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After her church of 37 years performed a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2007, Yvonne Moore, a lifelong Baptist, sued for a portion of the estimated $250,000 in tithes and offerings she had made over the years. “You cannot take that in the church,” Moore recently told CNN.

She attended the ceremony, not out of support but out of spectacle. “I wanted to see it for myself,” she said. “I went and I was like, this is totally disgusting.” Spoken like a true Christian.

The same Christian whose values preach to love thy neighbor as thyself and judge not lest ye be judged advocated her church adopt a closed-door policy. It’s ironic that someone possessing so much contempt for a group of people and a union between two consenting adults can associate herself with Christianity in the same breath.

Moore was “pissed off” that the church didn’t respect the members enough to listen to them when they opposed the gay union. There was clearly something in Moore’s “heterosexual tithes” that made her more of a church member than the gay church-goers that also paid tithes. Her pastors must have been unaware of the return policy on Moore’s offerings to God.

“You cannot just read a Bible and think that somehow you’ve now mastered the word of God,” Pastor Dennis Wiley of Washington, D.C.’s Covenant Baptist said in defense. He, like many other Christians, believes there is only one master of the word of God and that is God. Jesus did walk among prostitutes, lepers and thieves, didn’t he? Although the gay community shouldn’t be synonymous with prostitution, disease or crime, they are a group that is also marginalized by society.

“The Black church has the original ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” says Reverend Eronica King, a 27-year-old clergy/hospital chaplain in South Carolina who identifies as lesbian. King grew up in a small family church where the musician and choir director were gay men. “[Gay church members] hide in the open. Everybody knows they are gay, but nobody talks about it,” she says.

Moore eventually dropped the lawsuit saying that her actions were not of God but decided to permanently split from the church. I wonder if she sued when the pastors wedded the couple who had been fornicating. Maybe she also left when they performed the holy union of two alcoholics. Or perhaps she’s up in arms about the church not practicing slavery, as the Bible condones.

How is it that individuals pick apart the Bible, apply some hierarchical order to what is deemed as sin, then completely shun one particular group? Why aren’t alcoholics or fornicators ostracized from the church at the same capacity as homosexuals?

“It is because I am gay that I stay active in church,” Reverend King explains. “It is because I am gay that I make sure I’m a visible face in the congregation.”
Perhaps if people, Christians and non-Christians alike, took the time to know and understand gay men and women judgment-free, they would see that they’re just like anyone else. That they’re capable of having loving relationships. Relationships that extend beyond the bedroom. Relationships that are about companionship and commitment. Some argue that marriage is the terms for two people to procreate. Does that then mean that an infertile heterosexual couple should not be permitted to marry?

Questions similar to these probed Stephanie Russell, 25, who was brought up in a religious household but now rarely attends church. “My education has attributed mostly to my decision to diminish my church involvement,” explains the Austin resident who identifies as queer. “The more I began to question, the less I was fed, and then I realized that no human being truly had the answer.”

Many overlook the fact that the Bible was written within a historical context. There are simply things in the Bible that were once acceptable that no longer are (for instance, slavery, Exodus 21:2-6). There are things that were once unacceptable that presently are (for instance, wearing clothing of more than one fabric, Leviticus 19:19 or wearing gold and pearls, 1 Timothy 2:9). “People have no idea about the language and transcribing changes the Bible went through,” Reverend King notes. “There are several versions of the Bible that have books in them that our Bible does not, like the Vulgate of Saint Jerome. If folk only knew…” Beyond just teaching the Word, it’s crucial for pastors to preach how the Bible came to be.

“I am not an atheist nor am I pro- any anti-religious organizations. If I must be ‘pro-something,’ I’m pro-education and the betterment of society,” adds Russell.

After performing the commitment ceremony, the Covenant Baptist Church lost half of their congregation, over 250 families. I hope they gain 500 more gay ones.

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  • Akai*

    @Fallible Sage: I’d like to keep our exchange respectful so don’t ever dare question my care/concern for women or be so arrogant to assume you’ve the right or knowledge to dictate any “best practice” for me. Heck, it’s my view that those who truly love and care about their people would have quit with the excuse-making and apologists antics long ago, but your interest is “behavioral health” and I can respect that. Our perspectives are different and mine lie elsewhere and in varied areas; we all have our particular callings and, since I’m female, my efforts will be directed towards my peers.

