Obama Adds Gay Minister to Balance Anti-Gay Singer

After spending the week getting hammered for inviting a gay-bashing gospel singer to tour with him in South Carolina, Barack Obama has added an openly gay minister to the line-up.

In response to an uproar from gay activists, Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign on Thursday added a gay minister to the lineup for its weekend gospel tour.

Gay activists had criticized Obama’s “Embrace the Change” tour in South Carolina because the performers included gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who says homosexuality is a choice.

Obama’s campaign invited Rev. Andy Sidden, a South Carolina pastor who is openly gay, to appear on Sunday in Columbia. Obama discussed Sidden’s inclusion Thursday with Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights.

Somehow, I don’t think this is going to end the criticism. Especially not when Obama’s writing letters with passages like this:

Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.

At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin’s beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.

A sampling of the reaction thus far:

  • Jasmyne Cannick: “What the hell were Obama’s people thinking . . . ?”
  • Keith Boykin: “This move is sure to piss off almost everybody, except HRC, who apparently brokered the deal”

Obama’s a smart, charismatic man. But continued boneheaded missteps like this would seem to reinforce the view that he’s not yet ready for prime time. That’s really no surprise: He’s run exactly one significant political race in his life before this one and the the presidential arena is a whole different league.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. markm says:

    Whoduh thunk you can’t make all the people happy all the time???. That said, he should have went the hot lezbo route….a lot less flak involved.

  2. Triumph says:

    That’s really no surprise: He’s run exactly one significant political race in his life before this one and the the presidential arena is a whole different league.

    Actually, that’s not true [I guess it depends on what “significant” means]. He ran a failed Congressional race before he ran for the Senate.

  3. Tano says:

    I for one do not buy into the CW that this is some bonehead move. Sounds very much to me like the typical analysis of Washington professional pols.

    The moves seem entirely consistent with Obama’s character – someone who wishes to emphasize inclusion, and probably sees himself as a figure who can transcend divides. I imagine he thinks he can best be a leader by refusing to shun people who disagree with him on some issues, but also holding firm to his principles.

    By not getting rid of McClurkin, but also making strong atatements about what his own beliefs are, he is simply acting out his sincere approach to these types of divides.

    The professional pols may be right in the sense that this type of approach is doomed to failure in the contemporary American political landscape. But it strikes me as an expression of who Obama really is, as a person, and for that I think he should be applauded.

    And personally, I think it makes him the type of candidate that I think would be good for this country.

  4. Steven says:

    I also think it’s important to hear what Senator Obama has to say on this topic: