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3 Bumps

The fallout of evolving

CNN article that covers the biggest place Obama's announcement will impact his voting base.  Will this demographic also evolve by November, or will they just stay home and vote for nobody?

(CNN) - Some people wonder if the black church will punish President Obama or announcing support for same-sex marriage. Here’s another question: Why would the black church cite scripture to exclude gays when a similar approach to the Bible was used to enslave their ancestors?

“It’s so unfortunate,” says James Cone, one of the nation's most influential black theologians, and author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.” “The literal approach to scripture was used to enslave black people,” he says. “I’ve said many times in black churches that the black church is on the wrong side of history on this. It’s so sad because they were on the right side of history in their own struggle.”

Call it historical irony: Black church leaders arguing against same-sex marriage are making some of the same arguments that supporters of slavery made in the 18th and 19th centuries, some historians say. Both groups adopted a literal reading of the Bible to justify withholding basic rights from a particular group. Opposition to gay rights is not the standard position of all black churches. Still, while several predominately white mainline denominations have officially accepted gays and lesbians in various forms, the vast majority of black churches still consider homosexuality a sin. Black church leaders recently helped lead a successful drive to amend North Carolina’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The Rev. Fred Robinson, a black pastor in Charlotte, says most black churchgoers aren’t hypocrites. They take scripture, and sin, seriously. “Black people are not confused,” Robinson says. “If you look at the scriptures that oppose homosexuality, Old and New Testament, they are clearer cut than the ones people used to justify slavery.”

Yet there are other factors beyond the Bible that shape the black church’s resistance to same-sex marriage. “It’s more than scripture – it’s history, culture, how we were raised,” says the Rev. Tim McDonald, founder of the African American Ministers Leadership Council. Some black church leaders are still fighting hard just to persuade straight black couples to marry. Accepting same-sex marriage when so many black households lack a husband and wife makes McDonald uneasy. “I am not comfortable performing a wedding ceremony of the same sex,” says McDonald, an Obama supporter. “That’s just where I am.”

Some black pastors, however, embrace a literal approach to the Bible not just to exclude gays but to get rid of competition, says Edward Blum, a San Diego State University historian. Some black pastors cite New Testament passages such as Paul’s demand that women keep silent in churches to argue against black women in the pulpit. That argument is harder to make when black women’s energy and donations form the backbone of the black church, Blum says, but some still get away with it. “The biblical literalist reading has kept male leadership in power in a church that is hugely female,” Blum says. “It keeps power in men’s hands.”

The one book that mattered

Black churches also embrace a literal reading of the scripture because of its unique history, says Blum, author of “W.E.B. DuBois, American Prophet.” During slavery and segregation, many blacks saw the Bible as the one document they could trust. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, state and local laws – all found some way to ignore their humanity, Blum says.The Bible, though, was one book that told them that they weren’t slaves or three-fifths of a person, Blum says. It said they were children of God. “Throughout the 18th and 19th century, what document could they trust?” Blum says. “When the Bible says it’s so, it’s something that black people believed they could trust.”

Their enemies, though, used that same veneration of the Bible against them. Slaveholders had a simple but powerful argument when critics challenged them: Trust the Bible. They cited scriptures such as Ephesians 6:5. (“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling. ...”) And they said Jesus preached against many sins, but never against slavery. Since the Bible is infallible, and scripture sanctions slavery, it must be part of God’s order, slaveholders concluded. 

Rest of the article is at the link above.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 1:12 PM on May. 12, 2012 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (26)
  • Honestly, I don't think it's matters. I think that they'll still vote for him.

    Answer by 3libras at 1:27 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • It could be that BOTH white and black churches will object to his approval of same -sex marriage. I don't know why only black churches are being discussed ? I already know a bunch of white people ---passionate church -goers , conservatives who take the Bible literally as true history , who have objected to Obama for many stupid reasons and now they are freaking out over his announcement.
    Anyone who thinks he is using his approval now as a campaign boost for him is sadly mistaken, It can't be good. There are too many people who are anti-gay in the USA. Dummies. Look at what happened in North Carolina. He is sure to lose votes there and the state went for Obama in 2008.. He still has MY support. I'm not anti-gay. Obviously.

