Tuesday, October 30, 2007

If you're happy (and gay) and you know it, clap your hands!

From Pam's House, a good analysis of how Obama's campaign has whiffed on the issue of gay rights. If you haven't been following this story, a brief summary from Pam:
In another attempt to connect with people of faith in South Carolina, presidential hopeful Barack Obama has decided to reach out by going on a concert tour with gospel artists, including known homophobe and recloseted homosexual Donnie McClurkin.

McClurkin believes one can pray away the gay, that it is a choice, and, according to Keith Boykin, Donnie compares gays and lesbians to liars.
It soon became clear to Obama's loyal followers in the gay community that they were being thrown aside in an effort to court another political demographic. Sure, the Obama campaign tacked on an openly gay (but white) preacher to the event. And, oh yeah, Obama didn't show up at the concert in person but appeared via video feed.

More from Pam:
The concert was to be the highlight of this outreach and while the crowd left excited, it was clear the campaign still regarded the controversy as complicated. Aides gave reporters a three-page memo detailing McClurkin's and Obama's views on gay rights that noted in capital letters "MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS," with quotes detailing those statements from the singer.

It's too easy to say this is a battle between the secular and religious, but campaigns try mightily to simplify things. The inconvenient truth is that there are people of color in the faith community who are LGBT. These people are ignored, because for politicians, the complexity of addressing that matter is not worth the political cost. It's about the numbers game, and LGBT minorities of faith are to be tossed out like yesterday's trash.

The most disappointing aspect of this whole Obama/McClurkin affair is that Barack Obama, because of his race, actually was best positioned to address it (politically speaking, since we know white pols loathe to take it on, lest they get zapped on that third rail). Ironically, because of the ludicrous questions about his racial "authenticity" from the black community, it appears that his camp cravenly decided that Obama could cleave to the community by enabling its homophobia, rather than challenging it.

That's audacity, all right.

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