The Anti-ist (underfiend) wrote in racesexsociety,
The Anti-ist

What's Race Got to Do With It?

To get from downtown Atlanta to the First Iconium Baptist Church, take Ralph David Abernathy freeway and follow the signs to the Confederate complex. Outside the church a welcome board states: "If you are headed in the wrong direction God allows U-turns."

Inside at a black church summit on gay rights organized by the National Black Justice Coalition, the Rev. Al Sharpton is trying to persuade black churches to rethink the path some have taken on gay rights.

Sharpton believes homophobia provided the Republican Party with the key to many a vestry door. In the last presidential election, the GOP boosted its share of the black vote to 11 percent, the postwar average, up from 8 percent in 2000, the lowest level in nearly four decades. (Following Hurricane Katrina it slumped to just 2 percent.) "The majority of the votes that Bush got in the African-American community was from his homophobic appeal," says Sharpton, who went on to invoke the spirit of Bayard Rustin, the gay black organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Republicans "couldn't come to black churches to talk about the war, about healthcare, about education, about poverty. So they did what they always do and reached for bigotry against gay and lesbian people.

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