Sunday, December 12, 2004

Heaven Help Us

The following news item (found on fills me with complete dread:

(Atlanta, Georgia) Thousands of African Americans marched Saturday to denounce same-sex marriage, invoking the name of slain civil rights leader martin Luther King to the anger of many gays and lesbians.

The march was organized by Bishop Eddie Long whose New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is one of the biggest black churches in the country.

The unofficial parade count was set at 15,000.

The church's website called the march a rally for traditional marriage and proclaims marriage between one man and one woman must be protected. Long has called for a national ban on same-sex marriage.

Standing with him at the King Center was Bernice King, one of King's daughters who is an elder in Long's church. Bernice King lit a torch at her father's grave and passed it on to Long, who carried it through the march. "I believe this day will go down in the history books as the greatest showing of Christ and His kingdom in this century," she said, calling Long and her father prophets.

Her participation in the rally and march illustrated the deep divisions both within the black community and the King over same-sex marriage. Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, has said on a number of occasions that her husband would have supported gay marriage.
"A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages," she said during a speech last March at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Today's march also angered gay civil rights leaders who accused Long of hijacking Dr King's memory.

The National Black Justice Coalition, the country's only national gay black organization, issued a statement prior to the march calling it "a slap in the face to the legacy of Dr. King." (story)

"Dr. King said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, but Bishop Long seems to think that injustice against gays and lesbians is perfectly fine," said NBJC Board president Keith Boykin.

Boykin also noted that one of King's closest advisers, Bayard Rustin, was an openly gay man.

I am deeply thankful of the stance that Mrs. Coretta Scott has taken in regards to gay marriage. I am embarrassed for Dr. and Mrs. King that their daughter does not share her parents' view of equality for all Americans.

Although I loathe the intolerance and hatred of all Christians regarding gays, I am especially troubled by this perspective by black Christians. It is both ignorant and hypocritical. Any black person coming out against gay rights is effectively announcing that we are not entitled to the same rights he/she acquired. It's a selfish attitude: I have mine and I won't share. It belittles the huge contribution of Bayard Rustin to black civil rights. Mr. Rustin was a close advisor to Dr. King. He would willingly hide in a car if he was riding with Dr. King because others felt uncomfortable with him being a known homosexual. He sacrificed his own self-worth and identity so a movement would prosper. Black civil rights could not have happened without white/majority allies, yet these men and women will not be allies for those in a different minority. These are small, selfish, deeply bigoted people.

It is a monumental display of ignorance. Black Christians who would use the Bible against homosexuals should remember that the Bible was used to justify slavery and prohibitions against black civil rights and interracial marriage. Fearful and hateful white people twisted the Bible to use it as a weapon against you and now you take this rifle, passed on to you from other bigots, and hold it to the temple of gay civil rights.

This is ignorance of what the Bible truly says about gays and gay marriage. It is ignorance of the revelations God continues to give us about His Word and how to use it for modern times. Women may now speak in church, slavery is not acceptible, and the only law we are bound to is the Law of Love.

It is fantastically ignorant of the fact that your rights are untouchable. Black people had to fight hard to gain them, but they are hardly secure. There are those in power who would happily rob you of them right from under your nose. It will start with gays, but it will creep into the black community through limiting the rights of black muslims and continue through other "dissident" groups. All Americans' rights have already been infringed upon by the Patriot Act; a minority group's rights are even more unstable and unsure.

It is this shameful ignornace that recalls another minister, whose words are often repeated, but cannot be heard enough:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned. "

Pastor Martin Niemoller , survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.

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