BY ERIC SMITH
As an African American man, I take a lot of pride in recognizing the role the African American Church played in offering refuge, safety, and inspiration to my African American forebears during the worst days of slavery and segregation. The calls for justice and full equality have rung out from the pulpits of African American churches from the dawning days of the Republic; the overall theme being that since God loved all equally that all must be made equally free. This was the spirit that moved legions of our forebears to willfully bear the rope of Judge Lynch, the bombing of their homes, the policeman's billy clubs, water hoses, and attack dogs.
The African American church was at the forefront of this struggle and helping to lead the fight for full equality not just for black people but for all people. Yet tragically today, you homophobic African American ministers who are the direct beneficiaries of the sacrifices made in behalf of this struggle are now desecrating your church and dishonoring your Faith & your people, by invoking that very same God your forebears invoked to free you, to keep your gay brothers and sisters from becoming fully free. You are calling upon your God of Liberation to become the God of Segregation when it comes to your fellow citizens who happen to be gay.
You are using the Word of God as justification for denying gay people their rights in the same spirit and in many cases even using the same words, that the slave owners and segregationists of yesterday invoked the Word of God to justify slavery, racial segregation, the banning of interracial marriages, the imposition of Judge Lynch, and the denial of African American's right to vote.
I ask what the hell is wrong with you for make no mistake you've got a problem; you've got a serious problem, not the least of which is you have forgotten who & what you are and your own history and in so doing have come to practice that very evil your forebears fought against. You homophobic African American ministers love to invoke the sainted memory of the late, great, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. yet in speaking out against the right of gays to marry and arguing that homosexuality is a sin, you seem to have conveniently forgotten about a very key passage of Dr. King's April 16, 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" where he wrote:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Dr. King said something else in that letter regarding the acceptance & tolerance of the White Church of racial segregation which is now wholly applicable to you homophobic African American ministers who are attempting to stand at the church door in order to bar homosexuals from entering your churches so as to exercise their right to marry the person of their choice due to their sexual orientation just as then Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door of the University of Alabama in 1963 so as to prevent two African Americans from entering that university so as to exercise their right to acquire a higher education due to the color of their skin.
"But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before." wrote Dr. King. "If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."
So be wary you homophobic ministers of color; be wary for wrong, is wrong regardless of the color of the perpetrators of that wrong. Dr. King and others did not use the church as a vehicle to help win freedom for you just so you could turn right around and use that very same church as a means by which to deny freedom to others. To the extent that you ministers of color do seek to deny our gay brothers and sisters their rights is the extent to which you betray that very church and religious Faith which helped to secure your rights and from where I sit there are few greater sins than that.
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