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The last presidential election campaign was a major factor in my finding and joining Atheist Nexus.  All that religiosity, christian posturing, fake and real prayer, bigotry, on the news constantly.


When the vote went to Obama, I literally cried.  I have not cried about any political event in my lifetime, before or since.  Those tears were bittersweet - the end of the Bush era, no nasty McCain and no dumbass religious nut Palin in the White House, a man elected president who was actually highly intelligent and thoughtful, the man elected president was against the senseless war overseas, a Black man elected president of the USA - relief, joy, vindication.  At the same time, almost the same moment, the bitter realization of the California vote to strip LGBT people of a right the state had recently recognized, for LGBT people to be as equal as federal law would allow, and marry.  The knowledge that the Mr. Obama had thrown LGBT people under the bus, in his rhetoric about "one man one woman", was hard to take.  So was the knowledge of the Black vote having a crucial role in slamming LGBT rights in California.


Of course, it's more complicated than that.  There is no monolithic "Black vote".  I say that advisedly,  because when it comes to this president vs. Mr. Romney, roughly 95% of the Black people polled prefer Mr. Obama.  Mr. Obama is a master politician.  While I can't read his mind, I think he decided he had to throw us - me -under the rhetorical bus, to win what was going to be a tight and historic election.  His words were used to California's bigoted Measure 8.  Now, 4 years later, what's happened? 


DADT is dead.  Remember, DADT was a gift from President Clinton and the Democrats, not Reagan/Bush.  Some states have LGBT Marriage.  The Democratic party and the President support LGBT equality, in the form of Marriage equality.  There has been more movement on LGBT rights, than in my own lifetime - and I'm so old I remember when Fred Flintstone was a child star.  Mr. Obama "evolved" - thank you Darwin, for evolution.  My intuition tells me it's the president's rhetoric that evolved, not his mind, but I'll take what I can get.  


What will happen, this time around, to "The Black Vote"?  There's a lot of speculation.  There is discussion about Black voters sitting out the election - given the choice between voting for a Black president who supports LGBT equality, vs. a silver-spoon-born, ultrarich, thoroughly disliked, and Mormon "cultist" aristocrat, who sold out local workers, and who apparently disdains the Black community, the argument is to give up long-fought hard-won, incomplete, civil rights and sit out the election.  Is the Black Church Misapplying its Power?  Imagine - some preachers so hate LGBT people, including their own parishoners, that they want to throw their own congregations under the bus.


NYDaily News:  Some pastors tell black flocks not to vote:  Yet, Bryant last month told The Washington Informer, an African-American newsweekly, "This is the first time in black church history that I'm aware of that black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote.


From the first linked article:  "  Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network, pointed out that during the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s, most black church leaders sat back or criticized as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists risked their lives out on the limb reaching for more important community fruit."    Also, "The Rev. Timothy McDonald, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, said that churches had abandoned discussions about “the sin of poverty” in favor of the prosperity gospel.  Just like the catholic Church, funneling efforts into it's antigay agenda while children starve elsewhere in the world.




The Rev. Dwight McKissic, a prominent Southern Baptist and black preacher, describes himself as a political independent who didn't support Obama in 2008 because of his position on social issues. McKissic said Obama's support for same-gender marriage "betrayed the Bible and the black church." Around the same time, McKissic was researching Mormonism for a sermon and decided to propose a resolution to the annual Southern Baptist Convention that would have condemned Mormon "racist teachings."

McKissic's Mormon resolution failed.

On Election Day, McKissic said, "I plan to go fishing."


From "The Root" - gay marriage won't stop Black voters.  "North Carolinians voted to ban gay marriage just a few days before the president's statement, and a lot of hay was made over the fact that black voters supposedly voted 2-to-1 for the ban.  but ...there's virtually no evidence that any prominent black leaders who have backed same-sex marriage -- Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, California Attorney General Kamala Harris -- have faced any measurable backlash from black voters for doing so. And black folks' support for gay marriage has grown more robust, just as attitudes on gay marriage have in every other demographic group.


I have no idea how this will play out.  This is an interplay of Races, Cultures, Religions, traditional Prejudices, old resentments and new, power politics on small stages (churches) and large (national politics), family dynamics, and economy.  It amazes me that those preachers are so bigoted they would give up such hard-won rights to vote, but nothing about religious potentates should surprise anyone.  Im not going to get my hopes up, but I will vote.

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Replies to This Discussion

I think these black preachers who are anti-Obama are a very small faction of the black vote.  By what I see and hear, they certainly don't seem to represent the majority opinion.  They stand up in front of their congregations and spew out anti-gay rhetoric because that kind of talk is expected from a person in their position.  However, come election day, when the individual members of their congregations are alone inside a voting booth, they will be voting with their conscience as they contemplate their own positive experiences with gay people:  the son, the daughter, the brother, the sister, the cousin, the niece, the nephew, the neighbor, the friend, etc.  Without the leering eyes of their pastor or other church members peering over their shoulder, votes for Mr. Obama will be cast, and done so enthusiastically, as in 2008.  Like the pope, who is out of touch with the sentiment of his world-wide flock and with modern social issues, the anti-gay black pastors are basically unconvincing and irrelevant to the conversation. 

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I literally cried on election night in 2008.  What a moment!  In this 2012 election, the other presidential candidate is plainly too horrifically and diametrically opposed to the best interests of the black community on so many levels. 

I hope you are right.  There is also the other side, however - once inside the voting booth, people may be more likely to vote with their prejudices, than how they respond on surveys.  I hope that people are more loving or accepting of their LGBT family members than my personal experience was - even though I stayed out of trouble, served honorably in the armed forces, put myself through school - all unlike my hetero cohort - they would still have voted antigay.


But I hope you are right.  


Of course, it's not just the LGBT issue  Some of the Black community is also frustrated about lack of economic progress especially as affects them.  For good reason.  It can seem like, the president is pandering to the LGBT community because he already has the Black community's support.  Which is an understandable emotion, but more complex.  Again, he's a master politician.  I really hope they can see through Mr. Romney's empty assertions and that they will be in  so much worse shape if they stay home on election day, or vote Romney.  I also really hope there is more positive change in store, in the 2nd 4 years....  it's needed, sorely needed.


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