An association of African-American pastors has condemned Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the organizers of the Martin Luther King 50th Anniversary Memorial concert for disinviting a New Jersey gospel singer and pastor from the concert because he is a reformed homosexual and an outspoken advocate for marriage between a man and a woman.
“It is appalling and embarrassing that Mayor Gray and others would discriminate against someone who holds traditional views that break from some in the current black leadership, especially for an event marking the legacy of Martin Luther King,” said Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP).
Owens organized students during the civil rights movement and marched with King.
The Christian Post reported Monday that Donnie McClurkin, an internationally celebrated gospel recording artist and a pastor, claimed he was dropped from the MLK Memorial concert on August 10th because Gray caved to the demands of gay rights activists. McClurkin had announced previously that God delivered him from the “sin of homosexuality” and that people with unwanted same-sex attractions can reform.
According to the Post, McClurkin said that he had received a phone call while on his way to the airport the night before the event and was told that he was “not welcomed and uninvited,” according to the organizers who had reportedly spoken to Gray’s office.
Gray’s office countered, however, claiming that it was McClurkin who decided not to perform at the event, entitled “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King.”
“The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together,” Gray’s spokesman Doxie McCoy told The Washington Post. “Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.”
In an interview with Breitbart News, however, Rev. Owens referred to Gray’s decision as “discrimination and persecution of Christians.”
“I marched with Dr. King; I knew what it was about,” said Owens. “King fought against discrimination, yet his so-called followers are practicing it.”
Owens said the black community “knows that our civil rights were won through a strong faith in God, and most still believe that the truths of our faith say that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
“We respect homosexuals, we respect the law,” Owens said, “but Gray and the others are discriminating against a man because he has transformed his lifestyle of homosexuality by disqualifying him from participating in a concert that celebrates a man who fought against this same type of intolerance.”
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Owens continued. “This is what I was afraid would happen when our president endorsed same-sex marriage.”
Owens said that President Obama’s announcement of support for same-sex marriage was a turning point for him.
“Obama is the most powerful man in the country, and he sent a signal that same-sex marriage is okay. Well, we don’t think it’s right, and that day was the day the dynamics changed,” he asserted.
Asked if some in the black community are merely following along after President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage, Owens responded, “Some people don’t think for themselves. But even though we are respectful of homosexuals, we believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and now they are going to be indicting ministers who won’t perform same-sex marriages.”
Owens states that he and his organization are also staunchly pro-life. He disagrees with President Obama’s support of abortion.
“Abortion is actually murder,” Owens said. “How many future Martin Luther Kings or doctors have we killed because of abortion?” he asked.
Owens told Breitbart News that he himself has lived by what he believes. He and his wife raised six of their own children and two others who were adopted after their mother agreed not to abort them and, instead, accepted the Owens’ offer to take them into their own family.
“We now have these two lovely adopted children – they are the joy of our life,” said Owens. “If young girls knew there were people who would adopt their babies and give them a loving home, we would have a lot less abortion.”
Owens said he believes that his organization and the movement in the black community to speak out about traditional marriage and pro-life culture are gaining momentum.
“Many black leaders and our white friends never thought this would happen,” he said. “I hope more people join us. We are very disappointed that it has gone this far, and what is happening. The president was elected as a result of the civil rights movement against discrimination. And, now, we are challenging him on same-sex marriage and abortion. This is persecution and discrimination against Christians.”