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DC Mayor calls out defiant homobigot pastor

“It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I’m not talking about no faggot or no sissy…Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow. All the real men -— I’m talking about the straight men.”

— DC pastor Bishop Alfred A. Owens, in a recorded sermon delivered at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church

That didn’t sit well with DC Mayor Anthony Williams, who said that if Owens doesn’t step up with a public apology for the above BS, Williams will toss him from his interfaith council. (WaPo):

The mayor said yesterday: “If you can be shocked, saddened and disappointed all at once, I really am, because I really have to condemn remarks made like that whenever they’re made against any group on the basis of sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity or anything else.”

Williams said he expected public contrition from Owens. “Otherwise, we would have to discontinue that relationship, and I would really regret that because he really has been a great leader in our city.”

…The Rev. Clark Lobenstine, executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, agreed with the demand for an apology.

“There is not a theological criterion for being appointed to the mayor’s interfaith council, but service on the council does commit us to work in a respectful way with all persons in this community,” said Lobenstine, who is also a member of the interfaith council.

Earl Fowlkes, head of the International Federation of Black Prides, a D.C.-based organization that highlights issues concerning the black gay community, applauded the mayor’s actions.

“The mayor is showing a lot of courage in issuing the statement,” Fowlkes said. “The mayor cannot allow someone who is on the council to be a bigot.”

…But the Rev. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of the D.C. Baptist Convention, a group of local Baptist churches, said the mayor should not ask Owens to say he is sorry.

It’s not an elected official’s place to approve or disapprove of the pronouncements of clergy on any topic,” Haggray said.

I actually agree with Haggray. Quite frankly, I don’t think homobigot brothers of the pulpit Owens or Willie Wilson should apologize. Mayor Williams can boot Owens from his honorary position, and the parishioners who were offended by that sermon should have walked out of the church. Williams also better rethink the whole interfaith council matter, because, if you think about it, the whole idea of government partnering with ministries is asking for trouble, despite the best of intentions. Look at Dear Leader and his Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.

Pastors like Owens and Wilson have the right to believe and preach whatever they want to, but they need to be called out and shunned for spewing filth like this. They will understand only when folks stop contributing to the coffers, and the congregation dwindles.

However, keep dreaming on a real mea culpa — these guys don’t really apologize. Owens responded:

During my Palm Sunday sermon, I used words that the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Men and Women has denounced as offensive [“Gays, God and Bishop Owens,” op-ed, May 13]. It was not my purpose to wound anyone or discriminate against any group, and I apologize for any offense.

Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church was in the forefront of delivering help through counseling, education and prevention to the gay community when HIV-AIDS hit hard in the 1980s. For that I was harshly criticized, and the church was stigmatized. Nevertheless, I increased our financial aid and instituted a support group for those who wanted help in pursuing a heterosexual orientation. I will continue the fight to alleviate the suffering of all people.

However, I will not submit my sermons through political filters for fear of recrimination by political or social groups.

On any given Sunday, I preach about love, faith and holiness, and, yes, about hell and sin. For that, I offer no apology.

BISHOP ALFRED A. OWENS JR.
Pastor
Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church
Washington

Yes, the Bishop Owens of the world should be free to preach about “pursuing a heterosexual orientation” or any other homophobic BS. Let him do it without access to any public funds or association with any government agencies. It’s sad but true, that the religious bigots have clearly exhibited why church-state co-mingling is a dangerous and slippery slope, despite the good many churches have done in their public works.

This is why you now have the AmTaliban constantly bleating about being “marginalized” or “attacked” for being “Christians.” The big mistake is that local, state and federal officials have created this mess by instituting these relationships with churches, assuming that the views of all religious figures are in the mainstream, and reflect respect for all concerned. It’s all coming home to roost.

Related:
* DC homobigot pastor tries to top Willie Wilson
* DC Rev ‘apologizes’ for outrageous sermon attacking gays (Wilson)

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding