As bizarre (or maybe not) as that sounds, a homosexual couple told Memphis Commercial Appeal writer Wendi Thomas, their second “date” was at the Church of God in Christ annual Holy Convocation. [Source]
“It’s not so much that the black church doesn’t want gay men, they don’t want openly gay men,” said Devon Berry, who is black and gay.
“They don’t want you in there being proud of who you are.”
Most traditional churches preach against homosexuality, but a 2006 Pew Research Center survey showed that black Protestants hold more conservative positions on the issue than white mainline Protestants.
Sixty percent of black Protestants say homosexuality can be changed, but just 22 percent of white Protestants said the same.
Berry, 22, was raised in traditional black churches, but no longer attends church. However, his boyfriend does — in fact, his boyfriend is the choir director at a local black church. The couple’s second date was at the 2008 Church of God in Christ’s annual convocation in Memphis. In fact, Berry said, every man he dated he has met through church.
Thomas, a gay rights advocate took issue with the current dont ask, dont tell policy of the black church which she decries as “a tangle of theology, hypocrisy and secrecy.” In cased you missed it, Thomas doesn’t say it, but strongly infers the “gay boyfriend” is a choir director at a local COGIC. That may not be news to anyone who reads this blog.
Thomas also derided black Memphis preachers (save one) who seemed to be running scared when asked questions about homosexuality and the church.
More than 10 pastors of large traditional black churches in Memphis were contacted repeatedly for comment, but almost all of the calls went unreturned, even calls to Rev. A.R. Williams, head of the megachurch World Overcomers, which spent a small fortune a few years ago on newspaper ads denouncing homosexuality.
Dr. Stacy Spencer, pastor of the popular and technologically progressive New Direction Christian Church, sent me this statement via Facebook: “Jesus always reached people through love not hate, whether they were lepers, hemorrhaging women. … He loved them while others condemned. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Spencer then quoted Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Whether that means that gay people are welcomed, as is, at New Direction remains unclear.
Well, that lets us know their anointing only works on Sunday mornings when the amen corner is in place.