Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant joins CNN’s Early Start to talk President Obama’s support for gay marriage and the impact on the African American community and church.
Rev. Bryant says, “A lot of African-American leaders right now are really dazed by this because we didn't see it coming. For the last four years, the African-American clergy have really supported, covered, and prayed for President Obama, and it really came without any warning. Sunday is going to be a real great divide in Black churches and churches across America discussing the issue. African-Americans are, by and large, sexually conservative and socially more aggressive. And so, pastors on Sunday morning are going to be really walking a balancing act. How now do we juxtapose this issue up against a president that we have supported over the last four years?"
When CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield asks if it is a deal breaker, Bryant responds, “And I would say by and large, African-Americans are going to support President Obama. I don't think that this is going to be a deal breaker because there's so many issues at stake when you deal with Pell Grants, when you deal with predatory lending, when you deal with job preparedness and you see the economy on the surge of rebound. I think African-Americans are going to stand with the president, with his presidency, but not on this policy.”
Bryant continues, “I think that the African-American community sees it as a human rights issue. The yoke that is on the church is that we cannot, in any way, practice gay bashing or embrace homophobia. I think one of the benefits that this is going to be is bring it to the kitchen table for discussion. African-Americans and the Black church, by and large, have shied away from the issue. The president has put it right on the plate and said we've got to deal with it. And I think that it's appropriate. Many African-American denominations have already assumed a position on same-sex marriages and unions. I'm a part of the African Methodist Episcopal church. And in 2008, we passed a legislation whereby we were against same-sex marriages and same-sex unions, but at the same place, we believe in the human rights of all because we believe that God created everybody.”
Early Start with Ashleigh Banfield & Zoraida Sambolin airs weekday mornings from 5-7am ET on CNN.