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3 comments | Monday, July 14, 2008

I knew it wouldn't be long before one of the most influential black bishops in America presiding over one of the largest Christian denominations (Church Of God in Christ) would issue a statement against same-sex marriage. However, nothing could have prepared me for the noxious and discriminatory language often used by the religious (white) right in a proclamation issued by Bishop Charles E. Blake and twelve other COGIC leaders.

Read the proclamation here.

I think it would be appropriate to tell you that I have a history with Bishop Blake and his home church West Angeles Church of God In Christ in Los Angeles. I was one of many thousand members that Bishop Blake would never know personally. Our only contact was during the day he shook my hand after I became a member and then he was whisked away by his security team.

I joined in 2005 during one of the most difficult and darkest periods in my life and began to renew my faith in God. While Bishop Blake's ministry may be well received by the mainstream you will never hear how detrimental the COGIC doctrine can be for it's gay and lesbian members. This proclamation against same -sex marriage and the language used is a perfect example of the spiritual abuse that is commonly experienced as a gay member of Bishop Blake's church. I'm not speculating but giving a first hand account.

It's unfortunate that COGIC relies on weak arguments such as procreation to deny gay and lesbian people the civil right to marry or they use passages from the bible that they believe condemn homosexuality and same sex unions. Although God never mentioned same-sex unions and many theologians disagree with the interpretation of scripture that has been used to oppress gays, history will record Bishop Blake and other religious fundamentalist as coming down on the wrong side of the issue.

There is an air of superiority in the church's statement that wants LGBT people to believe that we're less than, sub-human, and a demonic entity based on our God-given sexual orientation. This is a sick and twisted notion that any intelligent human being should flat out reject.

The truth is same -sex marriage has just become legal in Bishop Blake's backyard and the cries of injustice and the sweet taste of victory that he is familiar with having lived through the civil rights movement has been extended to another oppressed group. Now that we as black people have overcome (yet not entirely) we seem to be holding onto the key that will open the door for anyone else to experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Maybe Bishop Blake and his faithful followers missed the memo but I want them to know despite their opposition to LGBT people and same-sex unions; marriage is a civil right. It may be a holy rite of passage for some who choose to go that route, but nevertheless a right that should not be denied based on sexual orientation. And there are affirming ministers and congregations that believe in inclusion and are more than happy to bless same-sex unions. The buck doesn't stop at West Angeles.

Let's re-visit this conversation in November when Californians overwhelmingly reject the proposed marriage amendment and same-sex marriage officially becomes the law of the land and the culture war begins to crumble.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

These relics are as relevant and newsworthy as Jesse Jackson. For the life of me I can't understand why people even care what they think about anything, let alone same sex love.

As science advances, religion itself (responsible for more death and destruction than any other invention) will become less and less relevant -- and for that, I truly THANK GOD.

July 14, 2008 3:18 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Religion itself is a tired, old fashioned relic of times gone by. Most of the god and goddesses once worhipped by most of mankind no longer are.

It's just a matter of time before the world is like most of western Europe: relatively religion free. When I visited an ancient cathedral in Cologne, Germany (approximately 1,500 years old!) it was literally a museum - no one goes there to worhip, the only people who go there are tourists (like me and my friend) from around the world.

July 14, 2008 3:49 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am not suprised by the actions of the COGIC churches. These are their beliefs, their foundation, their coins. I would not expect them to relinquish them any time soon. After all, we live in a country that allows freedom of religion. That being said, we also live in a country where the rights of ALL must be protected. Church is not the state (at least not in theory). Gays/Lesbians are finally afforded the same rights legally as other couples...this is long overdue and only fair! So gay couples won't be getting married in the sanctuary at West Angeles...I think we'll get over it.
Like you, I used to be a member of Bishop Blake's church as well. Unfortunately, my spirit was not nourished in that enviornment. At the time he was focused more on building a new sanctuary and giving shout outs to celebrity members. I often was made aware that Majic Johnson or Angela Bassett were in the house, but was Jesus? I mean, really. I should not have been suprised as a well known actress took me there to begin with. When she left, I should have instantly followed her cue. I'm not here to slam Bishop Blake or his cash cow religious empire. His congregation has every right to believe what they choose. They do not however, have the right to impose on the legal rights of others...PERIOD. I guess I wonder, why we still devote so much attention to being accepted by the 'black church.'? F** them! There are plenty of great churches who actually focus on living like Jesus, not just yappin about him. Get your own self right before God. You don't need a mediator shoving fear and the power of the Devil down your throat. Get to know God yourself! Trust me, your life will open to amazing prosperity, peace and joy. We all have to ability to co-exist in harmony, despite differing beliefs. COGIC clergy do not accept gays and probably never will. So what? As long as all people are treated equally under the law, who cares? Its not the church's place to judge, nor is it anyone else's. Let God to the judging. So stop strangling yourself with the noose of the right wing version of religion. Live! Love! Prosper! Know that God simply IS!!!!!!!!!!!

July 16, 2008 11:30 AM


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