He stumbled over the explosive words as if his solemn, quiet tone could dampen their impact.

He paused and struggled with them right until they spilled, with a hesitant life of their own, from the lips of the first black President:

“For me, it is important, for me personally, to go ahead and affirm, that I feel… same sex couples should be able to get married.”

When President Barack Obama stopped by ABC’s Good Morning America to give the world an update on his marriage equality “evolution,” that one sentence exposed the deep chasm between black evangelicals and true liberalism, forever changing the course of political history.

In the frantic days since “The Announcement,” black civil rights leaders such Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, Julian Bond, have bravely broken with a socially conservative Black America that has dipped itself in pious self-righteousness when speaking out on the “evil,” “unholy,” and “ungodly” nature of homosexuality. Though many black evangelicals have voiced support for the decision, their voices are, unfortunately, being drowned out by a chorus of bigotry that typically lies dormant.

It is times like these that one realizes that for some in the so-called Black Church — which overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008 when he was rocking back and forth in church pews across America — “change we can believe in” translates into hypocritically judging those “sins they don’t partake in” when the change doesn’t align with Christian ideology.

The question on the table is not whether evangelicals believe that it is subjectively “right” for gay and lesbians to marry, but if they can stop moralizing the civil rights of other people in this country based on their personal religious beliefs. No church is being asked to perform marriages between people of the same sex, but to simply re-evaluate the arrogant stances that churches should dictate policy.

But apparently the answer is still no.

I don’t remember one Bible lesson where Jesus said that two people can’t go to City Hall, get married, and have that marriage recognized legally, even if he didn’t agree. Should the Christian church, one church that cannot possibly represent all people, dictate the laws of the United States? What if, hypothetically, there was another religion that the majority in this country adhered to — and their beliefs being implemented would deny the collective civil rights of black Americans – how many Christians would be in accord?

Love it or hate it, religious doctrine has no place in this conversation. We’re talking about the president’s political position — which is that he thinks the states have the authority to decide the issue, but he supports marriage equality – and many in the “Black Church” have decided to damn him to hell as a “false prophet.”

My grandmother shared some wisdom with me when I was growing up. She would always say, “Never be so heavenly minded, that you’re no earthly good.” In my humble opinion, it would be extremely beneficial for more people to hear that message, if only for a moment to better understand the separation of church and state. Let’s be clear: Obama’s opinion could lead to people marching all over the country with rainbow banners, joined by Liza Minnelli and her back-up dancers singing “It’s Raining Men” and it wouldn’t matter.

This is still a states’ issue.

Churches don’t have to do a thing but keep preaching whatever gospel they choose, which means that the issue lies in the fact that Obama dared to voice an opinion that didn’t align with black evangelicals. For an institution, which for the most part is rooted in black liberation theology, it is amazing that many are threatening to turn their backs on him because he believes that the LGBT community deserves equal civil rights under the law.

In an expected twist, for those who don’t want to appear sanctimonious the argument takes on a more nuanced tone. It’s not that they don’t want “gays” to have the right to marry, it’s just that “gay rights” aren’t as important as civil rights. This binary opposition is extremely problematic and does nothing but limit our collective progression as a nation.

Simply put, equality for the LGBT community is a step forward for African-Americans because many in the LBGT community are African-American. 

They are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and yes, even our cousins n’nem. They are our nurses, doctors, lawyers, educators, and yes, they face the same racism that many of us face on a daily basis. It is absolutely ridiculous that, for some reason, many African-Americans, specifically heterosexuals, feel that we own the patent on oppression.

Many of us will fight against immigration laws, because “Mexicans are taking all the jobs;” some will even assault the reproductive rights of women, because they’re “murdering black babies;” the majority of us will ostracize the LGBT community because it’s “against God’s plan;” but when the narrative shifts to issues that face the black community at-large, many of us become hypocritical broken records moaning over and over “your blues ain’t like mine.”

Well, you know what? Everyone has their own truth, and it doesn’t have to be the same to be just as painful.

I often do not agree with President Barack Obama, but in this, I support him 100%. Even as a senator, he stated that faith has no place in politics and that because we do not share common spiritual eyesight, we can only share common laws. Most powerfully, he says that “religiously motivated [politicians] must translate their concerns into universal — not religious — values.”

This means that any Christian who voted for him and is now withdrawing support after his announcement was either not paying attention, voted for him strictly because he’s black  — or thought that he would be swayed by the huge levels of evangelical support into translating Christian doctrine into United States policy.

And it’s time they admitted that to themselves.

