by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
President Barack Obama has taken a quantum leap and said that he supports “Marriage Equality.” And for a moment, the world collectively held its breath. Some say it was a bold move; others think it’s a horrific mistake. While, I personally, don’t agree with his stand, what I do agree with is that he, as the President of the United States, has the responsibility to be the president of ALL the citizens of the US – the good, the bad, and the indifferent.
He did not say that we had to unequivocally agree with everything that the President does. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.
And while many churches are taking humbrage over this news, their position, while not new, is unjustified. While the churches have the right and responsibility to maintain the tenets of the Bible, they cannot honestly view his decision as an attack on churches, or religion, since this country was founded on the basis of the “Separation of Church and State.”
Barack Obama is not the religious leader of the United States. And, while he is still the leader, he has a moral, legal, and constitutional obligation to represent all of the citizens.
The country was founded on “religious” freedoms. That means that while there may be things that politically the church may not agree with, they do not dictate policy; and it is the responsibility of the head of this country to take into consideration ALL of the constituents.
I’ve heard arguments pro and con about “marriage equality”/aka/ same sex “marriage”. I’ve heard threats, radical statements – left wing, right wing, middle of the road analysis. The new enlightened Negro, who wants to appear liberal, and/or “politically correct,” eruditely draws the analogy of slave monsters who mis-used the Bible as justification for slavery a scant 150 years ago; and the past presidents did nothing to change that – until Lincoln. Nearly 50 years ago we were still operating under Jim Crow laws, until the “Civil Rights” act was passed, and later the voting rights act. Racists were still “using the Bible” to justify their acts. They have alleged that if we say same sex “marriage” is against the Bible, we would be doing the same thing the slave monsters did. That if we hold the Bible out as a reason against same sex marriages we are as “bad as they were”. That because of the misinterpretation of the Bible, past Presidents did nothing to change or challenge segregation, discrimination; and that we would be guilty of the same transgressions if we now say “same sex marriage is against God”.
I disagree with that warped line of reasoning. This is not a time to step away from our belief system or our faith. We definitely do need to hold fast to our belief system, which also says “live and let live.” It’s not necessarily the President’s battle; nor is it ours. There are Higher Powers in effect. But we still have to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar, and unto God that which is God’s.” The running of this nation is in Obama’s hands. He does not have to fight that battle. But, we can’t beat him – or those of the LGBT – over the head with the Bible, either.
Biblically speaking (as well as the Torah and the Qu’ran and other sacred texts), there are clear doctrines against homosexuality. And the extent to which the churches, synagogues, and masjids maintain their faith in following those edicts, it is their right and responsibility to do so.
We’re not talking about holy wars, or some of the tactics the Nazis employed against gays during WWII. I think we’ve evolved enough to not be those people. We have to understand that it is incumbent on the President to maintain a balanced view and approach to this situation as leader of this nation. That’s why he is the leader.
He in no way said that either you or I have to totally agree with him, either; but that we can also agree to disagree without being disagreeable. As he said in 2004, again in 2008, and now in 2012, that we all have to live or co-exist here together: Black-White/male-female/Democrats-Republicans/rich-poor/straight-gay – why not do in it a harmonious manner?
We have some overarching principles that make this the great country that it is, and if we can agree on those principles, and work toward that end, together, we can make America great again. And he has dedicated his time, talent, creativity, discipline and attention to doing just that.
As mentioned, there are states – including North Carolina – that already have laws on the books that ban same-sex marriage. At this point the President is not saying that those laws should be overturned. He is not asking for a change in the constitution.
And unfortunately, in the great scheme of things that he has to focus on this, while running the country, turning the economy around, bringing businesses and manufacturing back to these shores, as well as fighting to make sure that we have health care for everybody.
He is dealing with a rep-ugh-blican dominated Supreme Court that thinks you don’t deserve to have healthy lives; that has said a corporation is the same as a human being (why aren’t you upset about that?). He is dealing with tea-baggers who think you don’t deserve good education, decent homes, unions, or jobs; he is dealing with rep-ugh-blicans who don’t think our children deserve to have decent, affordable college educations (didn’t they just double the interest rates on college student loans – how come you’re not pissed about that, too?).
I am putting this issue just where it needs to be – in the laps of the people that it pertains to- LGBTs. It does not pertain to me; it does not pertain to most American families; it does not pertain to those ministers who are Biblically based – unless, as Michael Eric Dyson said on “The Ed Show” on CNN, “you’re in the closet yourself.” Ministers are not required to betray their faith and perform a same sex “marriage” ceremony.
I disagree, however, with Michael Eric Dyson, who later stated that because whites used the Bible to justify slavery, that if we don’t agree with same sex marriage, we are doing the same thing against LGBT’s. It’s clear that the Bible has made some very strong statements against homosexuality – 2000+ years ago, til the present day. The Bible is clear. It hasn’t changed. I have not changed my mind, either. Many others won’t change theirs either. But the place to deal with those issues is in the church.
Just remember when John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the first Catholic to be elected President of the United States, many thought that the Pope would rule the US through him. It didn’t happen. He had to take a balanced stance, regardless of what the Papacy did in Rome.
The same is true of President Barack Obama. He may have attended a Baptist Church and he is a man of deep faith; he cannot impose those beliefs on the country, any more than Kennedy could with Catholicism.
The President didn’t say you had to agree with same sex marriages. He did say that we have to learn to be tolerant of each other. We can do that. We don’t need to fan the flames of hostility, or allow the opposition to spread propaganda, and fan it into a divide and conquer tactic. We’re on the winning side. Let’s stay there.
And I want to go on record in saying that this is not a “Black Civil Rights” issue, either. We will not be brow beaten into some bogus guilt trip. The Civil Rights of African Americans belong to Black people – and I am not allowing anyone to high jack it from us. We are discriminated against from birth because of our race, color, country or origin; AFRICA. As I stated before, don’t get it twisted.
It does point up some other important issues for us as Black people, though, that I want to address: It has to do with unity, loyalty, insight and intelligence. Why are we, as a people, so ready to castigate President Obama, jump ship, and come down on him on this issue, as though he has somehow betrayed us? For even the slightest “error;” as though we are looking for him to fail; as though he’s too good to be true, so there must be a flaw, or something wrong.
In the main, same “sex marriage” has little to nothing to do us as African Americans – not really. But we take it on as if it did. It’s about time we begin to realize that his position, as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (POTUS) has to be handled totally differently, than from where we sit as ordinary citizens. He is the President of the United States! He is the leader of the free world.
Go back and check out the oath of office he has to swear to. He cannot step away from that responsibility. So far, he hasn’t. And the extent to which he does his job, holds up his end of the responsibility to this country, as its head, despite of, and because of, some of the idiosyncrasies that we have inculcated into our culture, he is doing a fantastic job! He continues to show his superiority over those who have come before him. He has never dropped the ball since the day he stepped into office. Nor will he. And we should be proud that he is showing them – his predecessors as well as those who will come after him four years from now – how it’s done when it’s done right.
Give him the respect due a man – a Black man – who is standing up to each and every challenge that has been thrown at him. Don’t castigate him for having to deal with something that has been swirling around for quite some time – the LGBT issue. The law for same sex marriage was on the books in California, New York and New Jersey, and three other states. We didn’t agree with it then, either. But for some weird reason, I don’t recall anyone of the church leaders taking the governors or mayors on, and charging them with being against the church. Or looking to pray with them for guidance in those states.
If you want to pray for something, by all means, do pray for President and First Lady Obama; pray for this country, pray for us who need jobs, food, love, money, etc. But don’t go running down to DC to pray for the President, as though this brother has “lost his way” – because he hasn’t. He has not stumbled once since he walked into the Oval Office. Pray that he is re-elected, so that he can continue a mighty work. Pray that the rep-ugh-blicans are not able to re-establish the modern version of Jim Crow laws to prevent people from voting by using bogus identification requirements.
