The National Black Church Coalition, a group of 34,000 churches representing nearly 16 million black Americans across 15 denominations, has opposed the gubernatorial campaign of former NAACP President Ben Jealous in Maryland, and urged Christians not to support him because he attacked black Christians for opposing same-sex marriage and used the NAACP to forward a gay rights agenda at the expense of the black community.
"When President Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage, the NAACP and Ben Jealous took that opportunity to condemn the Black Church's stance for Biblical marriage. At the time it made no moral sense to us in the Black Church that the sons and daughters of the Church would oppose the Church for standing up for its right in terms of its authority and principle over Biblical marriage. Ben Jealous and the NAACP said to us that we were bigots, that we were haters and that we did not deserve to even be Black because we opposed two men and two women having raw naked sex together and calling that a marriage," the NBCI said in a statement Saturday.
Just months after the NAACP's endorsement of same-sex marriage, Jealous resigned in 2013 citing family reasons.
Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the NBCI, said in the statement Saturday that because of Jealous' actions against the black church in the past, he can count on their opposition to his political ambition.
"Let me be very clear about our opposition to Mr. Ben Jealous. We will be letting every Church; every Christian and every pastor know about Ben Jealous' hatred of the Christian Church. This has nothing to do with his politics. This strictly has to do with his moral character and we have the right to judge his moral character against our biblical edicts and principles," Evans said.
"Ben Jealous has sinned against the Bible, God and the Black Church and we would love to forgive him, but he must repent first. Because we know he is going to refuse to repent for his stance, therefore the Church has no obligation to support him in his endeavors. We are not telling our [members] who to vote for. This is a non-political statement, this is a moral statement. We are just saying that any Christian who believes in the Bible cannot support Ben Jealous in any way. Just like we did not support Roy Moore in a press release issued November 17, 2017, we will not support Ben Jealous," he added.
Jealous, 45, was named the youngest ever national president and CEO of the NAACP 10 years ago.
Under his leadership, however, many black pastors felt the mission of the organization was hijacked by a gay rights agenda.
"This is supposed to be an organization for black people who were beaten, who were mistreated and who were enslaved," Rev. William Owens of The Coalition of African-American Pastors told The Huffington Post after the NAACP came out in support of same-sex marriage. "You're advocating for something that's not normal, that's not natural. It's still out of line, it's against moral law."
Chad Griffin, of the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for gay and lesbian rights, told USA Today Jealous courted a partnership with his organization as NAACP head.
"Many times I've called him a modern-day civil rights visionary, and I truly think that is the only description that captures him," Griffin said. "He led the NAACP to embrace marriage equality but also transformed the national conversation of civil rights."