Hanna Rosin makes a rather weird observation about Obama and DOMA:
My suspicion is that despite his campaign promise, Obama is genuinely conflicted about DOMA. In California, the fight against gay marriage was led by black churches, and Obama must have been exposed to that sentiment over the years. This is why this feels like the first instance of Obama behaving in a disingenuous way..
I have a lot of respect for Hanna's reporting chops, and she may well have access to some info that I haven't seen. But I think given the relatively minuscule population of blacks in California (7 percent), given the organization and money that the Mormons lent to the effort, given the correctives we've seen on polling for Prop 8, the notion that black churches led the fight against gay marriage strikes me as wrong.
But not as wrong as the notion that Obama picked up some homophobic sentiment from the black church. Leaving aside the notion that the black church is somehow responsible for Obama's failings, it's a bad idea to draw conclusions from what black churches in Compton are alleged to have done, to what black churches in Chicago actually do.
I can't speak on the whole city, but in terms of Obama's most recent church, he likely belonged to one of the most progressive churches in the city on this issue. Look, Jeremiah Wright's Trinity may have been a lot of things--but anti- gay really isn't among them. On the contrary:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's controversial ex-pastor in Chicago has largely supported gay rights and has welcomed gays into his 8,000-member congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ, according to activists who know him...
With Obama competing with rival presidential contender Hillary Clinton for gay votes in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, revelations of Wright's controversial sermons have raised questions among some activists about whether Obama's longtime pastor was among the preachers who delivered fire-and-brimstone sermons attacking homosexuality.
"Absolutely not," said Rick Garcia, political director of Equality Illinois, the Chicago-based state gay rights group.
"Trinity has been among the strongest supporters of LGBT rights," Garcia said. "I have the highest regard and admiration for Rev. Wright."
Gay Chicago resident Ronald Wadley, a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, said Wright enthusiastically backed suggestions by gay church members to create a gay and lesbian singles ministry as part of the church's existing ministry to heterosexual singles.
"We call it the same-gender loving family ministry," Wadley said. "It's a ministry that was formed to allow people to have an outlet to reconcile their sexuality with their spirituality," he said.
Of course this evidence hasn't stopped news orgs from simply assuming that Trinity must be, in fact, anti-gay.
I don't like how Obama's moving on gay rights, and I've said as much. But that really is on him--not the black church.