The senior male and female leaders of the nation’s largest black pentecostal church were recognized for their roles in protecting traditional marriage according to a prominent anti-gay marriage organization. The awards were presented at the denomination’s 60th Women’s Convention in Los Angeles. The press release is from the National Organization of Marriage.
WASHINGTON, DC — Tuesday Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and senior women’s leader Mother Willie Mae Rivers of the Church of God in Christ accepted the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) 2010 Marriage Protector Award.
Bishop Blake is the worldwide leader of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC), and Mother Rivers is the senior women’s leader. COGIC is one of the largest African-American denominations in the United States, and has a worldwide membership of 5 million people in 60 countries.
The award was given to acknowledge “the steadfast witness of the Church of God in Christ in defending marriage as the union of husband and wife.”
NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher presented the award at the 60th Annual Womens International Convention/Crusade of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “We are blessed by your courage, your clarity, and your conviction,” Gallagher conveyed to COGIC.
“I am here to present an award, but the honor is really ours–to acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of COGIC in standing for the truth that to make a marriage you need a husband and wife. At a time when so many powerful voices argue that this idea is rooted only in hatred and bigotry, we are blessed by your witness to the truth, which is really God’s truth, about marriage,” Maggie Gallagher told the assembled 20,000 African-American women and COGIC bishops, and other church leaders.
Although the term “gay marriage” was not mentioned in the presentation, its clear that Gallagher was referring to in her remarks. Under the late GE Patterson the church issued a strongly worded official proclamation upholding male-female marriage and calling same sex unions a “violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior.” [These] “unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body.”