The head of an organization of African-American pastors told Newsmax Saturday that Christians must oppose the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling through civil disobedience because "you do something to get arrested to call attention to the injustice."
"I was in the civil rights movement, so I know how to do it" the Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), said in an interview. "When we sat at the counters at restaurants, we knew we were going to be arrested. You do things to get arrested, to call attention to it.
"So many people were silent," he added. "The church people were absolutely silent on this issue. A few leaders spoke out, but the masses of the church people were silent."
When asked why people were unwilling to speak against President Barack Obama when he came out for gay marriage in 2012, Owens responded: "The whites didn't want to come out against Obama since he endorsed it so strongly and they didn't want to be called bigots — and the blacks didn't want to say they were betraying a black man.
"I came out very powerfully against Mr. Obama when he stood for same-sex marriage."
A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that gays and lesbians had a legal right to marry in all 50 states. Only 36 states and the District of Columbia had allowed gay marriage.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.
Chief Justice John Roberts and the courts three other conservatives — Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas — each filed their own separate dissenting opinions.
Scalia slammed the majority's opinion as a "threat to American democracy."
The decision "says that my ruler and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," Scalia said.
Founded in 1993, CAAP is based in Memphis and has more than 7,000 members. In 2012, the group spoke out against both President Obama and the NAACP for their gay marriage support.
In April, the group called on liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Elena Kagan
to recuse themselves from the case because of their "stated bias" on the issue.
"Their positions were already known," Owens told Newsmax. "That takes away from the credibility of the court's decision.
"They got it wrong in the Dred Scott case," he added, referring to the 1857 court ruling that blacks were property and not American citizens. "The Supreme Court doesn't always get it right. This is one time they really got it wrong."
Despite the court's ruling, "I absolutely would not do a gay marriage," Owens declared. "Absolutely.
"I think of our children," Owens continued. He is the father of two young adopted children. "What it's going to do to our children. What kind of world are they going to grow up in?
"I've said for two years that we're going to have to have civil disobedience. They were very cunning in the way they did it," he said, referencing gay-rights advocates.
"Since I was in the civil rights movement, I know that if the people come together in force, things will happen. How they will happen, I don't know.
"The homosexual community has not shown all of what it's going to do," Owens said. He mentioned a 2013 California law
that allows boys and girls to use the same bathrooms and showers in public schools.
"They have a game plan that, now that the Supreme Court has ruled, will take this country down a very immoral path," Owens said.
He told Newsmax that he believed that President Obama had always supported gay marriage.
"I knew that he was going to do it the second term," Owens told Newsmax. "His deal was, 'Get me elected the first time, and I'll come out for same-sex marriage in my second term.'
"He deceived the American people, because the black community would not have backed him had he come out the first time for same-sex marriage. Some people just didn't want to speak against Obama."
Owens reiterated his call for civil disobedience, acknowledging that "our work is cut out for us.
"It's going to be much harder, because we're going to have to go from state to state. It's going to be hard to do, but it can be done.
"Remember, blacks worked for 300 years for civil rights in the courts. Three-hundred long years. It's not something that we're going to win overnight.
"There is no quick fix, but I think now the church will rise up," Owens added. "All the Christian churches in the United States that believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, they need to rise up."
The organization is asking those who believe in traditional marriage to sign a petition on its website.
"We're asking people to rise up and be ready to go to jail," Owens told Newsmax. "Why go to jail? To let it be known that we will not bow down, we will not give up, whatever the costs.
"It’s the new civil rights movement, because they are taking away our rights. They are taking away the Christian's rights. This is just a start.
"We have nothing against homosexuals," Owens added, "but when you start talking about marriage, and then indoctrinating children, where are we going? Where is this society headed?"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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