By Earle Fisher
Rhetoric Race and Religion Contributor
The news surrounding our President's “endorsement” of same-sex marriage has, in a matter of minutes, gone viral. Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and numerous newspaper and magazine articles are already seizing the moment attempting to express views of support and backlash on behalf of countless communities all around the country. I’ve already read and seen responses that range from people being totally elated, to Meghan McCain’s tweet “...Even though he did it a little late under political pressure - very happy to hear the President come out in support of gay marriage...” to one of my colleagues Facebook status reflecting someone from his timeline who wrote, “...Obama is my dude, but I can’t support him on this...”
For the most part, I consider the dialogue a good thing. Yet, I know that many of the commentators will have their commentary centered in fear, hate, exclusion and blind privilege. And yet, of all of the commentary that will be provided (and I’m sure the amount will be incalculable) what I am most concerned with is what will most likely come from the black (read African-American) religious-right. One would think that the Black Church’s stance for equality would be unequivocal. Sadly, this has not been the case historically. Precedent suggests that some preachers, politicians, pundits and media manipulators have often subverted the prophetic voice of the Church. These personalities use “such a time as this” as a means to reinforce oppressive ideals. All this seems to be antithetical to a liberating gospel of spiritual message of hope. When this is blind sheepism and insensitive inspirational leadership is supported by policy and legislation it is thereby impossible for our country to be a place of “liberty and justice for ALL.”
In this pretentious political climate every issue becomes politicized. When people see the opportunity to “prey” on a particular public figure, like the POTUS (President of the United States) people will forfeit the moral and ethical elements of our religious and spiritual associations for the sake of political points.
The fundamental irony for me here is that the religious and spiritual institutions all self-proclaim to be entities that endorse and promote liberation of the oppressed. How then can the Presidents endorsement of a group that has been publically and consistently discriminated against be a bad thing? Possibly because it doesn’t fit the prescribed theological agenda of those who are too out of touch with human suffering to properly proclaim a relevant religion or substantive spirituality. What we too often are prescribed in today’s culture and climate is an emerging Darwinism veiled in the mask of righteousness and piety.
I applaud the President for effectively articulating his own “evolution.” I encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith that are going to look to this progressive moment in our history as a time to “play political football” and attempt to score points at the behest of other people’s humanity to seek revelation regarding the necessity of their own theological evolution. This petition is especially directed towards those people of faith that are also people of color who stand in a legacy and tradition of people who have been treated as “other”. Clearly some people have a god that is a little too exclusive, insensitive, bigoted and opportunistic for Jesus’ taste buds.