Black Pastor Resigns From NAACP Over Same-Sex Marriage
The NAACP's recent announcement supporting President Obama's position on same-sex marriage has led to the resignation of one of its leaders.
The Rev. Keith Ratliff, who serves as president of the NAACP's Iowa-Nebraska conference and also pastors Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, said in a statement that he was leaving "due to the NAACP's position and support of same-sex marriage."
"I want to thank the NAACP for the privilege to humbly serve in such an organization and thank all those I had the privilege to work with in the states of Iowa, Nebraska and throughout the country," said Ratliff in a statement released on Wednesday.
Ratliff told The Des Moines Register last month that he was praying over his decision after the national board of directors endorsed the president's position. Obama had announced last month that he believes same-sex couples should be able to get married.
The Christian Post attempted to contact the national NAACP office for a comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.
While the NAACP's support of President Obama's evolved position on same-sex marriage was issued in late May, the group's board of directors had voted earlier this year to support what some gay activists call "marriage equality."
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Ratliff's reaction to the same-sex marriage issue is not the first time black pastors have publicly stated their opposition to the issue, instead voicing their support for traditional marriage.
Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Church in Washington State, has long stood for the biblical view of marriage and has been harshly criticized by both black and white liberals over his stance. He is also supportive of Ratliff's decision to resign.
"It's about time someone associated with the NAACP has a backbone," Hutcherson told The Christian Post.
"The NAACP is so far behind the times, not only on the biblical view of marriage, but because they still use the term 'colored people' to describe black Americans," said Hutcherson. "Plus, the group is 'bought and paid for' by the Democratic Party and they no longer speak for the majority of black citizens in the country."
The Coalition of African American Pastors also took a stand for traditional marriage by asking President Obama to reconsider his position, saying that a growing percentage of black Christian voters felt betrayed by his public statement on the issue.
Ratliff has long expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage. He has been a fixture at pro-family rallies throughout the Midwest and supported amending the Iowa Constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman after the landmark state Supreme Court ruling in April 2009 that gave legal status to civil marriages of same-sex couples.
Speaking of marriage at a rally in March 2011, Ratliff said, "This isn't a private interpretation, a Burger King religion, and by that I mean a 'have it your way' religion."
Ratliff has a long history of involvement in his state and in 2003 was inducted into the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame and honored by the Des Moines Human Rights Commission.