The Democratic National Committee and a Michigan congressman in a neck-and-neck election race turned to a virulently anti-gay pastor to help get out the vote in the week before the election, The Daily Wire has learned.
Democrats are desperate to hold onto a Flint, Michigan-based seat represented by Rep. Dan Kildee (D) after the district was redrawn following the decennial Census to be about 50% Republican, making it a toss-up race between Kildee and Republican Paul Junge. To rally urban Democrat turnout, the DNC Black Caucus and the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus on Wednesday held a “Flint GOTV Rally” at the Cathedral of Faith Church headlined by its Bishop Christopher E. Martin and Kildee, according to a flier and video of the event.
Martin caused a furor in the Flint area in June after video showed Martin speaking with disgust about other preachers who he claimed are gay and were trying to spread the “spirit of perversion.” Martin told his parishioners:
“Look, y’all quit sitting here in church without the baptism and the Holy Ghost. Because if you got the Holy Ghost, you can tell that some of these preachers y’all listening to are gay. They just fired one from a church around here the other day. I said they should have never hired him, he gay, they should have voted him out. He been gay. He was gay when they hired him, he was gay when y’all fired him. Went in there ripping TVs all off the wall, having a little girl tantrum.
These folks gay. This ain’t no time to be playing like this over the Lord’s people. Sitting up under these folks. Look, a man, a man pastoring you ought to be married to a woman. There ought to be a first lady somewhere. If not, he might have a first gentleman. We can not have perversion [homosexuality] over the people. Pastor, you mean. I’m not mean. I’m telling you, I’m trying to show you light. Even if the people in the pews are suffering or struggling with their spirit, pray them through. You ain’t got no business up here dealing with it.
How you gonna preach to them and you got it [homosexuality]? We trying to get people out of what they’re in. We are trying to love them out of what they’re in. If you in it, you can’t love nobody out of it. You’re going to stay in it. And you’re going to let that spirit of perversion be all through the church.”
Martin’s comments were well-known in Flint, including being shared by Flint city council member Tonya Burns. When the bishop’s church got a contract with the city government related to health services, social justice advocate Nayyirah Shariff told officials that gay and transgender individuals were not likely to feel safe at any place connected to him. “Having a service in a location that is homophobic? That is not a safe space,” Shariff said, Flint Beat reported in June.
Video shows that at the rally, speakers stood behind a podium that said “The seal of the Bishop,” the same one from which Martin made his videotaped anti-gay screed months ago.
Martin received the Lifetime Achievement Community Service award from Barack Obama in 2017, according to NBC 25 News, and in April, Kildee joined him to celebrate his promotion to bishop. Martin is a former president of the Flint school board and his church receives government money to run a pre-school program and provide mental health services.
Virgie Rollins, the DNC National Black Caucus chair, spoke, then handed it off to Rev. Dr. Charles Williams, who Rollins praised for being part of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Williams, in turn, praised Martin, saying, “give it up for Virgie, the DNC National Black Caucus chair. We are so grateful, and to the bishop and pastor of this church. Bishop, his reputation precedes him. Christopher Martin, thank you so much. … He’s been doing such a wonderful job… More importantly, I’ve got the opportunity to see him here… our Michigan congressperson, that is, brother Kildee.”
“We’ve got about six days to make sure we do the right thing,” Martin continued. “As President Biden so eloquently said in 2020, this election is about the soul of the nation… For the last 40 years Flint has had a fighter by the name of the Kildee family. Dale Kildee served this area with honor and distinction. But what he did understand is that he was going to have an heir to the seat that we delivered him to. He had a nephew that was like a ram in the bush. And this nephew has been a fighter in the fifth for the city of Flint… and it doesn’t matter that it has been redistricted… the federal money came because of Dan Kildee… Make some noise for our champion, our hero, Mr. Dan Kildee.”
Kildee then took the stage, saying, “You know, that’s a tough act to follow, Bishop.” Of his district, he said, “I’ve been with you because I am you.”
The Kildee campaign did not return a request for comment about Wednesday’s event.
The flier said that Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Michigan) was also slated to be a speaker, but she did not ultimately attend.
Rollins told The Daily Wire that “I was not familiar with any remarks the Pastor made. The church was hosting the Rally with many other elected officials. If there are concerns with the Pastor words to his congregation can you please take it up with him. Many of my friends are LGBTQ.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Rep. Haley Stevens also headlined the event. While she was advertised as a speaker, she did not ultimately attend.