The Black Church, President Obama, and Frank Ocean! Where do you stand?!?!

Posted: July 9, 2012 in Election 2012, Food For Thought, Politics

Recently, I saw a post about Frank Ocean, a known singer and ghostwriter for many artists, stating that he had written a blog revealing his sexual preference. I overlooked the decision; as I could really care less, plus I really did not believe that one would write a blog revealing such information to the entire world. All in all, I soon learned that one of the artists that I highly respected lived an alternative lifestyle and may have even expressed affection for a male through his music played throughout speakers around the nation. Perplexed by these statements, I read the article for myself and sure enough a five-minute post on who Frank Ocean really was as a person appeared on my screen.

Since I still did not believe this, I went to his twitter, followed him, and read a few tweets, but nothing revealing this information was posted. Suddenly, I saw a flood of retweets from his (Frank Ocean’s) account with the negative statements that people were making about him. In a sense, I felt bad, but I mean why would he even retweet those things? One would believe that he would not even care. He is a noted artist, wealthy, has many friends, family, and seemingly achieved the “American Dream.” People disagree with him all the time, so why is this affecting him so much. His tweets were just depressing. But I’m like this is Frank Ocean, the guy that is very cool and a group member with off the wall Tyler the Creator, who oddly expresses himself through his abstract lyrics and videos. The impact of this statement could devastate Frank Oceans career, but he has received support from many well-respected artist; Rev Runn, Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles, Meshell Ndegeocello and a few others so maybe he won’t be effected by this revelation after all he is a great artist. No Church in the Wild, Swim Good, Novacane, Thinking Bout You, and his recent single, which is ironically entitled Sweet Life Ft. Lupe are just a few of his well-known singles that I’m sure you have heard one time or another and enjoyed.

Besides, living that lifestyle in one of the most hyper-masculine careers that one man can be apart of, he is really no different from many openly gay actors, comedians, and those in other entertainment professions; but many others as well as myself still look forward to his album “Channel Orange.” I’m sure it will still have record sales and many say that the hip-hop community will look at this to gauge (no pun intended) the buying audience. This announcement comes at an interesting time, was this a ploy for sales as well similar to the Kanye v. 50 Beef?! Well the hip-hop community is still a bit silent on the matter being as Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye and a few others still have yet to speak on the matter.

This May, June, and July has brought forth surprising announcements regarding this controversial issue in our American society. Recently in an interview with Robin Roberts, President Barack Obama stated:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” – President Barack H. Obama

This statement came as a surprise since the President’s view and stance on this issue has been “evolving” for many years. The President, however, repealed the well-regarded “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that excluded those who lived alternative lifestyles from serving within the military. He received a lot of attention then, but not as much as the endorsement of same-sex marriage has brought forth both media wise and monetarily. Was this an attempt for the President to increase re-election efforts, or was it an honest evolution of thought on the topic? Most pundits think that it is a mix of both, which has brought forth much speculation because although the President made this statement the decision, yet the decision still lies in the hands of the states and 31 currently stand against it. Though the President has not created any legislation on the matter, he right now faces criticism from a not so surprising group of people known as “The Black Church.”

The Coalition of African-American Pastors commonly known as (CAAP) is one of the leading groups right now composed of over 1,300 pastors devoted to “defending the sacred institution of marriage.”  These men are standing against the statement that President Obama made and has demanded that the administration meet with them and withdraw their support on this issue. Now this is where things get very touchy regarding this issue.  The black church is one of the most well-respected institutions within the African-American community, and has always encouraged political activism from the pulpit, “Get out and Vote, Stand for Something, Seek Justice.” Many of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches were from behind the pulpit where he sought “Justice for All,” but where would Dr. King stand today on this civil rights issue? For, against, or neutral, we may never know. One thing we do know is the principle of “separation of church and state” exists for a reason.

Let us take a look at The Black Church for a moment. Most of us have been to church in a black community, but if not here’s a visual of what one may see that is not acceptable. From a pulpit view of the sanctuary you may see a prostitute, stripper, college professor, engineer, business owner and/or a retired vet on one pew. The church has promoted the invitation of all to come into the sanctuary for worship hoping that one may become a better servant and devote their lives to Christ. From a pew prospective there are contradictory practices that seems to be acceptable through silent disagreement within this same church. On any given Sunday throughout the nation in a black church one can identify an obviously openly gay male choir director, usher, secretary, food server, choir member, praise dancer and general members, but nothing is really ever said about these things its one of those things we overlook. Though this is pervasive throughout the churches in which these very ministers come from, they seek to sweep around the front door of the White House, before cleaning the choir stands and other ministries by their pulpit. I’m not here to take sides either, but that’s something to think about ministers. These are the members and representation of many of the churches, yet it is their service to God that’s important and not their private lifestyles that I suppose eliminates this issue. Or, do you not want to insult the grandson or daughter of the oldest member of the church? When the issue stems from within its justified, but as long as its far away it’s deemed unholy. The truth of the matter is as it has been so eloquently stated, “Obama is our President, and not our Pastor.” I think that as influential as this administration has been, to encourage your flock not to participate in the civic engagement they fought for, for many years is outright dumb, yes DUMB. In my opinion, this might as well be a black tea party sub-group that is full of hypocrisy. You support the President as he sends soldiers overseas and kills a man (Osama Bin Laden), you support him through his open support of abortion, yet when he SPEAKS on marriage… you become an activist. So it’s ok for those with alternative lifestyles to fights overseas, kill overseas, abort children, but not get married (give me a break). Stand against everything or nothing at all! If I don’t get an AMEN from the church, I’ll just listen to Meek Mills it’s fine.

