November 02, 2007
Hillary's Donnie McClurkins
Posted by: Chris
One week after the gay blogosphere went ballistic over Barack Obama's ties to an "ex-gay" gospel minister, the Washington Blade has an interesting story about two prominent anti-gay black ministers who Hillary Clinton has embraced as supporters.
[Clinton supporters] said they’re generally unconcerned that anti-gay ministers Bishop Eddie Long and Rev. Harold Mayberry are supporting the campaign.
Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta once marched against gay marriage and hosts an “ex-gay” ministry. Mayberry has preached against homosexuality to his First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland, Calif.
In interviews this week, Wilson and others said they were not concerned that Clinton had accepted a $1,000 donation from Long or that she recently thanked Mayberry for “fighting for civil rights and equality,” because she has not allowed either minister to speak for the campaign.
The Clinton backers tried to draw a distinction between Clinton accepting support from Long and Mayberry and Obama "handing a microphone" to "ex-gay" singer Donnie McClurkin. Actually it was the Obama campaign that picked McClurkin and the candidate chose not to disinvite him, but whatever.
Unlike McClurkin, who is a gospel singer, Bishop Long is an anti-gay leader active in anti-gay poltics, gathering thousands to march in support of Georgia's anti-marriage amendment. Likewise, Mayberry said of gays,
"I'm comfortable in what I believe in. I'm not rejecting people. As God
loves, we love. I don't reject thieves, I reject thievery."
Another blogger, MyDD, has highlighted Clinton's ties to yet another anti-gay black minister, who has a $10,000 "consulting contract" with the Clinton campaign and spoke out in favor of the state's anti-marriage amendment.
There is an even more important distinction. Obama issued a forceful statement and gave a half-dozen interviews drawing sharp disagreements with McClurkin on gay issues. Clinton, on the other hand, has made absolutely no effort to distance herself or "speak our truth" to these anti-gay leaders.
A Clinton spokesperson told the Blade the candidate “has been very clear” she supports gay rights, which is entirely different than making clear the views of Long and Mayberry on gay issues are not the same as her own.
“But in campaigns, you can never expect all your supporters to agree with you 100 percent of the time,” said Jin Chon. “Hillary Clinton is a leader who will bring together people with differing opinions and have an honest and open dialogue to find common ground.”
Where is that "honest and open dialogue"? We saw it with Obama, in a joint letter issued by anti-gay black religious leaders and gay activists. There is no hint of it from the well-oiled Clinton campaign machine.
Brad Luna, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson, said the organization had no plans to issue a statement regarding Clinton’s ties to Long and Mayberry.
He said the Obama campaign’s decision to let an “anti-gay reverend” headline a campaign event was “a unique situation,” but that HRC’s advice to Obama stands for Clinton, fellow candidate Sen. John Edwards and others.
“If it’s Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama or Sen. Edwards or whoever,” he said, “we would encourage them to seek out places to have discussions among their campaign supporters and try to bridge the gap between religious leaders who might not be as good on these issues as we’d like and their GLBT supporters.”
What crap. Can anyone imagine either Clinton or John Edwards having those kinds of discussions among campaign supporters? Meanwhile the only candidate who has, Obama, got its hand slapped by HRC, which as usual is doing the bidding of its pre-selected candidate.
One of the most appealing things about Obama's candidacy is how he doesn't always tell a given audience exactly what it wants to hear. And given his ability to unite and not polarize (the way Clinton does, fairly or unfairly) his candidacy holds a much greater promise for the kind of honest and open dialogue we give so much lip service.
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