month before Obama's gay marriage announcement, the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Baltimore formed the Empowerment Network, a national coalition of about 30 denominations working to register congregants and provide them with background on health care, the economy, education and other policy issues.
Yet, Bryant last month 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, who opposes gay marriage, said the president's position on marriage is "at the heart" of the problem.
While we enjoyed services there, and thought the children's church was great, the "gays are going to Hell, and no, they can't get married on their way down there!" message got very stale very quickly. Most of the other churches I've visited (including one we're likely to settle in/join soon) don't talk about this issue at all, instead focusing on more pertinent issues like marriage (period!), GED programs, job training, and of course, salvation. Of course this is just my own anecdotal evidence, so I could obviously be missing the boat.
Of course, the AP article provides little more than anecdotal evidence itself, referring to the opinion of none other than Jamal Bryant, a charismatic young pastor whom I'm also quite familiar with. The irony here is that while Bryant thinks gay folks shouldn't be married, he is divorced, and likely is divorced as a result of a very poorly hidden series of extramarital affairs, in one of which he (allegedly!) sired a child with an under aged Baltimore teen.
But yeah, eff' the gays getting married.
Sorry, I just think this is much more ado about nothing. Any Pastor telling his congregation to not vote, over such a small issue that doesn't effect the marriage of straight congregants in any way, shape, or form, is just being ignorant and shortsighted. When black unemployment is as bad as it currently is, staying home is not an option.
Besides, if "preserving the sanctity of marriage" is really that serious, why not just tell em' to vote for Romney.
Question: Is this much fuss about nothing, or could many black voters stay home or vote for Romney come election day?!?