    Answer by lga1965 at 1:38 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • I don't know why only black churches are being discussed ?

    Because this is a question about Obama's voting base, and many of the white churches who oppose same-sex marriage would never vote for him in the first place, they vote republican. Black churches historically vote Democrat, but this is the first time there's ever been a presidential candidate on either side who is not publicly insisting marriage is one man and one woman. That's what he said last time around. He's not saying it anymore.

    What next, you want to discuss whether the tea party people who didn't vote for him last time will still not vote for him this time?

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 1:41 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • I know that the general comments in SC from black churches are that he's managed to tick them off.

    It really doesn't matter how many times, or how many ways that this question (or any regarding gay marriage and churches) are asked, the bottom line is that people have a right to live and believe what they choose to, and it doesn't matter if you believe something different or are offended by what they believe. In the end, if you insist on equal rights, and deny equal religious rights in favor of equal civil rights, you are no more in favor of equal rights than the religious people you claim are wrong. And, while no one is going to know until they die, if 'you' are wrong, what you are expecting them to do is endanger their eternal soul based on only your opinion. I have no problem with gays, gay marriage, OR religious beliefs. People are entitled to their own lives. ALL people, not just those who agree with me.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 2:06 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • It really doesn't matter how many times, or how many ways that this question (or any regarding gay marriage and churches)

    This isn't a question about gay marriage, it's a question about Obama's voting base. It has nothing to do with whether or not people should believe the things they do. It's simply a question about whether or not a portion of his solid voting base will show up or not, based on a statement he's made.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 2:08 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • I answered that question based on the knowledge I have of this state. Can't say much about other states, and I can't even say much about every black church in this state. I'm not black ~ only stating what my friends have chatted about and what opinions I've read on the local news sites.

    Since the statement Obama made that makes you question what his voters will/will not do is directly about gay marriage, and you want to know whether or not they will show up and vote for him/against him based on only that statement, it sure seems like the bottom line is gay marriage ~ and what Obama's statement will gain or cost him in voting booths. The most frequent comment I've heard is that 'he wasn't taught right' or 'he should know better'. I have no doubt these people will show up and vote ... but I have no idea if they will vote against him based only on that criteria.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 2:55 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • and you want to know whether or not they will show up and vote for him/against him based on only that statement, it sure seems like the bottom line is gay marriage

    If he'd made the statement that he wanted to phase out food stamps, the question would be asked if food stamp recipients who voted for him last time still would this time. That wouldn't be a debate about whether food stamps are good or evil, of if people are allowed an opinion about them, it would be a debate about whether that issue was big enough to impact voter turn out. This is no different, no matter how much people want to fixate on hijacking everything that mentions gay marriage into a debate about gay marriage.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 2:58 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • – collapse
    Homosexuality is an impulse that no one has to act on and NO ONE knows what causes it.

    Being black is not an impulse.
    It's hardly an impulse for them to just want to exist. and be left alone.
    That meant not being a slave and being able to be safe.

    Lots of people opposed to gay marriage just don't want to be around that particular behavior.

    I don't care if gay people exist. Just move someplace where it's legal and those opposed don't have to be bothered.
    Because it IS a bother.

    Answer by mustbeGRACE at 3:21 PM on May. 12, 2012 (hidden) + expand

  • Grace- That is so very wrong on so very many levels.

    Homosexuality Heterosexuality is an impulse that no one has to act on and NO ONE knows what causes it.



    Answer by feralxat at 3:45 PM on May. 12, 2012

  • – collapse

    God caused it.

    Best use,  people, physically possible and maximally productive.

    I didn't say that heterosexual people don't need to control  their impulses at times, did I?


    Answer by mustbeGRACE at 4:05 PM on May. 12, 2012 (hidden) + expand

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