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03/12/2015

NOM liaison speaks for all civil rights pioneers; ignores major civil rights pioneer standing front and center

by Jeremy Hooper

In an interview with Breitbart, Willie Owens, the extreme-tongued man who serves as the National Organization For Marriage's religious liaison and heads up an offshoot group of African-American pastors, yet again goes after President Obama for supposedly hijacking the Civil Rights Movement. Regarding the president's recent comments at a 50th anniversary commemoration in Selma, Alabama, wherein the chief executive equated the modern struggle for gay rights with past struggles like those faced in Selma (to great applause), Owens says in part:

“I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News. “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.”
...
“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”
FULL: BLACK PASTORS COALITION LEADER: OBAMA’S COMPARISON OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND GAY MARRIAGE STRUGGLES A ‘DISGRACE TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY’ [Breitbart]

But while I know Mr. Owens, like so many social conservatives, believes his points are salient simply because he states them, he might want to tell the Breitbart editors to choose a different photo in order to help him make his point. In the photo the editors did choose, not only are pro-equality African Americans Barack and Michele Obama pictured, but right there front and center is another man—a man who actually marched with Dr. King in Selma:

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 At 7.10.29 Am

FULL: BLACK PASTORS COALITION LEADER: OBAMA’S COMPARISON OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND GAY MARRIAGE STRUGGLES A ‘DISGRACE TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY’ [Breitbart]

Yes, I'm talking about Democratic Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights Movement legacy-bearer if there ever was one. John Lewis fought arm-in-arm with Dr. King, literally, risking life and limb for the cause. And Congressman Lewis now proudly and passionately supports marriage equality and LGBT rights, which he has done for years.

Willie Owens is doing exactly what he accuses President Obama of doing. Whereas Obama and Lewis and the millions of other civil rights pioneers are speaking to an issue, namely that freedom means freedom for everybody and that measures like the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution grant the same sort of equal protection from which earlier movements have rightly benefited, Owens is the one pretending to speak for an entire race of people. Owens is saying that he—and only he—gets to speak for Black America and for everyone who fought for civil rights in the '50s and '60s. Owens claims that "all of them" are shocked by the modern comparisons, and that is a flat-out and vicious lie. John Lewis singularly belies the claim, but he is but one figurehead for countless more.

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