Washington Post staff writers Krissah Thompson and Hamil Harris have penned a piece on the lack of outcry from socially conservative African-Americans regarding president Obama and the Department of Justice's decision not to defend DOMA in court. Could this also be the beginning of a shift in the attitudes of African-Americans towards same-sex marriage now that two family oriented Black men, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, are leading the way towards eradicating the discriminatory law?
The Washington Post reports:
Rev. Anthony Evans, a minister who heads the National Black Church Initiative, had a strong negative reaction to the announcement that Obama no longer believes the Defense of Marriage Act, called DOMA, is constitutional. After Obama told Attorney General Eric Holder to stop defending it, the minister put out a statement condemning the decision.
"The president has harmed himself on this issue," he said. "He has openly offended the black church, and he didn't need to do it." But Evans plans to continue to support Obama on other issues, such as preventing a rollback of health care reform.
Rev. Henry P. Davis, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover, was lukewarm on the issue, saying the issue of gay rights doesn't resonate with his parishioners. "I know that there is a great wrestling nationally around this issue, but [here] people are still mainly concerned about their everyday economic existence, those issues are much larger," Davis said.
An open question, said J. Kameron Carter, an associate professor in theology and black church studies, is whether Obama's shifting policy on same-sex marriage will impact black attitudes on the issue. "The fact that these initiatives are coming from the government - and not just that - from Obama and Holder, two African American family men, is going to generate conversation among African Americans," Carter said. "This can open a very fruitful and interesting dialogue."
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, which advocates for gay rights, praised Obama's decision, saying it makes clear "there is not just one moral authority in the black community."
The lack of fiery condemnation regarding Obama's decision from black evangelicals is promising, but the belief that gay rights are not civil rights, paired with the exclusion of black gays and lesbians by our own when discussing gay issues is beyond troubling.
See Here and Here.
h/t Son of Baldwin