October 23rd, 2007
08:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama 'disturbed' by 'anti-gay' comments

Watch Donnie McClurkin address the controversy surrounding him at Sunday night's concert.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Monday he is "disturbed" by some of gospel-singer Donnie McClurkin’s views toward homosexuals, a day after the prominent Obama supporter lashed out at critics for calling him 'anti-gay.'

“It’s true we had a controversy...a gospel singer was singing at a gospel concert on our behalf, he was one of many, and he had some views that were anti-gay,” the Illinois Democrat said during an MTV/MySpace forum. “I am disturbed by those views and I have said publicly that I have disagreed with them.”

But Obama defended his campaign's affiliation with McClurkin, saying, "I have also said we have to reach out to those who have a different attitude on these issues to try to teach."

Obama added that in the course of his presidential campaign he has "spoken out forcefully and clearly to African American ministers and African American denominations saying we’ve got to get beyond some of the homophobia that still exists in some of these communities." (Related: Obama's gospel concerts raise dilemma)

On Sunday night McClurkin headlined the final installment of the Obama campaign's "Embrace the Change" Gospel concert series, and addressed critics at the end of the event who have faulted him for saying homosexuality is a choice.

"They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot," McClurkin said. "We don't believe in discrimination. We don't believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's the whole premise of God. That's the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God."

"Don't call me a bigot or anti-gay, when I have been touched by the same feelings," McClurkin, who has said he once felt homosexual impulses, went on. "When I have suffered with the same feelings. Don't call me a homophobe, when I love everybody … Don't tell me that I stand up and I say vile words against the gay community because I don't. I don't speak against the homosexual. I tell you that God delivered me from homosexuality."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Peter Hamby

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Obama this message is expressly for you –

    Pastor McClurkin is not looking for a venue to sing or preach in as he is well known for the anointing that flows in and through his life. I do not appreciate how you took it upon yourself to involve him in your mess. He is a man of God and you have disrespected him with your foolish political antics. You own him an apology. You should have not invited him if you didnt want him to be Pastor McClurkin. He cannot apologize for being healed of homosexuality. Nor does he desire to. You all are the ones with the real problem. And take from me – none of the black community thinks you are worthy of the White House. God bless and keep it moving you looser!

    October 29, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. Jon Cruz (New York, NY)

    Hey Barack: get a white supremacist to sing for you at a concert and I'll believe you that you're trying to embrace people with different opinions. Right now, I think you just feel that gays are a group you can take for granted.

    October 29, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. Allan

    Well maybe God can deliver him into being a different color skin or maybe the opposite sex. While God is at it, maybe he can give this dude a brain too.

    October 29, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. Zach S., Oakland CA

    Sometimes homosexuality is a choice. Sometimes it seems not. The question is, is it a sin? Does it hurt anyone?

    Some would say it's a bad example for children. But how does a child know of the homosexuality unless it's been practiced publicly? In such a case, wouldn't heterosexuality also be condemned? What happens in private doesn't hurt anyone, and if it does, that's not homosexuality but sheer brutality, a crime of its own.

    What are we afraid of? That we, as straight people, might be infected, that we might be vulnerable to falling into this behavior?

    Is the homosexual behavior sinful, or does our fear of it in its repugnance make us call it a sin? If we find it repugnant, as I feel personally about eating peanut butter, does that make it sinful? Call me a sinner, because I think peanut butter is repugnant.

    October 29, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. Brian Jones, Las Cruces,NM

    Gee, what's new. A liberal being "offended" by an "anti-gay" comment. It is disgusting when liberals get on their moral high ground and act so pompous. What about the morality of 4,000+ abortions performed in this country every month. What about the morality of stealing from people who work and giving that money to the lazy masses who sit at home watching Springer and eating bon-bons paid with food stamps. The sad thing is that liberals are very selective about what "disturbs" them. They look for political expediency and when they find it they try to capitalize on it. They are so patently dishonest and reprehensible. Hey Barack try to replace your "disturbed" view of Donnie McClurkin with some heartfelt conviction. It certainly would be refreshing.

    October 29, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. Mark Ramsey MD, Fort Lauderdale FL

    "But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgement, and all sin is against God". You can SAY "love" all you want to, but your real feelings toward gays are right here in this sentence. I don't feel the need to reach out to Mr. McClurkin, because there is no room in his bigoted mind to meet half-way. Mr. Obama is running a big risk by keeping him in the campaign. Maybe this is how you really feel about homosexuality, Mr. Obama?

    October 29, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. Tim K., Mount Wolf, PA

    I think that Mr. Obama is hypocritical. If you are a Christian, then you are against sin. Homosexuality is a sin, and it is clearly stated in the Bible. (1Corinthians 6:9.) Therefore, opposing a Christian who sees homosexuality as a sin, is opposing Christianity. So, Mr. Obama cannot on one hand try to gain Christian votes by holding Gospel concerts, while on the other hand state that Christians who oppose homosexuality are homophobic. Mr. Obama needs to take a stand for either Christian values and Biblical truth, or for sinful choices and anti-Christian values. Either way, he will not get votes from one group or the other. However, he will try something new, and that is being politician who does not try to make everyone happy.

    October 29, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. Carol, Santa Cruz

    This is called repressed homosexuality. This is what happens when certain religious beliefs make some feel guilty and in need to repress their true feelings. To be honest, it is quite sad becasue repressing your homosexuality makes you lash at against your own community..the gay community. I'm sure soon enough we will hear news that he was having or may be secretly having an affair with a man.

