"Black preachers [are] divided on same-sex marriage, not Obama," insists the Washington Post's headline for a June 1 Religion News Service article about how African-American ministers across the country may disagree with President Obama on same-sex marriage, but that they are 100 percent committed to his reelection.
RNS's Lauren Markoe based this analysis on the amen chorus of some 200 pastors at a recent meeting of the Conference of National Black Churches. But Markoe failed to report a dissenting group of African-American ministers, the Coalition of African-American Pastors, which has sent a letter requesting an audience with President Obama as the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan reported Friday:
The Coalition of African American Pastors has demanded a meeting with President Obama to try to change his mind on his personal embrace of same-sex marriage.
The pastors fired off a letter this week to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking him to set up the meeting with the president, and painted their quest as a civil rights cause.
"I can promise you personally, as an organizer of the civil rights movement in Nashville, I did not march one inch, one foot, one yard for same-sex marriage," said Rev. William "Bill" Owens Sr., founder of the coalition and organizer of the letter.
While saying they are proud of Mr. Obama's success and calling him the "fulfillment of our dreams for our sons," Mr. Owens and the 19 other religious leaders who signed his letter said the president's evolution to embrace same-sex marriage "has broken our hearts by using his power and position to endorse as a civil right something that is simply wrong."
Pollsters have wondered how Mr. Obama's decision to embrace same-sex marriage would play with various segments of voters, and in particular with black church-going Christians, who generally tell pollsters they support the president but many of whom are also opposed to gay marriage.
"Some things are bigger than the next election," the pastors said in their letter.