After nearly four years in office, many Americans still express frustration that much about Barack Obama remains a mystery as establishment media remain incurious about the Democratic president, while seemingly ready to dispatch crack investigative teams at a moment’s notice to probe into the personal lives of Republican figures such as Sarah Palin. Largely ignored in 2008 was research by the Hillary Clinton campaign based on contacts developed with members of the church Obama attended for two decades, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. This is the first of a series of articles WND has developed from months of in-person interviews with church members who have known Barack and Michelle Obama over many years. The sources requested that their identities not be published because they believe their disclosures would put their security at risk.
NEW YORK – Ten years ago, the New York Times reported on a growing underground subculture in the black community known as Down Low, comprised largely of men who secretly engage in homosexual activity while living “straight” lives in public.
It’s within that subtext that opposition researchers for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign began investigating rumors that Rev. Jeremiah Wright was running a “matchmaking service” for members of his Trinity United Church of Christ known as the Down Low Club, which included Barack Obama.
Over the past several months, WND investigators have interviewed a number of members of the church who claim the president benefited from Wright’s efforts to help black men who engage in homosexual activity appear respectable in black society by finding them a wife.
The 2003 New York Times story, “Double Lives on the Down Low,” said that though many black men reject “a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate,” they “have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low.”
The Times said that while “there are black men who are openly gay, it seems that the majority of those having sex with men still lead secret lives, products of a black culture that deems masculinity and fatherhood as a black man’s primary responsibility – and homosexuality as a white man’s perversion.”
The Down Low Club at Trinity “doesn’t have meetings, and it isn’t like the Rotary Club,” a source identified for this article as “Carolyn” explained to a WND investigator in Chicago.
“It was more that Wright served as a matchmaker,” said Carolyn, a 20-year member of Trinity who has played a role in church administration and knows the Obamas personally.
“He kept his eye on the young guys coming up in Trinity,” she said, “and if he spotted someone that acted or looked gay, then Wright would give them kind of a guidance counselor-type direction on how to keep down low – how to do the things they wanted to do, but then also getting married and looking ‘respectable’ – being part of black society.”
To Trinity insiders, the Down Low Club was simply known as “the program.”
“That’s the terminology. At Trinity, you’re urged to ‘get with the program,’” explained a male beneficiary of the Down Low Club. “What that means is it’s OK to go ahead and have sex with men, just as long as you ‘get with the program’ and marry a woman, somebody no straight guy would want to marry.”
The wife, the Down Low Club member explained, is “your ‘beard,’ your cover – so you can look like you’re living a straight life, even though you’re not.”
The male source was a “computer consultant” who claims not to know “scratch” about computers. But “getting with the program” at Trinity meant he could keep living a “gay” life and receive lots of computer consulting work thrown his way by Trinity, as long as he was willing to marry an unattractive woman who otherwise might have ended up a lonely spinster with no means to provide for living.
Carolyn explained that for many black families, attending Trinity was a way out of poverty.
“Trinity was a chance to network,” she said. “The stuff preached was hateful, but about 70 percent of those who go there ignore the radical rhetoric and just trying to get ahead.”
Carolyn said Trinity “helped a lot of blacks get successful and connected.”
“That’s what Wright did for Obama,” she claimed. “He connected Obama in the community, and he helped Obama hide his homosexuality.”
Openly homosexual author and commentator Keith Boykin, a former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, mentions Obama’s former pastor, Wright, on pages 264-265 of his 2005 book “Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America.” While Boykin doesn’t refer to the Down Low Club by name, he regards Wright as among a small group of ministers who are “coming to grips with sexuality and opening up a dialogue with heterosexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals in the pews.”
Chicago-based author, businessman, speaker and HIV/AIDS activist J.L. King wrote a controversial book in 2005 called “On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of ‘Straight’ Black Men who Sleep with Men.”
He was a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based TV show in 2004, which described him this way: “J.L. King had a life most would envy. He married his high school sweetheart, had two healthy children and was on the fast track to success. But, unbeknownst to his family and friends, he had a dark secret—he was living on the down low.”
Remember the choir director
Carolyn and the other members of Trinity who provided statements corroborating her testimony were insistent that WND conceal their identities as a condition of being interviewed.
“I’m still scared to discuss any of this,” Carolyn said.
“At Trinity, if you even hint at talking about Obama being gay, you are reminded of our dear departed choir director,” she said. “He was killed, and it wasn’t a robbery. The Christmas presents weren’t touched. The TV was not taken, nothing in the apartment was missing.”
Carolyn’s reference was to Donald Young, the 47-year-old homosexual choirmaster at Trinity who died of multiple gunshot wounds in his Chicago apartment Dec. 24, 2007.
