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I suspect there's more of that than we know.
Indeed, compare and contrast these two statements.
The first comes from the Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church, a megachurch in Baltimore, Md., who expressed disappointment with the president’s new position on same sex marriage:
“[T]he church has no shades of gray when it comes to marriage. Our faith reserves marriage for a man and a woman. President Obama, as a product of the Black church, is fully aware of that. Knowing this, the President made this endorsement without calling or preparing any of us. For many of us, it felt like a betrayal,” Bryant wrote.Okay, now read the press release authored by the Rev'd Al Sharpton and signed by the Rev. Joseph Lowery, president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Black Civic Engagement, and Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of NAACP.
The influential minister went on to point out that “many Black pastors feel jilted.”
“As leaders in today’s civil rights movement, we stand behind President Obama’s belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to join in civil marriages. We also affirm that individuals may hold different views on this issue but still work together towards our common goals.”All of these folks are, as Pastor Bryant called Mr. Obama, "products of the Black Church".
Which begs the question: is this about the Black Church or Evangelicals who happen to be Black?
Does the comment about feeling "jilted" reveal more about the ego or the soul?
We know that the Bible has been used as a weapon of prejudice even before it rolled off the printing press and was bound together in sheets of paper. No one knows better than most African Americans that to begin an argument with, "What the Bible says...." is to set off on pretty shaky ground.
In 1968, a 25 year old Jerry Falwell declared that segregation was justified on the ground that God 'himself' had divinely ordered the separation of the races.
Thirty years later, in a Washington Post Magazine interview, Falwell recanted his segregationist views and acknowledged that he had distorted the Bible's message under the influence of his Bible college teachers. "You don't know how hard it is to purge yourself of these things," he said. "Unless you've been there, you just don't know. It's the strongest grip."
Yes, Jerry. Some of us know. Some of us have known that for a very long time. Problem is, it's still got a strong grip on your heart and soul and mind with regards to human sexuality.
Forty-five years after the 1967 Supreme Court ruling declared Virginia's Virginia's prohibition of interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, a 2011 Gallup Poll revealed that 86% of Americans approve of interracial marriage. That was up from 4% in 1958, 20% in 1968, 48% in 1994, and 77% as recently as 2007.
A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 51% of Americans agree with President Obama's statement on Marriage Equality. Forty-four percent of Americans supported marriage equality in 2010, while 53 were opposed. When Gallup first polled on this issue in 1996, only 27 percent of Americans supported full marital rights for same-sex couples.
Behold the evolution of a culture! We ain't there yet, but we're getting closer every day. By the time November rolls around, I'm thinking that those percentages will increase beyond our best hopes and wildest dreams for equality and 'equal protection under the law'.
Here's the thing: As President Barack Obama correctly told ABC News' Robin Roberts, the national debate over same-sex marriage involves civil - not religious - marriage and civil - not religious - laws. Churches and other religious groups - of any ethnicity, creed or color - are not obligated in any way to endorse practices they consider antithetical to their beliefs.
Striving for a "more perfect union" should never be influenced - or nuanced - by anyone's religious preference or practice.
And, pitting 'the Black Church' against a Black President is more than annoying. It's destructive. And, it's just flat out not true.
had to say. Listen to the Rev'd Delman Coates, PhD, the senior pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD.
"After listening to Christians debate their support of or their opposition to homosexuality, I came to the conclusion that one's personal religious beliefs should have no bearing in determining whether other American citizens deserve equal treatment under the law.
The issue of civil marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples is an issue of public policy, not theology.
As a Christian in this country, I value my religious freedom, but I also recognize that I cannot impose my religious beliefs on others in matters of public policy.
As a Christian minister, I believe my role is to live in my faith, not to legislate it, and as long as the State does not seek to regulate the Church, the Church should not seek to regulate the State.
While there are a range of theological views about same sex marriage, all Americans can stand united under the banner of extending civil liberties and justice to all citizens.
People of faith will not allow their theological diversity on this or other issues to be exploited for political gain. The welfare of our nation rests upon growing our economy, preserving the social safety nets for the poor and the elderly, and creating a civil society of mutuality, tolerance, and respect."Will the pastor of the 'real' Black Church please stand up?
I fully expect both Pastor Byrant and Pastor Coates to stand tall and proud and claim to have an equal share in the identity of the Black Church.
And, there ain't nothing in the world wrong with that.
So, please, could we stop with the apoplexy about the 'Black Church' and the POTUS?
Can we Christians begin to focus on combining our efforts to end prejudices like racism, sexism, homophobia and heterosexism and continue the struggle to bring forth the reconciling love of God incarnate in Christ Jesus and lived out in what Dr. King called "The Beloved Community"?
No matter your creed or color, your gender or sexual orientation, you position of power or status in the community, it's just the right thing to do.