Black Conservatives in the Age of Obama
The most prominent voices for conservatism in African American communities continue to be those of Christian church leaders.
While some white Christian evangelical leaders are trying to broaden their agenda to include poverty, AIDS in Africa and climate change, a group of conservative black Christian church leaders appear more like archeologists; digging into the past to uncover the wedge issues that have been used since the advent of the new religious right.
In a recent letter to President Barack Obama, Bishop Harry Jackson, an African American with close ties to the Christian right, maintained that same-sex marriage was the No. 1 issue of our times. Jackson, who worked extensively for the passage of
As pastor at New Hope Christian Church in
"[T]he ultimate issue is going to be that it only takes one or two lawsuits, or the threat of a lawsuit, for there to be a chilling effect on pastors from preaching these passages of the Bible like Leviticus and Romans 1, and many, many other passages as our culture slips more into darkness," Jackson told OneNewsNow, the news service of Donald Wildmon's American Family Association.
Last year, Jackson co-authored (with the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins) Personal Faith, Public Policy, a book in which they wrote that the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights coalition, was "co-opted by the radical gay movement."
And last fall, according to People for the
Hoye calls what he was doing "sidewalk counseling"; abortion supporters call it the "harassment" of women in need of the clinic's services. Hoye, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail but served only 18, was back in front of the clinic upon his release.
Hoye, who is also a chaplain for the National Basketball League's Golden State Warriors, "was recruited three years ago by white Roman Catholic anti-abortion activists who felt an African American man would have an easier time approaching the clinic's many African American patients," the Los Angeles Times recently reported. He is rapidly becoming a national celebrity in anti-abortion circles.
Kamau-Imani recently caused quite a stir when he put up a billboard in the black community that declared "Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Republican." The billboard was sponsored by RagingElephants.org, which claimed that it was "Leading
"We think it's imperative that [the GOP] try and attract more people from the communities of color to vote their values -- to vote conservative," Kamau-Imani said.
Black conservatives may be out of step with the African American community, but they have always been hovering about the political landscape, as Deborah Toler pointed out 16 years ago in a provocative essay published in The Public Eye. Over the past three decades, being a black conservative has been a relatively lucrative enterprise, albeit striated with lust, loneliness and loss.