Cover Story

Vote your priorities

"Vote your priorities" Continued...

Issue: "Inside Election 2012," Oct. 20, 2012

What did you think of President Obama’s explanation that his Christian faith supported his new endorsement of same-sex marriage? The Bible makes no provision for the redefinition of marriage and the family, other than the one that is prescribed in the Bible by God and Jesus to be between a man and a woman. It is an illegitimate issue to accept or promote from a Christian standpoint. That’s not the only issue, but on that issue I’ve disagreed with [his] position. 

What thoughts went through your mind when he made that announcement? Disappointment. Disappointment. Disappointment. It’s a flawed position and a dangerous position for the culture, for the definition of the family. 

It doesn’t seem like President Obama’s position on gay marriage is turning African-American voters to Gov. Mitt Romney. Will it affect black voter turnout? I think there will be big question marks. Because historically the definition of the family has been very central to the black experience. I think that there is a growing group that are pushing pause, and have moved from a “definite” to an “I don’t know.”

Has the White House faith-based office under President Obama been effective? To me it hasn’t been as succinct and clear as it was under Bush. It hasn’t been promoted as much. The idea I hold in the book and that I hold publicly, is that our faith organizations, and particularly our churches, are the strongest and best mechanisms to manifest charity in the culture. Not the civil government. 

Is it possible to criticize the first African-American president without undermining his historic accomplishment? Yes, absolutely. It is certainly easier from a Christian, biblical perspective. Now you’re bringing God into the equation while still honoring the uniqueness of [Obama’s] accomplishment. I think you can do both, and ought to do both, honorably. 

Do you talk with other black pastors about the president’s policies? Sure, regularly. I’m on phone calls. I take this position, and I say, now, you got to disagree with me biblically. Don’t disagree with me racially. OK? Don’t disagree with me racially because race must be subject. That’s why I wrote the book Oneness Embraced, that’s a book on race, justice, and government. Because race can never be used to trump the Bible. We don’t ignore race, we are unique in our creation, but we never deify it either.

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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