I’m not sure exactly where Obama’s support in the black community will land after the dust settles; but for me, I will take equality over religious hypocrisy every day of the week and twice on Sunday – and let the chips fall where they may.

45
SHARES
  • apple

    ooo i just want to see where the comments go in this post
    *i have popcorn yall*

    • CurlySue

      I have Snowcaps!

  • Ms. Information

    I disagree…I will not be made to feel as if I am personifying hatred if I disagree with same sex marraige….it is really funny how this separation of church and state occurs though…judges still place hands over bibles to get sworn in…the money still states in God we trust…yes, the bible clearly takes a stand on homosexuality, fornication, all sexual sin which I personally do not separate one from the other…but I refuse to be bullied into believing that the gay struggle and the black struggle are one and the same…they are NOT.

    • http://www.itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

      I am right there along with you. Just as people have the RIGHT to support gay marraige, there is also the same and equal RIGHT for people to oppose it. I will not be out there picketing against homosexuals at an LGBT equal rights parade HOWEVER I will not be marching in that parade right along side of them. I dislike how some people try to bully others into believing what they do, especially when it comes to gay rights and when you disagree you’re called a bigot, homophobic and every other negative name under the sun. Its sickening to me. I don’t care what they do in their bedrooms, I have no friends who are homosexuals, I don’t hate them or feel any particular way towards them however I do not believe they should be able to get married. And it is my right to believe that so if that makes me a bigot then oh well, stay ignorant folks!

    • Yb

      @Sasha

      “I will not be out there picketing against homosexuals at an LGBT equal rights parade HOWEVER I will not be marching in that parade right along side of them”

      +10000000000

      My stance exactly I will not dedicate time and energy to oppose nor will that time and energy be used to support it.

    • RJ

      @Ms.Information and Sasha…

      Thinking that someone doesn’t deserve the same rights and privileges that you have because of something that they cannot control makes you a bigot. Sorry. If you have children and one of them happens to be gay, do you think it is fair that your heterosexual child can get married but your gay child can’t. So, if you have a heterosexual child who is in a dysfunctional relationship, they should be able to get married, but your gay child who is in a healthy long-term relationship should be denied all the rights and privileges that your heterosexual child is granted?

      Because of what, the Bible? The holy book that would have never known anything about if your ancestors were enslaved and or Africa was not colonized. The holy book that was written hundreds of years ago by a bunch of MEN who looked nothing like you in a time when people thought the world was flat. A book that reduces you, as women, to property. A book that supports polygamy and incest. A book that declares tattoos, birth control, shaved beards, eating shellfish, and wearing mixed fabrics as abominations. Seriously? A book that says that you can rape a woman and and pay her father to marry her.

    • http://www.itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

      @RJ: Here’s a tiny violin, oh nevermind I see you already have one. While I’m in the business of being generous- would you like some cheese with that whine? Call me a bigot all you’d like, I don’t know you, don’t care to know you but you are free to continue to write your dissertations on the plight of Black homosexuals, their parallels to the Civil Rights struggle/ movement and the bigots like myself that hate them. Please don’t use my future children in your “argument” (couldn’t think of a better word to describe your response…actually tirade would have been fitting). Continue to use the Bible for/ against whatever point you are trying to make- appeals to emotion and strawmans won’t and don’t work on me. Have a good day :)

    • Ms. Information

      RJ, say what you must, for me, it’s just a difference of opinion, there is no need for me to call you the typical names that you are called, as you have called me a bigot and do not know me…God will judge…this is my opinion.

    • Mia

      @ Ms. Information & Sasha

      Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if you don’t support same sex marriage. That’s your personal decision, and I’m not interested in trying to make you change how you feel. The problem is that in this country homosexuals should have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. In this case, that means that gays should be allowed to legally solidify their unions in a marriage. Making gay marriage legal won’t change a thing for you, or for people who think like you. Your church won’t have to marry same sex couples, and they can continue to preach anti-homosexual doctrine. You can continue to believe that gay marriage is wrong. That’s perfectly fine. What will change is that gay people would be able to go to city hall, get a marriage certificate, and then have all the legal rights that come with it. They would also be able to have a wedding instead of a commitment ceremony at churches that support their unions. That doesn’t hurt anyone. Even if it did, it wouldn’t matter because it is illegal to discriminate in gays in that way. Like you, I will not be marching in a LGBT equal rights parade. I just have other issues that are more important to me. However, I will not agree that it is okay to tell one segment of our society that they are less than, and unworthy of equal rights.

