Some Minn. churches concerned about NOM’s ‘wedge’ strategy
A much criticized strategy by the National Organization for Marriage to drive a wedge between the gay community and racial minorities has led some Minnesota churches to express reservations. The churches, along with NOM, are part of the Minnesota for Marriage coalition backing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state.
On Monday, court documents unsealed following a lawsuit by NOM challenging Maine’s campaign finance laws revealed a strategy by the group to recruit black leaders and provoke gay marriage supporters into calling them bigots.
NOM’s strategy, dubbed the “Not a Civil Right Project,” read:
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington D.C.; Find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
Another section described plans by NOM to reach out to the Latino community.
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote,” NOM wrote, “and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity — a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
NOM has been a major player in the Minnesota for Marriage coalition, which has been pushing for the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Minnesota for Marriage lists roughly 50 churches as part of its coalition, including a number of churches that serve minority communities.
The American Independent reached out to some of those churches in the wake of the revelations of NOM’s “wedge” strategy, and while none expressed support for the strategy, a couple stated they would remain in the Minnesota for Marriage coalition.
“Marriage is defined by God, not the National Organization for Marriage,” said Pastor McKinley Moore of Jehovah Jireh, which is part of the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination whose membership is predominately African American.
McKinley expressed some reservations about NOM’s strategy but affirmed his commitment to continue with the campaign to pass the marriage amendment.
“Man’s flawed strategies to gain support does not change the issue of marriage by God’s design,” he said. “We still stand in support of Marriage as one man and one woman united in vows taken before God.”
McKinley said his church would remain in the Minnesota for Marriage coalition.
Pastor Charles Karuka of the International Outreach Church said he didn’t have all the facts in the matter and told TAI readers to “make whatever conclusion you wish.”
IOC describes itself as a multi-racial, nondenominational church in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis.
“It is amazing what lengths we go to in our western culture to win,” said Pastor Joseph Sutton of the Minneapolis Believers Foursquare Church. “One may have a strategy, but will all those parties perform the way NOM has planned?”
Sutton said his church would remain a part of the coalition and the revelations about NOM “do not change our position.” But he did express some concern that the amount of money that will be spent by NOM could be used to help people in need.
“My church’s position is not a result of some person’s opinion, because peoples’ opinion changes over time,” he said. “The amounts of money that have been and will be spent on this topic could solve a lot of problems among the people I minister to.”
Some Minnesota politicians have begun to speak out against NOM’s strategy as well. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s only black representative in Congress, condemned NOM’s strategy, saying it violates American ideals.
“We learned from previously confidential documents that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is intentionally working to divide Americans across racial lines to advance their political agenda,” he said. “Our nation was founded on the principle of liberty and justice for all people—regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. NOM is clearly opposed to these basic ideals that so many Americans hold dear.”
He issued a call for Minnesotans to reject the anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot in November.
“I call on people from all backgrounds to speak out against NOM’s agenda and vote NO on the anti-marriage amendment this November.”
And on Thursday, African American, Latino and LGBT members of the Minnesota Legislature spoke out against NOM.
Sens. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, and Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, along with Reps. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, and Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul all signed on to a statement criticizing NOM.
“The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has pushed a divisive agenda all across America, but their plot to ‘drive a wedge between gays and blacks’ and make gay intolerance a ‘badge of Latino identity’ won’t work here,” the members wrote. “While Minnesotans hold all sorts of political views, everyone shares the fundamental principle that ‘liberty and justice for all’ does not leave out any race, gender, or sexual orientation. Any group whose stated goal is to ‘drive a wedge’ among our families, friends and neighbors is attacking exactly what makes our state such a great place to live and work.”
They added, “Voters should reject the anti-marriage amendment and show those that would divide us on racial lines what Minnesotans can do when we stick together.”
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