New priorities conflict with the interests of black America
Black is out; rainbow is in.
The civil rights movement has been hijacked at the expense of black Americans. One black leader says the NAACP literally has sold out to check-writing homosexual rights leaders.
The legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. now is used to promote a new agenda. It was expressed in Wednesday's Lincoln Memorial speeches by Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama.
Sexual rights, which protect behavior, often are emphasized more than racial equality, even though race is something that nobody can change about themselves.
The NAACP has been paid off by the cash-rich homosexual rights movement, said the Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American pastors. He told me in an interview on WMAL Radio that homosexual-rights leaders have bought the NAACP, just as homosexual-rights activists have become major cash cows for the Democratic Party and for Mr. Obama.
"Never in my lifetime did I expect to see the things I'm seeing now," Mr. Owens said. "The sad part is that so many of our black leaders have been paid off. That was just not true in Dr. King's age. You couldn't buy Dr. King. Now it's about the money.
"[An NAACP] board member gave us the names and gave us that information in confidence. I said that three times on nationwide TV; they never have refuted it. If it were not true, they would have refuted it. The first gift was $1 million and it went from there."
Mr. Owens is not the only black leader who believes the civil rights movement has been hijacked. Bob Woodson, of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprises, told a Republican audience this week that blacks again are being sent to the back of the bus. "Everybody has come in front of them on the bus — gays, immigrants, women, environmentalists," Mr. Woodson said. "You never hear any talk about the conditions confronting poor blacks and poor people in general."
Mr. Obama demonstrated that agenda change with his public comments last week. At Binghamton University, he said, "Just as we should judge people on the basis of their character, and not their color or religion or gender, the same is true for their sexual orientation."
Mr. Obama acknowledged major improvements for blacks in the past 50 years (at least until his economic policy knocked them back). So he shifted his pleas to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. And rights for illegal immigrants. And his environmental agenda. He also told a radio audience that King would have supported Obamacare.
Mr. Obama is not alone in changing the civil rights agenda. Last weekend's Lincoln Memorial rally, put together by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, was more rainbow than black.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made it clear as he told the crowd, "Our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian-Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities."
That the left has new priorities, at the expense of black Americans, wasn't just dreamed up by Mr. Woodson or by Mr. Owens. However, the new agenda wasn't mentioned by King in his "I Have A Dream" speech.
The new priorities conflict with several interests of black Americans. For example, blacks have the highest unemployment rate and will be hurt the most by amnesty, work permits and citizenship for illegal immigrants. Job competition from millions of legalized workers is a huge problem for black workers. Resources historically used to enforce civil rights laws are being shifted by the Obama administration from racial issues to sexual issues by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Civil Rights.
These concerns deserve serious discussion. But instead, the left has kicked out in knee-jerk fashion to ridicule Mr. Woodson and others for telling the truth.
Those who profit from being labeled black leaders don't want to let go. Their rhetoric often attempts to manage their community rather than to reflect it. They give short shrift to the enormous problems of violence, drugs and out-of-wedlock births.
Those "leaders" are seriously out of sync on voter ID, which polls show is supported strongly by blacks.
Blacks were some of the most solid supporters of traditional marriage when California voted on Proposition 8. That may be why the NAACP did not risk having a vote of its members to endorse same-sex marriage. Instead, it was the board of directors that approved that stance in May.
The NAACP resolution not only endorsed same-sex marriage but also promoted special rights for "LGBT citizens." The transgender community just got a California law passed allowing public school students to ignore biology and decide for themselves whether to "be" a boy or a girl on any particular day. They can use the restroom of their choice and shower in whichever locker room they wish. Addressing privacy concerns, the Los Angeles Times editorialized, "Discomfort is not a valid reason to allow discrimination."
Do most blacks realize how the NAACP endorses the transgender rights movement? Do their ministers know? The NAACP already has problems with claims that it is pro-abortion, while Gallup's polling shows most blacks are pro-life.
This disparity is why the Coalition of African-American Pastors exists. Its leader, Mr. Owens, unloaded not only on the NAACP but also on Mr. Obama, who infamously abandoned his 2008 campaign position that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
As Mr. Owens said, "Instead of Obama looking at the challenges facing the African-American community, he not only endorses but he promotes, he preaches same-sex. He preaches it and reaches out to other countries and wants them to do the same. He has become the evangelist for the homosexual community."
Ernest Istook is a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma.