Obama and Donny McClurkin

I'll be honest. I never heard of Donny McClurkin before reading this:

From the NYT:
As religious conservatives gather in Washington this weekend for the “Values Voters Summit,” Senator Barack Obama’s campaign announced its latest effort to attract people of faith to the campaign: a gospel concert tour.

All three of the dates of the “Embrace the Change” tour are in South Carolina, where Mr. Obama is locked in battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for black voters.

Gospel acts including Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and Hezekiah Walker, Byron Cage and the Mighty Clouds of Joy are scheduled to appear.

“This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level,” Joshua DuBois, the campaign’s religious affairs director, said in a release.
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. Oh, and McClurkin also believes that gays can, and need to, be "cured."

It seems unlikely to me that the Obama campaign was aware of this:

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality," said yesterday he'll perform as scheduled at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, despite controversy over his view that sexuality can be changed by religious intervention. "I can't let off. I didn't call myself -- God called me to do what I do," McClurkin told The Post's Hamil R. Harris. The Grammy winner declared, "If this is a war, we are willing to fight. Not a war of violence, but a war of purpose."

I think it is necessary to make one thing clear - this is not Obama reaching out to those who disagree with him -- this is "Senator Barack Obama’s campaign . . . latest effort to attract people of faith to the campaign: a gospel concert tour." This tour represents Obama and his campaign. The singers his campaign choose for this tour represent him.

Frankly, I think Obama has little choice in what he needs to do here. Mr. McClurkin must be asked to not appear on this tour. Accepting support from Mr. McClurkin, while making clear his views on gays and lesbians are abhorrent, is certainly a potentially acceptable action for Obama.

Allowing him to represent the campaign through this tour is not. To the best of my knowledge, the Obama campaign has not responded to the criticism of including McClurkin in this tour. It needs to. Quickly.

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    if sen. obama's campaign wasn't (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 01:26:14 PM EST
    aware of mr. mcclurkin's history and views, shame on them, they did a poor job of vetting.

    now that it does know, it has a moment of truth to confront: allow him to represent sen. obama, with its implication that the sen. at least is in tacit agreement with his views on homosexuality, or drop his act.

    really, those are the only two viable options.

    I never heard of the guy either (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 01:47:50 PM EST
      but a man who openly describes his own "gay tendencies" would hardly seem to fit the bill of an anti-gay bigot. The links you provide hardly support making him a pariah.

      You might, and Obama might, disagree with his belief that engaging in homosexual behavior is wrong, but that does that disqualify him from being accepted in the Democratic Party?

      Is he teaching hate? Advocating exclusion? No, he seems to be the target not the source of that.


    well decon, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 02:30:10 PM EST
    "the curse of homosexuality," sure doesn't sound particularly open minded. perhaps i just missed something there.

    i never heard of the guy either. however, in fairness, i've never heard of the rest of the performers, gospel isn't one of my favorite genres of music.

    But he is homosexual (none / 0) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 02:35:17 PM EST
      and admits it. That in his personal opinion it is "a curse" does not mean he hates or advocates hate or supports exclusion. Does everyone have to think exactly the same or be shunned?

      "Open-minded" people generally do not shun other people based on extremely cursory information showing a disagreement on an issue. As you are saying Obama must either shun the man or be accused of agreeing with his views, I'd question whether your position is a tactically prudent one from which to throw that stone.

    Gospel concert means church folks (none / 0) (#5)
    by jtmtrini on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 03:50:27 PM EST
    First of all, everyone is naming Donnie McClurkin as anti-Democratic because of his stated views on homosexuality and his beliefs.  Many have stated that Obama's camp needs to drop him from the concert.  Has anyone realized yet that this is a gospel concert?  All of the artists are of the same faith and beliefs.  Primary in that belief is that homosexuality is wrong.  It is the BIGGEST or ONLY thing believed to be wrong?  No of course not. Is it write in line with lies, adultery, stealing and many other things that are wrong but done every day.  So the fact that Obama is having a gospel concert, is to reach out to a broader base of people who ascribe to that faith.  Does this mean that we who do, judge people who do not?  No.  Do I believe that homosexuality is wrong? Yes? Do I judge anyone for it? No. It's none of my business. I certainly wouldn't want someone denying me access to an event because I believe one way or another.  It is simply ridiculous.  To drop McClurkin from the program, because he believes he has been cured from being gay means that Obama must not want any votes from the millions of Christians and other people who believe the same or similar (that homosexuality is wrong).

    Excuse me (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 04:26:08 PM EST
    Are you saying all gospel singers and fans are homophobic bigots?

