London’s largest newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, reported yesterday that gay-rights advocates are criticizing President Obama over reports that he’s turning to anti-gay religious leaders for spiritual guidance. The New York Times reported recently that Obama has replaced former spiritual guru Jeremiah Wright with a handful of evangelical pastors, including Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potters House in Dallas and the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village Church in Houston.
The Daily Telegraph notes that Bishop Jakes has called homosexuality a “brokenness,” while a staff member at Caldwell’s church reportedly runs an “ex-gay” therapy program. Wayne Besen, founder of the gay-rights group Truth Wins Out, told The Daily Telegraph he thinks Obama has “another pastor problem.”
“These are people who believe that we are sinful and sick and that you can pray away the gay. The notion that Obama can’t find a pastor in America who doesn’t have these outrageous extreme beliefs is baffling to many of us,” Besen told the newspaper. “He’s giving credibility to people who are virulently anti-gay and promoting discrimination. The president has given these homophobes his stamp of approval. He has given them a platform. By elevating these extreme elements, he’s hurting our community.”