ain’t but two of ’em straight, and both of them ugly

Sermons Without Stereotypes

Eugene Robinson writes,

I’m not saying that all or even most of the choir directors in all or even most of the black churches in the country are gay. I’m just reporting that in my observation, at least, music has long been one of the accepted roles for “confirmed bachelors” in African American congregations. I’m noting that it’s fairly common for a preacher to deliver a thundering “Adam and Eve , not Adam and Steve ” sermon and then turn to a gay man to lead the church in a rendition of “One Day at a Time.”

Reverend Willie Wilson is still in the news, it would seem. This article also goes on to talk about the sermon, already reported (with recording) by the Washington Blade and so far this is the closest they’ve come to discussing just how offensive his words were. The Washington City Paper’s Dept. of Media has already taken the Post to task about their reporting choices:

If you can print “Fuck yourself,” you surely can print “blood vessels.” In June 2004, the Post reported on an unpleasant exchange between Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy on the Senate floor. Cheney ended the encounter when he said, “Fuck yourself.” The Post printed the profanity, though not on the front page. So what’s wrong with printing the following passage? “You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding. It’s destroying us.”

Well I guess the Post can be given an “it’s about time” for recognizing that while what he said was offensive, unenlightened and extremely (deliberately?) anti-progressive in defusing the homophobia in the black (religious) community, Willie Wilson is also national executive director for the Millions More Movement, the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March.

Members of my family may travel to DC in October to attend the march, they came to the last one and for a while it was all my father could talk about. He may ask me to join them. I’ll have to say no and while I could explain why, it would just be us pretending that my father is enlightened and totally cool with his son’s homosexuality when his (often forced) coolness is just, I suspect, to make him feel better about himself.

From some of my observations of blacks and the black community, homosexuality is seen as the white man’s problem that has “infected” our brothers and sisters, disease as a metaphor for gayness and then used literally to cast eyes downward on the spreading cases of HIV/AIDS. And while I think I can understand the overreaching intent to build a stronger community, I can’t identify with it. I didn’t grow up in primarily black communities and neighborhoods, my father’s company moved us around a bit and both my parents are upper middle class and chose neighborhoods in Delaware and Georgia that weren’t necessarily affluent, but were primarily white. I encountered more than my fair share of racism, classism, sexism and homophobia – which is why I think seeing it anywhere, no matter what the intent, sickens me. This includes when it appears in the GLBT “community” as well, which it does more often than I’d like to admit.

Obviously the Reverend is entitled to his own views, but he should say them clearly and maintain them as his own, not try to use God as his co-pilot or the pulpit as a broadcasting antenna and then have the nerve to say that his comments weren’t meant to be heard by those outside the church. Isn’t one of the jobs of preachers and ministers to spread the word to their flock and then hope/encourage that word be spread BY the flock?

One good piece of advice my father continually gives me, like the Hill St. Blues lieutenant, is to watch my back and be careful out there. With the way things in the world seem to be moving, this will just be one more thing to keep my eye on.

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1 Response

  1. Christopher says:

    Great post, Brian. Really well done.

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