Photo courtesy of SFGate.com
Can Black Churches Welcome Homosexuals But Remain Against The Lifestyle?
We have to acknowledge the fact there are homosexuals, lesbians and transgendered people in the church and in the black church. We don’t think there is any objection to this. People of alternative lifestyles have filled the pews of many churches across the nation long before we started publicly speaking on the issue. Though the picture above is of Bishop Yvette Flunder’s City of Refuge Church which is a gay and transgender accepting church, we will not be dealing with that aspect of gays in the black church. Contrarily, the issue at hand is: Can black churches welcome homosexuals but remain against the lifestyle?
This question can be a tough one depending on the pastor and the church. Without sounding condescending, we all know gays have been in the black church forever and some churches have welcomed it and some have not. What we have found is while gays and lesbians have found a place at the black church, they are both accepted and not accepted. What we mean is: many pastors know who they are and deliberately base much of their sermon against homosexuality but never really provide a ministry for those individuals to feel free to come out and deal with their sexual sin. Some pastors, on the other hand, know there are homosexuals in the church and never, ever preach against it. These churches are usually the ones that base their ministry and sermons on prosperity gospel. They, in particular, are not against much of anything yet promote and base the ministry solely on encouraging the church body to prosper financially which will help fund the mega church they attend.
One article at NJ.com
, stated black pastors in New Jersey are welcoming homosexuals and alternative lifestyles but are not condoning the lifestyles.
“You have gay people in leadership positions already, just not openly,” said the Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, pastor of St. Matthew AME Church in Orange.
It appears that some pastors do not mind gays in the church as long as they are ‘in the closet’. But this raises a question to why are we hiding the lifestyle and in that same sense, condoning it yet not dealing with the issue: sin?
Based on conversations with New Jersey pastors, The Star Ledger found that many NJ pastors would rather keep the obvious hush hush.
A random sampling of black ministers in the Newark area found many are aware of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered men and women in their congregations, singing in the choir or working in a church office. And they are willing to welcome them with open arms. The Rev. Ronald Slaughter of St. James AME in Newark estimates 60 to 70 percent of all churches have homosexuals in their congregations. “They (the congregations) may not know it, but they can’t be judge or jury at the door,” he said.
Well it may be true that we can not be judge and jury at the church door but once we welcome all of God’s children in the church, will we address homosexuality as it is stated in the bible? Can we seriously allow homosexuals to feel comfortable in the sin as they ‘come as they are’ to church every week? Now, many have called us a homophobic blog but we beg to differ. We deal with the bible and it states homosexuality is a sin like many other sins. We can’t be homophobic if we only want to please God by abiding by the scriptures.
The definition of homophobia is:
Homophobia is a term used to refer to a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay and in some cases bisexual, transgender people and behavior. The term “homophobia” is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived homosexual or in some cases any non-heterosexual orientation. Source
Again, let us stress that being homophobic according to these terms, do not fit our case. We and even churches that truly deal with the sin and not just the lifestyle, don’t fit the homophobic definition here.
We don’t believe black churches should be tolerant of gays and lesbians in the church but we do believe they should be welcomed in the church and the issues of homosexuality should be an open door for a ministry to help guide people out of it. So many people are utterly against ex-gay ministries because they feel they are pushing people out of something they can’t change. On the contrary, a church that does not deal with the issue of homosexuality, transgenderism and bisexuality are doing, not only the people of God an injustice but their ministry overall.
Thank God for deliverance and if someone really wants out of the lifestyle, they can do it with God’s help.