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10 comments | Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This post is a special feature to loldarian.com by author and guest blogger Tiffany Hall. You may remember an open thread I posted on the site a few weeks ago titled "What Do Black Women Really Think About Us & Should We Care?". Tiffany's book was the inspiration for that post. She originally contacted me to review her book on this site and I initially declined because I felt a lot of it was rooted in stereotypes, not to forget the title was a bit of a turn off as well.

As you know this site is about informing, empowering, uplifting, and entertaining gay men of color, and I wasn't sure this book met the criteria.

But after an hour long phone conversation and the recent events surrounding the black church and Prop 8 I thought her point of view would create a healthy discussion. Get into it below and feel free to leave her feedback in the comment section.

Homosexuals joining church? Can't they get salvation at home?
by Tiffany Hall

Okay, wow!! This hot topic has been on my mind since last night when I got a call from my mother telling me that my favorite gay man~Charles Pugh, TV anchor for Fox 2 News in Detroit, Michigan and on-air radio personality at the most popular urban radio station-WJLB, joined her church with his partner Michael. Now I interviewed Charles for my book Intimate Conversations with Fine Gay Men…What a Waste and went on his radio show That’s What’s Up back in October. I have found Charles to be an extremely intelligent, charming, giving, handsome and caring man. I have grown to love him as a human being and look beyond the fact that he is an openly gay man who is very comfortable living a “gay lifestyle” in the public eye.

You see this whole situation bothers me a little bit. My kitty kat kinda hurts because I am straddling this fence big time! Being a non-homosexual who grew up in the very same Baptist church that Charles and Michael joined on Sunday, I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. As a matter of fact, prior to writing my book, I looked at homosexuals as demonic spirits going straight to hell with gasoline drawers on! Harsh? Yes! Honest? Always! Anyway, growing up in church, I learned that fornication, homosexuality, adultery, lying, stealing, etc. were all sins, but homosexuality was just a straight up no-no. No-no as in; No you better not be gay, no you better not “act” like you think you’re gay and no you better not even begin to “look” like you think you might be gay. If you somehow decided that you were gay, you were ostracized, ignored or prayed for like your sole salvation depended on the prayers of the saints in church!

Now that I “know” better, I am trying to do better. But, I can’t say that I really am! When my mom called and said that Charles had joined church, my first reaction was “good for them.” I mean, I am a Christian~for real, for real. I LOVE when people give their lives’ to Christ. But then my mom said “humph, that wasn’t the response of the people sitting around me.” So me, being who I am, said “What? What did they say?” Now mind you I said this with a bit of an attitude because I believe this church is very elitist and full of hypocrites calling themselves saints. My mom, sounding a little nervous now as she knew I might be getting ready to tell her all about her “church folks” and how hypocritical they are, said, “they said that pastor should’ve said something!” “Said something like what?” I practically yell at her like she was the one who’d said it. “Said what? You aren’t welcome here? Y’all are sinners! Aren’t they entitled to salvation, ministry and God’s word just like the rest of us sinners?” I knew I was not using a tone of voice that pleased the woman who raised me but I was pissed off! Much to my surprise, my mother, who is just as judgmental as I am trying not to be, said “I know, that’s what I said and went in my purse to give them your business card for your book and told them ‘here you need to read this book my daughter wrote.’” I was so proud of my mom! I was also proud of myself!

Now saying all of this, all day today I have been thinking; “Would I be this defensive and happy for a gay couple who I didn’t know personally who joined my church?” Umm, probably not. “What role should the church play in welcoming and ministering homosexuals and lesbians?” “How can you minister to someone who doesn’t believe their lifestyle is a sin?” I knew fornicating was a sin and it tore me up every time I did it! I finally had to stop and ask God to take the desire away until I got married. Help me out y’all! I want to believe that homosexuals belong in church just like the rest of us sinners, however, if you are growing in Christ, you try to turn away from those things that are not pleasing to God. I can’t honestly say that I believe homosexuality is not a sin and that God is pleased! Oh! Y’all gone cuss me out!! That’s alright, I love you anyway and I am still praying for you…not because you may be a homosexual/lesbian reading this, but because we all need prayer, grace and mercy!

Holla at your girl~

Guest blogger Tiffany Hall is the author of Intimate Conversations with Fine Gay Men"What A Waste". She is a native of Detroit, Michigan and a wife and mother of four. She is a graduate of Alabama A&M University and Miami University of Ohio and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Because religion has no place in my life, I wasn't going to respond to this thread but I changed my mind.