Young’s murder was preceded Nov. 17, 2007, with the execution-style murder of 25-year-old Larry Bland, another black gay member of Trinity United. He also was murdered in his home, dying of multiple gunshot wounds, according to his death certificate.
Just two days after the murder of Young, a third openly “gay” member of Wright’s church, Nate Spencer, reportedly died of septicemia, pneumonia and AIDS.
As WND reported last month, a prominent member of Chicago’s homosexual community claims Obama’s participation in the “gay” bar and bathhouse scene was so well known that many who were aware of his lifestyle were shocked when he ran for president and finally won the White House.
In April, WND reported a federal judge dismissed a libel case against Larry Sinclair, a homosexual who claimed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign had paid to rig a polygraph test regarding Sinclair’s sensational charge that he had sex and used cocaine twice with Obama while Obama was an Illinois state senator. Sinclair tells his story in “Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder.”
WND also reported former radical activist John Drew has said that when he met Obama when Obama was a student at Occidental College, he thought Obama and his then-Pakistani roommate were “gay” lovers.
In addition, rumors have swirled around Obama’s relationship with his personal aide and former “body man,” Reggie Love, who resurfaced on the eve of the Republican National Convention to support his old boss. Love resigned from the White House in November 2011 after compromising photographs of him as a college student received wide circulation.
WND also has documented in two separate articles, here and here, that Obama wore a gold band on his wedding ring finger from the time he attended Occidental College through his student days at Harvard Law School.
Shocking phone call
Sinclair gave an affidavit to the Chicago Police Department regarding contacts he says he had with Young just prior to Young’s murder.
According to Sinclair’s affidavit, published in its entirety beginning on page 56 of his book, he contacted Obama’s presidential campaign in September 2007. Sinclair says he requested that Obama correct claims he made about when he stopped abusing drugs to reflect use of crack cocaine during their sex encounters in November 1999.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama had stated famously he stopped using marijuana and cocaine in college, implying his drug abuse ended when he had completed his first two years of college at Occidental in Los Angeles.
Sinclair explained that when he made contact with the Obama campaign in September 2007, he provided callback numbers, in case the campaign wanted to get in touch with him.
Then, in late September or early October 2007, as Sinclair stated in his affidavit, he received a call from a male identifying himself as “Mr. Young,” who stated he was responding to calls Sinclair had made to the Obama campaign.
“This first call shocked me in that this ‘Mr. Young’ asked me why I had not asked Senator Obama to disclose sexual encounters I had with Mr. Obama in 1999,” Sinclair’s affidavit reads. “I was shocked as I had never mentioned to the campaign or anyone working for the campaign any sexual encounters. The call ended with Mr. Young stating I would hear from someone in a few days.”
Sinclair claims it was in a second call from “Mr. Young” that he began to suspect the man had been sexually intimate with Obama. Sinclair said he drew that conclusion “by the tone of the conversation” and by its “sexual nature.”
In late October 2007, Sinclair received a text message from “Mr. Young” stating Young “was intimately involved with Senator Obama and that Obama was discussing with him and his pastor how to publicly acknowledge Senator Obama’s drug use in 1999.”
The text message also indicated Obama wanted to make sure Sinclair had not discussed the sexual encounters or drug use with any media at that time.
In November 2007, Sinclair received a second text message from “Mr. Young,” advising him that Obama would publicly correct his statement as to the last time he used drugs and that Sinclair did not need to concern himself with publicly disclosing it.
Then, in early December 2007, Sinclair received his last contact with “Mr. Young,” with Young making it clear Obama had no intention of acknowledging publicly his use of crack cocaine in 1999.
After Young was murdered, Sinclair had several contacts with Young’s family.
“In several telephone conversations with his sisters, brothers, nieces and others, I was reassured that the family of Donald Young believed he was murdered to protect Barack Obama,” Sinclair wrote. “It also became clear, right from the start that members of the Young family were truly fearful of speaking out publicly, to this day, they fear for their own personal, physical safety.”
On July 17, 2010, the supermarket tabloid The Globe published an interview with Norma Jean Young, the 76-year-old mother of the slain choirmaster, in which she expressed fear that her son was murdered to protect Obama.
“What was the cause of my son’s death?” Norma Jean Young asked in the Globe interview. “I’m very suspicious that it may have been related to Obama. Donald and Obama were very close friends. Whatever went on with this is very private. I am suspicious of a cover-up!”
She insisted there is “more to the story,” calling on Chicago police to ramp up their investigation.
“I do believe they are shielding somebody or protecting somebody,” she told The Globe.
Asked who would benefit from a cover-up, Norma Jean Young said, “It could be anyone, including Obama.”
Shortly after the Globe interview was published, Norma Jean Young left Chicago and lived for a while in Peoria, Ill. Her current residence is unknown.
The murders of Donald Young and Larry Bland remain today open cases of unsolved homicide.