Crispus

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A Rainbow of Independent Thought, Perhaps?

Check out this ditty from AlterNet:

[Chicago's Reverend Gregory] Daniels has earned a place in history. Not because he's done anything important, but because he's brought us a quote no historian of this year's gay marriage standoff will be able to resist citing. During a Boston press conference, staged by the rightwing Family Research Council on the eve of Massachusetts' constitutional convention, the black minister pledged, "If the KKK was opposing same-sex marriage, Reverend Daniels would ride with them."

Daniels' hyperbole was appalling, but hardly unexpected. The religious right's battle plan has long centered on mobilizing black conservatives in the culture wars. The debate over same-sex marriage is not nearly the first act in the homophobic minstrel show that black conservatives like Daniels are performing. But it has arguably been the most influential – and widespread. From Boston to Atlanta, black ministers are standing in for the white right as the public face of "traditional values." And in the Bronx, Latino clergy are joining in, forming a rainbow coalition of bigotry.

Most observers have focused on how straight African Americans are responding to the rightwing's blackface performance. But perhaps more significant for gay America is the reaction of black and Latino gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. German and Thomas may represent an extreme example, but the incongruity between their life and that of the couples who have taken center stage in the marriage debate is not uncommon in black and Latino neighborhoods.

The government shouldn't even have a say over what consenting adults do, so gay marriage is OK with me. I'd even support polygamy on the same grounds. And why is a black guy saying he'll ride with the KKK to oppose gay marriage? Can't get with ol' boy there.

However, I'm amused at a blatant assumption made in this excerpt. Why is vast black opposition to gay marriage (2/3 oppose it) considered not a reflection of genuine opposition, rooted in a religious faith? Of course, socially conservative blacks like Daniels (who are politically liberal, by the way) can't derive their views independently but must be puppets of white folks. Never mind that most black folks share Daniels' view (the KKK thing aside), so he reflects widespread community sentiment. Of course, no commentary whatsoever about the minstrel show that white gays are perpetrating by hijacking black history to promote their agenda -- inflaming black folks even further. That's more offensive to me than the misguided rants of a Windy City black minister, not to mention strategically unwise. Given the religion statistics over at Booker Rising, black Protestants appear to share most of white Christian conservatives' views on most social issues. So do many Latino Catholics. So it's hardly illogical for these groups to form alliances when their interests intersect. But of course, only liberals think.

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