Obama recently made a very pointed decision about the LGBT community - that he wouldn't take renowned anti-gay pastor Donnie McClurkin off his gospel tour across the south, despite repeated warnings of McClurkin's feelings about gays, who ended up telling the crowd from Obama's campaign platform that "God delivered" him from homosexuality. Nice. By the way, if you want to know more about the flap, start with this open letter from "pastordan" on Daily Kos, and do a Google or Yahoo news search on "Obama McClurkin anti-gay." Obama made a decision to pander to some in the African American religious community in order to surrender his principled support for equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. So I made a decision too. And I wrote to the Obama campaign telling them my decision. Here is the letter, verbatim:
Dear Sen. Obama:Lest you think this is because I was personally offended as a gay man, you are right. But it wasn't only because of that that I made this decision. I draw the line in the sand when politicians pander to any group and sacrifice their stated goals of equal dignity under law and associate themselves, willingly, with known bigots of any kind, be they racists, sexists or homophobes. This is such a line. Obama has crossed it. Good riddance, Barack Obama.
I am writing you today with a heavy heart. But I am not writing you with a request, or even a demand. I am writing you today to inform you of a decision that I made as a citizen and a voter. I am a proud Democratic activist. I am also gay. I'm 24, and an American of Indian descent. There was a point in time when your message against homophobia in African American churches was inspiring. Painfully, however, that lasted only until your political fortunes gave you wind of another reality: that the rift between the African American religious community and the LGBT community could be exploited for your political gain. You went on tour with Rev. Donnie McClurkin, a known homophobic activist, who declared on YOUR campaign stage, "God delivered me from homosexuality."
This culmination came after you rejected calls from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and proponents of tolerance from all walks of life to take Rev. McClurkin off your campaign tour. I believe your actions to be pure political pandering. You believed that pandering to the homophobia that exists in certain corners of the African American religious community would net you more votes than you would lose in LGBT support from this act. Perhaps that is true, perhaps that is false. But that is NOT right. You choose to open our wounds instead of choosing to bringing us together. Bringing a homophobic person on stage with a gay pastor does not help the situation. If your message was unification and tolerance, you have utterly failed to deliver it. You should have chosen African American religious leaders who rejected homophobia and rejected anyone that espoused it. You did not just offend me politically. You didn't even just offend me. You hurt me. You hurt me at a very personal level. At a time when the California NAACP is fighting in the California state legislature to pass marriage equality into law and standing side by side with the LGBT community, at a time when black religious leaders are denouncing homophobia in increasing numbers, the person you, the most prominent African American politician in the country, chose to headline your gospel tour is not someone who fights on the side of justice but on the side of homophobia.
You say that while you disagree with McClurkin's position, you would not exclude him because many African Americans believe the same as he does. Well, isn't your job as a leader to lead for justice and against those bigotries? That is a pathetic excuse, Senator, and you know it. You are trying to claim that a big tent has to include bigotry, and that is preposterous. And so, I have come to a decision. And that decision is that I cannot vote for you, and not just in the Democratic primary. I cannot vote for you in the general election either - even if you become the Democratic nominee for President. I cannot - I will not - support a candidate who knowingly promotes a homophobic religious figure on his campaign platform.