WASHINGTON — The mayor of Washington, D.C. disinvited a famed Gospel singer last week from headlining a civil rights concert in the nation’s capital, according to reports.
Multiple Grammy and Stellar Award winner Donnie McClurkin, who says that he turned to homosexuality for a time after being sexually abused by men as a child, posted a video statement on SocialCam on Saturday stating that he was “asked not to attend” the event that day. “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King” was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in America.
“Last night, on the way to the airport, I received a telephone call from the promoters who had received word from the mayor’s office, as well as the Arts Commission, that I was not welcome and uninvited,” he said. “They waited until the last moment to demand that I be taken off of the concert.”
McClurkin stated that there were only 15-20 people who protested his presence at the event, compared to the thousands who were expected to attend.
“It’s discrimination; it’s bullying; it’s intolerance,” McClurkin continued. “It’s depriving someone of their civil rights when they’re told that they cannot come to an event, and by coming it would cause a disruption.”
However, a spokesperson for Mayor Vincent Gray’s office said that they rather asked McClurkin to withdraw, with the agreement of his management agency.
“The 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,” spokesman Doxie McCoy told the Washington Post. “Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.”
McClurkin, who has performed in support of Barack Obama’s election efforts, has stated in times past that he has been “villified” for sharing with the world that “God delivered me from homosexuality.”
“They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot,” he stated during a concert in 2007, according to CNN. “We don’t believe in discrimination. We don’t believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the whole premise of God. That’s the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God.”
“Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have been touched by the same feelings,” McClurkin continued. “I have suffered with the same feelings. Don’t call me a homophobe when I love everybody. … Don’t tell me that I stand up and I say vile words against the gay community because I don’t. I don’t speak against the homosexual. I tell you that God delivered me from homosexuality.”
According to reports, a number of pastors from the area asked Mayor Gray to keep McClurkin on the roster, but Gray agreed with the homosexual activists in the community who stated that his appearance could be a problem.
“I take no joy that he is not performing,” activist Phil Pannell told the Washington Post. “I really admire Donnie McClurkin’s artistry, but this is a situation where a political polemic obscured his artistry.”
McClurking says that it is ironic that he was disinvited from a civil rights concert.
“These are bully tactics simply because of a stance that I took,” he stated. “This is a civil rights infringement situation. Imagine that, in the 21st century–2013–I, a black man, am asked not to attend because of politics.”
McClurkin has a teenage son that he fathered out of wedlock in 2000. He serves as pastor of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York near New York City.