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Why Its Time For The Black Church To Shut Up About Homosexuality
Pastor and Gospel Singer Kim Burrell has a beautiful voice, but a huge mouth.
And quite frankly, I don’t feel sorry for her.
No one told her to stand in her pulpit and be so bold and brazen to say those malicious things in front of a room full of people.
Take it from Gospel Legend Shirley Caesar who in a recent video corrected reports that she had excused Burrell with the particular remark, “You (Kim Burrell) should’ve said something 4 years ago when our President made that stuff alright.”
According to a video posted on Facebook, what she meant to say was:
“Why now [Burrell]? Why break up your life now to be bothered with something like that. That was then and this is now. And let’s go forward with our lives. I want to say to their community and every church community, moms and dads, let’s go on with our lives…”
It’s about time for church folks to let this obsession with homosexuality go. Or better yet, just shut their mouths about it completely.
And honestly, what the revelation here?
In spite of its reputation as being the home of Jesus’ peace, love and forgiveness, the Church has also been the source of some pretty notorious bigotry and oppression in society. And the Black church’s current grievance with homosexuality is not excluded.
In short, we know how many of you think.
And yet to read another story about another holy-rolling church leader preaching something bigoted against homosexuals feels like the equivalent of watching another installment of the film Saw.
Like, we got the point after the first one…there are no more surprise twists…just stop already…
Besides, who cares if gay people and their spirits come to your church? Like, people work and do business with people with differing ideologies all the time.
Why should you feel different?
Take for instance Philip Anschutz, the head of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which produces the annual Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival. You know, the major outdoor festival that Beyonce will be headlining this year?
Well over the last few years, several media outlets, including The Washington Post, have been reporting on Anschutz’s affiliation with a number of conservative advocacy groups – several of which have aggressive anti-LBGTQ, pro-life and climate change-denying agendas.
Most recently the website UpRoxx, ran a piece (that is apparently only available by subscription but here is a cache page), about how Anschutz has donated personally and through his Anschutz Foundation, upwards of one million dollars to groups like the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the National Christian Foundation.
Yet, in spite this being common knowledge, the festival continues to be a bastion of liberal hipster culture and supported by many liberal artists including some of the ones who are now publicly denouncing Burrell (like Pharrell Williams).
It should be noted that this morning, Anschutz has released a statement calling the new waves of allegations “fake news” and asserting that he “unequivocally supports the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. He also asserts that he and his Foundation had immediately ceased all contribution to certain organizations after the matters were brought to their attention.”
I’ll just say this, Anschutz could very well just be a good and generous Christian man donating to some Christian charities. He could very well have love and respect for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
But, as I read about Anschutz’s previous political affiliations, I don’t know if I jive with his statement completely. And I am certain that like many businessmen, he still has a lot of political and spiritual ideologies, which are contrary to the beliefs of some of the clientele he serves.
However, I suspect that the reason why he is going to get a pass, and why he has always gotten a pass, is because he is smart enough to know when he should keep his beliefs largely to himself.
Anschutz never got on stage at the Coachella to call anyone a pervert or disinvite homosexuals from the Staples Center (something that his entertainment group also owns). And he damn sure didn’t double down when he got caught slipping something into these conservative groups’ back pockets.
Instead, he likely thought about the impact such negative attention would have on not only his bottom line but his reputation and his ability to finance his overall political/personal agenda – whatever that may be. And he likely came to the conclusion that, at least in the public eye, it’s better to be thought of as an uniter, instead of a divider.
Perhaps it’s time for Burrell and the rest of the folks publicly chasing after gay conspiracies, to do the same.
Nobody is telling you what to believe, practice or even to support; what we are saying is to shut up about it and let us enjoy the show.
Yes, even in church.
We are saying to stop all of the alienation and divisiveness, particularly among Black people, and get on with the business of facilitating much-needed fellowship. We are saying to treat the gay life like we did when we have to play “witness” to the poor blending job on Burrell’s weave.
Basically, learn to say “Bless her heart.” and keep it moving.
There is no real gain, both socially, economical political and spiritual. The last I read, God was not awarding any extra cool points for your judgments of your neighbors’ supposed sin).
And even if you don’t agree with homosexuality, gay people are out and proud. And they ain’t going no where. So why not invite them into the flock?
Besides, even if it is a sin against God, what’s a church without a sinner?
Probably a lot like Coachella without Beyoncé…
Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic and smarty-pants Black feminist from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit NineteenSeventy-Seven.com.