Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« The Morning News | India Perfects the Condom Comm... »

Monday, October 29, 2007

Obama’s Anti-Gay Gospel Concert

posted by on October 29 at 8:45 AM

From the NYT:

At Barack Obama’s gospel concert here last night, more than 2,000 black evangelicals were singing, waving their hands and cramming the aisles—most enthusiastically when Donnie McClurkin, the superstar black gospel singer, decried the criticism he has generated because of his views that homosexuality is a choice.

He said his past statements about homosexuality had been twisted and he had been unfairly maligned. He segued into a hymn about standing up for one’s self and thrust a defiant fist toward the ceiling. This led to a short pitch for Mr. Obama, who, he said, stands for change. “But the greatest change a person can have is not in politics,” he said. “There is only one king.” … The whole controversy might have been forgotten in the swell of gospel sound except Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.

He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.

God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support.

The reporter goes on to note that the audience members she talked to after the event seemed “more focused on making allowances for Mr. McClurkin’s past homosexuality than on anything about Mr. Obama.” Great. Oh, and that pro-gay preacher that Obama invited to concert to “balance” Donnie McClurkin’s homophobia? He spoke early, before most of the audience had arrived, and he didn’t address gay or lesbian issues.

So… Barack Obama hosted an anti-gay rally yesterday featuring a singing ex-gay bigot. If this had been a Mitt Romney or John McCain event the same people making excuses for Barack Obama would be screaming bloody murder.

RSS icon Comments


When I heard he was having an ex-gay (uh huh...) preacher on his campaign tour, he immediately lost my vote.

Posted by Matt | October 29, 2007 8:57 AM


Posted by Greg | October 29, 2007 9:02 AM

Why is Obama losing his shit so easy? I was hoping for better going into November. Too bad so sad.

Posted by Tomasyalba | October 29, 2007 9:05 AM

Obama has posted statements about this on his site, under GLBT. Lots of pretty words, but talk is cheap.

Not Voting for Obama.

Posted by sam | October 29, 2007 9:06 AM

I love it when religon trumps science. I have an idea; can we have a science political party? You know, a political party where reason prevails?

On a side note some reading for all of you:

Paul Krugman's "Conscience of a Liberal" and Chirstopher Hawins' "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"

Posted by Just Me | October 29, 2007 9:06 AM

Of course, if no one made an issue out of this, as no one made an issue out of Hillary courting Rev. Mayberry, McClurkin wouldn't have said a damn thing about it at the event.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 9:06 AM

@3, Hear that sound? That is gays being thrown under the bus by the Democratic Party yet again. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage act, wonder what the next Democrat will do?

(remember, they are still better than the republicans, still better than the republicans....)

Posted by Just Me | October 29, 2007 9:08 AM

Kucinich 2008.

Posted by S. M. | October 29, 2007 9:17 AM

Oh, for fuck's sake. I haven't had a chance to read this yet. Thanks for the link. Great job, Senator. Great job. I'm so glad leading Democrats think that it's a fabulous idea to have an anti-gay/ex-gays are normal revival meeting in their names. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 29, 2007 9:18 AM

For the last several months, I'd been waffling over Hillary/Obama/Edwards. Mostly, I was leaning toward Obama, but only slightly, and would be fine with any of them. Obama has officially just lost my support.

I was willing to overlook a hiccup in his campaign. Maybe his staff didn't realize they'd booked a kooky ex-gay. Obama did attempt to mitigate the mistake somewhat by adding the pro-gay preacher (perhaps not the best solution, but there really was no best solution by that point).

But you'd think that given the flap over the whole thing that Obama or his staff would have more control over the message at the concert. If McClurkin had just sung a few songs and shut the fuck up about the whole gay issue, I'd have forgiven the whole incident. But the fact that McClurkin went into a half hour tirade and once again claimed to be ex-gay, that he thought this would help Obama, and that Obama or his staff didn't think to tell him to keep his mouth shut about the issue, shows that either Obama doesn't understand or care about gay issues, or he or his staff have no control over his campaign.

