The Black church and its views on homosexuality is a topic that has been in the middle of many heated debates. LGBTQ rights is something that is very important to me so I admit that my willingness to hear arguments from the other side tends to be limited. I write them off as a bigot and move on with my life.
Well, one of my friends sent me this article from the New York Times and it made me reconsider my approach to people that disagree with my politics.
In the article, writer Danielle Hester detailed her interview with a pastor for a piece she did for another publication. Hester did more than reprint the pastor’s words, she noted his discomfort with the subject. The pastor seemed to be experiencing some inner conflict over preaching anti-homosexuality rhetoric and maintaining an inclusive environment in his church.
From The New York Times:
He explained that for many years his policy was clear: The church was open to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to come for fellowship and worship, no judgment passed. But if you were openly gay, you could not become an official member. “I would never turn anyone away,” he said. “But I do preach that homosexuality is a sin.”
When a young member of the church came out two years ago, the pastor was forced to re-evaluate his policy. The man, in his 20s, had been baptized in the church and shared a father-son bond with the pastor. “Since he grew up in the church, you understand how you can love a person and still hold firm on your beliefs,” he told me.
I could see he was torn — his humanity wanted to be welcoming, but his religious beliefs made him feel he had to draw the line.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this conflict and it manifests itself in different ways. I’ve had people say to me “I have no issue with homosexuals but my religion says it’s wrong.” I’ve seen people struggle to reconcile their religious views with their own sexuality, some were more successful than others. Hell, I’m still reconciling some of my own views. Conflict is normal but that fact tends to get lost in debates and the political arena. We’re too focused on being right or defending ourselves that we forget to acknowledge our humanity and the humanity of our opponents.
Yes, there are times when you need to get all up in someone face and let them know what it is. Sometimes, you have to act a damn fool so someone else can get a dose of act right. However, there are other times where a softer approach might be best. We just have to learn to avoid taking a one size fits all approach to our advocacy and activism.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
P.S. Thanks for sending me this article Keyla!
P.P.S. One of the GSAs at my school is having a program about homosexuality and religion. If you’re in the Atlanta area, check it out. There more details on the flyer below.