    October 29, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. markland

    This seriously makes me question my support of Obama. McClurkin's comments weren't a shock – many of us asked Obama not to allow this closeted, bigoted, homophobic hippocrite to perform on Barack's behalf.

    Instead, Obama went ahead to give McClurkin a stage, microphone, and audience.

    I'm certain that Barack wouldn't allow a known white racist to speak on his behalf, but he defends his use of McClurkin by saying he needs to "reach out" to people with different views.

    Pathetic, insulting, and a gross neglect of sane judgement. Is this someone we want in the White House?

    October 29, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Jay Houston, Texas

    Donnie McClurkin is no different than any other gay man who won't accept who they really are. Some of the top pastors and gospel musicians and singers are gay. It is unfortunate that McClurkin said "God delivered him from homosexuality," during his tirade because my God loves everyone.

    October 29, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  11. B. Howard, Bowie,MD.

    Donnie McClurkin speaks the truth and if Senator Obama cannot get with that, the maybe Mr. McClurkin should think about withdrawing his support for someone who does not agree with him. Not only that, what happened to freedom of speech? We have freedom of speech until you say one word against the homosexual lifestyle. Then you get villified and crucified, being labeled a bigot and a homophobe. Y'all see one day what the real deal is. Trust me on this one.

    October 29, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Obama the Law Reviewer and Professor would do well to drop the Gospel and Gay grovelling to start marshalling the facts and making the arguments against Hillary like Edwards is wisely doing. But alas, the "politics of hope" and his inexperience at anything approaching aggressive trial advocacy prevents this kind of action necessary to save his campaign from the same unelectability that will sink Hillary.

    October 29, 2007 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. Jason Abdon

    If CNN is going to be carrying anti-gay rhetoric of Donnie McClurkin and if this is okay can I As a supposedly rightous person say that this ape should only be picking cotton in a field somewhere?

    Get your church out of American politics because it's better to be politicaly correct than stupid and ignorant. To hazard a guess to the question posed, no it's not right. it's not right. It doesn't matter how you excuse it or what flowery prose or scipture stupidity you wrap it in, it's still not right. And as a special note to Barack Obama, you are not presidential material sir. You are
    not going to be president of the Unitede States. I would vote for a repiglecan before I would vote for you.
    Enjoy picking youre cotton.

    October 29, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  14. JC Graham, St. Petersburg, FL

    It all boils down to religious rules/practices/beliefs having no place in government policy. When governments start abiding by religious constraints the government becomes invalid due to moral standards not being enforcable. Morality is a characteristic that is not categorical or definable for a population–it varies from person to person just as religion and spiritual persusions due. Government should be based on freedoms rather than limitations until those freedoms harm non-consenting adults and minors. If the religious classes would step back and quit pandering to the politicos they would find their numbers grow–entities such as religions survive best when they are practiced in a free society where individuals can choos to move fluidly in and out of them. While I do not agree with this particular religous mouthpiece I do believe he is within his freedoms to speak his mind. Obama's campaign has made an unslightly decision in pandering to the religious right to succeed in garnering black votes–the minority votes are already a guarantee for his campaign. He has simply alienated the gay vote from his campaign.

    October 30, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. John, West Chester, PA

    Homosexuality is a sin just like murder, lying and stealing, etc. Read the Bible!! Donnie spoke the truth! Who cares what Obama thinks! Obama isn't God!

    October 30, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. ronnie, knoxville, tn

    Oh, Please you wimp Obama. If you'd just focus on campaigning on your leadership skills (which btw are pretty skimpy) and leave "scandals" like this to die, maybe people would see a strong man in you.

    October 30, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  17. Rick, Kansas City, MO

    pander. pander. pander.

    Pick a side.

    October 30, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  18. Andrew / Columbus, Ohio

    I've looked at alot of reliable blogs and many are saying (with reliable interviews)that someone hasn't been walking what their talking..... I gave up a successful gospel music career of 10 years of my own free will for just this reason.....I don't walk the fence....it's called TRUE INTEGRITY.

    And Obama needs to make up his mind. Where do you stand on these issues?

    I'm voting for Hillary anyhow. 😉

    October 30, 2007 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  19. bymyside, Long

    Obama/GAY PRIDE

    Watch MTV clip:

    OBAMA '08!!!

    October 30, 2007 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  20. bymyside, Long Beach, CA

    Obama/GAY PRIDE

    Watch related MTV clip:

    OBAMA '08!!!

    October 30, 2007 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  21. Scott Richmond VA

    So Obama, you are telling us you had no knowledge of Mr.McClurkin prior homosexuality when you invited him to sing at your rally. Now you are attempting to cover your tracks by pondering to the queer vote. What do you say, is gay a choice or is one born with the disease. Yes it is a disease that is not a normal human function accepted by the MAJORITY of citizens.

    October 30, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  22. Ryan Indianapolis

    What a pushover obama is ...if he cant stand up for his morals...how is he going to stand up to Al Queda?

    October 30, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    I love the part of the song "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John when he sang, "Jesus freaks out in the street handing tickets out for God". That is all Donnie McClurkin is. Why didn't Obama go with T.D. Jakes or Joel Olsteen? Oh, yeah, thats right, because Jakes and Olsteen are real pastors who don't get involved with politics. You can tell that McClurkin is still dealing with his gayness the way he contradicts himself. He wants to embrace change yet he still preaches a reactionary style hate. Jekly and Hyde, my friend. He's bipolar.

    Although I believe Obama was sincere when he said that he does not share McClurkins beliefs, Obama's association with McClurkin just proves that Obama is not ready to be president. We must stick with Hillary. Hillary is the most qualified, the most experienced and she's READY TO LEAD.

    October 30, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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