    IMO stable families are integral for prosperous and healthy communities and, by extension, people. Way before anyone else, I feel it’s way past time to give the priority to females and the breakdown of the family has to be rectified with better choices in mates (even if that means different groups of males i.e. Asian) and drastically reducing the 70% out of wedlock rate and having all these children by different guys.

    The reason is this is the point where a lot of negative outcomes jump off — single parenthood (specifically not having a responsible father in the home raising, let alone financially supporting, the children) is not good for little boys or little girls and increases the likelihood of the parent and child living in poverty, children being incarcerated, dropping out of school, continuing the cycle and going on to also have children OOW and live in poverty etc. They do their best and often do a wonderful job but, overall and generally, women CAN NOT successfully be both father and mother.

    People can continue to be typical and poo-poo any and all stats that reveal things they don’t want to hear all they like, but the proof is in the pudding of how a lot of children have turned out as each parent provides/fulfills different needs that are extremely important for children and their self-esteem, healthy development etc.

    I caught the sarcasm about “statistics” and I couldn’t care less. I try not to open my mouth and talk about things I know nothing about and, also, I think misinformation will be the death of people and feel it important that everyone turn this tide and correct myths or clarify. You appeared to have made an erroneous and unfair insinuation that there is no interest in getting at root causes on my part simply because my way differs from yours. That is untrue and (in a nutshell) I simply don’t believe in wasting time making things more complicated than they actually are, and especially not for the sake of being PC or saving ‘feelings’.

    Though it would clarify things more, I’m not going to write a dissertation spelling out the entirety of my views or places I’ve been, the time, tears, sweat and effort I’ve put in, or things I’ve seen which influence my points of view. I’ll keep it concise and say the way I choose to be part of the solution and not the problem includes staying honest, proactively dealing with what is, having zero tolerance for tired never-ending excuses, stressing the necessity/importance of females valuing themselves and examining their hearts to figure out why bad choices are sometimes made and realize the truth of being more powerful than they thought etc….BECAUSE I’VE WITNESSED THESE THINGS WORK.

    Let some people tell it – most prison inmates are innocent victims that were wrongly convicted. *snick* And blaming SES, racism, poverty and everything else for an individual’s choices has been going on for decades…DECADES…yet things have gotten worse (not better) and all that seems to have done is provide people with convenient reasons for continuing to not accept personal responsibility for their own actions.

    This is a sloppy paraphrase but to ‘keep doing the same thing yet somehow expect different and better results is madness’. People are free to look for and apply more excuses till their heart are content but the truth remains simple with regards to a lot of things no matter what they wish, fantasize or say i.e.: break the law = go to jail…don’t break the law = avoid jail! Even more ridiculous is the fact that many are already well aware that biases exist in the criminal justice system yet, knowing this, still choose criminal activity.

    This is not going to be a popular opinion (and, again, I really don’t care) but, in my view, from the 40’s until now too much time has been wasted with females being ‘snookered’ into always fighting certain males’ battles, going “Aww, snookie wookie!”, constantly advocating (to the neglect and detriment of themselves) or looking for ways to ‘save’ them.

    I prefer men who act like men, so later for that since it hasn’t done a bit of good, a group of ineffectual p*ssies have been/are being raised, and I’ve neither time nor sympathy for those that choose criminality, victimize their own, always play the victim and always have a finger held up to point and blame ‘da man’, society, racism, females, the Easter Bunny etc.

    It’s tired already and has gotten people nowhere!

    • I don’t know you. The “don’t you dare” speak is a little dramatic on an online article response don’t you think? I can only deal with you based on what you offer on this post. In light of that fact, I’m going to attempt to not say too much here, but that’s probably not gonna go well. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll respond any further on this post after this, because I have other things to attend to, we’ve deviated from the topic, and some are hell bent on being right no matter what. I don’t know if you’re one of these people, but I’m erring on the side of caution… a continued back and forth is moot. You can hit me up on the link and email if you really would like a response to your inevitable reply.

