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Black church summit on gay rights to be held

The black faith community has long been either silent or hostile to lesbian and gay rights efforts. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) will hold a summit, hosted by First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta on January 20-21, 2006, featuring Rev. Al Sharpton and City of Refuge Ministries’ Bishop Dr. Yvette Flunder, senior pastor of the United Church of Christ’s City of Refuge Church in San Francisco.

For Sharpton, this will be his first participation on a conference dealing directly with homophobia in the black community. This summit is long overdue, given the long list of black pastors that have been cozying up to the religious Right and, quite frankly, saying some of the most bigoted, hysterical, hateful bullsh*t about gays and lesbians.

“Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I’m talking about young girls. My son in high school last year tried to go to the prom. He said, ‘Dad, I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. Ain’t but two of ’em straight, and both of them ugly.'”

“But … women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that.”

“No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can’t make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female.”
–The Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. (and a former mayoral candidate) during a recorded sermon.

You can listen to Wilson here.

This nonsense has to stop coming from the pulpit, and perhaps open discussion will bring some sense of understanding that will silence bigots like Wilson.

“These high level discussions are about developing specific strategies that will challenge homophobic attitudes in our nation’s black religious institutions-from the seminary to the pulpit,” said Dr. Sylvia Rhue, NBJC Director of Religious Affairs and Constituency Development. “Through enlivened and educated discussions about the lives of black gay families, we hope to bring love and spiritually infused enlightenment to our communities of faith, to help them grapple with issues of sexual orientation and the bible.”

And again, almost all mainstream black politicians have done next to nothing to counter homophobic attitudes in the community, allowing commentary like Wilsons to go unanswered, and giving a pass to faith-based-cash-infused black pastors that are pandered to by the Bush Administration and GOP lackeys like Ken Mehlmen.

One can only hope that we’ll see black elected officials step up to the plate and speak out about black homophobia and untie the religious black community from the fraudelent, disingenuous efforts of the Right.

* Wilson bans NBJC’s Keith Boykin from the podium at the Millions More March

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding