UPDATE: Per the NYT, the anti-gay activist turned the entire final half hour of the concert into an anti-gay harangue:
The whole controversy might have been forgotten in the swell of gospel sound except Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.
He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.
“God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support….
Mr. McClurkin’s support for Mr. Obama could signal to some black evangelical voters that race and religion are more important than Mr. Obama’s support for gay rights.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Obama’s anti-gay religious right activist used the opportunity Obama gave him last night to preach his hate to thousands of African-Americans. That’s just great. And the white preacher who Obama picked to help explain to the audience that gays aren’t minions of Satan? CNN reports that he said nothing at all – just a short little prayer, then he left. As for Obama, he did a taped introduction in which he praised McClurkin, the religious right activist, as one of his favorites. That’s nice, because the way to help combat homophobia in the black community is to make sure the gay-basher is first endorsed by someone as high-ranking as Obama, who then chooses to say nothing about the gay-bashing.
So, in the end, Obama let his “best” and “favorite” artist slam gays to thousands of African-Americans, in his name, and neither he nor his hand-chosen white gay preacher said anything in response. Class act, that Obama campaign. For them, creating a “dialogue” means the gay-basher gets to spread his bigotry to thousands while the candidate and the token gay STFU.
And let’s give a special shout out to the white gay preacher, Rev. Andy Sidden, who was supposed to be there defending our team. Here’s how CNN reported his brave act of courage:
Sidden is the white, gay pastor added to the concert bill as a last minute compromise by the Obama campaign. Sidden’s appearance was notably brief and anti-climactic: He said a short prayer to the auditorium at the very beginning of the program, when the arena was only about half full, and then he left.
Obama, while not present, appeared on a videotaped message to the crowd, saying, “The artists you’re going to hear from are some of the best in the world, and favorites of Michelle and myself.”
McClurkin said during the concert that he had been introduced to Obama by Oprah Winfrey.
Wow, we could have invited a brick to give that heartfelt defense of gay people. Did Obama’s people plan for Sidden to give his prayer when no one was there? Was Sidden asked by the Obama people not to say anything in defense of gays? Or did Sidden wimp out all by himself?
Obama is definitely not ready for prime time.