Updated Aug. 27 to include reaction by the ex-gay network Exodus.
John Aravosis first pulled together the news Aug. 26 that an antigay ideologue will provide entertainment at the GOP convention:
“I’m not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children.” — Donnie McClurkin, GOP Convention entertainer speaking about gays.
Donnie McClurkin, one of the just-announced entertainers to be performing at the GOP Convention in NYC, thinks homosexuality is a “curse,” that it’s caused by men raping small children, that being gay is a choice, that it can be cured, and most explosively, that gays are trying to “kill our children.”
Aravosis provides quotations by and about McClurkin from numerous sources. They make McClurkin sound like a loose cannon ready to blow.
Keith Boykin’s analysis of McClurkin is excellent — thoughtful, sensitive, and fair. Go read it.
While Boykin’s appeals to a mix of compassion and skepticism over McClurkin’s troubled life and unsound ideology, exgay-activism expert Wayne Besen quickly cuts to political ramifications.
In his press release (copied below), Besen calls McClurkin’s accusations “patently false” and says the GOP’s selection of McClurkin places a man opposing “respect, fairness and inclusion” on the convention stage.
But in its own press release (also copied below), Exodus defends McClurkin’s rhetoric without daring to actually quote it. Exodus says simply that “Donnie is not shy about his testimony.” Finding no reason to place conditions on its praise of McClurkin, Exodus instead takes time to gratuitously wag a finger at “sexually permissive Hollywood elitists” — citing Ben Affleck, a former working-class Bostonian, as a prime example.
In apparent contrast to Affleck, Exodus says, “Donnie represents freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, freedom to rise above adversity and the freedom of self-determination”; Exodus thanks the Republican Party for celebrating this “true freedom.”
McClurkin’s incendiary speeches are, presumably, constitutionally protected. McClurkin’s participation in the convention probably will not receive due media attention — neither political convention has received adequate coverage. If it does gain notice, then we shall see whether Exodus and their political allies equate criticism of McClurkin with “intolerance.”
Here are the press releases issued by Wayne Besen and by Exodus:
Activist Calls on GOP to Drop Homophobic ‘Ex-Gay’ Singer Donnie McClurkin as Convention Performer
Voice of Hate Betrays GOP Convention’s Face of Moderation, Says Wayne Besen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004
Contact: Wayne Besen
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Activist Wayne Besen today called on Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and CEO Bill Harris to cancel a scheduled convention performance by anti-gay singer Donnie McClurkin.
“If the GOP wants to present the face of moderation, they can’t have the voice of hate performing at the New York convention,” said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. “I call on the leaders of the Republican National Committee to cancel McClurkin’s performance and replace him with a performer who stands for the values of respect, fairness and inclusion.”
McClurkin, who won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, says he is a former homosexual who became gay after being molested by an uncle. The singer has made several inflammatory statements in mainstream and right wing media.
“Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you,” McClurkin told the media. According to the New York Times, McClurkin “counsels adolescent boys that homosexuality is a choice they can overcome.”
In an interview with www.FamilyChristian.com McClurkin said, “Homosexuality has really ravished our children. It started in my generation. I was touched by it and I struggled with it and all that for years and there was nobody to deal with it. I started dealing with it in my sermons and even when we do our concerts.”
McClurkin, currently a senior pastor at Perfecting Faith in Freeport, N.Y., was particularly outspoken against New York’s funding of Harvey Milk, a gay high school in New York, suggesting that the school will lead to molestation of children.
“The gloves are off,” he said on the Sept. 23, 2003 episode of Rev. Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. “And if there’s going to be a war, there’s going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose. This is not a privately funded school. It is a public school funded by taxpayers’ money. Why isn’t anyone else speaking out? Everyone knows that everyone at the high school is homosexual. That makes for an easy target.”
“I hope the GOP takes a stand and says that there is no place for outrageously slanderous and patently false hate speech,” said Besen. “While McClurkin has the right to his religious beliefs, he also has the responsibility to be truthful and not intentionally disparage the lives of millions of hard working, honest, respectable citizens.”
Exodus press release:
Donnie McClurkin: Grammy Winner (African American and Ex-Gay) to Perform at Republican National Convention
Exodus applauds the Republican National Committee for extending an invitation to one of the world’s greatest gospel singers.
Exodus Spotlights Report for August 27, 2004
*** For Immediate Release ***
Dated: August 27, 2004
For Further Information contact Randy Thomas.
Phone: (407) 599-6872
Orlando, FL –
In a day and age when other candidates are using Ben Affleck and other sexually permissive Hollywood elitists to garner votes, it seems that the Republican party is sticking with the wholesome unsung heroes like McClurkin, a man that has battled against culture, popular opinion and extreme adversity–not to mention spiritual warfare, to promote something higher than being elected to office. Alan Chambers, President of Exodus remarks, “It will be refreshing to see a positive role model, like McClurkin, representing our Lord and country as the world watches him sing.”
McClurkin has been very public about his battle to overcome unwanted homosexuality. His voice is a powerful one in the Christian music industry and especially the black church. He is truly a hero for risking everything to be so transparent with his testimony of transformation. Donnie is a brave example for many seeking to live life beyond homosexuality and flourish in Christ.
While Donnie is not shy about his testimony, he draws strength from and lives out his passion for Christ first. Randy Thomas states, “What I like about Donnie is that you don’t see ‘gay’ or ‘ex-gay’; you see a man of God seeking to love Jesus with his whole heart.”
Pastor McClurkin states on his website, “I pray that the anointing will permeate throughout my recordings and bless (not impress) all that listen. Entertainment is not my goal, but that God be pleased and someone who hears experiences Jesus in a greater way.”
Tune in August 30 through September 2 and support Donnie McClurkin as he stands for Christ at the Republican National Convention in New York City. The entertainment lineup has yet to be announced. Also, take a moment to email the RNC Chairman, Ed Gillespie at Chairman@gop.com and their communications department at RNCommunications@gop.com to thank them for inviting an African American; formerly same sex attracted Christian to represent an important voice in the American populace. Donnie represents freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, freedom to rise above adversity and the freedom of self-determination. We thank the RNC for celebrating true freedom and encourage the DNC to do the same.
Please also email Pastor McClurkin at email@example.com to thank him for representing Christ and his country well.
PR Newswire announcement of Republican National Convention entertainers