A controversial gospel singer who claims God quelled his lust for men will join President Obama in honouring Martin Luther King this weekend.
Donnie McClurkin, a Grammy award-winning singer, was ‘just announced’ this week in the line-up of performances and events scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
McClurkin is notorious for his statements claiming religion rescued him from homosexuality.
In 2008, he wrote in Barbados’ largest newspaper The Nation: ‘In homosexuality, there’s always someone to abuse you. My lust for man and lust for God was pulling me one way and tearing me apart.’
At the time, he said he was ‘transformed by the blood of Jesus’ and was ready for a wife.
‘God does not hate the homosexual, he hates the sin.’
Gay rights advocate Phil Pannell told the Washington Blade: ‘The statements he has made are just vile.
‘This is a District government sanctioned event, and I just find it incredible that they can do something like this.’
The email announcing McClurkin’s performance said the event was organized by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, who was promoting the event as a ‘free multi-cultural concert experience of sacred classical music, traditional Sri-Lankan and Indian sacred songs, traditional hymns, and African American gospel songs.’
In addition to various musical performances, President Obama is schedule to make a speech on Saturday morning.
The concert is titled Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King, who often cited Gandhi as an inspiration for his advocacy work. In his first book, King wrote: ‘Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation.
‘It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months.’
A spokesperson for the Commission on the Arts and Humanities was not available to comment on McClurkin’s scheduled performance.
A representative from the mayor’s office, responsible for appointing the leaders of the arts Commission, told the Blade in an email: ‘Since this is the first we are hearing about it, we will look into it.’