Black Pastor William Owens Wrong About Civil Rights, History

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By Calvin Wolf | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Wed, May 23, 2012

According to The Daily Caller, the NAACP’s endorsement of same-sex marriage has been challenged by the Coalition of African American Pastors, led by William Owens. Owens said he and his supporters did not march “one inch or one mile” with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement to “promote same-sex marriage.” He also criticized the NAACP for allegedly abandoning its historic responsibility to “safeguard” the civil rights movement.

Owens said gay Americans should be free from harassment, violence and have the right to hold jobs. He said it should not be a right for Americans to marry someone of the same sex. He should crack open a history book and do some reading.

Racism against dark-skinned people during the age of European imperialism was often based on this patronizing notion of preventing harassment and violence. White Europeans claimed it was their responsibility to pacify intertribal conflicts and “civilize” the native peoples. They “protected” local populations while denying equal rights. Owens’ statements reek of that form of patronizing nonequality. Would he and the CAAP accept whites affording the same treatment to blacks and other minorities, allowing most rights and calling it good so long as there was no harassment or violence?

As late as the 1960s in the U.S., it was illegal in many places to marry someone of a different race. How can Owens and his supporters proudly claim they marched to allow individuals to marry others of different races while boldly trying to deny individuals to marry others of the same sex? Many who voiced no disdain for allowing integrated schools and public facilities balked at allowing interracial marriage, but today few would dare utter such thoughts in public. How can Owens not realize that what interracial marriage was in 1965 is what same-sex marriage is today? An eroding border.

In 1967, the Supreme Court ended all race-based restrictions on legal marriage in the U.S. in its opinion in Loving v. Virginia. Forty-five years from today, how will Owens and the CAAP be viewed for their opposition to same-sex marriage? They insult their own self-proclaimed civil rights legacy by engaging in a hypocritical attempt to keep people from marrying, ignoring the fact that they once championed the shocking and outrageous notion that blacks and whites be allowed to marry.