“Why Dodge the Sex Question?” Is Sexual Immorality Destroying the African American Community?
In November 1929 Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr. (pictured) published a series of sermons on sexual perversion. Powell claimed sexual perversion was steadily increasing in large American cities, particularly among women and ministers. During this time many Black men and women left their spouses for members of the same sex. Powell stated that homosexuality was one of the powers that debased a race of people. It also caused a rejection of familial responsibility that held the black community together and therefore, made it a viable political entity. He further went on to state that there was an increase in the number of black ministers who placed their own desires for personal gratification, prestige, and wealth over the interest of their congregation. Having a sense of entitlement was at the root of homosexuality[source].
Rev. Powell instituted sex education classes in his church taught by medical doctors. To his critics Powell replied, “why dodge the sex question?” He stated that ignorance was the reason so many diseases spread. Didn’t Hosea 4:6 say, “…my people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge?”
Almost sixty years ago the late Harlem US congressman Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr. wrote an article entitled, “Sex in the Church.” Appearing in the November 1951 issue of Ebony Magazine, the article first spoke about the need for sex education in the African-American Church. Revered Powell told a story about an unidentified pastor’s grief over the death of his handsome and talented personal male assistant. Powell described the funeral of that of a scene out of Arabian nights with a lavish spread of flowers and a very expensive coffin. But what Powell found most disturbing was the preacher’s quavering voice, tear soaked eyes and shaking body. The pastor even attempted to leap into the casket! He went on to write that the minister’s broken sobs were those of someone who had just lost his lover. As it turned out, the two had been involved in an unnatural relationship for a number of years and the entire congregation knew about it. Today this “man of God” is one of the most powerful and respected Negro pastors in all America. The preacher Powell was referring to was Detroit Prophet Jones (James Francis Jones) and his longtime companion James Walton. Jones was said to be very flamboyant and exhibited feminine tendencies. And he himself admitted that he lived differently from other men!
Powell Jr. was absolutely right when he said there was a need for sex education with all the homosexuality that was taking place in the Black Church. However, Powell Jr. was no saint either. He committed adultery on his first wife [source]!
Adam Clayton Powell Senior and Junior had timeless messages that are still relevant today. If we fast forward to the twenty first century we see the rampant homosexuality that is taking place in the gospel music industry. We hear more and more about sexual abuse cases, mega-superstar preachers committing adultery, down-low brothers and all other sorts of sexual perversion. What happened to holiness and sanctification?
Our church leadership has failed in the area of promoting sexual purity and standing on the principles of God’s Word when it comes to this subject. For the most part, they have been muted from speaking out against immorality across the pulpit. There are pastors who will look away at the immoral lifestyle of their talented singers, preachers, and prophets. As long as they draw a crowd and bring in money, they will choose to believe that God is endorsing their sinful people. They love prophets that “prophet lie” and prophesy blessings, instead of the truth. Isaiah 56:10-11 says, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea they are greedy dogs which can never have enough and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” They won’t bark out against the sexual immorality that is taking place in the four walls of the church and it brings a reproach on the Church of Jesus Christ because of the hypocrisy.
When God gave Moses the Torah, it just wasn’t just a book of arbitrary laws. It was a book of instructions for the nation to live by and to be separated unto YHWH. It taught the people to be “sanctified in their own sexuality” and to not take on the sexual practices of pagan Gentile nations. Leviticus 18:3 says, “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.” The entire chapter of Leviticus 18 was dedicated in instructing Israel to abstain from unlawful sexual relations and to follow the Torah. In short, it educated the nation of Israel on “sanctified sexuality.” This made the nation of Israel very different from any other nation at the time because the Gentile nations had no sexual boundaries.
Here in the United States a whopping 78% of Americans identify with being a Christian. But it seems that a lot of Americans are not practicing what they profess they are. Are we really practicing Christianity or are we practicing Satanism? As Christians we follow what is said in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “What God wants is that you be holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner, without giving in to lustful desires, like the pagans who don’t know God.” Are Christians that don’t abstain from sexual immorality really Satanist by de facto? The first commandment of Satanism is indulgence instead of abstinence and this promotes self indulgence of the flesh.
The United States boasts the highest percentage of professional evangelicals in the industrialized world. According to polls, 46 percent of Americans consider themselves to be born-again with the highest percentage in the African-American community at 59 percent[source]. However, America has the highest percentage of single parent homes, the highest abortion rate, the highest sexually transmitted diseases rate, and the highest teenage birth rate. Isn’t it funny that one in three Americans or 90 million people claim to be born-again[ source]?
Sex education is most needed in the Church! We just can’t depend on the federal government or school system to teach sex education to our children. Its taught from worldly point of view, and not from the standpoint of the Word of God. Even adults within the Church need to be taught the disciplines of sanctified sexuality in the context according to the Word of God.
Planned Parenthood is not a viable options either to teach sex education to the church. They teach kids that masturbation is safe and healthy and that using condoms is way to practice safe-sex. What they fail to tell you is that a person can contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) through skin on skin contact and not just the exchange of fluids. The group also teaches that if a person can’t practice abstinence, than s/he can use lower risk activities such as: manual stimulation, mutual masturbation (phone-sex, cybersex, etc.), erotic massage, kissing, body rubbing, or oral sex[source]. Abortion is a tool for birth control, and to eliminate unwanted pregnancy. Planned Parenthood definitely does not promote the biblical-based teaching that God created sex for the enjoyment and confinement of marriage between a husband and wife.
Has sexual immorality devastated the Black Community?
Does the Black Church need sex education?
Has the Black Church been impacted by sexual immorality?
Part Two of, “Does the Black Church Need Sex Education” will examine these questions.