Why does my having the same rights as everyone else (meaning straight people) HAVE to revolve around what religious people (Christians, Muslims) think of gay people?

I don't care if the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. There should be a separation of church and state in this country. America is NOT a theocracy (i.e., the Muslim countries where the laws are rooted in the Koran). America is a democracy. The laws of this country flow from the U.S. constitution, NOT THE BIBLE.

I, a black gay man, am entitled to the same rights (including the right to marry a man) as everyone else, regardless of what the Bible says on the subject.

Regarding the gay couple that joined your mother's church. I don't know what the preacher preaches but if he preaches that homosexuality is a sin, I wonder why they joined that particular church? I am sure there are gay churches or gay friendly churches in the Detroit area they could joined.

One reason why I don't like being around most black gay men is that most of them belong to mainstream black churches that teach homosexuality is not just a sin but an ABOMINATION. This is a form of self-hatred to me and I do not want people like that in my life.

Needless to say, I spend a lot of time by myself since I am not a "snow" queen (derogatory term for black gay men who "like" white gay men) although I do have a number of white gay friends. Having said that, I realize that if I ever find a lover, he will probably NOT be black. Whenever I tell most black gay men that I am not "into" church, I can sense them turn against me as an "outsider". This outsiderness has marked me for my entire life.

It puzzles me that with all the anti-gay venom spewed from black pulpits, so many black gay men are STILL attached to mainstream black churches. Is the desire among the masses of black gay men to "belong" to the black community so strong that it overrides their sense of self respect as gay men?

November 25, 2008 9:00 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I hate the title of that book. I am get tired of women like her. Yeah she is trying to understand and sure change doesn't happen over night. However, because they don't identify with same gender humans, we should not automatically become a different species altogether. Like, we all have three nuts sacks or three titty nipples. Living your best life takes a 100% committment. Sure you can enrich other lives, yet your main concern should be being the best you can be. I think when people are sooo focused on others its a deflection mechanism keeping them from dealing with issues in their own lives. This to me is a clear example of most black churches, that want drawn in souls for christ yet want to dress you up the way they feel you should be not for the sake of pleasing God but for themselves feel confortable. You don't have to believe in my life style to welcome me into church. However, in all honesty I wouldn't attend a church that damned same sex loving humans anyway.

November 25, 2008 12:04 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Anonymous you asked-

"Is the desire among the masses of black gay men to "belong" to the black community so strong that it overrides their sense of self respect as gay men?"

I've often pondered over this exact question and I've come to the conclusion that for some of us the desire to belong to a community that jumps at every opportunity to mistreat us runs so deep that we are willing to put up with the abuse. Sad but so true.

I attend a black gay affirming church and I know some black gay men who wouldn't dare step inside of my church. They're so used to being spiritually abused they reject love.

November 25, 2008 4:40 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Initially I was hesitant about reading this post...as anyone who knows me, knows I don't do the negativity thing. I find it toxic and wasteful, but I do trust Darian's judgement so as I'm sitting here in the lounge waiting for a flight at LAX, I endure. I must say I admire Tiffany because she is doing what most of us (regardless of where we stand) don't do...and that is to actually expand our mind and allow our eperiences to teach. People always wonder how I am so happy in life when I am an openly gay man who also attends church. Its easy. My relationship with God is so intensely personal there is nothing anyone can tell me about it. That being said, yes I do attend church...its not hatefully religious nor is it overwhelmingly gay. I found my purpose and my joy long before I found my church. True happiness comes from within. We can debate all the day is long on the contradicitions and interpetations, etc of the Bible. At the end of the day you don't have a heaven or a hell to place me in. I still don't understand why gay people try to 'change' these churches. Ignorance is a part of our diversity. It sucks, but you don't change it by force you change it by example. Know that Rev. So & So has absolultey no say in your personal Salvation. God and God alone takes care of that. If you want to know what God has ordainded for your life, ask GOD, silly!!!!!!!!! Stop yelling. Stop fear. Start Living. Be still and KNOW! Like Tiffani, as you open your eyes and pay attention to your heart and what life shows you, you will easily discern 'right from wrong'. At the end of the day know that it is ok if we disagree! Find your own happiness and walk in your own truth!

