Black Caucus ignores
black clergy

By Les Kinsolving

WASHINGTON – The 160 black clergy came from 26 states – as far away as Texas, Colorado and California – to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus.

They invited the caucus to their Monday morning news conference in the Rayburn House Office Building, where they affirmed: “Gay marriage is not a civil right” and asked for caucus support in their opposition to same-sex marriage.

The members of the Black Caucus were no-shows – except one, who arrived late.

Almost all of Washington’s media also ignored the event, despite wide distribution of notices about the press conference.

Bishop-elect Anthony Muse of Oxon Hill, Md., told the news conference: “We are disappointed in the Congressional Black Caucus and we intend to call them to account.”

Illinois Pastor Glenn Plummer of the National Religious Broadcasters Association added: “We are at odds with the CBC and we are opposed to civil unions. We also support House Bill 234, the Freedom of Speech for Pastors bill – so that churches will no longer be threatened with loss of tax exemption if pastors speak on candidates and issues as moved by Our Lord. The Black Caucus is out of step with us on this issue, as well.”

After the news conference, WND was able to talk with Bishop-elect Muse, who is a former member of the House of Delegates of the Maryland State Legislature.

WND: President Bush made clear his opposition to same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech. Sen. Kerry, who has often said he opposes same-sex marriage, has voted against both the Defense of Marriage Act and the Marriage Amendment – as has Sen. Barbara Mikulksi of your state, but not her opponent, State Sen. E.J. Pipkin. What’s your reaction to this?

MUSE: I think my reaction is we ought to come together collectively – this is not really about two persons. It’s about an issue that will affect millions. The president will have to depend on Congress. Congress will have to depend in their local leaders. Our job is to make sure we get the right local leaders in office.

WND: Like local leaders from Maryland, i.e. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Has she ever talked to you?

MUSE: No. She has never talked to me about that issue at all.

WND: Will you go to her?

MUSE: I will. In fact, Bishop Ralph Dennis in Baltimore, we’re pulling that together to go to her… and sit down and talk to her. Because they’ve got to take into consideration – let me be real clear about this – they have to take into consideration our issues. We’re going to take into consideration their response. Not only when we vote, but when we encourage people to vote – and for whom they will vote. This will be one of the first times around issues on which these many churches have come together, in Baltimore and Prince Georges County.

WND: You’ve got a lot of pastors in Baltimore?

MUSE: Baltimore, Prince Georges County. We’re going to sit and meet with them.

WND: And this issue is important enough, if necessary, to dislodge a long-term incumbent?

MUSE: Our issue can get you elected – one issue can certainly unelect you. When you poll Maryland, the majority are for marriage defined as a man and a woman. I think that they have to be very careful that they are representing the district when they vote.

Also interviewed was Pastor Harry Jackson of Lanham, Md., about Sen. Mikulski’s support of same-sex marriage as well as partial-birth abortion.

WND: Will you sometime get to Sen. Mikulski?

JACKSON: Certainly we will, those of us who are from this state, We will organize –

WND: She has, you know, also come out in support of partial-birth abortion. How do you stand on that?

JACKSON: I think that’s really terrible. Morally it’s not correct. And I think one of the challenges of the state of Maryland has been that being a predominantly Democratic state, we tend to allow folks to follow the national party line. Whereas, what this group is going to do is ask grass-roots level people to go to these folks and demand that on the issues of essential morality, that they break ranks with the platform and support the specific things that we’re for.