ORLANDO ? The endorsement last week by President Barack Obama of same-sex marriage places both the president and the state?s African American pastors in a position similar to a spinster sister at her younger daughter?s wedding. Although many want to remain supporters of the nation?s?and the industrialized world?s?first African-American chief of state, they find themselves in strong opposition to his public policy stance concerning marriage equality.
Pastor Beverly Brown of Redeeming Light Center in Eatonville?located about a half-dozen miles north of Orlando?told the Orlando Sentinel, ?For me as an African American pastor, I?m disappointed. I?m trying to separate his personal view from his political view.? Brown?s support for Obama is separated by the thin wall of his personal support for gay marriage and the possibility that he will press for legalization of it and a reversal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). ?I think it can be a game-changer,? offered Rev. Paul Wright, pastor of Calvary Temple of Praise in Sanford, the seat of Seminole County, which includes Kissimmee. ?I think it is going to cause him to lose some support from the faith-based community because of the conviction of a large number of faith-based institutions that this is an immoral act.?
The result, predicts Wright, is that many African-American members of those congregations who flocked to the polls in droves to support Obama in 2008 may stay home?or vote for the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. Some suggest that Wright reflects the majority position of African American evangelical ministers, while others think that the backlash is a momentary reaction that will not significantly impact voter turnout among blacks. ?I believe the vast majority of African Americans will support the president,? Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., the senior pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel.
?When all is said and done, African Americans will not abandon the president for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.? And, Bracy argues, demographics are destiny. ?I think things are changing whether I embrace it or not. Who am I to say these are not children of God? Who am I to stand in judgment??