Conservative Black Leaders: Obama’s Likening Selma to Gay Activism ‘Ridiculous,’ ‘An Insult’

Lauretta Brown | March 10, 2015 | 11:51am EDT
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( – Conservative black leaders are calling President Barack Obama’s likening of homosexual activism to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march “ridiculous” and “an insult.”

“We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge,” President Obama said in a speech delivered Saturday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., leads the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march in March 1965. (AP Photo)

The speech was given at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches. Obama spoke on “what America is,” and referenced what he considered to be defining moments in our nation’s history.

“There were some good things in it,” Bishop E.W. Jackson of STAND (Staying True to America’s National Destiny) acknowledged of the president’s speech. “But I think the thesis of the president’s speech seems to be that what makes America great is protest, what makes America great is criticism of our country and he’s wrong.”

“What makes America great is freedom, freedom is what allows protest,” said Jackson. “Freedom is what allows critique, but he didn’t talk about freedom he talked about this sort of ongoing critique of the country that we’re constantly trying to make the country in his mind better but to me all he meant was we’re trying to change it into an image that I find to my liking.”

“To me, it is an insult and every black person ought to be insulted by it,” Bishop Jackson said of Obama’s comparison of homosexual activism to Selma. “Instead of applauding that, we ought to be booing lines like that because it denigrates the tremendous price our ancestors paid to experience the full rights of citizenship in this country.”

“I think it’s a problem not only for the president but for a lot of people, who are deeply misguided, to compare people who are protesting to have their behavior, their sexual behavior, recognized as some kind of civil right or for that matter civil virtue and compare that to people who are trying to vote, trying to go into a restaurant and get a sandwich, are trying to stay in a hotel overnight while they are on the road, trying to sit wherever they want to sit on public accommodation and transportation,” Jackson said.

“To compare those two, to me, it is highly intellectually dishonest or just outright stupid,” said Jackson. “You can’t possibly believe that in your heart of hearts if you’re a thinking person.”

“He said our highest ideals, but he’s talking about his own ideals,” said Jackson. “So his definition of what makes our country great is very, very different from mine.”

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of BOND (The Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny) was similarly critical of the president’s speech.

“There was no hope in that rally,” Peterson said. “Just think about this: 50 years later we have a black president in the United States of America. This country has done more than any other country to make amends for slavery in this country and yet there was no appreciation of that. There was no praise of America, thanking America for what it had done. It was as though it was still 1955.”

“It was disgusting, it was evil, it was wrong,” said Peterson.

“That rally was a klan’s rally, was no different than the KKK, it was a hate rally, a hateful rally,” said Peterson.

“There was no encouraging of rebuilding families and black Americans taking responsibility for their own life and their family life and to stop relying on the government,” said Peterson. “America is the place to do that.

“There was no talk,” he said, “about uniting the races as we all become Americans instead of being judged by the color, but the character. It just gave no hope to the people.”

“When he made that comparison it was ridiculous,” said Peterson of the homosexual activism comparison. “I grew up in Alabama. I protested at some of the rallies during that time and we were being discriminated against simply because we were black not because we were gay or who we had sex with or not had sex with. So, there is no comparison at all, not one iota.”

Rev. C. L. Bryant, a Baptist minister, independent film producer, and Senior Fellow at Freedom Works called the Selma anniversary “the culmination” of what the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., has spoken for in 1963 in his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

“The sons of former slaves and even the sons of former slave owners at this point in time, 2015, were meeting once again at Selma to secure the promissory note that is guaranteed by our Constitution that all of us are created equal,” said Bryant.

President Barack Obama arrives at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Selma to Montgomery march in his motorcade. (AP Photo)

Bryant also thought it was an insult for the president to liken the Selma civil rights marchers to homosexual activists.

“I don’t know how many of the marchers that might have crossed the bridge in Selma, I don’t know how many of them had been gay Americans or homosexuals at the time,” Bryant said. “But I do know that most of them were blacks and most, a lot of them, were women. And the blacks were definitely marching to secure opportunities that their sexuality had nothing to do with and women, in the same breath, were marching to secure opportunities that their personal sexuality had everything to do with, but not their preference, it was truly the way they are born and were presented.”

“I think the president made an incredible error in judgment in relating the two and it was an insult to those who actually suffered the slings and arrows, the blows of those police officers, on that historic day,” Bryant said.

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