Press Release - August 26, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004
Contact: Wayne Besen
ACTIVIST CALLS ON GOP TO DROP HOMOPHOBIC 'EX-GAY' SINGER DONNIE MCCLURKIN AS CONVENTION PERFORMER
Voice of Hate Betrays GOP Convention's Face of Moderation, Says Wayne Besen
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Activist Wayne Besen today called on Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and CEO Bill Harris to cancel a scheduled convention performance by anti-gay singer Donnie McClurkin.
"If the GOP wants to present the face of moderation, they can't have the voice of hate performing at the New York convention," said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. "I call on the leaders of the Republican National Committee to cancel McClurkin's performance and replace him with a performer who stands for the values of respect, fairness and inclusion."
McClurkin, who won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, says he is a former homosexual who became gay after being molested by an uncle. The singer has made several inflammatory statements in mainstream and right wing media.
"Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you," McClurkin told the media. According to the New York Times, McClurkin "counsels adolescent boys that homosexuality is a choice they can overcome."
In an interview with www.FamilyChristian.com McClurkin said, "Homosexuality has really ravished our children. It started in my generation. I was touched by it and I struggled with it and all that for years and there was nobody to deal with it. I started dealing with it in my sermons and even when we do our concerts."
McClurkin, currently a senor pastor at Perfecting Faith in Freeport, N.Y., was particularly outspoken against New York's funding of Harvey Milk, a gay high school in New York, suggesting that the school will lead to molestation of children.
"The gloves are off," he said on the Sept. 23, 2003 episode of Rev. Pat Robertson's 700 Club. "And if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose. This is not a privately funded school. It is a public school funded by taxpayers' money. Why isn't anyone else speaking out? Everyone knows that everyone at the high school is homosexual. That makes for an easy target."
"I hope the GOP takes a stand and says that there is no place for outrageously slanderous and patently false hate speech," said Besen. "While McClurkin has the right to his religious beliefs, he also has the responsibility to be truthful and not intentionally disparage the lives of millions of hard working, honest, respectable citizens."
Besen, an author and a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, is a nationally recognized advocate for gay and lesbian rights. He has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, The Roseanne Show, CNN's Talk Back Live and The Point, Fox's O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, and MSNBC.