From the beginning of this piece, I want to make it clear that I’m a strong supporter of traditional marriage and support marriage as it has been traditionally defined: marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. Many Black churches, however, are acting like there aren’t any other sins mentioned in the bible save homosexuality. Homosexuality is a sin. My problem with many Black preachers, however, is with their choice to devote too much of their time to preaching and discussing homosexuality. When they do this, they make it appear that they think one of the greatest problems in the Black Church and the Black community is homosexuality. I want this article to disabuse many Black preachers of their belief that homosexuality is one of the greatest problems in the Black Church and Black community.
With the Black unemployment rate at 13.2%, Black preachers must begin to focus their sermons, teachings, and discussions on economic uplift. Concentrating on homosexuality isn’t going to get your congregations the jobs they need. Many of those in the Black community that Black preachers are attempting to reach don’t see their primary problem to be homosexuality; they see the fact they’re unemployed as far more important than their sexual orientation and the sexual orientation of others. Black preachers cannot honestly say they’re unaware of the economic problems of their congregants and community. They see their unpleasant economic realities in the offering plates.
Why, then, do many Black preachers continue to concentrate on homosexuality when economic problems are far more pressing? They know many of the members of their congregations are going to be pleased with harsh condemnations of homosexuals, considering it appeals to many of their members’ homophobic mindsets. A typical response to a Black preacher speaking on the issue of homosexuality is as follows: “Girl, Pastor really preached today. Did you hear him talk about them “faggots” and “sissies”? Child, them gay folks just nasty and going to Hell!” While it’s true that if homosexuals do not repent of their sins they will inevitably go to Hell, language used to discuss homosexuals must still reflect true Christian love (agape). Please explain how calling people disparaging names like “faggot” and “sissy” evinces agape. It doesn’t! Many Black preachers gain high acclaim (and even fame) for how aggressively they preach against homosexuality, and, as reward to them, they have large church memberships and lucrative financial dividends that end up in the offering plates. In a number of Black churches, preaching about homosexuality simply sells—just as sex sells in postmodern American popular culture.
When millions of Black babies are aborted each year, why won’t more Black preachers discuss this vexing phenomenon? The main reason they don’t is they are unwilling to run the risk of upsetting the numerous women who have had abortions who sit in their congregations.
Some of the most prevalent and important sins in the Black Church today are envy, division, unforgiveness, gossiping, and lying. It seems, however, that many Black preachers don’t want to invest critical time to these issues because they see those sins to be more complicated and less attractive. The aforementioned sins are the sins that significantly impair the witness of Christians. When those who are unsaved see Christians who are struggling with envy, division, unforgiveness, gossiping, and/or lying, unsaved people don’t desire to hear what they have to say.
I’ve never seen so much envy in the Black Church as it is today. Envy is a more damaging sin confronting the Black Church than is homosexuality. When Black preachers start to addressing envy more, especially the envy in their churches, I will begin to believe they’re truly serious about getting people to live lives not dominated by sin.
I do contend that it’s important for the Black Church to offer a powerful response to the increasingly successful promotion of same-sex marriage (or marriage equality), but Black preachers shouldn’t let this become their main focus. Most of these same Black preachers voted for President Obama, who publicly articulated his support for gay marriage. On Sundays, many Black preachers are zealously condemning homosexuality, but are still swooning over a President diametrically opposed to their support of traditional marriage.
It’s time for many Black preachers to return to an intellectual, Socratic, imaginative, forward-thinking and prophetic sermonic tradition that produced prodigious Black preachers like Reverend C.L. Franklin, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Queering the Faith: Why the Church is – and Always Has Been – Our Home Too (racialicious.com)
- Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. on the Subject of Homosexuality: Too Many Churches Today Speak Truth Without Love or Love Without Truth (blackchristiannews.com)
- Homosexuality and Racism In The Church, Really? (coachtmb.wordpress.com)
- Black British Church Leaders Call for Government to Have a Referendum on Homosexual Marriage (blackchristiannews.com)
- Why Black Churches Hold the Key to the Illinois Homosexual Marriage Debate (blackchristiannews.com)
- DAYS OF LOT: 6 Reasons Why Practicing Homosexuals Can’t Be Christians (endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com)
- Preachers must set an agenda for biblical confrontation over homosexuality (lifesitenews.com)
- Is Homosexuality Just Another Sin? | Jesus & Equality Remixed (antiochlablog.wordpress.com)
- Homosexuality (youngchristian20.wordpress.com)
- For the love of God (and our neighbor) can we please stop using these 3 phrases? (wordofawoman.com)