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NGLTF report analyzes the GOP courtship of blacks using homophobia

I’d be excited to see the GOP finally making a serious push for black voters-if the party was offering fresh ideas on police profiling, housing discrimination, unemployment and other issues of importance to black folks. But the focus of the meeting wasn’t on any of that. Rather it was on the gosh-darned ‘homosexual agenda.’ It would be the height of stupidity for African-Americans to align themselves with those whose philosophical forefathers maintained the machinery of our subjugation. It would be the height of hypocrisy to do so in an effort to deny someone else their civil rights.
— Leonard Pitts Jr., African-American author, discussing a GOP meeting between 70 African-American clergy and leaders of the Republican National Committee

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute has released a report exposing the GOP’s latest attempt to win over black votes, particularly in the religious community by tying ‘moral values’ to opposition to gay civil rights rather than addressing actual priorities of the African-American community that the Bush administration has completely ignored. It’s all about the smokescreen and dragging out the gay boogeyman once again.

A couple of high-profile Rethugs who have been at the forefront of the values movement get special treatment in the report — Rick Santorum and Trent Lott:

Like President Bush, Santorum feels very comfortable injecting his faith into many topics, a fact that may appeal to African-American churchgoers. However, Santorum’s actions belie his rhetoric. For example, many African-American families live in abject poverty in this country, struggling to survive on income provided by one or two minimum wage jobs with few if any benefits and little hope for advancement. Santorum not only voted 17 times against raising the minimum wage, but personally enjoys an income of $162,100, an amount that he claims leaves his family living “…paycheck to paycheck, absolutely.”

Santorum not only voted amount that he claims 17 times against raising the minimum wage, but personally leaves his family living enjoys an income of $162,100, an amount that he claims leaves his family living “…paycheck to paycheck, absolutely.”

Our analysis demonstrates that Santorum has consistently opposed legislation with the potential to profoundly improve the lives of African-Americans, despite the fact that he is a key leader in a political party that is actively recruiting African-Americans because of its position on “moral values.”

Another conservative Republican congressional leader with a poor record of advocating for issues important to African-Americans is Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, who served as Senate majority leader from 1996 to 2002 despite having a long history of opposition to civil rights and other legislation that would assist African-Americans. He scored only six out of 100 on the NAACP index and fared even worse on the LCCR index, scoring only four out of 100. However, his status as a reliable conservative vote is reflected in his 100 percent rating from FRC and 96 percent rating from the ACU.

Lott has long been associated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) as well as the segregationist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), an organization whose statement of principles includes opposition to, “…all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

The extensive NGLTF report also tears into the hypocrisy of the religious leaders tied to the GOP that court black support as well, such as unhinged Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and James Dobson of Focus on the Family. All three of these men have a hotline to the White House.

The report also highlights examples of black leaders who publicly support gay civil equality — the late Coretta Scott King, Julien Bond, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis, each has frequently denounced the right wing’s attempts to continuously pit black and gay communities against one another.

The question is, how successful will Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman‘s tactics be as he asks black voters to “come home” to the “party of Lincoln”? The NGLTF report notes that in the last seven presidential elections, the Republican candidate has received no more than 11 percent of the black vote. With the hellish handling of Katrina exposing the Bush administration’s regard for minority poor, will any significant amount of the black vote buy this line of homobigot crap that the GOP is planning to use?

Can the continual faith-based payoff of black pastors heading up mega churches turn enough votes to make a difference?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding