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Barak Obama, Donnie McClurkin & Christian Students Against Intolerance November 6, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in news, politics, presidential election, tolerance.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of the criticisms leveled at presidential candidates is their inattention to college students, a very large voting block. At least one candidate is not ignoring them. Last weekend, Barak Obama’s road show included ex-gay Donnie McClurkin, a grammy award winning gospel singer and preacher. Some believe Obama partnered with McClurkin hoping to attract black evangelical voters, but he is after more than just black evangelical vote. Obama is after the young college aged Christian voter. That becomes more apparent when Obama’s response to gay criticism is considered. His reply to the many protests made by gays against his partnership with McClurkin was that he did not agree with McClurkin’s views. Nevertheless, his statement is a claim that he was for true tolerance and respect towards those who he does not agree with. Intended or not, Obama’s position aligns with a college student campaign called Allies, Too.

The Allies, Too campaign began on November 5 and will continue until November 9. The purpose of the campaign is to call upon all young people to set aside agendas on the big issues at least for a moment and to stand up for the things we can all agree on: true tolerance, safety and respect. It’s a chance to throw off the dishonest, unfair labels of bigotry and hatred that some people use to silence others’ points of view. It’s a call to every community to engage in honest reasoning and debate, not a culture war.

Although the campaign is directed to Christian students, it offers a challenge to non-Christian as well. We are all in this thing called life and community together. Because we are, the good life is only possible when honesty, respect, and reason are employed to resolve real issues. For without honesty, trust is not possible. Without respect for the humanity of others, honest and open discussion is unthinkable. Without using our God-given ability of reason, good solutions, right relationships, meaningful religion, and a descent society is not possible either. That is my belief.

Participants in the Allies, Too campaign pledge to do three things: (1) To never use slurs or demeaning language against a person or group; (2) To make an effort to stop any harassment or name-calling they see; and (3) To share and defend their beliefs with gentleness and respect, and pursue honest dialog with those who disagree.

What then does Allies, Too believe? The website lists ten core principles adhered to by the Allied, Too community. Here I mention only four. One is their belief in Jesus Christ whose love they seek to share with all. Another is “that a homosexual, bisexual or transgender identity and/or behavior are outside of the intentional design of human relationships and sexuality, and therefore aren’t what’s best for us, regardless of whether we are drawn to them.” It is also believed that people are free “to determine their own identity, and can choose to pursue freedom and change, as evidenced by the many people who have successfully done so.” Rejected is “the notion that these beliefs somehow amount to hatred, bigotry, or a ‘phobia”.”

While seeking to protect the human dignity and safety of gays and all others, Allied, Too also claims the right to talk about their views and beliefs. That is their First Amendment right.

Allies, Too is affiliated with Exodus International, a Christian organization of ex-gays helping others who want to exit the gay lifestyle. Just as McClurkin, they are witnesses of the hope that a natural life lived in the moral dignity and one enjoying the pleasures as nature and God’s designed is possible. It is possible because the power of Spirit of life make followers of Jesus free from any power of corruption and immorality. (Romans 8:2) That is the experience of McClurkin and Allies, Too.

Sources and Links:

Katharine Q. Seelye ,Obama’s Gospel Tour, New York Times, October 29, 2007.

The Allies, Too official campaign website.

See also Lillian Kwon, Christian Students Fight Homophobic Label, Promote Campus Safety, The Christian Post, November 6, 2007.

Donnie McClurkin’s life story presented on Exodus International.

The website of Donnie McClurkin.

Barak Obama’s official campaign website.

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