The rubber may be meeting the road in the relationship Barack Obama has with African-Americans who are believing Christians.
The Coalition of African American Pastors, fed up with Obama’s anti-Biblical stance on gay marriage, is demanding a meeting with Obama — and so far, they’re getting nowhere. The Reverend Bill Owens, spokesman for the group, said:
We have requested a meeting with President Obama and until he meets with us, we are going to ask black Christians to withhold their support until he personally hears our concerns. More than anything, this is an issue of biblical principles and President Obama is carrying our nation down a dangerous road. Many African-Americans were once proud of our president but now many are ashamed of his actions. We can’t compete with the Hollywood folks who are raising the big bucks for the president. But it was black folks who rallied around him in 2008 and for him to ignore our request with a group of clergy who represents tens of thousands of black Christians of many denominations is an insult. Let me be clear about this; our group does not speak for any denomination – not the AME (African Methodist Episcopal Church) nor COGIC (Church of God In Christ) or anyone else. But many of our pastors represent a number of African-American Christians who are tired of being taken for granted. One foolish move could ruin the president’s chances for a second term and I believe he is dangerously close to making such a mistake by ignoring us. You have to stand on the Word of God regardless of your race or political affiliation. If the president is serious about his faith then why would he not meet with men of faith of his own race?”
Leaders of the Coalition have said that they will encourage their members to refrain from voting if Obama doesn’t respond. This action by the Coalition comes just after Michelle Obama addressed the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference in Nashville, where she said:
So I want you to talk to your friends and your family, your neighbors. Talk to them. Talk to folks in the beauty salons, the barber shops, the parking lot at church. Tell them what’s happening on the city council and out in Washington. Let them know. Find that nephew who has never voted – get him registered.
The AME church defiantly responded to Owens and the Coalition by defending themselves:
As a denomination, we do not endorse candidates for any political office. As such, we cannot ‘withdraw’ support from President Obama because we cannot endorse any candidate for political office and did not endorse the president. We call upon each of our congregants to become registered and vote on Election Day and urge all of our churches to conduct voter registration drives.
Bishop John R. Bryant, senior bishop of the AME Church, said, “We shall continue to advocate for the well-being of all humankind, so that they can freely hear the liberating Gospel of Jesus the Christ.”
Apparently Reverend Owens sees issues through the prism of traditional Christianity; but Obama’s hardline post-Christian views are tolerated by Bryant. The conflict within the black community over Obama’s gay marriage stance is just beginning.