Alex Blaze

Obama/McClurkin flap miscellany

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 30, 2007 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, ex-gay, Matt Comer, Sherri Sheppard

  • The editor of the local Carolinas queer publication Q-Notes, Matt Comer, is saying that the Obama campaign lied to him about what McClurkin would be doing at the rally this Sunday:

    In my role as a member of the media, I was able to speak to the Senator’s Columbia press spokesman before the concert took place. I was told, “McClurkin is there to sing and offer praise, not to talk about politics.”

    Knowing now that McClurkin did much more than just sing and offer praise, I am upset. I am angry. [...]

    While Mr. McClurkin’s views are certainly tame when compared to other ex-gay leaders’ and activists’ teachings, I am still hurt that he would abuse the platform he was given during the concert, a platform that was offered for him to sing and to offer praise only.

    A part of me says that there was no way Mr. McClurkin could have been controlled once a microphone was in his hand. However, another part of me says that if he had indeed been told very plainly the parameters of what he could and couldn’t do on stage, then cutting his microphone should have been neither a difficult decision by those running the event, nor should it have come as a surprise to Mr. McClurkin.

A lot more after the jump.

  • Project friend Kevin Erickson points us to video on CNN of McClurkin speaking this weekend. He says:

    This is not some anti-gay rabble-rousing, I wouldn't even call it preaching about homosexuality. this is just a guy who feels like he's been misrepresented, trying to defend himself, and clarify what he actually believes. Watch the video, and tell me what you think. Watch the video, and tell me if you would honestly describe that as "gay bashing".

    (Also watch the video because it's funny. Dude is so obviously gay.)

  • The Obama camp is proving that they still just don't get it. From the Washington Post:

    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.

    The next paragraph then stated "OBAMA DOES NOT AGREE WITH MCCLURKIN'S VIEWS ON GAYS."

    Because, of course, the option to change one's sexuality should be open to those who aren't happy with their sexuality. And a presidential candidate needs to lend credibility to the idea that unhappy gays should just turn straight. He can say he doesn't agree with it all he wants, he's reinforcing the idea that homosexuality itself makes people unhappy when he uses it to prove that McClurkin's statements are all that bad.

    Maybe if Team Obama didn't want to lend credibility to McClurkin's views, they shouldn't put them in all caps in a memo to the press.

    I'm just wondering what we can expect from Obama when it comes to the gays. I'm not going to sit around and try to be his favorite child, but putting together an outreach concert with a Grammy winner and shooting yourself in the foot with another constituency is pretty far out of the way to go to try to curry favor with Black evangelicals in South Carolina. Are we going to see a Madonna concert in the West Village soon with the words to Like a Prayer changed to support his "honest conversation" on Social Security? Or is it going to be the same old, Don't worry, I support everything you want only to hear after he's in office that his pragmatic approach to coalitional politics requires a DOMA in exchange for lifting the ban on gays in the military, but then that ban won't exactly be lifted.... Well, you get the picture.

    But I think that's the big question that the Obama campaign needs to address, especially considering the understandable distrust many LGBT people have for the mixing of church and state.

  • The View discusses McClurkin:

    So Sherri Sheppard believe what anyone tells her on the subject, whether it's contradictory or not. Then again, she's the Viewer who didn't know if the Earth was round, so she wasn't picked to be the brainy one on that show.

  • It's hard to tell what John Aravosis is trying to do with this fiasco. He seems to be more "offended" than anyone I've heard from on this, far, far more offended. I'm guessing he's trying to gain back some gay cred after supporting the ENDA split or he's trying to support Hillary. Or he has another issue with the Obama campaign.

    I don't really know, but I'm sure that "Bigots for Obama" T-shirts aren't justified.

  • Obama danced with Ellen. Video of that here. Bonus awkward Wolf Blitzer joke in that video!

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I don't see what's wrong with that memo from the Obama campaign. It clarifies what McClurkin believes (which had been widely misreported) and then contrasts it with what Obama himself believes.

Aravosis is just being opportunistic, trying to get on CNN.

That's a naive thing to say, Kevin. To acknowledge that God delivered him from homosexuality implies that it is this God's plan to have homosexuals change. Furthermore, these are the aides' words, which don't carry the same value. Even if this "ex-gay" indeed asserted this, it means nothing in the eyes of the black community. Just like individuals guilty can be happy with their sinful lifestyle, the same can be applied to gays as a loophole in this community's eyes. They are deviating from God's plan, therefore they will go to Hell, which enables them to look down at us.

I also don't understand why you try so hard to excuse their moral ambivalence with homosexuality. To call homosexuality a sin is an act of condescension, since they don't see heterosexuality as the same. Subtle condescension is still responsible for fomenting opposition to LGBT acceptance. Unless they face the reality that they can't hold a target group's legal equality hostage just because it doesn't fit with their irrational worldview, they will continue to work against us.

