Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his “I Have A Dream” speech and spoke of the day when people would be judged by the content of their character. I am not sure that the recent controversy over singer Donnie McClurkin is what MLK had in mind. McClurkin is a deeply religious man who says that God delivered him from being gay. That reportedly led to his being told that he was no longer welcomed at the anniversary performance of the speech.
McClurkin was scheduled to perform at the concert Saturday evening but gay rights activities objected to his participation ahead of the event.
Yet, Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for Mayor Vincent Gray, insisted that it was McClurkin who removed himself from the lineup to avoid controversy over his participation. She issued a statement that “[t]he Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together.”
McClurkin however contradicted that account and said that he did not agree to be excluded. He states that he was “asked not to attend” the concert. That is quite a difference in accounts. Where the Mayor’s office is claiming that he removed himself, he is saying that he was barred because of his religious beliefs.
I can understand the feelings of gay rights advocates, particularly given the clear analogies of their own current struggle with the fight of Martin Luther King. However, the greater symbol of division can be found in barring people who share their admiration for MLK but subscribe to opposing religious views. I am equally concerned over what McClurkin is clearly suggesting is a false account from the office of Mayor Gray on the matter. The burden is now on Gray’s office to produce proof that the singer did opt not to attend to avoid controversy.
What do you think?
Source: Washington Post