    • http://blog.classyblacklady.com Tabby

      @Mia I think you hit the nail on the head. nuff said

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Hey Kirsten *waving*, we ain’t friends today!!!

    “Simply put, equality for the LGBT community is a step forward for African-Americans because many in the LBGT community are African-American. ”

    So are you in effect saying that people should show support because their are many who are part of the LGBT community?! Weak ARGUMENT.—–>in my opinion.

    To paraphrase, Ms.Info “the gay and race struggle are separate entities, and they should be examined separately”

    *By the way, I am for same sex couples getting married*

    • Ms. Information

      and some would think that since you are for gay marraige and I am not that we cannot be civilized and still be cool with each other…disagreements are part of every day adult life..this is what I want some people to understand…GM African Mami, have a great day girlie!

    • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

      Hey girlie!

      Differences in life create the sameness of our existence.

      So long as there is no disrespect, I could give a flying hoot. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, and opinions are ass holes, everybody got one!!

      Good day to you my dear partner in crime!!

      iQgraphics, what sayest thou dear?!

    • jamesfrmphilly

      “I could give a flying hoot”

      hoot. hoot? hottie rootie toot, toot!

    • iQgraphics

      thanks for the shout out Mami!

      I think the whole issue lives on Hipocracy Boulevard.
      To restrict two individuals of sound mind and body from entering into a civil contract with one another citing a dogmatic book that would disallow 57% of the population the right to choose… well ANYTHING is ridiculous.

      By 57% I’m referring to women. The bible…. ehhhh… it ain’t really on our side.

      And no! the black issue and the gay issue are not one in the same.

  • http://themodernmedicineman d-rhyme

    Blacks not at issue. White vote will determine election. Many more will join conservative cause than already have done. Barack will fall even further behind in polls. Making this an issue on gay marriage helped to defeat Al Gore. So I do not understand this non strategy by LBGT. Black preachers did not bring this up so it is diversionary Tactic by the real culprits. Blaming black folk will not help your cause.

  • RJ

    No one has ever stated that being black and gay is the same thing. No one. What people have said is that there are MANY SIMILARITIES in the way that both groups are treated. I am a gay woman and being gay is an immutable part of who I am. Just like being a woman. Just like being black. And when you look at the discrimination that has occurred in this country based on race, you will find that the same arguments used to justify treating blacks differently, were and are used to treat gay people differently.

    -The Bible was used to justify black people’s enslavement; the Bible is used to justify discrimination against gay people.
    -Black people were not allowed to serve in the military because racists thought it would be too disruptive; gay people were not allowed to serve openly in the military because people thought it would be disruptive
    -Black people could not legally marry in the United States during slavery; gay people are not allowed to marry
    -Black people were/are thought of us being bad and unclean; gay people are thought of as being bad an unclean
    -Blacks were/are thought of us as being hyper sexual; gays are thought of us a being hypersexual
    -Blacks were/ denied jobs and housing because of their race; gays are denied jobs and housing because of their sexuality
    -Black people are considered to be disease laden; gay men are considered to be disease laden

    I could go on and on about the parallels, but the reality is that there are many similarities in the way both groups were and are treated. To deny that is to be blind to the reality. In many of the arguments made against gay people, you could literally replace the word “gay” with “black”. It just saddens me to see so much homophobia coming from a community that continues to experience so much discrimination.

    • Yb

      ^^^^^This comment is a prime example as to why many black do not support gay rights. Many gay people (mainly white gay people) like to participate in the oppression Olympics with black people as if the discrimination that gay people experienced in this country could ever even BEGIN to be compared to that of blacks.

      RJ you forgot about to include intersection of race and homosexuality in your list. Compare the privileges and dicriminations of gay white males to that of heterosexual black people then make a list. Race in this society is a greater factor than sexual orientation. White privilege can afford white gays more than my straight ass can ever dream.

      It’s also that white privilege that leads to black people being seen as the main opposers of gay marriage, when we are only 12% of the population, are not the ones passing gay marriage bans in NC, and hold no power in the House or Senate. So please miss we with the civil rights appropriating list that gays in mainstream (white) movement like to throw around.

    • apple

      @YB YASSSSSSSSS

    • RJ

      @YB…

      I have REPEATEDLY SAID THAT IT IS NOT THE SAME THING. Can we get that out of the way. I agree that it is not the same thing. But, there are similarities. That is my point. If you want to pretend that there aren’t, that’s just intellectually dishonest.

      Just like there are similarities to the way that black people and women have been treated. But, I wouldn’t dare say that it is the same thing.

