Obama Sees Plenty of Votes in Black Pews

October 26, 2007

Author: Mike Dorning

Source: Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/printedition/friday/chi-gospelvote_frioct26,0,2833424.story

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Friday begins a tour of gospel singers around this Bible Belt state to praise the Lord and offer testimonials on behalf of the candidate, a modern twist on a style of old-time politicking right out of the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou."

The gospel music tour stirred controversy this week because one of the featured performers, Grammy Award-winning singer Donnie McClurkin, has offended gay activists with his view that homosexuality is a choice and that gays can "overcome" their orientation by turning to God. The campaign responded by adding an openly gay minister to deliver an invocation.

But the three-day gospel concert series -- at which Obama is not scheduled to appear -- is just the most visible element of the Obama campaign's efforts to target religious voters, especially churchgoing African-Americans.