If Obama ends up winning the primary, I'll still vote for him in the general election over whoever wins the Republican primary. But I will no longer support Obama in the primary. And he can piss off if he thinks I'll donate to his campaign.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 29, 2007 9:19 AM

Since Richardson flamed out, I'd been intending to vote for Obama, because while I wouldn't hate Hillary winning, I wouldn't exactly feel enthusiastic about it either. Now, I feel less and less bad about inevitable Hillary. Still, I'm getting more and more excited about Dodd. He says the things I want a candidate to say.

Posted by Gitai | October 29, 2007 9:28 AM

Can I ask a question? I'll probably get flamed, but I intend it to be a sincere question: wasn't Don't Ask Don't Tell supposed to be a pro-gay piece of legislation? Weren't all LGBTs expressly prohibited from serving in the military before DADT?

I realize that DADT was a milquetoast compromise and a betrayal of what a Democratic President should do (integrate LGBTs the same way Truman integrated blacks when he was Prez), but if someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it. I understand the vitriol towards DOMA but not DADT. Thanks.

Posted by Big Sven | October 29, 2007 9:29 AM

Are you, Dan Savage, and you, commentors, KIDDING ME?? I don't even know what to say.

Posted by chauncey | October 29, 2007 9:31 AM

I agree with SDA in SEA @ 10.

Obama, or his people at least, should have had a quiet sit down with McClurkin and explained what was expected and acceptable... and if that wasn't enough, they should have pulled the plug on him, not let him rant on for half an hour.

A simple "technical difficulty" would get him off the stage.

Someone should have had better control over the event.

Posted by Phelix | October 29, 2007 9:32 AM

Wow. That's actually pretty bad and unacceptable. That said, it's still not enough to switch me to Hillary. If Edwards gets some momentum, then we'll talk.

Posted by Ryno | October 29, 2007 9:32 AM

the democratic party is a big tent, and we need ignoramuses just as badly as the GOP does. for too long we have ceded the cretin vote.

its not just gays that get thrown under the bus. its anyone to the left of hillary. your vote is assumed, as you are more afraid of a RW asshole in the WH than voting while holding your nose.

the slightest peel-off from this coalition of herded cats, and you have 2000 - don't tell me nader didn't lose that for gore.

Posted by maxsolomon | October 29, 2007 9:36 AM

GGP '08

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2007 9:38 AM

It's so ironic to see the gays up in arms because Obama hired a gay man to perform. Kind of like when Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court: a self-hating black married to a white woman. I'm sure far more bigots were turned off by Obama's choice.

But I'm done with the gays now: they are petty, narrow-minded, and vindictive.

Posted by Uncle Thom | October 29, 2007 9:39 AM

Big Sven,

DADT is one of those things that looks pro-gay on the surface, but in reality isn't.

First off, it's really Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue. The commanders are not supposed to ask their men if they're homosexuals, the soldiers are not supposed to tell anyone if they are homosexual, and if a commander has a hunch, he's not supposed to pursue it. The only reason a person should be dishonorably discharged over their homosexuality is if they get caught in the act or star in some Marine on Marine porn with their face and dog tags visible.

Now, as for why it's not pro-gay... yes, it allows gay people to serve in the millitary, but not openly. I'm bi, if I were to enlist I would have to hide that from my superiors, from my unit, from every person I come in contact with. I would have to hide, to lie about, something that's a basic part of who I am. Just like before DADT.

What if the law required me to hide the fact that I'm Mexican American? I can pass for white, so no problem with the looks, but I'd still be hiding a basic part of who I am. I would have to lie, to be ashamed of something I have no control over, all to serve with honor.

This denial is something that kills. It forces men and women back into the closet, forces them to reject who they are as dishonorable, and puts many queer folk into severe depression.

DADT lets queer people serve in the millitary, if they are silent. If they lie about themselves. If they don't have relationships. If they never tell anyone about themselves.

If a queer man in the army ever met a man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, he would have to finish his term of service, and pray it didn't get extended, before he could be with that man. Straight men are encouraged to find wives when they're in the army. Married couples get more money to find housing, to raise families.

