One reason often given by some in the black community for their rejection of LGBT rights as a legitimate civil rights movement, is that gay rights is a "white" issue that is not relevant to black people. Or, as one smug pastor succintly put it, "Don't compare my skin to your sin."
But Rev. Dennis W. Wiley (pictured above with wife Christine), pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington D.C., looks to correct such ignorant sentiments with a new project from the liberal think tank The Center For American Progress. In the series, entitled "Gay Are Us," Rev. Wiley lays out the ways the black and LGBT community's struggles link together, invoking civil rights icons such as Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin, who was openly gay, to make his points.
"In his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Wiley writes, "He responded by first informing his critics that what was happening in Birmingham was directly connected to what was happening in his hometown of Atlanta. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he wrote. Second, he replied that the word “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’” and that “justice too long delayed is justice denied. "
"When Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the powerful, influential, and charismatic black pastor and U.S. congressman from Harlem, New York, threatened that year to circulate a false rumor that Rustin and King had been involved in a homosexual affair, King—much to Rustin’s disappointment—promptly accepted Rustin’s resignation. It was not until 1963, when King again stood solidly behind him, that Rustin was assigned the responsibility to plan, organize, and orchestrate the phenomenally successful March on Washington."
Wiley also wrote that if King were still alive today, he would have also been supportive of women's rights and gay rights, and cites this as the reason "why so many of his former associates who are still alive—including Congressman John Lewis and the NAACP’s own Julian Bond—are unequivocal in their support of gay rights, including marriage equality. The same was true of his late widow, Coretta Scott King. They have understood that LGBT oppression is not some alien or superfluous concern that has little or nothing to do with other justice issues critical to the black community and that, in fact, it is a critical issue of civil rights."
Such views are a refreshing alternative to the homophobic condemnations and hypocritical, deny-til-you-die mentality of other prominent pastors like Eddie Long or Creflo Dollar. Read the rest HERE, and read the second entry, in which Wiley refutes the common arguments used by anti-gay blacks, HERE.