In 2006 we witnessed Black pastors selling their pulpits to the highest bidders in return for fame, wealth, and political gain, often times at the expense of their gay and lesbian members.
Bishop Alfred Owens in a Palm Sunday service last year called for all of the real men to come forth, "not no faggots or no sissies, but some real men". Rev. Willie Nelson blamed rampant lesbianisim at his son's school as a reason why he couldn't get a date to his high school prom, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth here in Atlanta even held a march a few years ago to "stand up" for traditional marriage and to shed light on the evil homosexual agenda.
But nothing could have prepared me for the stereotypical, homophobic, uninformed, and misguided words of another one of our Black pastors, Rev. Michael A. Stevens of University City Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Pastor Stevens has written Straight Up The Church's Official Response to Down Low Living. Originally the book was written as a response to J.L. King's controversial novel On The Down Low, but early on it seems Pastor Stevens decided it was not enough to just attack the down low brotha, but every gay man on the face of the earth regardless of how he identified himself. Gay, SGL, MSM(men who have sex with men), DL, bisexual, anyone that fell into any of these categories are considered the scum of the earth or in his words "half dead" .
For the record I do not condone down low behavior. I believe lies and deceit in any relationship is unhealthy and should be avoided whether the couples are straight or gay. But like so many ministers, Steven's goes on the holy attack without attempting to find out what causes down low behavior.
Has the church and the black community created an eviroment where it's safe to come out as a Black gay man? I don't think so. Better yet, has the church created an enviroment where real discussions about sexuality can take place?
In the introduction to his book Pastor Steven's writes, "This book is prayerfully written out of compassion and mercy for the many men of God whose lives have been blindly derailed and misaligned". And in the next breath he states" I don't care to help him, I really don't. My mind tells me he probably deserved everything that has happend to him, and I don't care to help him at all. Even as a pastor I think, Let him die!
These are words from a Pastor's mouth, a man of God. A respected leader in his community and a person that is most likely idolized by his congregation.
Throughout the book Steven's is incredibly obsessed with displays of hyper-masculinity in Black men and shamlessly refers to his upbringing in the church with "men who competively wore broaches and blouses; men who screeched with high pitch voices, wore a limp wrist, and walked real fast with chest elevated and pants a bit too tight-and then wondered why they were the target of crude jokes.
Since this book is the official response from the church according to Pastor Steven's, then it's fair to say that all clergymen believe that being gay is a "chosen lifestyle", and any man that falls short of the church's blue print for masculinity deserves whatever happens to him?
I'm so sick of Pastor's turning a house of prayer into a house of pain. The church was supposed to be the one place all of God's people could go to seek refuge, and this man is worried about the inclusion of gays and lesbians discrediting the Black church. We've always been there, contributing to your churches in many different capacities and often times sitting through your hateful sermons spoken in the name of God that was everything but Christ-like.
The fall of the Black church will not be on the hands of gays and lesbians. I have a few questions for the leaders of these mega- churches. How long did you think it would take before members stopped contributing to the million dollar salaries of pastors who go home to mansions and fly in private jets while they(members) pull up to low income housing? How long did you think it would take for people to realize the very things that you're preaching against in the world is happening in the church, starting in the pulpit on down to the elderly mother.
When did the measuring stick for a man's worth begin with him being dominant over his wife or partner and projecting little to no sensitivity in his interaction with others?
Today's Black gay men and women are a threat to Pastor Steven's and other clergy like him because some of us are TIRED of being the target of constant attacks, TIRED of separate but equal, TIRED of our existence being reduced to nothing, TIRED of our lives being misrepresented, TIRED of our families being taught to hate who we are because God said so, somebody has to counter this garbage disguised as religion.
So we love differently and in one state in America we can legally get married. The sky is still blue, George W. Bush still led us into war under false pretenses, and your heterosexual marriage made in heaven is still in tact for the time being. So Pastor Steven's the inaccurate portrayal of Black gays and lesbians in your book might work when you're preaching to your congregation, because God knows most black folks won't question out loud what a preacher says from the pulpit, but everyone won't buy it.
Could you entertain the thought for one minute that everyone in the world is biologically not heterosexual and God created them that way and is ok with that? Of course not, that would rock your theological world and cause you to re-think everything you've been taught. Funny how using your brain can be painful sometimes.