Yes, indeed. Chick-fil-A just got some strong backing from an important African-American group--The Coalition of African-American Pastors. They represent 3,742 black congregations. In a rousing speech with shades of the rhetoric used by the gay lobby and their leftist secularist supporters, President Rev. William Owens thundered: "It's a disgrace. It's the same thing that happened when I was marching for civil rights, when they didn't want a black to come into their restaurant, they didn't want us staying in their hotels. Now they're saying, because we take a Christian position, they don't want us in their cities."
Rev. Owens was speaking at the National Press Club when he tossed the grenade. Christian blacks oppose gay marriage at a much higher rate than whites, but until recently the issue had been kept local and low-key. He was reacting largely to the big city mayors declaring their dismay over the opposition of the CEO of Chick-fil-A to gay marriage. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's statement that opposition to gay marriage did not reflect "Chicago values" was the straw that broke the camel's back. Rahmbo must have made that statement without checking with the ward captains on the South Side.
This goes beyond the anger and negative comments made by many black pastors after The One announced that he had "evolved" and now supports gay marriage. Until now, most of their comments were rhetorical, or a plea with the president to change his mind. There was a strong note of defiance, but not much in the way of action. But on Tuesday, Rev. Owens announced the group's Mandate for Marriage campaign. It is aimed directly at black voters. "We will urge black voters to refrain from supporting President Barack Obama unless he retracts his support for gay marriage."
Speaking on camera directly to the president, Rev. Owens said: "Mr. President, I'm not going to stand with you, and there are thousands of others across this country that are not going to stand with you with this foolishness." Rev. Owens also says that his group will be contacting other black pastors who have announced their support for Obama to try to encourage them to withdraw their endorsements. He added: "If out-of wedlock births, hopelessness for black youth, and an ever-increasing murder rate are Chicago values, we reject them. Maybe these mayors and aldermen should spend more time attending to the real problems of their cities, and spend less time worrying about a values-supporting restaurant chain."
Bishop Janice Hollis, Prelate of the Covenant of International Fellowship of Churches echoed Rev. Owens, saying: "Obama's support of gay marriage is a travesty, and it reflects the disorder in the highest office in the land." They both said that they had written to the president and Eric Holder, requesting a meeting on the subject, and "he has not given us the courtesy of a reply." Both stated, speaking of the black voters nationwide, "Obama is ignoring the black community because he feels that he has us in his pocket. Well, we are not in his pocket."
I recognize that the economy is the big issue in this campaign. But I also recognize that there is a substantial voting bloc of conservative, religious citizens who simply cannot in good conscience vote for Obama under any circumstances. Add the Coalition of African American Pastors to that bloc. In certain key swing states with large black populations, even something of this minor magnitude could be the deciding factor.
Naturally, you won't see much about this or the Chick-fil-A appreciation day. There is some buzz that CBS intentionally spiked coverage of the crowds at Chick-fil-A across the nation after they found out that the demonstrations weren't against the company. On the other hand, one blog suggested "Take a Boy Scout to Chick-fil-A Day." Perfect!
Note: Because of a last-minute change of appointments, I was unable to attend Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in Bakersfield. But from what I've seen, it was a resounding success nationwide. Long lines of cars and patrons around the restaurants, and many signs of enthusiastic support. Somehow I don't think the opposition "kiss in" coming up will be nearly as successful. There were even a few bomb threats, indicating just how angry and desperate the opponents of free speech and religious liberty really are.