Take the balance and truly weigh what this great man, Barack Hussein Obama, has accomplished and continues to accomplish, and put this situation in its proper context: Four years ago you had no clue whether you’d have a job, a home, a neighborhood – and some instances, even a church. Foreclosures forced millions of hard working families into homelessness; until he made the banks stop the madness and start negotiating and helping the people. Do you think the rep-ugh-blicans would have done the same thing? Hell No! Sorry ministers, just wanted to get that point across.
The people in the automotive industry – Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, etc.– should all be voting for his re-election, because he saved their jobs; he saved an entire industry that was falling under due to lack of support, and poor quality control. Would the rep-ugh-blicans have done the same? Puh-leeze, buy a clue.
People who are working on the highways throughout the US, as a result of the TARP funds, had better make sure they vote for him. They were definitely headed for the bread lines. Now they’re widening and upgrading the interstate highways, and are able to feed their families, and themselves.
All the troops he brought home for unjust wars had definitely better make sure that they and their friends and family vote to re-elect President Obama. They are back home, safe and sound with their families, and with one of the most comprehensive, generous veterans benefit programs ever. He even reached back to those veterans of other wars and upgraded their benefits as well. Those who served in Viet Nam can tell you how it felt to come back from the front and have your own government turn its back on you. Think about it – what party was in office when they reduced your benefits? In fact, what party was in office when they refused to give you adequate protective gear in Iraq?
All college students should be voting for him because he increased the Pell grant, among other things. High school students turning 18 should be forming lines to get their voter registration cards. President Obama is likewise expanding junior colleges to make them accessible to those who are not initially in a position to attend a four year college, but want a higher education. If you attend out of state, make sure you either register at your college campus, or get an absentee ballot from your home state. Don’t let the rep-ugh-blicans disenfranchise you with laws designed to deprive you of your right as a viable citizen (age 18+) to vote.
Medical science, doctors, and patients should all be voting for him because he’s opened up an entirely new avenue of medical science and health care availability. Make no mistake about it, you cannot work or support your family, if you don’t have good health. And if the health care you receive costs more than the amount of your paycheck; or if you are critically ill and an insurance company has had the power of life and death over you, you had better make sure you vote for President Obama, because he may well have saved either your life, or the life of a loved one.
And anybody who lost their jobs, benefits, and seniority, as a result of this heinous economic debacle, just remember who caused the problem, and how. If you received unemployment insurance benefits extension for 99+ weeks, while either looking for a job, or training for a new field, you had better definitely be voting for Obama. Because otherwise you’d be sitting on the sidewalk, or like squeegee men and women, trying to get quarters for washing windshields.
People whose homes have been saved from foreclosure should all be voting for him because he has diligently worked to stem the tide of upside down, over priced mortgages; predatory lenders, and banks that put the dollar ahead of the people. His protocol has always been “people first.”
While money is definitely important and a necessity, what we have before us is still bigger than that, we not only have to hold the line on the good he has been able to accomplish, despite hostile opponents, we have to make sure they don’t reverse the good.
Our focus can’t be misdirected from the serious issues of voter registration, disenfranchisement, dealing with the Red states; informing people of the accomplishments of President Obama, and the more yet to be. WE have to stand for the rights and well being of those of us who are still trying to dig our way out of the devastation of this economic downturn. Where this issue of “marriage equality” stands vis a vis the rest of what we need to be, do, have – at least for me – is somewhere way down on the Totem Pole.
America is a free country, compared to other nations. We have the right to freedom of expression, belief, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness – we live in a society that is made up of all stripes – sometimes we get along beautifully, other times we may clash. But at the end of the day, this being an imperfect world (and no one has all the answers -ever) we just gotta get along.
So don’t get it twisted. Move forward, stay on point, we got a RE-ELECTION TO WIN. And YES WE CAN – AGAIN!!
Stay Blessed &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com
Gloria Dulan-Wilson is available for speaking engagements: Black History, African History, Foreclosure Prevention, Home Ownership, Education, etc., Contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org