So far, I’ve studiously avoided writing about politics on my blog. I have friends who write about political events and issues, but I’ve felt a little weird about doing so myself. Partly this is because my blog started as primarily an academic outlet for me rather than a place to comment on current events. I also know that some of my students and former students read my blog from time to time, and I don’t like to feel that I’m exposing myself too much here. (I’ve also avoided a lot of other topics for this same reason.)

But maybe that’s being too careful. Too sheltered and defensive. So, I’m reconsidering that exclusion.

This reconsideration is partially the result of what’s been happening in the past week or so between Barack Obama‘s campaign and gay rights activists. As just about everybody who follows politic knows, Obama has gotten into trouble for allowing a gospel singer, Donnie McClurkin, to sing at one of his events in South Carolina this past weekend. While other musicians at the event are also on record as opposing gay rights and issues, McClurkin has especially drawn the fire of activists, since he is “ex-gay” and routinely talks about homosexuality as a “curse” that homosexuals should be delivered from. Keith Boykin has a great article about McClurkin and his views. Americablog has also been reporting on this story. And finally Atrios has also covered it. McClurkin has also contributed to the Exodus International website. (Exodus International is an organization that claims it can cure gays and turn us straight. As an aside, one of the best articles I’ve ever read is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Queer and Loathing” in Spin Magazine, June 1996. It’s a great look at a convention sponsored by the organization.)

So, to sum up, Obama’s campaign allowed this man not only to sing but also to speak about his views on homosexuality during this campaign event. When the campaign came under fire, they assured their critics that this was an attempt to open a dialogue between gays and the African American community, between gays and religious conservatives. The campaign argued that the Democratic party needs to be a “big tent” where we can all come together, debate our position, and most importantly defeat the Republicans. Activists insist that the inclusion of McClurkin was a huge political mistake and that Obama will lose support for this.

He’s certainly lost mine.