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Did Obama Violate the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy of the Black Church?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black Bloggers

The peculiar debate that has emerged within the black church since President Obama announced his support for gay marriage is intriguing, to say the least.  On one hand, you’ve got Rev. Al Sharpton and other pastors who are close to the president working hard to put out the political fire.  On the other hand, you’ve got pastors such as Jamal Bryant, who are expressing extreme disappointment in the president’s remarks.

What baffles me about the conversation, however, is why everyone seems so shocked that the president expressed his support for gay marriage in the first place.

Let’s think about this for a second. President Obama is a Democrat and a liberal.  Liberals come in pretty much the same package:   They favor a woman’s right to choose, they fight for labor unions, they want healthcare for everyone, they want gun control, they love protecting the environment and they hate Guantanamo Bay.   Most importantly, they favor gay rights in general, including the right to marry.  That’s why the vast majority of gay Americans happen to be members of the Democratic Party.

So, what’s with all the outrage over President Obama’s announcement?  Did his arm-waving in the church convince you that he somehow disagreed with the right of gay citizens to marry?

After swimming in a big pool of my own confusion, I then thought about my experience within the black church. My father is a pastor and my mother probably should be.  In this experience, I’ve noticed that there is a “stop snitching,” code of silence in the black church when it comes to being gay.  As I mentioned in a previous article, it’s OK to be gay in the black church, as long as you don’t put all of your business on “Front Street.”


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