November 25, 2008 7:29 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"Anyway, growing up in church, I learned that fornication, homosexuality, adultery, lying, stealing, etc. were all sins, but homosexuality was just a straight up no-no"

Stephanie. In the Bible Jesus talks about the dangers of fornication, adultery, lying and stealing. But he NEVER says anything about homosexuality. Why? Perhaps because the truth is that homosexuality bisexuality and being transgendered is not a matter of choice or adapting a "gay lifestyle" as you chose to see it. And therefore its not a characteristic that can be changed. You may not want to believe this now but if you have any integrity and honesty you will come to understand this to be true one day. And then you will have to reconcile this truth to what the Bible really says about homosexuality which is rather meager and open to interpretation. By contrast Jesus rails against hypocrisy continuously. Given that fact all of us who call ourselves Christians would be well advised to pay much more attention to avoiding hypocrisy than worrying about a person's sexual orientation - a characteristic we can do nothing about. And don't be fooled by those who say their sexual orientation has been changed. We gays know what many of these so called changed people do when no one is looking. And we also know how many so called straight male Black ministers chase men in secret while condemning homosexuality from the pulpit. Why do they preach against it but still do it? BECAUSE SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS NOT A CHOICE.

November 26, 2008 3:23 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'm a straight woman but I'm probably not the best person to comment on this topic because I am agnostic. I think our purpose in life as human beings is to be good to each other, leave this place better than we came in to it for the next generation,make a difference in someone else's life. Religion divides people more than it brings them together. Love is my religion.

Having said that, on the matter of homosexuals going to church. Why not? If thats what they choose to do.

My views on the bible are not the norm for a black woman I suppose so I won't even go there. But for the sake of this post. I think much of this religious reasoning is more about intolerance than religion. Are fornicators and adulterers treated in the same manner?

As for abomination, it is mentioned numerous times in the Bible for different sins. I always find it funny when people say homosexuality is an abomination but don't mention all the other things that are listed as abominations. Many practice selective reading when it comes to the good book.

November 28, 2008 2:48 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow. You have said and asked a mouthful. Foremost, I thank you for you candor and desire for more information. Too many folks relish their places of ignorance and resist any attempt to grow from it.

That being said, first let me take a religious perspective on the topic at hand. My from years in Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and church, I've observed a reoccurring theme in Christianity - treating others as you would want to be treated. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," right? In an audience - no in church - full of sinners, where does one sinner get off judging another for their sins? Are we all there for God's forgiveness?

Now, just to be clear, I am one who refuses to embrace the notion that my love for another man is by default a sin. I fully believe that that notion is the result of man's will being confuses with God's. We've seen time and time again throughout history religion being used for the worst of devices. Slavery, bans on interracial marriage, even the second class citizenship of women were all justified by religion. I point that out because too often we have allowed other people to manipulate our blind faith in religious tenets for dubious purposes. I agree, religion requires faith, but not the abandonment of common sense.

When church folks begin to question the presence of their gay brothers and sister, ask them if God would approve of their passing judgment.

As a gay man, I don't seek the approval or validation of anyone on my "lifestyle." Why is it that straight people are so quick to point out their disapproval? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How would you feel if your ex-boyfriend came to church to testify to all of the intimate details of your sex life...do I get to disapprove? Maybe church should require a criminal background check to join to we can all approve or disapprove. Better yet, show me your credit report - I really might not approve of your lifestyle then.

Bottom line, respect people as people. Save your judgment - God get's the last word and will likely consider your past judgment when rendering his.

November 28, 2008 1:40 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is NO lifestyle. Lifestyle implies choice. I am so tired of people using that as a means to "explain" our "condition."

I refuse to attend any church, whether it be Catholic, Christian, etc. I just refuse it. Spirituality above all things is the way I live my life. Religion is no factor.

I don't care that Tiffany is making an EFFORT to understand, open her mind to gays. Good for her. Her views contradict themselves. How can she love Pugh, yet say God doesn't agree with his "lifestyle?"

How in the world does she know what God loves, or what he wants for his children? People like her are just like the jihadists to a certain degree. Misinterpreting the Holy word, and configuring those misinterpretations for use as their venom. It is ridiculous.

November 29, 2008 7:07 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The first thing i would like to say is that there is no seniority in sin. Homosexuality is no more sinful in Gods eyes than fornication. According to the bible, if you are a male sleeping with a female you're not married to or male sleeping with another male, both couples are in sin. I am a single woman who is heterosexual. I believe gays should have the right to attend the church of their choice. But don't expect the Man or Woman of God to change the message that comes forth on any given Sunday that may include fornication or homosexuality. Just because gays join a church where the Pastor is a heterosexual, a real man or woman of God, is not gonna soften the blow because everybody knows there are gays sitting on the pew. A fornicator is still a fornicator.

November 29, 2008 9:51 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

To the comment above clearly also an ignorant person is still an ignorant person, food for thought straight sistah...

December 11, 2009 2:32 PM


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