    Why do you hate people of faith so?


    McCluskin isn't quite the ogre it seems he is (none / 0) (#7)
    by Geekesque on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 05:18:21 PM EST
    For one, he's a sexual abuse victim, so he's going to have some messed up attitudes.  Also:

    "``What I say in the book is simply this: If you're gay, and you're happy, if you don't think you need to change, stay just how you are. But there are some people who are in the gay and bisexual lifestyle that are broken; that's why the suicide rate is so high.''

    Yet he's also critical of church leaders who demonize homosexuals from the pulpit.

    ``You've got the church people who are lambasting and so demeaningly preaching hard against the person and not the sin. You've got the preachers calling them names,'' he says. ``We become harsh and we haven't portrayed the love of Jesus Christ.''


    Still, a certain quote from The Big Lebowski comes to mind . . .

    thanks (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Satya1 on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 07:17:39 PM EST
    Thanks for the link.  I'm not a big gospel follower so was interested to see more of his background.  I also found BTD's second link interesting in that McGlurkin played at the 1992 Dem convention and for Bill Clinton.

    To be clear (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 08:44:05 PM EST
    His homophobic statements POSTDATE his appearance at the 1992 Convention.

    Well (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 05:40:10 PM EST
    Given the other things he has said, I do not see how that fixes the problem.

    Frankly, yet again, Obama's campaign team lets him down.

    They are horrible.


    Yeah, (none / 0) (#9)
    by desertswine on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 05:40:28 PM EST
    "STFU Donnie" -  Walter Lipchak

    McClurkin isn't the only homophobe on this tour (none / 0) (#10)
    by wilson on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 06:35:11 PM EST
    Mary Mary compared their gay fans to murderers and prostitutes in a Vibe interview.


    And we have a response (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 07:50:15 PM EST
    an unacceptable one.

    How could we possibly trust the Obama campaign to operate in a general election when it can't even get stuff like this right?

    mr. mcclurkin is a tad confused, (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 23, 2007 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    regarding the causes of the high rate of suicide among gays. it has little, if anything to do with them being gay, and pretty much everything to do with the way they are treated for being gay.

    if he's so oblivious, or willingly blind-eyed, to such a basic fact, he really has no business opening his mouth on the subject at all, in public.

    as for the rest of the scheduled performers, again, i don't know them. but, if they have the same issues, sen. obama would be wise to drop them.

    a big black eye for his campaign manager.

    Grow Up, and practice what you preach! (none / 0) (#15)
    by mysistagirl on Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 03:53:12 AM EST
    The reaction to this concert and the billing of Donnie McClurkin by the gay and lesbian lobby is completely hypocritical and plain outrageous.  

    This is a gospel concert, and signing up one of the greatest gospel talents in the known universe is a good thing for the cause.  And the cause, in case ya'll didn't know it, is to reach out to the faith community in gospel song.  It is not to address gay and lesbian issues.  Mr. McClurkin's views on gay and lesbians have nothing what so ever to do with his musical talent and stature.  

    If a company was hiring electrical engineers, and one of the most qualified applicants was gay, should they be disqualified because of that?  Of course not.  They should be judged on the merits as it applies to the job for which they are being sought, and this is exactly what the gay and lesbian community is constantly harping about.  Yet, in this instance you are asking the Obama camp to engage in the same kind of discriminatory practice that you yourselves abhor.  Shame on you.  

    Mr. McClurkin is an extremely accomplished gospel singer, extremely popular in the faith community and very, very much so in the African American community of faith.  For the Obama camp to diss this artist at the behest of the hypocritical gay and lesbian community, is to do serious damage to his constituency in the AA community and the community of faith.  The gay and lesbian community DOES NOT OWN the democratic party and your interests are not the only ones that matter, especially when they require a candidate to diss other important constituents.  

    Grow up, and stop acting like spoiled brats!!

    Wake Up (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 11:32:48 AM EST
    This is a gospel concert.....
    Wrong, This is an Obama fundraising event. McClurkin is representing Obama, and anything Obama does and anyone Obama aligns with is reflective of Obama.

    However great McClurkin is, and however much he loves his music,  Obama f'ed by including him because this is not about music but what Obama stands for.

    Fascism and the politics of anti-christian bigots (none / 0) (#17)
    by homonomore on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 09:24:29 AM EST
    When fascism comes to America it will be carrying a pink swastika wrapped in a rainbow flag.  (And they will still be wearing those brown shirts)

    What Dick Cheney said (none / 0) (#18)
    by Spamlet on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 10:52:13 AM EST
    to Patrick Leahy.