Sen. Barack Obama didn’t have to issue the challenge about homophobia in the African-American community – not in one of the nation’s premier black churches, not on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday – but he did it anyway.

At the same time as Obama’s Sunday speech, gay bloggers were digging into the background of the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a spiritual adviser to President Bush who endorsed Obama a day earlier.

“People are confused,” said Wayne Besen, a gay activist and founder of, a New York organization aimed at countering the “ex-gay” movement. “We see one report of him saying powerful words. Then he is hanging out with some shady characters. People don’t know what to make of that.”