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Race-Baiting Washington Times Op-Ed: "Black Is Out; Rainbow Is In"

August 29, 2013 1:06 pm ET by Luke Brinker

The Washington Times published an op-ed column declaring that the cause of civil rights had been "hijacked" by those fighting for LGBT equality.

Former Republican Congressman Ernest Istook wrote on August 28 that the civil rights movement's "new priorities," including rights for women, immigrants, and gays, "conflict with the interests of black America." Although the NAACP has endorsed marriage equality, Istook asserted that black civil rights leaders who support LGBT rights have "sold out to check-writing homosexual rights leaders":

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 [P]astors. 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.

While Istook may wish that Owens and his Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) speak for the African-American community, they don't. CAAP is a front group for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) masquerading as an authentic grassroots campaign. Its lack of grassroots African-American support became painfully obvious in 2012, when CAAP attempted to collect 100,000 signatures for an anti-marriage equality pledge and could hardly muster more than a thousand.

Owens is a key player in NOM's unsuccessful effort to "drive a wedge between" the African-American and LGBT communities. Many right-wing commentators simply assume that African-Americans are receptive to an anti-marriage equality message, but a March NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that African-Americans support marriage equality by a whopping 14-point margin, 51 percent to 37 percent.

Moreover, it's especially ironic that Istook would use the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to condemn the civil rights community's support for LGBT rights. Bayard Rustin, a gay man, organized the march in 1963, and Coretta Scott King, the late widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a prominent supporter of marriage equality. Others in King's close circle, including Rev. Joseph Lowery, have also backed same-sex marriage.

Istook's conspiracy-laden race baiting may earn him favor at the Washington Times, but it doesn't reflect the reality of the African-American community's growing support for LGBT equality.