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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hypocritical Incursion into the Black Church

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh to finish one’s Christmas shopping. I’m referring to the hypocritical incursion into the black community by the candidates running for president. However, this year’s arrival is filled with all of the drama of the latest Tyler Perry film – Church, politics, homosexuality, and a black presidential candidate with a serious chance of being the Democratic candidate during the elections. Barack Obama and his rivals are just the latest in a long line of political ancestors who have tapped the allegiance of the black community.

The candidates’ quadri-annual solicitation for the black vote has always been filled with promises and convenient amnesia when it comes to the black voters. It is not my intention to play the race card for any nefarious reason, but it must be understood that blacks, whites and most other ethnic groups bargain for different issues with politicians. As an example, most whites are at best ‘lukewarm’ towards affirmative action, while affirmative action is a vital issue within the black community. Despite what Justice Clarence Thomas may say about it, until America becomes colorblind, affirmative action is like the locks that keep honest people honest.

During a recent campaign swing through the South to build support from the black Church, Obama hosted three Gospel concerts. He has been criticized by the homosexual community for inviting Donnie McClurkin to perform. McClurkin, a black minister and Gospel Artist, advocates that homosexuality is a choice that could be “cured” through prayer; a view that is condemned in the gay community. Despite the negative reaction from homosexuals during the Gospel crusades, the reason that Obama and all other candidates for the presidency leech onto the black community through the Church is because they know that if they are successful in securing the White House, they have no allegiance to the black community. Besides parroting the white evangelicals, the black Church has no real, national agenda. So, it is safe but necessary terrain to navigate when one is looking for votes.

Consider this – the biggest controversy of Obama's Bible-Belt tour is whether he should permit Donnie McClurkin to participate in the Gospel concert, because of his perceived anti-gay bias; and that descent is coming from the Gay-Lobby. Where are the black leaders lobbying this candidate for a promise of more funds to HBCs? or obtaining his commitment that he will take a strong line against racial profiling? or finding his position on loan-shark type interest rates that affect the poor and black community? or whether he is a "strong" proponent of affirmative action? or whether he is willing to make domestic violence a federal offense? or removing the disparity between the sentencing guidelines for blacks and whites? or a dozen other issues that are crucial to the health and wellbeing of the black community?

Obama knows that once the singing, shouting and sweating stops, the black Church will not make any demands on his presidency should he be successful. Some of the black leaders will jump at a headline-grabbing issue, like calling for the termination of Imus for calling a team of black, female athletes "Nappy-headed hos", but won't use that same standard in a sustained effort to rid Hip Hop of the same vile.

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