Obama, the Gospel Singer and Gays: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted October 22, 2007 4:49 PM
The Swamp

by Mike Dorning, and updated

A Gospel concert tour that the Barack Obama campaign has organized for this weekend is stirring controversy among some gay activists.


Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Donnie McClurkin, who has offended gay rights groups by promoting the view that homosexuality is a choice and that gays can be "cured," is among several gospel singers scheduled to campaign on behalf of Obama in South Carolina. McClurkin is one of the singers featured in the tour's finale on Sunday.

McClurkin, who is also a Pentecostal minister, has said he struggled with homosexual "demons" for 20 years--which he attributes to molestation as a child by male relatives--but is now straight.

McClurkin's involvement in the tour has stirred a flurry of heated commentary on the web from gay activists and liberal bloggers.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Monday evening that the campaign has no plans to drop McClurkin from the concert series, though Obama did issue a written statement late Monday distancing himself from McClurkin's views on homosexuality.

“I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country," Obama said in the written statement.

"I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin’s views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division," the statement added.

(Tribune file photo)

The Huffington Post's Earl Ofari Hutchinson helped stoke the controversy on the web with a post that argues featuring McClurkin in a campaign-backed concert series amounts to an "ala Bush pander to anti-gay mania" that he calls "shameless and reprehensible."

Ameriblog's John Aravosis lambasted Obama: "Yes, sucking up to anti-gay bigots and joining them on stage - no, giving them a stage - is certainly defying conventional wisdom as to how a Democrat becomes president."

Open Left's Matt Stoller accused Obama of "hanging out with ex-gays crusading against the 'curse of homosexuality', further cementing his strong record of giving no one any reason to vote for him."

The gay-oriented blog Towleroad also has taken up the controversy, saying it "surely looks to be a huge misstep in terms of his LGBT support."

The Gospel music tour through South Carolina culminates a "Forty Days of Faith and Family" initiative in which the Obama campaign has highlighted the role of faith in the candidate's politics. African-American church-goers are an important voting segment in the state's Democratic primary, a crucial early contest in the presidential campaign.

One gay activist involved with the Obama campaign said the situation puts the candidate in a bind, since he risks offending evangelicals in South Carolina if he cancels McClurkin's appearance but could alienate gay supporters if the performance proceeds as planned.

“This story is quickly turning into a disaster for Barack,” said the supporter who is active on gay and lesbian issues. “He’s screwed if he goes through with the trip with Donnie McClurkin….But he's also screwed in South Carolina if he dumps McClurkin. I hope that the staffer who set this up has already been fired.”

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After The Swamp ensures that "aruging" is has not nested in its spell-checker as a correct spelling, it might ask McClurkin why he's willing to campaign for Obama despite Obama's expressed hopes for tolerance and inclusiveness.

Suuuuuure Donnie McClurkin is "straight." And Santa Claus exists, too. I don't know the man but I doubt his "demons" have left him after 20 years. If you're straight, ask yourself: Could you "psyche" yourself into becoming gay? Sexuality is an orientation, not a choice.

Its about the music. Keep the peoples personal issues to themselves. This has nothing to do with the campaign. Political grandstanding from the hyper homos.

I'm appalled with the Senator for having anything to do with this guy.




“He’s screwed if he goes through with the trip with Donnie McClurkin…

Prance a couple of cute boys in front of him....he's as straight as the sky is green.

Gay people condone hating Reverend McClurkin? What happened to the 1st Amendment?

I never thought gays people are this hateful.


Cap key. Apply directly to the fingertip.

Once again, White people telling Black folk how to live, what company they an keep..

All I can say is the 'pink bucks' will start heading away from Barack unless he finds a way to thread this needle better than he has so far.

I had considered Obama a viable Democratic Presidential Candidate. But no more. Obama is pandering to discrimination and bigotry. Obama had an opportunity to garner support from the gay and lesbian community but forget about that now.

On second thought off with McClurkin's head. He's bad for business.

I just want to put in my support for Senator Barack Obama. It is hypocritical of the far-left community to make such a noise about Donnie McClurkin, when they love to lambaste the Bush Administration and Republicans as the new "thought police." That attack is at times warranted, which makes it even more important that we are not hypocritical. I hope Senator Obama will keep the wonderful Donnie McClurkin on and use it to show how he will bring people together. That you don't need to agree on everything to work with someone.

Donnie has said nothing objectionable...he has only talked about that which is personal to him. Donnie has actually spoken about how he is pro-gay rights, recognizing that even though, in his mind, they are leading a lifestyle that is optional. Which of course, it ultimately is, just as a heterosexual does not have to engage in heterosexual acts, but that they are people and that a homosexual should not have to die without his/her loved one because they can't get into the visiting room, etc. To shut up a person about his faith is not the Democratic way to proceed.

