As the story of Bishop Eddie Long’s alleged affairs with young teen age black males I couldn’t but feel completely unsurprised by the whole situation. I had this déjà vu feeling that we had been here too many times in the recent past, and we wouldn’t be if the US would truly let people be free to be who they are
Bishop Long has been a minister who has spent the last decade championing the cause of anti-gay sentiment in this country through powerful rhetoric against gay rights and the ability to cure homosexuality (it is both hilarity and tragedy at once). These claims have been made by other religious men most notable Ted Haggard who also had a stellar career as a televangelist spewing hate towards gay people and claims that he through prayer and special programming homosexuality to could be cured. He of course fell from grace after seeking sex with a male prostitute. There seems to be a pattern between those who have extreme hateful views against gay people their own personal battles with homosexuality. Which is why I think it is time that the this country and in particular the black churches relinquish their hate for gay people masked in religious dogma because I feel it has caused a great more harm than it has any good.
I think in the black community masculinity is held at a higher premium than most communities to its own detriment. This is because black men have been greatly emasculated by first the practice of slavery in the country and then the laws and culture of Jim Crow, and last by the lingering racism and fear of the black male. He cannot afford to be anything but the pillar of masculinity in his community and any hint of weakness is frowned upon by both men and women alike. Therefore homosexuality is not only felt to be an affront to God but to a greater degree a slap in the face of the black community. How could one be gay given everything we have to go though in this country? It is this same mentality that affected the rise of AIDS/HIV in the community. It was common in the late 1980’s and 1990’s to hear black ministers fervently proclaim that AIDS was a punishment by God on gay men. It was his judgment for living and immoral life and to some extinct for bringing shame upon the black community and your family. They neither prayed for nor offered any consolation to families who sons where dying at rapid rates from this devastating disease. In fact, in many cases they were not even allowed to have services in the church for a gay male who had died of AIDS to not appear as to support “the gay lifestyle”. It was not until more heterosexual men and women became infected did the church change its position and begin to look at the disease as an emergency concern for the whole community that we all must work to conquer. Countless numbers of young men died and who had been shunned by both the church and families they had been a part of before coming out or being outed by contracting the disease. Thus, the church was duplicitous in its role with regard to the increase in the number of deaths in the community. Maybe lives would have been saved be they gay or not had the church taken a more socially conscious role of healing and understanding. This is why many were upset that the funeral of the late Coretta Scott-King was held in Bishop Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Mrs. Scott-King had said on more than one occasion that from what she knew of her late husband, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he would have supported the cause of gay rights. Therefore, to hold her services there was a slap in the face of not only Mrs. King but the legacy of civil rights and an icon of the movement. Unfortunately their youngest child Bernice King, who is a member of said church, openly condemns gays and contradicted her mother’s view. Despite the fact she was too young to even have talk to her father or known that he was advised on more than one occasion by Bayard Rustin. Bayard was a known gay man who did nonviolent labor organizing and eventually was called upon to organize the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, D.C. Therefore, I think Dr. King’s wife is a much more credible source on what her husband’s thoughts would be concerning legal issue centered on LGBT rights.
Last year the son of another prominent anti-gay televangelist minister name Bishop T.D. Jakes who runs a 30,000 plus membership congregation, called the Potters House, in Dallas, TX son was arrested for soliciting sex with a male undercover cop in a local park. Jakes regularly rails against the evils of homosexuality and same-sex marriage on his television shows, calls gays "broken" people. We need to look at the numbers of anti-gay ministers and anti-gay conservative Republicans that have been outed and or caught in gay scandals all because this country makes people suppress their homosexuality in order to get along in this world. I think it is high time we pass whatever laws are needed to protect people for who they and make sure all Americans are safe and can live the lives they are meant to live unhindered by the fear and hate of other people. If not, I only see this pattern repeating itself, continuing a pattern of hatred that allows high school students to be bullied, gay men murdered and suicide among gay teens to remain higher than any other group in the country.