This week TheGrio.com will publish a series of essays discussing homophobia in Black America. First up is an essay entitled "I Love The Black Church, But The Black Church Doesn't Love Me," which describes the all-too familiar don't ask don't tell atmosphere of condemnation and hypocrisy (or more like igorance--more on that in a minute) that exists in many houses of worship.
"We know people in the church who sin openly, and even have children out of wedlock. We are there to shout 'amen' for our church leaders and wish them well as they move from one failed marriage to the next one. We accept that the most important people in the church and their children are "only human" when they fail to abstain from evil. And yet President Obama is called evil for being human enough to recognize love when and where he sees it.
We think gays are a threat to the manhood of African American men, however as a Christian community we would rather only whisper about love on the 'down low' as opposed to addressing it openly...We ignore the real threat to our communities: schools that are continually failing our children; while, "at least my pastor drives a fancy car and lives in a fabulous home."
We think that being gay is the worst sin against God, yet fornication, adultery, gambling, and lying, all get a free pass from the pulpit. We think if you are gay, you have no right to marry, and we forget that people who are black were once denied those same rights in this country, in the name of Christianity. We believe you can "pray the gay away" in others, but you can't pray away your own daily transgressions. We know family members who are gay, and we invite them to feel the shame of their sexual orientation because it makes us feel more like a saint. We live the black version of "don't ask don't tell" inside the sanctuary, where Deacon Never-Been Married can really "sang," because all that matters is having a church with the best choir."
My thoughts? As an atheist, I could really give two craps about what a preacher or bible does or doesn't say about my sexual orientation. However I recognize religion is what forms many in the black community's ideas and values about sexuality. It formed mine for a long time, so I know from whence I speak, m'kay? For any fellow LGBTs who are adults and religious: either find a church that accepts for you who are or just stay home. It's not worth the cost mentally, emotionally or financially to have to conceal your identity--especially from folks who you're supposed to forming close spiritual bonds with--and get bashed from the pulpit by someone who is oftentimes a closet queen themselves. No choir is that good, and no church is that prestigious. No pastor and/or deacons are that fine--I know what some ya'll gals are there for! Of course, you could always come over to the dark side with us non-believers. We heathens are for the most part a very welcoming bunch:).
But I digress. One thing that bothered me about the reader's essay was the link between the constant focus on homosexuality but no attention given to other "sins" like gambling, lying and adultery. Personally, I feel believing our sexuality is "no worse" than any other bad behavior is detrimental to our cause; it would be better to not to compare a sexual orientation to or say they are no worse than behaviors--key word behavior, being gay requires no action--that are deceitful and self-destructive, because being gay in and of itself is not bad, "evil" or destructive. It gives homophobes the leeway to say that deep down we know what we're doing is wrong or sinful, which I don't think the author intends to do.
Why not change the conversation to "Being gay is not bad or good. It just is. Now if your faith says it is bad or sinful, that LGBT people should work to change their sexuality or should repress it, but offers no real tangible proof as to why, then we should be re-evaluating the validity of your faith, not the sexual orientation or gender identity of the LGBT person." Then again, who wants to do all that critical thinking and questioning? Ewww. Note my sarcasm.
You can read the rest of the piece HERE. But be warned, some of the comments ain't nothing nice. If you're in the mood to do battle, then by all means click ahead.