I know Barack Obama will stand up for the free expression of views. If the homosexual community wastes their fire on someone who is not saying anything reprehensible, when those of us who are pro-gay rights (including myself) will not be paid attention to when a real crisis occurs.

Thank you Senator Obama for trying to create an America where all legitimate viewpoints are respected.

I think that Obama is right to use persuasion rather than shunning to address homophobia in the black community. He's been very outspoken on this issue, and will continue to be whether or not he persuades McCurkin to change or at least moderate his extreme views.

Oh Jeeeez!
Barack "Hussein" Obama is Guilty of making shady land deals with,indicted political fundraiser,Tony Rezko....

Barack takes decades to pay his old parking tickets from college...

Barack stumps on the Senate floor for a company he owns stock in...

And now he wants to tour around with a man that bashes our gay brothers and sisters....??????

Well...he's only 30% behind in national polls to Hillary...maybe he wants to try for 35%..?


Oh come now, Harry C. I never even heard of this McClurkin, but he is entitled to his view. Try to take the mature point of view, Harry C, which is as the song goes "we shall overcome someday." Does that not apply to everybody? To GLBT? straight people? homophobes? Everybody can stand a little getting beyond themselves. Maybe McC is addressing those homosexual people who do not want to live a homosexual lifestyle, and may see a way out in his message -if ever so slight. I trust that the Obama campaign will be enriched by this person's performance, that everyone who attends will feel blessed, and come to the reality that if Black people can bless an adulterous, promiscuous, slick heterosexual and dub him the first "first Black President," they can surely embrace a man who accepts support from a critic of gays.

Obama, do as you feel because it not like you are gone to win.

Rev McClurkin must not be very bright if he can't see the similarities between his hating gay people and the people who hate black people (him).

Do the right thing Senator Obama, dump this idiot.

Hillary been endorsed by Rev. Harold Mayberry, who's "preached against homosexuality."( http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/03/14/MNGJB5KB9N1.DTL) And the Gay Community is quiet about that and now they are jumping in on Obama...can someone explain to me the reasoning behind gay community kissing up to the Clintons regardless all their antigay policies but Obama is their for them to bash...please stop the double standard

What woman wants a homosexual man that has willed himself to be a heterosexual?


Posted by: Paulo | October 22, 2007 9:10 PM

Hey Einstein, You come on here bashing Obama because his middle name is Hussien and then you talk about loving your gay brothers and sisters?

You're no better than Rev McClure, you clown

Take your racist butt somewhere else you rightwing lunatic

Most human behavior is as much a result of the environment as a legacy of our genes. It may be argued that being gay can be as much a product of nature as well as nurture.
Tolerance should lead us to accept the fact that Mr. Donnie McClurkin's personal life experience may have led him to firmly believe in the nurture rationale. Others may be intimately convinced, based on their own circumstances that, on the contrary, nature is the explanation. And so what? Mr. McClurkin's is entitled to his opinions as long as they are not forced onto others. We are free to listen or not to listen to this or any other opinion to the contrary. Let's just agree to live and let live...

I second the comments of Stan. There has not been a peep from the gay community on Hillary's endorsement by anti-gay black ministers. This is a terrible double standard. Hillary never has had the guts to say the word "gay" in any speech she ever gave to a broad audience; she saves it for fundraisers to gay civil rights group. In Obama's first speech to a national audience, when no one would have demanded that he address the point, he did anyway on his own, because that's where his heart is. He famously said, "We have gay friends in the Red states," trying to get everyone to see the humanity in others.

When we start judging candidates by the personal views of people who just get up on stage on sing for them, we've really lost our way.

McClurkin isn't running for President, Barack is. Barack isn't buying McClurkin's views on homosexuality, he's buying his star power and his appeal to an audience.

Most gay people know that homosexuality is shunned in the black culture. When people talk about a "big tent," it doesn't mean that everything is rosy in the tent. Lots of republicans can't stand evangelicals, but somehow consistently manage to unite behind one candidate -- they'll do it again in 2008.

I'm gay, I think McClurkin is a great singer but kind of a kook, and Barack's statement is good enough for me. No, I don't speak for any other gay person, just me.

Doesn't a person has a right in this country to agree not to disagree and yet continue to be freands? Then why is it so wrong if Barack Obama work together with Rev McClurkin besides their deffence in opinion? Is this not what Barack Obama is trying to do- to bring the country together - Gays or straight, Black or white? Infact this show great streangth in regards to obamas ability to work with all people. So hashhh!! stop the division and unite under those common principles that we agree on. Go Obama!

