US: ‘Ex-gay’ gospel singer to perform at Martin Luther King memorial

Aaron Day August 9, 2013
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A controversial gospel singer who claimed that sexuality is “a matter of choice”, is expected to perform at a memorial for late civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr

Donnie McClurkin, who was “just announced this week” will join President Obama to honour the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech this Saturday.

Mr McClurkin is notorious for his statements claiming religion rescued him from homosexuality.

In 2007, the singer came under similar controversy when he was scheduled as Barack Obama’s promotional artist in his bid for presidency.

In an interview with the Associated Press he said: “I don’t believe that it is the intention of God. Sexuality, everything is a matter of choice.”

In 2008, Mr McClurkin also wrote in Barbados’ largest newspaper The Nation: “In homosexuality, there’s always someone to abuse you. My lust for man and lust for God was pulling me one way and tearing me apart.”

He said he was “transformed by the blood of Jesus’ and was ready for a wife.

“God does not hate the homosexual, he hates the sin”.

LGBT rights advocate Phil Pannell told the Washington Blade: “The statements he has made are just vile.

“This is a District government sanctioned event, and I just find it incredible that they can do something like this”.

The email announcing Mr McClurkin’s performance said the event was organised by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, who was promoting the event as a “free multi-cultural concert experience of sacred classical music, traditional Sri-Lankan and Indian sacred songs, traditional hymns, and African American gospel songs”.

President Obama is scheduled to make a speech on Saturday morning of the event.

The concert is titled “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King”

In his first book, King wrote: “Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation.

“It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months”.

A spokesperson for the Commission on the Arts and Humanities was not available to comment on Mr McClurkin’s scheduled performance.

A representative from the mayor’s office, responsible for appointing the leaders of the arts Commission, told the Blade in an email: “Since this is the first we are hearing about it, we will look into it”.

President Obama has spoken out against anti-gay laws in Russia this month, saying he has “no patience” for countries, like Russia, that intimidate and harm individuals based on their sexual orientation.

The US President also declined a Moscow meeting with Vladimir Putin citing anti-gay laws as one reason.

In January, an all-male African American college, whose graduates include Martin Luther King, launched its first LGBT course.

More: Americas, Anti-gay, Catholic, Christian, Church, Discrimination, Donnie McClurkin, ex-gay, gandhi, Gay, Gay rights, gospel, Homophobia, LGBT, LGBT rights, Martin Luther King, martin luther king jr, MLK, president obama, singer, US

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