By Glenn Burkins – May 23, 2012
A group calling itself the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) has blasted the NAACP for recent statements supporting same-sex marriage.
The group, which claims to include “major leaders of the black church and civil rights leaders who marched with Martin Luther King Jr.,” accused the NAACP of abandoning its “historic responsibility to speak for and safeguard the civil rights movement.”
“We who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage,” CAAP founder and president ” Rev. William Owens said in a statement released to the media.
The group also called on President Barack Obama to “reconsider his support for gay marriage.”
Owens could not be immediately reached for comment, and a spokesman for the organization could not immediately say how many ministers had joined CAAP.
Last week in Memphis, the city where King was assassinated in 1968, CAAP held a press conference and announced a drive to collect 100,000 signatures in support of traditional marriage.
“Same-sex marriage is an attempt to do the opposite of what Rev. King did,” Owens said in the statement this week. “It’s an attempt by men to use political power to declare that an act contrary to God’s law and to the natural law is a civil right…We will not stand by and let our beloved civil rights movement be hijacked without a fight.”
In a move that some called historic, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage. Its board, meeting in Miami, said it opposed any policy or legislative initiative that “seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens.”
“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” NAACP national President Benjamin Jealous said in a statement.