This week's City Paper takes an interesting look at the conflict many gay African-American's struggle with between their faith and their sexual orienation. Commend the CP for exploring the range from those who want church help “getting through” being gay to those seeking full acceptance and inclusion.
Some ministers take a hard stance invoking scripture to justify condeming homosexuality (while loving the sinner). Others emote compassion to help individuals cope with being gay, still implying there's something immoral that needs to be fixed or denied — to outrun the internal sinner and be delivered from being gay. Inevitably, the issue of comparing gay civil rights with the African-American civil rights movement arises as well.
One local gay black man of faith states:
“I don’t think the African-American community is in a position to lose the … gifts of hundreds of thousands of black people simply because they love in a different way than the majority,” he says. “But to be honest, that is the way it’s going to be for most African-American gays and lesbians until the community learns how to work with people who are different from themselves.”
What's interesting is that the City Paper talks strictly to men. There was nothing from female African Americans who are gay or who are church leaders. How is that a holistic examination of the African-American experience, especially in churches where women play such a strong role?
It is also interesting that the CP notes that Dr. Martin Luther King's daughter Berneice is avidly anti-gay without noting that her mother, the dearly departed Coretta Scott King, was an outspoken supporter of gay civil rights.
A friend of mine who is an African-American woman of faith tells me that in her experience and her family, homosexuality was not scorned or shunned. Her mother had gay male friends who were a fully loved part of her life and wept along with the family at her mother's funeral. And she firmly believes that most women in the church share this attitude.
Overall, I think the City Paper dropped the ball on this one.