There are 4 websites that I visit on a daily basis, myspace, keithboykin.com, rodonline.typepad.com, and jasmynecannick.typepad.com. The last three sites is where I go to get all of the latest black LGBT news. It was on those sites I first learned of Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in D.C. . On April 9th Bishop delivered a message urging the real men of the congregation to stand up and be counted, not the "faggot or the "sissy" but the real straight men. To hear the tone in his voice when he uses these words from the pulpit ignites a feeling in my stomach that is indescribable. I had no choice but to write him and his entire staff an e-mail in response to his homophobic and hurtful message, this is what I had to say:
Dear Bishop Owens, staff, and congregation of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church,
Over the past few days Im certain youve received an influx of e-mails from the gay community in response to the anti-gay sermon you delivered a few Sundays ago.
I am a gay african american man who was raised in the church and still continues to worship with other believers to this day. It pains me to know that not only our government is attempting to divide our community but black clergy and their followers are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Do you know how powerful your position is and the words that come out of your mouth? You summoned for all of the real men in your congregation to walk down to the altar, excluding the faggots and the sissies.
Well Bishop Owens I have a question for you. Is being heterosexual the only qualification needed to be considered a real man? What about the man who treats others with the same dignity and respect he would like to receive, the man who works hard to provide for himself and his family, the man who would give his life for a friend ? Did you once stop to think about all of the gay brothers and sisters and their families who were sitting in your church and had to listen to you spew hateful venom from your mouth in the name of God? Have you once stopped to think what your church would be like if we werent there contributing to your ministries not to forget your collection plate?
There was some person who woke up that Sunday morning who needed a word of encouragement, who needed their spirits to be lifted, instead what they got was their pastor telling them they were less than, a mistake, and a disgrace in the eyes of God.
Your position is one that is highly respected in the black community, and forgive our people for accepting everything that comes out of a ministers mouth as truth. One day we will be able to think for ourselves and actually question the hateful things that sometimes come from the pulpit. When will we learn to accept and embrace our differences?
Black ministers can start the process and end the homophobia that is dividing our community and driving black brothers and sisters away from the church. Bishop your words are powerful, next time try lacing your words with a little bit of love.