Thursday, October 25, 2007

There goes that ugly juxtaposition again. Thanks a lot Senator Obama

In an attempt to quell the controversy over putting on a concert with anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, Barack Obama has recruited Columbia Pastor Andy Sidden to take part.

Sidden is openly gay and the pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ.

He is also white.

I know folks are getting uncomfortable because I made that observation. Well don't waste good uncomfortability because I am about to put you more ill at ease.

Inviting Pastor Sidden is a huge faux pas. Why couldn't Obama's people have found an openly gay black pastor?

Yes, I know. I sound racist. But I don't care. I am just one of many people who have voiced this concern. In fact, there has been a lot of justifiable anger over it. However, I don't think folks have correctly articulated the reason for the distress.

Allow me to break it down.

When Obama first included McClurkin in his campaign, he made himself look like a hypocrite. Here is a man who onced addressed homophobia in the black church now inviting a purveyor of it to raise money for him via a series of black gospel concerts.

And when he is criticized for this decision, he seeks to soothe wounded feelings by inviting an openly gay white pastor to take part.

So on one side of Obama is Donnie McClurkin, who represents the black church. On the other side is Pastor Sidden, who represents the lgbt community.

That is the wrong symbol to put forth.

Inviting an openly gay black pastor would have been an excellent way to demonstrate the commonalities between the lgbt and African-American struggles for self-determination.

Obama's clumsy invitation to Pastor Sidden only perpetuates the myth that being black and being gay are two separate identities that don't overlap.

Furthermore, it means that folks like myself (lgbts of color) are once again shown how invisible we are.

No. More than that.

We have been given the hook, pushed to the side, had the trapdoor to the alligator pit released under our feet.

LGBTs of color haven't been just pushed to the back of the bus in this controversy. We have been kicked off of the bus and told to find our own way home.

Perhaps Obama's people couldn't find an openly gay black pastor in time for the event? I don't know. I guess I will give them a little slack.

But I won't give slack to the Human Rights Campaign. In their statements regarding this issue, I don't think the group even once addressed the fact that lgbts of color exist. And whether anyone wants to admit it or not, we are the ones who will suffer the most from this controversy.

We already know that the mainstream African-American community doesn't give a damn about us. Now we see that the mainstream lgbt leadership may feel the same.

Apparently we don't exist except when it is convenient to fit someone's agenda.

But back to Pastor Sidden. Of all the parties involved, he is the least guilty (by that I mean he has done nothing wrong.)

I implore the blogging community as well as the lgbts angry over this situation not to sharpen their knives on him or his reputation.

I know Pastor Sidden. He is a good guy who probably jumped into the middle of this situation because he wants people to know that God loves them no matter what orienation they are.

The ironic thing is this entire controversy could have been avoided if Donnie McClurkin had practiced that same principle.