      I agree with you that the family is where the foundation is laid for males and females. I agree with you that strengthening our families is essential, if not the most essential element, and will go a long way to alleviate most of these issues. That’s one of the things I’m alluding to when I say let’s work on keeping them out of prison. But that’s just one of the many things that need to be done to change outcomes. There is no simple cure. Mom and Dad in a HEALTHY home is best case, but black families have historically been more susceptible to a nontraditional set up as a result of our history. Even still, at one time the results were far less detrimental on the community. That’s because extended family and community played more of a role in raising children. That is what is missing Akai, whether it be Dad, Uncle, Big Momma, or Ms. Randal down the street, everyone contributed. Now the best of us leave the ghettos. Young, inexperienced, and ineffectual mothers due to subsidized housing are dropped in the middle of warzones (riddled with drugs, crime, and sub par schools) to raise young men and women all by themselves, themselves children. The breakdown didn’t begin with dad, dad is not the primary cause, and the cancer is systemic and pervasive. Strong is strong, period.

      I’ve seen things too Akai, and have overcome tremendous odds to be where I am today, so I should be the first to spout off at the mouth about individual responsibility being all that matters. But I’m reflective enough to realize that if I didn’t have certain elements in place, ie leaving the VI as I began to deviate from positive choices, a change in environment, great strong family (headed by a married, yet single mother), support, a natural aptitude, among other things that many don’t have, things could have and probably would have turned out significantly different for me. Mentor a parent or a child or two like I do, if you aren’t already. We’d have this thing on the reversal in no time if more people did something about it instead of complaining about it.

      There is a difference between an excuse and cause and effect Akai. Either you give the conditions and causes weight, or you credit it, like Uncle Ruckus, to believing that black people, more specifically men, are inferior or inherent deviants. You talked about correlation a few post back, I think it completely biased to let relationships between factors just fall to the side because of a personal prejudice against convicts, and that’s what it sounds like you’re doing when you say “*snick* And blaming SES, racism, poverty and everything else for an individual’s choices has been going on for decades.” Once again, the why’s matter, and they especially matter if seeking to change things.

      I also think it telling that with all of the overturned convictions due to DNA evidence, and the large number of black men being encarcerated for petty drug possession charges (when white counterparts are convicted at a lower rate, but using just as much if not more), you’d scoff at my assertion that some of these men make mistakes or may even be innocent.

  • gee

    SINS

    1. homosexuality
    2. lying
    3. cheating
    4. stealing
    5. blasphemy
    6. atheism
    7. backbiting
    8. fornication
    9. having other gods before God
    10. murder
    11. adultery
    12. bearing false witness against your neighbor
    13. coveting
    14. not honoring mother and father

    and so much more……but the only UNFORGIVABLE SIN is: BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT……….NOT HOMOSEXUALITY WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO LYING, CHEATING, ADULTERY…..ETC…ETC..ETC…………so homosexuality can be forgiven as other sins can…….except for blasphemy.

  • newinsight

    This is a great article.

    “After performing the commitment ceremony, the Covenant Baptist Church lost half of their congregation, over 250 families. I hope they gain 500 more gay ones.”

    Yes! I’m sorry but discriminating against homosexuals doesn’t make you any different than the KKK in my book, or maybe its just plain ignorance. (And no I’m not homosexual). I believe that you should be free to be proud of whoever you are as long as it doesnt bring harm to any other person (and know your feelings don’t count).

    Don’t get me wrong I do consider myself Christian. But I also realize that the Bible was written by white males.

    I remember the Catholic priest at my university (who I took a couple courses with) saying that when you start reciting the Bible word for word, or start throwing quotes at each other to prove your point that’s when it becomes a problem. And he doesnt have a problem with homosexuality- how about that!

    No one should be shunned away from the church especially because of their sexuality. And if so, you are just being close minded, and you will miss out on a lot of great people in life.

    Take an Introduction to Religion course that is not offered in your church and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  • newinsight

    @ Akai and Fallible Sage: while I did not read the majority of your coversation, I did see that there was some argument on DL brothers.. And if you can find it on youtube I think it may be of interest to you..

    Its CNN: Black in America (if you have not already seen it), I believe there is a part 2 as well.

    It speaks to some of the issues you are talking about.