Sorry if I rambled, and I hope I answered your question.

Posted by Phelix | October 29, 2007 9:44 AM

@11: You want to vote for Dodd?!? Dodd was one of a handful of Democrats to vote for the Defense of Marriage Act. Why do you hate gay marriage?

Posted by Uncle Thom | October 29, 2007 9:46 AM

No Nig-Nogs for me thank you!

Posted by ohwahtanight | October 29, 2007 9:47 AM

@21: Thanks for sharing, dickhead.

Posted by J.R. | October 29, 2007 9:53 AM

I don't know what everyone is so upset about (tongue-in-cheek). It appears to me that Obama has covered his bases as far as gays go. He has the outie AND the innie.

That inanity said, the innie is an idiot and a liar and Obama is a retard for letting that get out of control. Watch and see if he decides to disassociate or if he brings him in tighter...

Everyone here knows that politicians are whores anyway, right? I almost think that their personal beliefs don't factor into what they embrace publicly. This is all strategy to them.


Posted by subwlf | October 29, 2007 9:56 AM

And let's not forget that in his taped intro, Senator Obama declared that McClurkin is his favorite gospel singer. Amen, Barack. Amen!

This isn't just the crazy gays that are angry. Go check out DailyKos, y'all. Why, the mighty Kos himself has spoken.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 29, 2007 10:09 AM

I've been heavily pro-Obama for some time now, but he's lost me.

He didn't vote for SCHIP, and now this.

It makes me think that he's picked the neglected progressive demographic to trump up support for his campaign, and now he's steamlining his platform to appeal to a more general public. And now that his progressive supporters have invested so much hope and monetary support, I think there's some denial about where his allegences really set.

I hope that I'm wrong, though. If he rights his wrongs, I would like nothing more than to vote for the guy. He needs to pull it together.

Posted by tabletop_joe | October 29, 2007 10:15 AM


Yeah, they should've pulled him off the stage and tased him.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 10:20 AM

Time for another Slog flash poll.

Posted by david in wedgwood | October 29, 2007 10:22 AM

So, let me get this straight ... you're going to switch to a more anti-gay candidate?


Talk about clueless.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 10:22 AM

I've always felt Barack Obama seemed untrustworthy, and with this whole debacle he has lost my vote (unless he becomes the only Democrat on the ticket). Yes, it'd be nice to have a minority president, but not at the expense of another minority. Besides, electing an asshole will serve no one.

Posted by Today I'm Tonya | October 29, 2007 10:32 AM

This is such idiocy. McClurckin is right; he's not a bigot, he's just ignorant.

Because of Dan idiotically repeating John Aravosis's lies, people like @1 are left thinking that he took McClurckin on the campaign tour, which is just FALSE. He appeared at one event.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | October 29, 2007 10:34 AM

this isn't the gays getting thrown under a bus, this is the gays laying themselves down in traffic and screaming about it.

Posted by Jiberish | October 29, 2007 10:36 AM

Obama's been pwned. Sucker.

Posted by MyDogBen | October 29, 2007 10:48 AM

Phelix- thanks.

Posted by Big Sven | October 29, 2007 11:07 AM

Donnie McClurkin is homophobic in the same way that Andrew Sullivan is racist; their views are ignorant and dangerous and they should be called on it. But as long as they're not pushing anti-gay/anti-black public policy, it's foolish to act as though its impossible to find any common ground.

And just as it wouldn't be helpful to start labeling Andrew Sullivan a hateful bigot spewing vitriol on par with David Duke, it's equally stupid to say the same thing about Donnie McClurkin.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | October 29, 2007 11:28 AM

@34 No it's not the same thing. Gay-Americans do not now enjoy civil equality with African-Americans. Sullivan is a member of a marginalized group, McClurkin is not. The playing field is not level. I am activly working against those candidates that associate with Anti-Gay groups and individuals. I'd rather vote Republican, the wolf is not wearing a sheep-skin in such a case.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | October 29, 2007 11:35 AM

Gay-Americans do not now enjoy civil equality with African-Americans.

Oh, really? Gay-Americans are typically raised in poverty, live in bad neighborhoods where the most economically successful deal drugs, forced to go to inadequate schools, and have only Quik-E-Marts to shop at? Lemme know when they write a There Are No Children There about gays, pal. And then I'll concede that gays have it worse off compared to African-Americans.

Posted by gays in the hood | October 29, 2007 11:50 AM

Oh, really? Gay-Americans are typically raised in poverty, live in bad neighborhoods where the most economically successful deal drugs, forced to go to inadequate schools, and have only Quik-E-Marts to shop at?

Well, black ones. Plus they can't get married.

Posted by chauncey | October 29, 2007 11:59 AM


Phelix as you well know the Don't Pursue is the "official policy" but the "Don't Pursue" isn't performed by a large minority of the armed services. This large minority causes the total number of gay people to be discharge per year to exceed exceed the number discharge per year prior to DADT, in every instance with the one exception of the year of 1994.

Furthermore Don't Ask Don't Tell was originally introduced as Don't Ask Don't Tell, it was amended prior to passing as Don't Ask Don't Don't Don't Harass Don't Pursue, yet these minute legal details seem to not be noticed by the vast majority of people, let alone the people who are discharging our soldiers.

Posted by Roland00 | October 29, 2007 12:12 PM

Well, that's bad.

Still give Obama credit for good intent, demerits for execution.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | October 29, 2007 12:21 PM

I'll say it again: don't capitalize "gay."

Posted by Gitai | October 29, 2007 12:22 PM

God, I can't wait until this is over so you all can shut the hell up about it. You're so quick to condemn Obama for daring to have anything to do with McLurkin. You're defining people by their sexual politics, which is bullshit. McClurkin is a singer who happens to be misguided on LGBT issues, big time. If he was a professional bigot, selling-out concerts because of his message of hate and intolerance, than string em up, I'm on board. But Jesus, you guys are so fucking paranoid that you're taking this small deal and proclaiming that you can never vote for Obama? Simply idiotic. Isn't there something better we queers could do with our time than nit-pick and attack our biggest ally in the field of legitimate presidential candidates?

Posted by Ganza | October 29, 2007 12:25 PM

Well, there's also the itsy, bitsy issue that Donnie MccLurkin' may still be fucking men (of course):

'Ex-gay' McClurkin's alleged lover: I was with him after he prayed away the gay

There seems to be a correlation between so-called "ex-gay" and hypocritical insanity that you don't need a PhD in Statistics to understand.

And please, wouldn't John Edwards lose the African American vote if he went on tour with some deranged, psycho-racist?

Posted by Original Andrew | October 29, 2007 12:31 PM

I think the results on stage basically reflected the intent of the Obama campaign, but that they made the mistake of thinking it could be localized. Then they refused to respond to last weeks rising chorus that it looked like a stupid stupid move. Just like Bush, his campaign stuck with their plan for South Carolina, which included McExgay.

Posted by cracked | October 29, 2007 12:32 PM

I'm not even gay but Obama's lost me.
Ex-gay is a ridicuulous idea, I have one in my family and I have never met a more conflicted and miserable person. And yes, my ex-gay is balck and has been driven to this point by people like McClurkin and the rest of the bible- thumping idiots in my family. It's horrible thing and I cannot stand by someone who would perpetrate this type of emotional abouse by giving a platform to such views.

Posted by clarity | October 29, 2007 12:40 PM

Damn! I do know how to spell...I just don't know how to type!

Posted by clarity | October 29, 2007 12:42 PM

Hear, hear, @41.
Dan, you are misrepresenting this issue when you say "Barack Obama hosted an anti-gay rally yesterday featuring a singing ex-gay bigot." That's not true, and anyone who reads the NYT article knows it.
And more to the point- why skewer someone for being inclusive? Can we not tolerate different points of view? Politicians cannot build coalitions if every constituency says "I'm not joining if THEY"RE in here too". It's through building alliances that true leaders show their colors- and isn't someone who can build alliances between disparate groups- whether inside America or in the world- the kind of person we NEED as president? Maybe this is the prime opportunity for Democrats and the gay community to show religious bigots that, hey guess what, gays are good people and we're all working to better this nation.
A good companion article to the Obama event is this weekend's NYT Magazine article "The Evangelical Crackup":

. Check it out.
Posted by grumpypants | October 29, 2007 12:50 PM

@39 What exactly was Obama's "good intent"? He wants to appear "black" so he can get the "black" vote so pandering to a bunch of racist "evangelical black christians" is acceptable? Well then how about he superimpose himself on to that old man's face in that Shirley Temple movie where he teaches her how to tap dance up and down the stairs? Big picture isn't about this being a gay or lesbian issue really, but about Obama getting desperate and that starts to give off a distinctive odor that lingers. Is Obama so desperate for the black vote that we'll soon see him on BET counting down the Top 10 hip hop videos? The whole stunt was just cheap and went against everything he said he was about. Nobody can bring up this "unity" thing and lump in a group albeit a "christian" one that uses the bible to discriminate. It just doesn't fly in a campaign like Obama's. He's lost face. It's really sad that his campaign felt it had not other choices.

Posted by Turner | October 29, 2007 12:59 PM

When I first heard about McClurkin's appearance at an Obama campaign event, I thought, that's not good. Then, all the hysteria, paranoia, and outright lies started piling up. Now, I'm certain that, not only is the McClurkin dust-up no big deal, but that all of this bellyaching is nothing but an internecine squabble. The Gays want the Democratic party for themselves. The Blacks want the Democratic party for themselves. And to hell with common sense or the ultimate objective: to boot the fucking Republicans out of government once and for all.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 1:48 PM


I take back what I said about black voters being involved in this. It seems like black voters accept that they have to share this party. It's some extremely vocal gay voters who still need to learn that lesson.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 2:03 PM

keshmeshi @ 49,

So, are we correct in assuming that you'd be perfectly fine with Obama praising and going on tour with someone who spreads insane, hateful lies about you and your family, and encourages others to promote psychological abuse?

Posted by Original Andrew | October 29, 2007 2:15 PM

@50 Don't expect her to own up to any of it. Remember blacks don't discriminate, they aren't racist, etc... They are the most wonderful, open, welcoming, inclusive ethnic group in America. Right Keshmeshi?

Posted by Turner | October 29, 2007 2:32 PM


He didn't go on tour with McClurkin. In the context of this event, no, I wouldn't give a shit.

Religious people often hate women and want to force us back into the kitchen, but, as long as a candidate supports my rights, I don't give a shit if he or she courts religious votes.

There are plenty of reasons why McClurkin supports Obama, even though Obama supports (most) gay rights. For one thing, Republicans can't be expected to do anything other than piss on African Americans.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 4:01 PM



Also, take your racism and go fuck yourself.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 4:02 PM

@53 Typical behavior Keshmeshi. Deflect instead of dealing with the issue. You can't even admit the racism in your own community. Pathetic.

Posted by Turner | October 29, 2007 4:35 PM

@46, if we are going to tolerate all view points we might as well just give it all up. The whole fucking point of elections and parties is to select some view points above others.

Posted by Giffy | October 29, 2007 4:56 PM

Roland @ 38

Thanks for pointing that out, I forgot that bit. *blush*

Don't Harass is just as important as Don't Pursue, despite the fact that both are frequently forgotten.

It's plain stupid that our military is ousting men and women who want to serve when we're at war. It's biggoted and wrong at any time, but it's stupid when they're trained, useful, talented people who have skills our military needs.

Posted by Phelix | October 29, 2007 5:16 PM


In my community? What community is that exactly?

By the way, I did address your point. I don't believe that African Americans are all wonderful people, pure and unspoiled. Hell. I've been victim of racist attacks from black people.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 29, 2007 5:22 PM

Obama: the best man on Hillary's team...

As usual, politics is a choice between the lessor of the evils.

It's been many many years since we've actually had a "good" choice.

Posted by Tomc | October 30, 2007 6:43 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).