I find it so encouraging that so many African American pastors…well,
African Americans period are seeing how important it is for
us to write. Our ancestors were legally denied the God-given
right to document their experience so that they only thing
their offspring would have to learn from is oral tradition
and what someone else said of their experience. Not to say
oral tradition is a bad thing. The things Big Mama taught
me still ring true for me today. But when someone writes and
publishes their experience, their study, or their personal
commentary, it has a more long-term affect on society. In
fact, it marks history.
It's sad to think that with the awesome opportunity we have
to write our thoughts and opinions, there are some who will
use it so irresponsibly and dishonor our ancestors by writing
some of the most uninformed, untrue and divisive things. I
mean, if we're going to honor our forefathers by taking advantage
of an opportunity that they were denied, let's AT LEAST be
responsible and write something that's CORRECT. A totally
irresponsible use of "The Right to Write" is the article by
Pastor Ken Hutcherson called "Gays are Not the Nation's New
African-Americans". After reading it, I could do nothing but
shake my head in disbelief.
First he says, "it has been said loudly and proudly that
gay marriage is a civil rights issue. If that's the case,
then gays would be the new African-Americans. I'm here to
tell you now, and hopefully for the last time, that the gay
community is not the new 'African-American' community".
WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT? Everyone knows that the gay (or
better yet SGL) community transcends ethnicity or race. Well,
maybe the good pastor didn't know that. Now let me say now,
and hopefully for the last time….gay rights IS a civil rights
issue. If you don't believe me, let's look at the definition
of the words…
Civil: Adjective: of, or relating to, or befitting
a CITIZEN or CITIZENS.
Rights: Adjective: conforming with or conformable to
justice, law, or morality.
…or better yet, put them together
Civil Rights: Plural Noun: The rights belonging to
an individual by virtue of citizenship, especially the fundamental
freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th Amendments
to the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress,
including civil liberties, due process, equal protection of
the laws, and freedom from discrimination.
Now NOWHERE in these aforementioned definitions is it noted
that African-Americans are the ONLY people in this country
who are guaranteed "civil rights". In fact, Black, Negro,
Afro-centric, African-American, don't even appear in the definition.
Don't get me wrong, as an African-American, Same Gender Loving
man, I understand full well what the civil rights movement
means and how important it is for me to honor the legacy of
those who fought for the freedoms that I now enjoy. I also
understand that as an African-American man, my people are
not the only people in this country who have been marginalized,
criticized, persecuted, abused, and yes even DENIED THEIR
RIGHTS. I also understand that the Civil Rights Movement was
bigger than just "a Black Thang". It was about respecting
humanity. About ALL HUMANS being treated equally under the
law. It surprises me that a man like the good pastor can honestly
think that the ONLY people in this country who have ever been
denied rights are "black folk".
And let's not forget that in the Civil Rights Movement, there
were black gays and lesbians there taking the heat right along
side Dr. King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and the rest of our
heroes. In fact, Dr. King was advised and taught the mechanics
of non-violent protest by one of his best friends, a black
gay man named Bayard Rustin. The late Mr. Rustin is responsible
for organizing the largest civil rights protest in this country's
history, the March on Washington at which Dr. King spoke his
"I Have a Dream" speech. Ain't it funny that the civil rights
black preachers like the good Pastor Hutcherson are trying
to protect, are rights afforded them largely due to the same
people they are trying to deny today? I guess Meshell N'Degeochello
was right when she said "Just 'cause civil rights is law,
doesn't mean we all abide."
He goes on to say "Gay marriage has reached the point
it has because a few rebellious, headstrong judges in Massachusetts
and a mayor in San Francisco openly defied state law."
AS THEY SHOULD HAVE! I thank God for the rebellious and
headstrong judges in Massachusetts. And quite honestly, I
think the good pastor should do the same. See, this is just
history repeating itself. Guess what State Supreme Court was
the first to say slavery was unconstitutional and should be
abolished? MASSACHUSETTS! If it wasn't for rebellious and
headstrong judges and the public awareness they caused, African-Americans
(then called Negroes) would still be slaves and there wouldn't
be a damn thing we could do about it except deal with it.
Civil disobedience sparks awareness and results in social
change. When the law is unjust it should be challenged and
changed. Unfortunately, those who aren't affected by the injustice
don't see it that way until those who are affected start disobeying
it or standing up against it. If ANYONE in this country should
be praising God for those courageous enough to civilly disobey,
it should be "black folk".
Pastor Hutcherson goes on to say "For the church, this
is not a civil-rights issue, it is a sexual-behavior issue."
WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT SEX? The Church (well, in this article
the good pastor did). Here people are marching, protesting,
lobbying, fighting for their constitutional rights that are
SUPPOSED to be for ALL CITIZENS in this country, and all the
good pastor can think about is who's screwin' who? And the
SGL community is perverted? It's about time that the church
(especially the Black Church) accept the fact that sexuality
is something that is HUMAN! It's an issue of humanity. Just
like race, creed, color, and gender….it's human. How you are
born. Stop trying to make it a definition of a person's humanity,
but a accept it as a small part of it.
Before he goes on his little "Literal Translation of the
Bible" kick, he does the "Black Preacher Thang" and spouts
a catch phrase that is supposed to make a point, but in this
case it doesn't. He says, "I think the church should stop
being 'evangelly-fish' with no 'spiritual vertebrae'. Our
battle cry, from here to eternity, should be 'we are not ashamed
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ'."
Get it? "Evangelly-fish" (evangelists)! That concept was
really cute. But again, not thought out very well. If the
battle cry for the church should be "we are not ashamed of
the Gospel of Jesus Christ", then should the church have a
good understanding of that "the Gospel" is? I thought the
Gospel was the 'good news' about Jesus' sacrifice. The 'good
news' of the liberation and healing He provides to EVERYONE.
The 'good news' of the unconditional love and acceptance He
shows to ALL PEOPLE. In fact, the only people I recall Jesus
standing against was the leadership of the religious institution
(the church). And he didn't necessarily stand against the
people, but what they were teaching and how. They (the Pharisees
and Saducees), much like so-called Christian leadership of
today were educated in the text, but had no understanding
of the real truth. The used the text to condemn and control
people. And when Jesus' deeds and teachings began to have
influence in people's lives that they couldn't control…they
had Him killed.
Pastor Hutcherson ends his article with the question we at
Operation: REBIRTH have endeavored to answer with our Taking
A Closer Look Bible Study. He asks, "do we believe the
Bible is the word of God or not?".
To that we answer, the Word of God cannot be contained in
biblical text that was written 2000+ years ago. So it in and
of itself is not the Word of God. The TRUTH the texts leads
us to (once it's really studied) IS the Word of God indeed.
It is so encouraging to see that just like in biblical times,
men and women are hearing from God and are inspired to write
down what they hear. Could it be that what we now have the
Right to Write today is a prophetic Word from God for the
future, some 2000+ years from now? If so, let's be careful
to exercise the rights denied to our ancestors a little bit
more wisely and tell the truth about God's creating ALL humanity
equal, deserving of equal protections and liberties under
the law and in the church.