I've long been an admirer of Rev. Jim Lawson [Pictured], and I urge you to read this article that contains an interview with him. Here is part of what he has to say:
``[For African-American Christians] to unite with white Christian fundamentalism like Pat Robertson is an absolute disgrace. For black people to pretend that kind of Christian fundamentalism, which justified slavery and justifies racism, is a colleague in anything is to be blind to the realities that we're facing. We who have suffered and do suffer should be the most sensitive to the suffering of others. We don't want this undeserved suffering put on us, and we should therefore, clearly, not participate in putting such suffering on others. We ought to know better.''
``Much of Christianity in the United States has been more influenced by violence and sexism and racism and greed than by the teachings of Jesus.''
Rev. Lawson, a long-time advocate for civil rights, understands full well how so many people, black and white, have been duped by assorted religious leaders into thinking that Christianity is to be synonymous with harsh, legalistic, exclusionary, judgmentalism. In other words, many professing Christians and non-Christians have been sold a bill of goods, that has handsomely rewarded (materially and/or psychologically and/or socially and/or politically) many of these leaders; that bill of goods completely ignores the grace and love of God for all of His creation.
Homophobic clergy mischaracterize certain selected Bible passages, and encourage their blind followers to not only do the same and continue to share and spread their ignorance, but to make an idol of that very Bible that they warp into being consonant with their prejudicial mind-sets.
They make a mockery of Jesus' life, work, words, and ministry, and yet feel self-righteous in so doing!
Indeed, their smug self-righteousness, their fiery hostile rhetoric and/or their silence in the face of others' oppression has caused untold damage to untold numbers of human beings and their families, and has also caused untold damage to the cause of Christ, and has ignored His charge to all those who truly are His disciples to be agents of grace in this world, and to love and not judge others.
These self-appointed arbiters of morality who have the audacity to claim moral superiority over others, and have the temerity to castigate others in the name of the Prince of Peace, not only encourage their congregations to do the same, but preach a message that is diametrically opposed to the message of Christ.
Indeed, many of them are nothing more than thugs who are preaching the devil's message of condemnation to God's very own LGBT children!
It is contemptible for anyone who calls him/herself a Christian to discriminate against another person; it is especially contemptible for an African-American to discriminate against LGBT people, as those who do so are fighting against their own oppressed brothers and sisters.
When such a betrayal occurs, it becomes a "circulation of elites," whereby the oppressed becomes the oppressor, and then nothing has been gained save for the gratification of naked self-interest.
African American pastors, such as Ken Hutcherson, and other homophobic black pastors, are the equivalent of the White Supremacist pastors in the 1950's who, with all self-confidence, sought to justify why black people were not to be integrated with white people; how black people didn't deserve to have the same civil rights as white people enjoyed; how segregation was "in God's will."
As far as I'm concerned, any group of people who would seek to limit or exclude the freedom of others, and seek to deny them civil rights, is not entitled to enjoy the benefits of those rights themselves!
With all the rhetoric of the Ken Hutchersons to the contrary, the LGBT civil rights struggle is exactly the same as the African-American struggle for civil rights!
When out and proud Gay people are turned away from churches, it is absolutely no different than when black people were turned away from white churches in the 1950's and 1960's.
LGBT people are an oppressed group and deserve to have full civil and sacramental rights, as are enjoyed by every other citizen in the U.S. and other "civilized" countries in the world! And to the degree that full and equal civil rights are denied in the U.S, it's to that degree that the U.S. shows that it does not deserve to be called or viewed as "civilized."
And to the degree that full and equal sacramental rights are denied to LGBT people by any church, it's to that degree that that church has shown itself to have absolutely nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ!
And any pastor or church or para-church leader who seeks to demean LGBT people, who seeks to deny them full dignity, who seeks to deny them full and equal civil and sacramental rights, shows him/herself to be none of Christ's!