I'm not familiar with the claims that the black community is very anti-gay. I assumed that was some exaggerated claim. However to hear such vocal criticism lately from two black atheists is frankly just embarrassing.
I'm going to guess and assume that there's been enough discussion on this forum about one member, Charlie. He's been harassing The Atheist Experience lately. Then there's the Black Atheists of Atlanta's, Blackson, who suggested homosexuality was a white, european conspiracy. I don't assume or expect rationality from a person just because they identify as an atheist but... wow. Are Charlie and Blackson typical characters in the scene? I had a meeting with local black atheists who sighed in disappointment when I brought up Blackson's name. I had never heard of either of these characters.
I kind of understand what you are saying about Neil Degrasse Tyson. But I think coward is a little too strong. I really admire his knowledge of science and the universe. I'm impressed whenever I hear him speak. I guess he has his reasons for identifying as an agnostic. I went through a phase as an agnostic for a while because I wanted to believe in something if not organized religion. In my opinion his choice of labeling himself agnostic is political. It seems he doesn’t want to alienate believers. It's obvious from his lectures that he doesn't believe in organized religion. His explanation of why he prefers agnostic is confusing. It would be nice if he would just come out and say if he believed in a supreme being or not.
None of us are 100% certain. Throwing an entire group under the bus in an attempt to protect yourself is cowardly. He specifically made it clear that he was calling himself an agnostic because he could not identify with a simple-minded stereotype of an atheist he described (wild, crazy, angry). I do not recall any philosophical reasons given with such zeal.
Say, for example, I decide to call myself a mulatto (instead of black) because I can't relate to Kanye West and Lil' Wayne. To back up my decision, I give examples of how they are idots. I would deserve, and likely take, much heat.
I can understand playing it safe to protect your image as a big, cuddly-wuddley, innocuous, teddy bear. He has a TV show that he wants people to watch and doesn't want to be seen as a big, black, boogie man. This, however, does not excuse him for making ignorant generalizations. He is lucky that Chris Mooney was interviewing him. Almost anyone else would have given him the hell he deserved.
I am equal opportunity with my criticisms. If you say something stupid I don't care if you are a common man on public access TV or an international star. Crap is crap and it stinks no matter where it comes from.
FYI. I like Tyson's show and I met him in NYC a couple of years back at the planetarium. He is an intelligent, friendly guy.
there are a couple of things to keep in mind, there is a strain of homophobia in the working class black community perhaps not as murderous as in the working class white community but still there.
the second thing is that on line personalities are not always "honest" some of the more outrageous statements are made just to provocate