This is so sad.......just so sad....Some people would say anything to get elected.....I do not believe that people should be denied their constitutional rights no matter what they believe....However, I absolutely agree with pastor Donnie McClurkin...He's a gift from God....The Lord Jesus Christ has touched this man and made him whole. Folks who talk about homosexuality being an orientation are blind.....When school teachers molest children, is that an orientation now? What about men who have sex with kids? Is that an orientation? NO!!!!!!!! It's sin just like homosexuality is SIN!!!!! It's amazing how folks cannot seem to understand how nasty homosexuality is.....it's nasty and dirty...it's sin!!!! Just like adultery and fornication....sin,,,,got it now? So, hetersexuals are living in sexual immorality too. The only right sex is between a man and a woman in holy matrimony....Got it now? If you don't, then read the Word of God....

Pastor Donnie McClurklin is right, and senator Barack Obama is wrong.....He got the nerve to agree with teachers reading about gay men to second graders........What a waste of human genius....Barak Obama should just "stop it!!"

They are really spinning this out of control. It is not like Obama is out gay-bashing and this tour is not about gaybashing.
Obama is just trying to hold a gospel concert for all. I know gay people that actually listens to MCClurkin. This is just a way to sabotage his campaign. Let us not fall into the trap. Plus he is seeking the POTUS for us all gays, christians, Mcclurkin, all of the US citizens.

Willed himself?

Last time I checked, Heterosexuals were called straight. That's because homosexuals are not straight. They're bent. I's a deviant lifestyle that you people are trying to impose on us. You're the invaders.

If a man can even will himself out of such a lifestyle, I would marry him.

Donnie will draw a greater crowd to the polls than any single gay person or group. Smart gays and others know that Obama can't afford to be a single issue candidate. This nonsense is being planted by the Clinton camp.

Sarah, you have been the victim of right-wing homophobic preachers who have tried to fan the flames of paranoia (be careful! The gay boogeyman is gonna getcha! You'll find yourself in bed with a lesbian if you so much as listen to these people!) It's utter nonsense.

No gay person is trying to "will" their lifestyle on you. On the contrary: They are trying to keep heterosexuals from willing THEIR "lifestyle" on them. (And I'm very skeptical of calling it a lifestyle. It's an orientation. Could you choose to be homosexual? And spend a lifetime doing it? It would drive you insane if you're not attracted to women.)

Homosexuals are not mentally ill. There's nothing wrong with them, any more than there's something "wrong" with a person who's left-handed.

The fact that their orientation offends some people does not, by definition, make it sick.

Gays are not going to rope you into bed with them. Don't listen to your fear. Or anyone else's.

This is a self inflicted blow that the Obama campaign could have easily avoided. I'm still not sure this guy is ready for prime time.

McClurkin is only one step removed from Fred Phelps. He has publicly stated he's at 'war' with gays. Not too compassionate if you ask me.

This issue is only going to get bigger.

So Obama has to agree with every opinion of every singer in the choir, or else refuse to let them sing at his campaign stops? This manufactured controversy is ridiculous.

It is not Gay ACTIVISTS that "upset" it is Gay American CITIZENS.

Actually is not Gay American CITIZENS, it is American Citizens for Sexual Equality - both Gay and Straight - that are upset.

Using terms like Gay Activist is part of the conservative media's way to minimize progressive beliefs.

The activists respond to citizens - this is a grassroots issues for gay and straight people who believe in sexual equality and freedom - and who speak out against the ignorance that this "preacher" is spewing.

Laghable and yet very sad - I wonder if Mr. McClurkin can change the fact that he is black.

My first instinct is to say that Obama should dump McClurkin, since the latter's views are so opposite the former's. And I do find McClurkin's views to be pretty repellent (and transparent -- yeah, he's TOTALLY straight... whatever).

However, I do have to hand it to Obama for not knuckling into pressure to dump someone based on their personal views. He is obviously connected with this guy on some level, and I have to respect that he feels his friendship or the man's talent is more important than a position on which they disagree.

If he turned around and dumped McClurkin because of backlash, wouldn't other people bash him for being putty in the people's hands?

And if Senator Obama were touring with a Republican, trying to unite the country, the same thing could be said, since they all hate gays, too. Sometimes you have to associate with those you disagree with.

why can't we all just get along?

I find it reprehensible that we always have to be tip toeing around the gay community. Donnie Mcclurkin has never once said that he hates gay people, what he has done is shared his experiences which are very real. As long as someone does not agree with the gay lifestyle their dubbed as haters. Mcc is living proof that you do not have to accept the evils that was done to you by calling it a lifestyle or an orientation because all of these can be changed if one wants to badly enough. Choice.

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