Speaking before a mostly black audience yesterday, Barack Obama chastised Christians that disrespect gay people. Via Ben Smith at Politico.com:
Obama’s rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.
An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes — race, gender, etc. — that shouldn’t trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.
So he took a different tack:
“Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday,” he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers.
“I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian,” he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.
The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama’s deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality — his refusal to dump the “ex-gay” gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour — angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing.
I’m getting over the McClurkin thing, slowly, thanks to speeches like this.