      If anyone is participating in the oppression Olympics, it is black folks. We love to pretend that we are the only people who have been oppressed.

    • Chrissy

      If anyone is participating in the oppression Olympics, it is black folks. We love to pretend that we are the only people who have been oppressed.

      Exactly. It is black people that do this. It is also black people who like to pretend that black AND gay people dont exist.

      I know plenty of black and gay people who say they have been given a harder time for their sexuality, not their race. But black people will have a heart attack if someone said that. A lot of black people just cant take the fact that someone might have it harder than them.

      What I want to know is this. Why does a certain belief system get to dominate another? Especially, if you do not plan to have a gay marriage? How does it effect you?

      We black people love to pretend we are so holy. But if you look at the stats on us, you can see that we clearly dont have a problem with anything else. But we’ll have a heart attack over gay marriage???

      Also…be careful what you preach against and who you hate. Cause the same thing might turn up in your children. *Words from my mother*

    • RJ

      It’s funny that whenever someone lists out the parallels all people can do is scream, “It’s not the same thing”. Well, duh! No one is saying that.

      But, can you disprove any of the similarities I listed?

    • Yb

      “If anyone is participating in the oppression Olympics, it is black folks. We love to pretend that we are the only people who have been oppressed.”

      I see you fell for the okey doke that anti-black white queers love to spew out. Too busy trying to gain the right to marry that you attack people that have NO POWER! Do you really think that putting your race behind your sexual orientation will allow you to be accepted within the mainstream movement? When speaking of gay rights they are not thinking about your black ass. To them you are a nlgger first and another vote, number and face that can be used in the shadows, never as a representation.

      Many white queers attack black and brown people (like you are doing) as if we hold the key to want you want. When will they and the gay POC who are marginalized and not represented in the mainstream gay movement by gay white queers attack your main oppressors? White Christian conservatives? But I guess asking white queers to check their own race of people and stop blaming blacks for their woes (something that whites have done since the DAWN of TIME) would be to much for them.

    • RJ

      @YB…

      LMAO…ok…I can tell you that I have experienced more discrimination and HATRED for being gay than I have ever experienced for being Black. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD. Ask ANY gay person of color and they will tell you the same thing. I don’t need white people to tell me that, I can tell you that from ALL of my MANY experiences. So, please miss me with that bullish. You don’t know what we experience because all you can speak to is your experiences as a black woman (presumably).

      And yes, there is racism in the white queer community. But, by and large my white gay friends are much more aware of racism and discrimination and are much more open minded than my white straight friends. Can you guess why?

    • Yb

      @RJ

      I can see you straw manned my response by dodging the fact that black people are being unfairly attacked by gays of all colors, while white conservatives are bring left unscathed. Nowhere did you debate the point in my response. No where did you answer the questions sposes. But you spoke of your experiences (which do not qualify as universal fact, which had nothing to do with what I said) to deflect.

      Maybe when you can stay on topic and not deflect I’ll value what you say. Until then you can continue to laugh your ass off at your inability to convince the people you desperately need to support gay marriage why we should.

      You have a good day.

    • RJ

      1) If you think that white Christians are going unscathed with regards to their attitude towards gay people, you need to read more than just black blogs. Gay and straight people have been debating this very issue for a very long time.

      2) Of course the first black President’s opinion on gay marriage will spur a conversation about the black church’s stance on the issue because black people disagree with gay marriage at a much higher rate than ANY OTHER RACE in America.

    • http://www.itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

      @Yb- RJ strawmans because he doesn’t have anything tangible or of meaning to say after you’ve made it explicitly clear that despite all of his go to points you are still going to stand firm on your opinion of the issue. After he realizes this, he becomes frustrated and goes the route that most people go when they realize they’re not going to get one over you: they deflect, name call and try to make you look like you’re the one with problems. I see this behavior typically in individuals ranging from age 3 to 16 but have noticed that it’s increasingly gaining ground in adults and online commenters on blogs.

    • RJ

      @sasha…

      “straw man argument”

      Tell me one thing that I have said that anyone here has said that has been refuted convincingly?

    • Ms. Information

      That’s the thing RJ..you are writing long diatribes attempting to convert us to your sentiment and it won’t work…I am not trying to make you believe what I think…even if gay marraige is approved, I still won’t believe in it.

    • RJ

      @Ms. Information…

      I have no interest in converting your beliefs. Believe whatever you want to. But, if you are going to debate about an issue, come at me with something that disproves what I am saying. All you guys do is either deflect, reestablish that it’s your opinion (duh), tell me that your opinion won’t change and none of you address ANY OF MY ACTUAL POINTS WITH ACTUAL FACTS AND INFORMATION.

