Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pitted against each other

For years Republicans have been trying to create a divide between blacks and homosexuals that simply isn't there. Certainly not on the level they'd like it to be.

The argument is that black evangelicals, being good Christians themselves, should come to the same conclusions white evangelicals have come to regarding homosexuality and Scripture. Nevermind that whites used Scripture to advocate slavery and racism for centuries. No, what neo-conservatives really desire is to see two groups within the Democratic party pitted against each other, in the hopes it will unravel the progressive consensus. Every time a conservative black deacon condemns the homosexual lifestyle on television, the glee of that possible division swells within neo-con circles (an object of delight seconded only by reports of tortured Muslims or the crash of a liberal actor's career). So they really would like to see this idea pan out. And to do so, that means pandering to a voter bloc they've previously ignored for nearly 40 years.

That's why there's been a couple half-ass apologies lately (or even non-apologies in some instances) by the Republican Party to black voters, all in a very laggard attempt to sweep away the dirty tricks they played on the black community for half a century, and all to try to shore up black support for a party that's historically done its damnedest to fight against the interests of minorities.

That apology, mind you, comes just one year after Bush snubbed the NAACP's national convention for the fourth straight year in a row. Talk about historical context. This is a party that, from one side its of mouth, wants to severely cripple if not strike down Affirmative Action completely and yet placates and pays lip service to black interests from the other side. Only a true racist would have the gall to believe that black voters would fall for that kind of duplicity. Pretty insulting.

So it's no surprise to me that a growing tide of black leaders are slowly catching wise to the GOP's strategy of 'divide and conquer'.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. James A. Forbes spoke with a joyous righteousness as a preached to a hall of black faces Sunday at a cathedral at the edge of Harlem, and the words he chose might have come straight from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

Discrimination, he said, has no place in this world, and he urged his audience to liberate themselves from the notion put forward by some that they are less favored by God.

"Your job is to get up every day and be grateful to God for your DNA," Forbes said. "It took an artist divine to make this design!"

What made his words stand out was that they were spoken to a roomful of gay and lesbian faithful, and the would-be oppressors he referred to during the spirited religious service weren't white segregationists, but the pastors of some black churches.

...Speaking in a hall at the Riverside Church, the Rev. Cari Jackson, of the Center of Spiritual Light, said some conservative black clergy had, perhaps unintentionally, incited hate against lesbians and gays by repeatedly condemning them as sinners.

"Like our slave ancestors, we are being spiritually, psychologically and physically abused." she said.

Driving a wedge between the black community and the gay community isn't catching on as well as Republicans would like. The jig, as they say, is up.


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