Black pastors took to their respective pulpits around the nation Sunday morning and offered differing opinions on President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.
While opinions seemed to be mixed, very few pastores ventured into commentary suggesting that their congregations withdraw their political support from the President.
The Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, for example, told his congregation that neither he nor the church supports the Obama’s view on gay marriage. But he made sure to ask his members to keep Obama in their prayers and not to abandon him completely, according to reporting by CNN.
“We may disagree with our president on this one issue,” Smith said from the pulpit of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. “But we will keep him lifted up in prayer. … Pray for President Barack Obama.”
The same message was conveyed by another prominent pastor in the Midwest.
In Columbus, Ohio, Bishop Timothy Clark, head of the predominately First Church of God, also told his church that he does not support Obama’s gay marriage views, but hopes that Blacks do not become distracted by the issue.
According to USA Today, Clark told his congregation “to pray for the president and pray this will not become a political football with uncivil language and heated rhetoric. We can disagree on this, as we do on many things, and still love each other.”
In Atlanta, Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church didn’t delve much into the issue at all, choosing to focus more on Mother’s Day instead. He, too, took a diplomatic approach to the President’s announcement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The president is entitled to his opinion,” Warnock told congregants. “He is the president of the United States, not the pastor of the United States.”
On the other hand, a few pastors not only supported Obama, they even support gay marriage.
Senior Pastor Dr. Kenneth Samuels at Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia says that he has lost members when he voiced his support for gay marriage some years ago. For Samuels, it is disturbing to hear Black pastors speak out against gay marriage and he even accuses some of them of not being fully honest with themselves on the subject.
“Some of them are on the down-low too,” Samuels bellowed from the pulpit, according to theGrio. “You know some of them got wives in the front of them and boyfriends behind them! Rather than tell the truth and set people free, they’d rather preach a lie.”
But one pastor, however, was not as conciliatory.
Rev. Patrick Wooden of Upper Room Church of God in Christ in North Carolina, who was also a key supporter of a successful ballot effort to constitutionally ban same sex marriage in the state, said Obama took a stand “in support for sin” with his announcement, according to MSNBC.com.
In Baltimore, politically connected Emmett Burns of Rising Sun Baptist Church held in event to publicly withdraw his support from the President over his gay marriage stance.
“I love the president, but I cannot support what he has done,” Burns said at the church, according to CNN.