I also remember you mentioning how they vote Democrat either way, so it shouldn't be an issue. It SHOULD be an issue because as soon as Republicans smarten up, they will court the black vote; and coupled with their anti-gay stances, the Republicans will have no trouble doing so.

Lucrece, i'm not claiming that the views expressed in the memo are benign, but that mcclurkin's views had been widely misrepresented, and that needed clearing up.


I don't think that black people will en masse switch to Republicans with a few anti-gay stances. The GOP has been anti-gay for all these years, and that hasn't happened.

It might also be hard to present policies that black people find appealing and maintain the bulk of the Republican votership - the Rush Limbaugh constituency. Republicans always say things like that - if only black/gays/jews/women voted for us more instead of Democrats... as if those people will switch parties without policy changes.


You're right, his words were misrepresented from before, but Obama's staff is making a distinction between trying to change the gays and trying to change only the unhappy gays. They're implying that the latter position is more benign than the former. It shows not just a lack of understanding of spirit violence against LGBT people as well as the fact that no one gay was consulted for that memo, but it's also pretty much the Exodus International position on the matter (we're only trying to help those gays that are unhappy with their sexuality).

He said he disagreed, but he's definitely implying that there's a distinction there worth noticing because one position is manifestly better than the other, which it's not.

Not saying he's homophobic (well, any more than we all are), just that he doesn't get it and doesn't really seem to be trying. Like Andrew Sullivan on race issues, since that was an analogy you used earlier. (I'd also throw in Andrew Sullivan on sexuality issues, but that'd just be mean.)

McClurkin does not belong on the campaign stage of a progressive Democratic presidential candidate unless he is willing to say that full equality is justice, & he concedes the necessity of this justice. McClurkin's message is that homsexuality is a sinful condition & that he has been delivered from its sinfulness. The form of personal deliverance is something of a mystery - one suspects is it self-imposed celibacy. This is not justice. There can be no transcendent or utopian reconciliation on human rights via this belief. If Donnie is political, his politics are suited to Republicans.

Kevin Erickson states: "Watch the video, and tell me what you think. Watch the video, and tell me if you would honestly describe that as "gay bashing". [sic]

I’ve seen the video, and I will/can honestly describe part of it as gay bashing. Kevin, gay "bashing" can be subtle. Even if the person doing does not realize he's doing it, or had absolutely no intention of doing it, it's still bashing. I understand that "bash" is a hard word. But let's think about what he said at the very end of the video and be even a little more honest.

He states that when someone accepts Christ as his Savior all bad things, past things negative, one is delivered from, they go away. He had just mentioned his deliverance from homosexuality (I find that hilarious, too, because the whole performance betrays he's still a little light in his Jesus sandals), so he is continuing his thought process when he goes on to say that it was THEN THAT HE BECAME A CHRISTIAN, was brought into his Savior's grace, or whatever. He is just shy of literally stating that one can't be gay (as he was BEFORE NOW) and be a Christian.

Accept God, he'll take away your faggotry, forgive you, and let you into the Christian Club (I'm gay and a member but don’t' tell Donnie that). McClurkin may not really believe that; I'm willing to concede that -- but that is what he implied heavily in those last remarks.

Donnie did not say that this idea only applied to his personal way to God. He was preaching. Preaching means he's telling people how it is for everyone, et cetera.

If confronted with this fact, that he did commit an act of bashing (he may have been already; don't know), I'm sure he'll use some slick, circumlocutorily scriptural way of explaining how he didn't say that. First he'll deny it, and then grab that big book and start a quotin’ to explain what he did mean (never mind that he didn't do that while he was on the stage). The Bible's good like that -- it's got anything one needs in it to help one lie effectively, coming out smelling like Febreeze wafting through a baptistery.

To say to people in general and to gays in particular that one can't be gay and Christian is a form of spiritual violence --- and yes, that is bashing. For one, it gives literal bashers a whole lot more justification for that last fatal punch (or can of lighter fluid) when they're beating up "just a fag" (hey, even God rejects the way he is; he's not only a pervert; he's a heathen, too).

So, with all due respect, Kevin, you're dead wrong on this one. I've been an Obama supporter up until now, but the way he's handled the aftermath of the "Donnie Debacle" has been so intellectually and politically disingenuous(i.e., Obama lies) that I cannot now conceive of voting for the man.

The third paragraph in my previous post should have read a bit differently; I posted before I edited (not a good procedure, lol):

"He states that when someone accepts Christ as his Savior all bad things, past things negative, one is delivered from, they go away. He had just mentioned his deliverance from homosexuality (I find that hilarious, too, because the whole performance betrays he's still a little light in his Jesus sandals), so he is just shy of literally stating that one can't be gay and be a Christian."