      You and your I-don’t-believe-in-gay-marriage friends are the ones with the straw-man arguments.

    • Ms. Information

      If my debate is based on my BELIEFS then why argue with you? You don’t believe in God, you don’t recognize religion so why debate with someone who is Godless? You have no gauge of right and wrong based in any faith so do what you want to do!! You sound very frustrated – what do you want?

    • RJ

      @ Ms Information…

      Your handle should actually be Misinformation…Do you even know what my original comment was about?Let me refresh your memory…It was about the parallels between the black community and the gay community. That has nothing to do with beliefs. That has to do with history and I presented FACTS. What in the world are you talking about?

      And what in the world do you mean that because I am not religious, I don’t know right from wrong. I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal. I volunteer. I give ten percent of my salary to charity. I take care of those in need. I respect my elders. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t party. I have no tattoos, lol. I am about as wholesome as you can get. Oh, but I’m gay and not religious, so I must be immoral.

    • Ms. Information

      RJ, you sound hopeless…you are long winded and spout drivel in attempts to give us your “facts” Here are some more facts:

      Gay and bisexual men — referred to in CDC surveillance systems as men who have sex with men (MSM)

      Gay men continue to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV.

      CDC’s most recent data show that between 2006 and 2009, the number of new infections that occur each year increased among young MSM — driven by an alarming 48 percent increase among young, BLACK MSM 13 to 29 years old. These data clearly show the urgent need to expand access to proven
      HIV prevention programs for gay and bisexual men, and to develop new approaches to fight HIV in this population.

      MSM account for nearly half of the approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States (49%, or an estimated 580,000 total persons).

      MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the United States each year (61%, or an estimated 29,300 infections).

      While CDC estimates that only 4 percent of men in the United States are MSM, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the United States is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522 –989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per
      100,000 other men).

      Here are some facts..what say you?

    • RJ

      @ Ms. Information….

      WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH MY ORIGINAL POST?

      Here are some other facts for you.

      Heterosexuals account for over 80 percent of HIV infections worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 5 heterosexual men and women are at risk for contracting HIV.

      What say you? But, again, what the hell does this have to do with my original post?

    • Ms. Information

      R Gay

      The Black vs Gay argument is null and void to me….my skin color precedes me, before I open my mouth, before I tell you who I choose to sleep with you know the color of my skin and my race…I will never respect the assumed parallels between Black people and gay people..never, period, coma, period, never, ever, period, coma, never. :)

    • RJ

      @Ms. Information…

      Oh lawd…ok, hear me out for one second.

      Gay and black people experience the world differently. Black people have physical characteristics that are obvious and make it easier to discriminate against them. Gay people have characteristics that are less obvious and manifest themselves behaviorally. Both groups experience discrimination and there are similarities in the way both groups are discriminated against. Who is discriminated against more? I can’t say. I won’t argue it because I can’t prove it. But I will say that I face more discrimination for being gay. That’s my experience and the experience of a lot of other gay people of color.

      Think about this: I don’t necessarily know if someone is Jewish or not by looking at them, but Jewish people still experience a lot of bigotry.

    • Ms. Information

      Gay people do not deserve to get beaten, hurt, hung or anything violent because of the choices that they make…(from my perspective) God loves mankind equally and I believe that only he can judge what is in our hearts…that being said, I disagree with gay marriage, it is really not that serious I promise. As an institution, I agree with marriage between man and wife…and I actually beleive that civil unions are fine under the law.

    • Shirl

      RJ: you have, in all of your posts, so eloquently stated everything that I have been thinking. I have friends and family that are gay and I love them dearly. May you be forever blessed.

    • I got sense!

      @RJ

      Don’t waste your time. Using a phrase they will surely understand, “cast not ur pearls before swine”. You have very clearly made your point. It’s funny when people use the bible as justification for their bigotry when MAN not God wrote the bible. It’s also funny that the bible doesn’t explicitly say anything about God or Jesus disapproving of same sex marriage. It’s also funny that these same people choose which parts of the bible they follow. Same sex marriage will be recognized nationwide sooner or later. The people who don’t like will just be salty.

      “I’m not sure exactly where Obama’s support in the black community will land after the dust settles; but for me, I will take equality over religious hypocrisy every day of the week and twice on Sunday – and let the chips fall where they may.”

      100000000% agree with ^^^^^

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