Since the last presidential election cycle the issue of Gay Marriage has been hotly contested by both evangelical Christians and Gay Rights Groups all over the country. Right here in Maryland, the battle over gay marriage wages on. As a producer of Faith In Action, I thought that it would be wise to have persons on the show who represent both sides of the argument. One morning as my wife and I were preparing for work, I saw that Fox 45 Morning News had an interview with a White gentleman who represented Defend Maryland Marriage This organization, of course, was (and is) aggressively trying to encourage our legislators not to budge on changing the state constitution about marriage. They are still going strong being that they have a rally tomorrow down in Annapolis. The curious thing about this whole organization is that there are no names on their website. That’s odd. One would think that if a person really believed in what they were saying that they would have no problems in placing their name and contact information on the website. I needed an interview, but there were no names…only a link to a generic email. Then I remembered that in the news clip that I saw, Bishop Clifford Johnson was in the clip. Bishop Johnson pastors Mount Pleasant down on Radecke Avenue….beautiful church which has a number of community events throughout the year. I called Mount Pleasant trying to get an interview with the Bishop. I thought that it would be really interesting to the listeners because Johnson is Black and our listeners are..well….BLACK. I reached his media person (really nice and professional woman) and we tried to work out an interview. However, one reason after the other was given as to why Bishop could not make the interview. From the types of questions she was asking I figured that Bishop was very hesitant about coming on the radio to do an interview. That’s odd. Bishop Johnson was on the news and at the rally in Annapolis giving speeches about why citizens should ban gay marriage in Maryland. Why not come on the radio show? But now that I think about it….many Black ministers are a bit hesitant about coming out one way or another on the Gay Marriage issue. Some of them quietly support efforts to ban Gay Marriage, but when it comes to clearly making their point known…Black pastors are few and far between. I think I know what the problem is. There are a number of issues. One issue revolves around what is right in the eye of the public. Black Pastors historically have been against homosexuality, but homosexuality has never been an issue of primary concern in the Black community. Okay so you’ll hear a sermon here or there but never any prolonged attack on the Gay community. Why? Because we have Gay/Lesbian members in our churches! They have been there for years and as quiet as it’s kept – they make many worship experiences what they are today. We buy their CD’s, they serve on our deacon boards, they direct our choirs and..uh oh…..they pastor some of our churches. (No he didn’t) So Black pastors won’t come out too aggressively because they would be offending some of their members or stepping on their own toes. Secondly, while Black Pastors acknowledge that the word homosexuality is in the Bible and that the opinion of the writers of the text was unfavorable toward the lifestyle, I have never seen a Gay/Lesbian person say, “Okay, I’ve never heard that scripture…you’re right…I’ll stop being gay now.” Screaming scripture in someone’s face has never made anyone do anything of their own volition. In that same way, what would a constitutional amendment accomplish…..won’t Gay/lesbian relationships continue?
Well, by now, you’re probably wondering or have an indication of where I stand. I am a happily married man….a healthy heterosexual, but I have some problems with this whole Ban Gay Marriage movement. My problems center around a couple of key issues. The number 1 question is, “Did God create homosexuals to be just like they are?” Who knows? Nobody does. Now, to be fair, anatomy does suggest by way of our reproductive organs that males should be sexually involved with females. It’s like a puzzle…I have this piece and she has that piece and wow look at that…they fit together. However, is it impossible that God could create people to be homosexual? We always say nothing is impossible for God right? The second question has to do with the issue of Free Will. Does not God give all of us the right to choose our lifestyles? Whether it be about who we marry, what church we attend, heck what we believe and don’t believe. Then why can’t we leave people alone who make choices that we might not agree with. Their choice is between them and God. In that same way, my choices are between God and I. Well, where do you stand, Heber?
Good question. I have concluded that I DON’T KNOW WHETHER OR NOT HOMOSEXUALS ARE BORN THE WAY THEY ARE OR IF THEY CHOOSE TO LIVE THE WAY THEY DO. Even though I would find it quite odd for someone to choose a lifestyle that would have them demonized in this grossly homophobic country. What I do know is that every human being is deserving of equal rights and protection under the law. I don’t believe in discrimination against Black people and I certainly don’t believe in discrimination against Gays/Lesbians. While in seminary at Virginia Union, I made a friend. Her name is Pat and she is a Lesbian, but more important than being a Lesbian..she is a Human Being with feelings, with intellect and with a great future ahead of her. She helped me to really come to grips with where I stand on this issue. Thank you, Pat.
I’m not trying to win the Gay-Sympathizer of the year award. I am still on this journey of understanding, but I have decided that I won’t hate along the way. I’ll continue to question, converse, read, research, pray, and meditate and I only hope that you would too. Don’t be quick to regurgitate the responses/reactions of others….find out what YOU believe and then keep an open mind for adjustments.
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