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5 comments | Sunday, January 06, 2008

It wasn't long ago that a Palm Sunday sermon in 2006 by Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. of Greater Mount Calvary Church in Washington D.C. sent shock waves through the D.C. area and the black gay community. During a sermon titled "Fan or Follower", Bishop made it painfully clear how he felt about gays and lesbians in the church. He didn't censor his thoughts nor did he seem to care how his words would negatively impact his gay and lesbian members.

The audio from this controversial sermon where Bishop Owens called for all of the real men to approach the altar, "NOT NO FAGGOTS OR NO SISSIES, BUT SOME REAL MEN" could be heard on just about every gay blog and mainstream publication in D.C. from The Washington Post to The Washington City Paper. The fallout was swift and hard. In an act of courage, Former Mayor Anthony A. Williams demanded a public apology from Owens and threatened to remove him from his Interfaith Council.

Susan Newman, a religious adviser to Mayor Williams told Colbert King, a columnist at The Washington Post "that the words "faggot" and "sissy" are as offensive to gay men as would be the words "niggers, coons and bucks" spoken from the pulpit by a white minister."

Engulfed in controversy and feeling the pressure to release a statement, on May 18, 2006 Bishop Owens released a pseudo-apology saying, "It was not my purpose to wound anyone or discriminate against any group, and I apologize for any offense. 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".

If you're thinking his apology lacked sincerity then you're absolutely right and what I'm about to tell you confirms it. They say a leopard never changes its spots; well a homophobic minister never changes his sermon.

Fast Forward to January 5, 2008. I received an e-mail from a member of Bishop Owens' church informing me that the treatment of the gay and lesbian members of Greater Mount Calvary had not gotten better since 2006 but indeed worse. He requested to remain anonymous and I will respect his wish. But the tactics being used by Bishop Owens, his staff, and a portion of the congregation to bully it's gay and lesbian members out of the church, out of the "lifestyle", and back into the closet are despicable!

A modern day witch-hunt is taking place at Greater Mount Calvary in the form of an e-mail that lists over 100 men who are allegedly gay and serve in the choir, usher board, deacon board and various other auxiliaries within the church. This e-mail written by a female member of the church was sent to Bishop Owens and subsequently sent to over 300 members through a Yahoo group.

According to the e-mail "Bishop Owens met with all choir members for thirty minutes and offered to help anybody who wanted to change from being gay". "He said the bible says that wheat and tares grow together but there are too many tares and when the tares out number the wheat I got to do something".

"I am going to meet with all the people mentioned in the e-mail and use my discernment to figure out who needs to be "monitored" or sat down from what they do".

The writer of the e-mail identifies herself as a saved and concerned member in search of a husband and then begins to describe gay members as whores, freeloaders, drunks, druggies, on the dl, sex-partying sinners.


The brother who reached out to me finally had enough and decided to leave the hostile environment Bishop Owens has created for his gay and lesbian members, but there are others who still continue to attend and even "amen" his sermons because they feel they have no choice.

Discrimination is discrimination. Why do we feel we have no choice but to be silent when discrimination is coming from the pulpit? Bishop Owens and other ministers have abused their position as clergymen repeatedly and have taught gays and lesbians to believe they're worthless and incapable of being "real" Christians (as if the only requirement is to be heterosexual).

How dare he discredit the spiritual relationship between God and gay and lesbian believers! The don’t ask don't tell policy and the hypocrisy in the black church is getting old really fast.

What is this man's fascination with homosexuality? Google his name and almost every entry is linked to a homophobic statement or sermon he's made over the years. But yet gays and lesbians still flock to his church. If this e-mail and Bishop's actions aren't enough for them to either speak up or leave then I don't know what it will take.

I'm sure this post will find it's way back to Greater Mount Calvary and possibly Bishop's desk and I want you (Bishop Owens) and your congregation to know that it's a new day. For every gay and lesbian person who willingly shows up for your abuse and suffers in silence, there are those like myself who are not afraid to speak up and claim their inheritance in Christ.

The church has historically been a refuge for all black people not just heterosexual blacks. You have turned Greater Mount Calvary into a hotbed of oppression for your gay and lesbian members and you should be ashamed! No one deserves to be singled-out and mistreated like you've done to your gay members. You may never be able to fully comprehend the damage you've done to people who lifted you up only to be torn down in return.

Gays in the church is nothing new. Look around Bishop we're everywhere, possibly in your family. You don't have to like us but you must respect those serving in your church that are apart of the success of your ministry. But don't worry, every time you decide to act up there will be plenty of us speaking out...It's a new day.

Outraged? Let Bishop Owens & his staff know:

Alfred T. Owens, Office Assistant

Alma Belcher , Counselor

Anthony Minor, Teacher

Beatrice Dawson, Bookstore Manager

Bernard Perry, Principal of Calvary Christian Academy

Betty Robinson, Lead Facilities Maintenance Staff

Beverly Lucas, Director of The Family Life Center

Bobby Daniels, Administrative Asst. to the Sr. Pastor

Bryan Smith, Duplication Technician

Calvin Sykes, Non-Teaching Assistant


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

yes yes yes...a thousand times yes. I love this post! you know, we need this kind of courage that allows more and more homosexuals to stand up and claim their inheritance in christ. its a shame that we r treated the way we are. better yet, its a shame that we go to church week after week and continue to suffer the abuse (me included). thank you for reminding me of who I am. I'm glad I'm not in this struggle alone.

January 07, 2008 7:35 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I want to feel sorry for any GLBT people who attend this church, but I can't. Why go to a church where you know you will be discriminated against. This isn't a place of employmet, or some other establishment where you don't have a choice whether or not you have to attend. And it is not a public place like a restaurant that needs to follow anti discrimination laws.

It makes no sense for a GLBT person to continue to call themselves a member of this church. What are they getting from attending. This isn't a family atmoshpere, it's not a healthy place. It seems that any gay person who would subject him or herself to this abuse really needs to seek out some mental health therapy to see why they hate themselves so much.

January 07, 2008 9:05 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree with anonymous...why attend such an establishment. Face it, our world is plagued with ignorance and hatred. Contrary to popular belief, that is not what makes the world go around. First of all, your spiritual experience should not be about your sexual orientation, hello! No one can tell you about your personal relationship with God, especially not some self hating Negro espousing hate in the name of Jesus while in the pulpit, and trying to put his hand down little Peety's pants in his chambers! Get a clue people. You are in control of your own happiness! Don't support an institution that does not support and recognize you. If you are not spiritually nourished, then why waste your time. All the energy wasted even acknowledging a place like this one, is just that...a waste! Celebrate the fabulous you! Period. Change your thinking and watch the world around you change!
Sincerely, Lonnell Williams

January 07, 2008 11:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

more interesting church related stuff:


check out his latest blog post.

January 08, 2008 6:42 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have not heard of Bishop Alfred Owens until these reason events with his sermon. Sounds like he is trying to become famous for something and it is working very well. Why is he judging people in his church? All the members should leave because he is not loving his neighbors with mentioning sermons of that nature. I always knew church is the real haters of gays from day one. All 100 of those gays on that e-mail should keep going to that church and stand, and for that lady who is searching for a husband needs to try online chatrooms for straight men and not be a desperate house wife. She needs to practice patience.

February 05, 2008 2:43 PM


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