My last column ("Black Christian hate") touched off quite a few personal, thoughtful and emotional responses. This week I'll let some of you write most of my column for me. And to start off, the first excerpt is from a letter taking me to task.
What Mr. Gabriel says about black conservatives is tragically as bigoted as what he is trying to fight. How can you say that black Christian conservatives all feel this way or that way?
Black Christians, like white ones, are not monolithic. It is a gross oversimplification of the issue to suggest that those who do not go along are somehow gay haters and bashers. This misuse of the term leaves us with no term for those who really seek to hurt gay people with murders and raping, injustices and profiling. What will we call them seeing as we have highjacked this term to include anyone who doesn't support the gay agenda?
Fidelity to scriptures doesn't imply a disdain for gay people any more than fighting illegal immigration means that you are racist against Mexicans. The truth is that many preachers preach the gospel even when it condemns their own behavior. The truth has to be true to the believer even when it challenges his own behavior. The gospel is not our own to turn whichever way we like it best. Why is it that anyone who disagrees with something now has to fight the wide, all-encompassing category of bigot? It is bigoted to suggest that all black conservatives hate. It is also a terrible lie.
And now for this freedom of religion thing that his remarks threaten to destroy when it comes to church, gay people are going to have to do like all Americans and find a church with views reflecting your own, rather than becoming snipers and terrorist of anyone who disagrees with you. David Thomas
Sorry, David, I didn't mean to say that all black conservatives are the same as those who spew hate and invectives. However, those who physically attack gays are just the tip of the iceberg; the denial of basic rights and dignity helps create an atmosphere where some feel it is OK to attack gays. As far as destroying freedom of religion, I don't think I have the clout.
Thanks for telling it like it is, hate and discrimination is the same no matter how you try to spin it! ...
I went to the church hoping to get answers, acceptance, and maybe just a little understanding. I left the church feeling dirty, worthless, subhuman, and destined to head to hell wearing a pair of gasoline drawz! ...
I was always conflicted knowing that Jesus could hang out with bums, whores, and lepers ... hell, even lawyers, but there was no room for me. He was all out of space in his infinite heart for a worthless home wrecker like me. I felt set up. I felt the hypocrisy of an institution that would blame me, a child, for the destruction of the black family and all the problems of the world. ... I don't live in Detroit anymore, but my family is still there. I don't go to church anymore, both environments are too hostile and too full of themselves to really know how simple and all encompassing the message of love is for a man like me. I haven't given up on God; he keeps me very well, thanks. I have realized through those sermons, that I am stronger than many because I made it out of some of the toughest hoods in Detroit, not only black, but gay and black. I am alive, well-adjusted, happy, doing well, and some of my best friends are straight! Wallace Farmer
I love your never-give-up attitude. Everything flows from knowing who you are and leveraging that to your advantage. And thanks for not giving up on us straight folks. But, please, be careful with the flaming underwear.
I read your article and I must say that I found it very intense and compelling. I am an African-American male from Detroit, and I am heterosexual. I have to admit that some black religious leaders who have a powerful influence in the Detroit metro area have used their pulpits to denounce homosexuality. I also feel that some of your viewpoints are valid yet a little skewed when it comes to comparisons of race and sexuality. Discrimination in any form is wrong, yet some people try to blur the lines when confronting the issues of race and sexuality. I also feel that social change has brought out the worst in some of us even our religious leaders.
The past presidential elections in which President George W. Bush received many endorsements from black religious leaders were rather disturbing from my point of view. ... Bush received more black votes than ever due to the uproar made by black religious leaders over gay marriage. I grew up a Christian in Detroit and my family has a very strong Christian background. I have always felt like an outsider when it comes to religion. I respect the work that local churches do in the area, but I could never bring myself to become a member of the club. I am a nonconformist by nature, and I strongly believe in questioning authority especially when authority uses religion to denounce the lifestyles of others. I have known many gay people in my life, black, white, Asian, etc. and to me they are just people.
Bishop Keith Butler is a religious leader who has used his pulpit to promote his anti-gay beliefs for some time. I have four sisters who are members of his church and to be honest they frighten me. They are now Republicans, and they hang on every word this man says. Whether he is condoning the war in Iraq or praising Bush or blasting gays, his influence on blacks of all ages cannot be denied. It's tough for me to even attend family events because of the strong political views my once open-minded family held have been completely washed away by Butler's brainwashing. Yes, I said brainwashing. ...
My grandmother once said that you do not have to attend church to be a Christian, and I have fully embraced that belief. No matter how you choose to worship, do it in an environment that is best for you. –Name withheld by request
Yes, Bush has been working hard to raise the number of blacks voting Republican, especially through the church community. If people of faith are going to make moral judgments, I would hope they'd look beyond the anti-gay agenda to the wide-ranging effects of Bush's policies. Luckily I know Christians who don't go for that crap.
Gay people have never pushed laws to limit the rights or control the behavior of straights. All they've done most of the time is ask for equal treatment not more, not less. ...
A woman at work, very religious, very nice in general and who from all accounts raised some great kids, when I told her that American Pediatric Association studies found children raised by qualified gay parents come out exactly the same as with straight parents, she asked with a straight face "Is the APA a gay organization?" What in the hell? Go to church three times a week; check your brain at the coat room? ...
No one can ever answer how any of this "threatens to destroy the family." –Rik Lapham
No one can explain how gay marriage threatens the family because nobody actually knows what the boogeyman looks like.Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org