Same Sex Marriage
There is probably no other issue that highlights the Black Church's view of homosexuality than same-sex marriages. A recent Pew study indicated that the Black Church community was more opposed to these marriages than other communities, including Southern white evangelicals. The study cited 64 percent of African Americans opposing same-sex marriages, a rate that has held steady for several years, while the overall population has become less opposed to gay marriages (from 41 percent in 1996 to 30 percent in 2003).
The rush of Evangelicals to take a stand against same-sex marriages now comes full circle and returns to the problem of hypocrisy in American Christianity, which is appallingly selective in its observance of biblical principles. That gay marriage threatens the institution of marriage is patently wrong and offensive. While many Christians piously present this as their defense, they completely ignore a much greater threat to marriage, adultery and divorce.
Despite church scripture, the Christian church has not come up with an answer. Literally, the church has no option other than play ball or it loses a large portion of its members.
At one time African Americans could not marry. Yet, even as slaves, blacks insisted upon marriage even though they could be sold away at any time. Still, slaves considered marriage a basic human right and even though slave masters didn't sanction it, historical slave narratives and property logs show that it happened regularly.
Keeping with their own people's history, African American LGBTs demand the same right as their ancestors to marry. Despite the church's issues with the demand, it must move positively and soon if it expects to escape unscathed.
Black neoconservative ministers have bought into a phony, white evangelical agenda that sidesteps reality and tramples compassion and common sense. So far, the black church remains homophobic and judgmental, refusing to embrace homosexuals and others.
Recently, one of the most outspoken critics of same sex marriage, Rev. Ted Haggard, resigned as leader of the New Life megachurch amid allegations that he had an affair with a male prostitute. Haggard also resigned as president of the influential National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group representing more than 45,000 churches with 30 million members.
Haggard was one of a group of religious leaders who regularly participated in conference calls with Bush White House aides, Time magazine reported. In 2005, citing Haggard's White House access Time Magazine put him on its list of the nation's 25 most influential evangelicals. His resignation came just before a vote on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Colorado, which Haggard supported.
Interestingly, Rev. Ted as he was often called, after entering the church's 12-step program for sexual addiction, prematurely ended his own "spiritual restoration" process, according to report from the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Many black churches have share evangelical-conservative theologies and biblical fundamentalism akin to the Christian right, believing in prescribed gender roles for men and women in order to maintain the traditional composition of the heterosexual family.
Most believe that many of society's ills trace back to Jews, feminists, liberals and homosexuals. A significant portion of African American churches joined the religious right in supporting the video Gay Rights/Special Rights, which argued that civil rights protection based on sexual orientation, does not have equal merit as that based on race.
Just what does the Bible say about homosexuality? What did Jesus have to say on the subject? Come past tomorrow to find out the answers.