African Methodist Episcopal Church Denies Withdrawing Support for Obama
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The leadership of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is condemning a false online report that the denomination has withdrawn support for President Barack Obama over his stance on same-sex marriage.
In a statement released Monday, Bishop Samuel Green Sr., president of the Council of Bishops, said the denomination does not endorse candidates for political office.
Green also said the denomination is not affiliated with a group called the Coalition of African-American Pastors, which is calling on Obama to renounce support for same-sex marriage.
The erroneous report was published on Christian news website charismanews.com. On Tuesday, it appeared to have been taken down.
Obama was a featured speaker at the AME Church’s 2008 general conference. He was a senator at the time. Last week, Michelle Obama addressed the 2012 conference in Nashville, receiving a standing ovation and enthusiastic cheers from a crowd of about 10,000.
After the speech, several attendees said they were not bothered by Obama’s recent expression of support for same-sex marriage, although they believe homosexuality is a sin.
The Rev. Joseph Williams of Mobile, Ala., said he felt Obama’s statement about same-sex marriage had been misrepresented.
"He didn’t say he was in favor of same-sex marriage; he said every person has a right to marry," Williams said. "We still don’t know how he feels about it personally."
The AME Church has a longstanding position supporting marriage between a man and a woman that is based on their reading of the Bible, according to Jackie DuPont Walker, director of the denomination’s Social Action Commission.