Living in America makes you think critically about your morals and how the allowances of the liberties within our country may conflict. Remembering that America is a melting pot, Frank Ocean is a citizen and Barack Obama is the President. I think that as a member of a “underserved group” of people he may benefit from knowing the Presidents views on his beliefs. However, he (President Obama) does represent us all, and this is a democracy so constitutionally speaking what the majority says should be the law, as long as it’s equal and just for all, but therein lies the premise of this issue.

I’m not seeking support of my opinion on this matter, but these last few months has encouraged dialogue from all perspectives on such matters. President Obama supported the issue, Frank Ocean revealed his lifestyle, and The Black Church well they’re working it all out. Where do you stand on this issue, or do you feel that this controversial blog title was a ploy to grab readers??

I just want to know that the flag that I pledged allegiance to from kindergarten through 12th grade will truly one day provide “Liberty and Justice For All.”

Submitted to the Scholars,

In Leadership, Love, and Service.

K. Colbert (The Urban Philosopher)

  1. Great read brother! It really challenged me to phantom the fact that we often do overlook gays in the church but we criticize them outside the church. I believe not a human soul has a heaven or hell to put anybody in. So judging people based on our standards or our beliefs, I believe can be utterly ridiculous because that’s being one sided and very subjective people in American need to be more objective and try to at least be more accepting. We don’t know who God as accepted into the pearly gates, rather judge people need to inspire.

  2. I think that the most recent generations have forgotten what our country was initially founded for. People from the European countries, mostly Great Britain, fled to America (or the 13 Colonies) to have freedom to practice whatever religion they chose to practice. The people that fled those European countries wanted freedom without being reprimanded. America has become what their ancestors and founders escaped from 250 years ago. Do homosexuals really have the “freedom” that is given by the constitution to every man without being condemned? Republicans who are publicly “anti-gay” refuse to let their fellow American live comfortably in the country they have helped to build.

    The Black church has really been the biggest disappointed during this gay marriage confusion. How is it that your opinion of the president that you put in office and supported whole-heartedly has flipped because he believes that a gay couple should be able to get married? That statement was this man’s opinion. He didn’t pass a law. He didn’t put this in an address to the free world. His one opinion has blurred your vision of all the other things the president had done during his tenure. This one inconsequential statement has turned you against your own president. How shallow. Surely, there are other things to worry about. This makes me question why they even voted for Obama in the first place. For a group that emphasizes Faith, they surely don’t have any in their president.

    This leaves me with another topic: Should gay couples be allowed to get married in the church?

  3. JaQue Vickers says:

    Great stance on this issue! I totally agree with this article and I am glad someone is addressing the

    elephant in the room. It is highly pathetic and hypocritical that the CAAP has anything to say. It

    amazes me how we Christians can beat someone over the head with the bible at our convenience

    when we can’t even deal with the ever so plain issue of sexuality in our own church. Please

    continue to keep us informed with these thought provoking articles! Conversations such as these

    bring about a push for a needed change in our community!

  4. Derrick Farrow says:

    Nice analysis regarding the black church. The black church is the most homophobic and thus it is passed down to our community. The black church must do better. As a servicemember, I commend President Obama for taking the unpopular stance in regards to DADT. I also applaud Frank Ocean for being honest about something as personal as his sexuality, when he didn’t have too. Each of us, in a different way, is learning to live not simply as a man or women but will all the parts that make us one.

  5. Aurelia says:

    Awesome blog!! In my opinion, people have lost their everlasting minds to think that the civil rights of one supercede another’s. The separation of church and state I take very literally, institutions and liberties granted to some in the bible should be left for the church house and not for the federal government. If I’m not mistaken, I can eat pork and shrimp right? Let us all get married, or none of us!!

  6. Octavia G says:

    I do agree with equal rights. But I do feel that marriage should be preserved for man and wife like the bible states. Just be happy with Common Law and for political purpose I feel that common law should be respected. Being married is to profess your love before God; nowhere in the bible does it say anything about the acceptance of same sex marriage. As for looking over the gay church members, my response for that is nobody is perfect. Everyone in church is messed up, that’s why we attend church to try and become more like Christ. I Like President Obama and I respect President Obama, but I won’t be able to continue to say “one nation under God” when we’re nothing like God, nor even attempting to try and be like God.

    • Thank you Octavia.

      I am glad you agree with the equal right of all American, however, your thoughts seem to be a bit contradictory. I agree with common law marriage and civic unions, but they do not provide the same rights as marriage. Additionally we often talk about the sacredness of marriage, but America has one of the highest divorce rates; especially in the southern states. Now regarding your response on the church I stated that most christians justify the amounts of homosexuals servants as servants of Christ so it is ok (people make that argument often). President Obama has done a great deal of things that I agree and disagree with, but as long as he is not violating the documents he is ok in my book. My allegiance to this country is not dependent upon the leadership, but what I can do to make it a greater place. When I say the pledge of allegiance it is personal. “I Pledge Allegiance to the flag and the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands one nation under God indivisible and Justice for all.” Though this country did not always accept me I will not do just that they done to me. I will vow to make it better! This country is the result of “Equal Opportunity and Justice” and just because my religious beliefs and moral disagreements differ from other I can not turn my back and say that it is not a country of God (Refer to my earlier post on independence). I will pray and hope that God has mercy on us all.

      Thank you for reading!
      Submitted In Love,

      K. Colbert

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