“I want to stay in the music business through promoting gospel music and upgrading the quality and performance of gospel music.” —Rev. James Cleveland, 1932-1991
A friend in Dallas attended the 2006 Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) and reported that our worst fears are confirmed. Church gays who flaunt, priss and parade, are the stars of the show at the event.
I wrote about the GMWA and its controversial founder James Cleveland in my book Touching A Dead Man. The stories I compiled revealed a picture of a man whose sexual appetite for young males could have been the reason why he created the GMWA. Cleveland, who as we reported earlier died of AIDS, was in my opinion, a sexual monster who ruined and debased the very musical expression intended to uplift people. Its still a shock that anyone would “celebrate” such a profane life.
Bishop Yvette Flunder remarked at the Atlanta Love and Acceptance conference that if all of the gays in the church were taken out, the church wouldn’t have any music. Laughing, she said the church would be left with maybe one or two songs that nobody wanted to sing. I think that’s a lie. An arrogant lie. But gay religionists do love gospel music. The problem is they don’t love The Gospel. That’s a major problem. Singing the gospel you refuse to obey or submit to is an abomination. Offering up “strange fire“, as the Bible calls it, and a deadly venture to those who do it.
Black gays and their rocky love/hate relationship with the church is a bonified mess. That’s on both sides of the fence. The war is fueled by the voodoo-like beliefs of the black gay community’s spokespersons like E. Lynn Harris. Harris said the inspiration for his last book I say a little prayer was what he “saw happening in the black church. The homophobia. The black gay and lesbian people not having a place to go and get their spiritual needs fulfilled.”
Harris and people like him dont understand that the church is not a place to come and get your needs met. Especially when your “needs” are incongruent with God’s will for your life. Unwilling to repent of their sexual sin, Harris instead wants to create the type of church which allows his sin to be accepted and celebrated. After all, this is what he considers meeting his “spiritual needs.”
But back to Dallas and the GMWA convention. “Bro C” told me:
“I had the pleasure, or should I say displeasure of going to the Gospel Music Workshop of America and it was a hot mess. Trust me, it is everything you said and more in your book confirming what goes around at that convention. A friend of a friend (which is still in the life[style] who is a choir director for the New Orleans chapter) saw two young men walking out of the Hyatt Regency hotel in visible pink thongs right here in Dallas. I went to three of the concerts and I was not happy, but it actually hurt a bit.”
I know what you’re saying. If he knew it was like that, why go? Well, ignoring sin only allows people to lie about what’s really going on with no witness to refute it. Some people still think the GMWA is a great place to let their youth go to. Last night, on the Word Network, Kirk Franklin gave the GWMA convention a glowing review, saying it was a great place to come and chill.
The GWMA’s motto is “The convention where everybody is somebody.” That’s an intentionally large umbrella to accomodate the divergent lifestyles of the singers and musicians. For instance, at the 2006 Dallas meeting, Cheryl Gamble (CoCo) of the 90s R&B group Sisters With Voices (SWV) was hailed [cached] at the GWMA for “returning to gospel music.” But the very next month, the same group were featured performers at New York “Black Pride” along with this man. Yes, that’s a man. Yet, Gamble told the GMWA that she never left gospel music. “I’ve always been active in my church,” she said. “Church was more than a breeding ground for me to sing. It’s where I nurture my soul. It’s a lifestyle for me.”
The broader question actually brings us back to the basics. Is what God said about sex and sexuality applicable in contemporary life? If we can shuck His restrictions on that, what’s to stop us from shucking any of His restrictions on anything simply because we no longer feel its relevant? The GMWA is a glaring example of “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”. The Bible warns us: from such turn away.