- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A black conservative leader yesterday denounced the Millions More Movement sponsored by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan after learning that homosexual rights activists would be included in a panel of speakers at the event.

“Louis Farrakhan has always presented himself as someone who is against homosexuality, viewing it as wrong, and by allowing them to speak at the rally he is validating homosexuality,” the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson said yesterday at a Heritage Foundation forum of black conservatives.

He said homosexual rights activists had threatened to protest the march and rally Saturday on the Mall.

Mr. Farrakhan “does not want that because this march is going to bring him a lot of money, and with that a lot of power,” Mr. Peterson said.

He echoed responses from other black ministers, including the Rev. Willie F. Wilson of Washington, national executive director of the Millions More Movement.

Homosexual rights activists have condemned Mr. Wilson for a sermon in which he warned that “lesbianism is about to take over our community.”

The National Black Justice Coalition, a homosexual rights group, yesterday praised Mr. Farrakhan’s decision to allow a homosexual activist to speak at the event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March.

“I am very pleased that eight months of discussions with Minister Louis Farrakhan and march organizers have begun to pay off,” said coalition President Keith Boykin.

Mr. Boykin’s group presented a list of “10 black lesbian, gay and bisexual speakers” for Mr. Farrakhan to consider. The list includes activist Angela Davis and best-selling author E. Lynn Harris.

Mr. Peterson said Mr. Farrakhan is pandering and jockeying for a more powerful position as the top spokesman for blacks nationwide.

“He is trying to present a view that blacks are unified behind supporting gays, and it is not true,” Mr. Peterson said.

Other black conservatives, including Shelby Steele, a fellow with the Hoover Institution, a California-based conservative think tank, did not object to the inclusion of homosexual speakers.

“There are homosexuals in the world, and they should not be excluded based on their sexuality,” Mr. Steele said. “I draw the line at marriage.”

But Mr. Steele said the rally will not represent the political, socioeconomic and ideological diversity within the black community.

“It is great to come together and feel good about our solidarity as brothers, but that will not address the many issues within our community,” he said.

Jewish leaders also expressed concern.

The Anti-Defamation League warned that the list of speakers featured “radical racists and anti-Semites,” including Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party, and Leonard Jeffries, professor at City College of the City University of New York.



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