Using Blacks For Saving America from Gay Marriage

No faith community knows better than the Black Church how religion-based bigotry shapes prejudicial attitudes many white Americans once held toward African Americans in this country. Religious texts have been interpreted to justify some of this country’s worst crimes against our community, resulting in the legality of slavery, the lynching of black boys and men – one of which this nation will never forget, 15-year-old Emmett Till – and the prohibition of interracial marriage.

As African Americans, we continue to experience the harm that religion-based bigotry causes, especially concerning the civil rights issue of same-sex marriage.

I am afraid that the civil rights issues concerning same-sex marriage as it affects all African American families – straight and gay alike – may very well be co-opted again by several national white anti-gay Christian groups and ministers. Such as was the recent attempt by Rev. Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, who “thanked African-Americans for saving America from the bondage of gay marriage.”

What is Garlow referring to? His recent manipulative and exploitative campaign of thanking African Americans for the passing of Proposition 8. And in Garlow doing so, he is race-baiting a sector of California’s Christian conservatives who comprise of just 6.2 percent of the state’s overall population.

Garlow, in 2008, was instrumental in promoting religion-based bigotry in the Prop8 campaign and today on a much broader national scale as part of an organized effort to revitalize the Religious Right and its opposition to marriage equality. Garlow and a number of national white anti-gay Christian groups are once again soliciting African American faith communities to join them in an effort to bring immense harm to LGBTQ people, and society at large, from its brand of socially divisive politics.

If you don’t understand just how harmful Garlow’s message is to LGBTQ African Americans – and all LGBTQ people – consider how it feels to be told your state’s constitution will now proscribe that there is something about your person that is so awful and flawed that you don’t deserve a fundamental freedom that others enjoy. But Jim Garlow’s new-found appreciation of African-American community is disingenuous considering his and the Religious Right’s irrefutable embrace of divisive and racist politics.

For example, the Religious Right’s espousal of prejudice toward African Americans is seen in a recent comment by N.C. Republican Senator Jim Forrester who has introduced an anti-gay marriage bill. “Slick city lawyers and homosexual lobbies and African American lobbies are running Raleigh,” Forrester stated in the Statesville Record and Landmark. Forrester is supportive of Christian Action League of North Carolina, an anti-gay religious organization born of Southern Baptist advocacy.

So why have so many of our African American ministers, who voted on Proposition 8, joined with national white anti-gay Christian groups? These are some of the same ministers who profess to have marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many national white anti-gay Christian groups have and continue to woo cash-strapped African American churches to their anti-gay crusade under the guise of protecting black civil rights. But the truth is they are really engaged in a broad anti-civil rights agenda that is harmful to African-Americans.

When Bush’s presidential campaign appeal to African Americans was that the Republican Party is the “party of Lincoln,” African American numbers grew, and white Conservative Christian organizations craftily tapped into the solidly black Democratic voting bloc by drawing cash-strapped black churches into their sphere. These organizations doled out big bucks to promote an anti-gay marriage agenda targeted to win black voters in 2004. Now they are doling out money to sponsor urban anti-violence programs operating out of black Christian churches.

As the nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this month, I am reminded that the fight for marriage equality in the U.S. is similar to my ancestors’ fight for freedom.

In their day, before the Civil War in 1861, the U.S. consisted of nineteen free states and fifteen slave states. As a matter of fact, in the 2004 presidential race between John Kerry and George Bush, where marriage equality was a hot-button issue, the election map results between Rev. Irene MonroeKerry’s blues states and Bush’s red states corresponded to the pre-civil war free states and slave states, respectively.

As an African American lesbian, I thank God that I am not in slavery. But I am certainly in a civil war with Garlow and national white anti-gay Christian groups and ministers who are now drumming up a manipulative and exploitative campaign to thank Christian conservative African-Americans for saving America from the bondage of gay marriage.

Whereas President Lincoln acted on behalf of my ancestor’s civil rights, I now need the Black Church to act on behalf of mine.

Rev. Irene Monroe

Comments

  1. L.G. says

    With all due respect, the black church will not support a homosexual agenda. As a “minister” (see I Timothy 3 as to the qualifications), Dr. Irene should be aware that as humans, we were all born into sin, which includes the sinful nature humans possess, which includes lying, adultery, murder AND homosexuality. We fight against sinful nature, we don’t affirm it. Therefore, the black church will continue to stand against the homosexual agenda. It’s appalling when homosexuals attempt to tie gay marriage to the Civil Rights Movement. Homosexuals have never been put into chains against their will and brought to another country. Homosexuals have never been denied the right to vote. To make an attempt to “guilt trip” black people into supporting gay marriage is not only shameful but against everything the Bible teaches. The Bible talks about others teaching that accepting sin is ok. God will deal with sin accordingly and those who affirm it.

    • Annette says

      To make an attempt to “guilt trip” black people into supporting gay marriage is not only shameful but against everything the Bible teaches.

      Being gay is not a sin. You’re misreading the Bible. It’s understandable, given that contemporary versions of the Bible are biased and incorrect interpretations of the original texts.

      It’s appalling when homosexuals attempt to tie gay marriage to the Civil Rights Movement.

      What’s appalling is when people can’t see the parallels and similarities between oppression of lesbians and gays and that of blacks. The Bible was used historically to justify both slavery and miscegenation. Elected officials and even judges have quoted the Bible to justify oppression of blacks and of lesbians and gays.

      Homosexuals have never been put into chains against their will and brought to another country.

      Not that we need to say that one oppression is worse than another, but there have been many, many more homosexuals tortured and murdered for being gay than African-Americans for being black. The sheer numbers of gays killed throughout history just by the Catholic Church and other religious institutions is what’s truly appalling.

      The important links between the black civil rights movement and the gay rights movement are:
      1) Religious teachings supported not just oppression, but violence toward each of the two groups.
      2) Terroristic actions by the oppressors are similar in both intent and result.
      3) Blacks needed non-blacks to help them win freedom and equality. Gays and lesbians are a small minority that will not win equal rights until large numbers of straight citizens get fed up and demand equality.

      To make an attempt to “guilt trip” black people into supporting gay marriage is not only shameful but against everything the Bible teaches.

      Guilt trip? No way. Lesbians and gays simply point out that blacks have had a similar struggle and should therefore understand exactly why anti-gay laws are wrong and homophobia is destructive and against the teachings of Jesus.

      It’s never shameful to stand up for the oppressed in society. That’s what finally turned the tide against slavery and second class citizenship for blacks. Christians who support equal rights under the law are doing exactly what the Bible tells us to do – be compassionate and help those who are unable to help themselves. There aren’t enough gay people to ever win equality at the ballot box. God only made about 10% of the population gay. So come on, good Christians, do what’s right and let’s end this silly argument once and for all. Give lesbians and gays equal rights!

  2. says

    Irene,

    I applaud your fine epistle; however, I would augment the argument with some suggested considerations.

    First, I am totally opposed to the hard-line, bigoted approach of many religious groups; but, I believe that homosexuality is an abnormal and immoral minority lifestyle. However, I do advocate an amoral city hall based civil union license that offers all the benefits of a traditional marriage, but carries no government or religious sanction for the gay lifestyle legitimacy or moral equality with traditional marriage.

    Most activists in opposition to those against gay marriage are mistaken in their belief that it is a denial of civil rights & bigotry issue. To the contrary, overall, gay marriage opponents are purely mounting protective reaction to attempt preservation of the 6,000 year old moral marriage tradition. I contend that it is largely a moral issue and not one of civil rights. That is because I have noticed that much of the gay community is shunning a chance at a civil union with all the necessary benefits of traditional marriage and demanding a legal and social status of equality with the moral majority and desire to have an unnatural marriage equal to traditional natural moral marriage. If a group cannot be content with gaining rights, then the siege on equality is an outlandish crusade for a goal for a right that is not offered by our constitution.

    Our Bill of Rights provides gays the possibility of civil union rights as I have stated; however, to go beyond that status for a moral equality with a centuries old tradition for most civilizations is beyond the scope of the American constitution. Although our Bill of Rights was based on moral principles, it is not an arbiter of specific controversial moral issues outside its targeted scope; therefore, gays must not claim civil rights according to the Bill of Rights. They must seek another avenue. But whatever course that is, wisdom is the better part of valor.

    I believe that gays need to be smart in their crusade, for in the legal realm, smart moves are often more effective than blind adherence to what is perceived as right. It’s always more productive to be “wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.” To employ your example of the Black civil rights movement, as you well know, it was a long incremental & arduous road for them. Moreover, their cause was backed by a large percentage of the population compared to the gay community. In addition, Black equality was totally deserved because there was nothing intrinsically wrong with Blacks, whereas, the gay lifestyle holds great controversy over intrinsic value or morality. There is a problem in that issue that did not darken the Black civil rights quest.

    Moreover, to attempt equation of Black inherently deserved rights with the gay delusional theme of deserving special civil rights as a minority is, I believe, a serious insult to the Black community as well as simply being an absurd grasping at quicksand to justify a deviant behavior. However, I hold no animosity toward gay people & I believe they need to have a solution for their want of love partnerships and the related benefits. That is why I advocate the civil union.

    I am convinced that the smart move for gays is to abandon the myopic quest for equal status with hetero marriage, for which, the odds against are staggering. Though they may believe it’s right, I don’t think that anyone can overturn 6,000 years of legal precedent & majority rule in just 30 years or so, especially when only approximately 3.5 – 10% of population is gay, Bi, or trans. If they campaign for a civil union, then there is a good chance of placating the religious & moral opponents to achieve the goal.

    It is extremely important, first, to gain the marriage benefits and though I don’t approve of gay relationships, I value all people and agree that they should have those rights. Therefore, expend the energy for that which holds a much higher percentage of success, otherwise the gay cause will be branded as deceptive, misguided, unrealistic, and unethical. That is, first, the issue was rights, then, it morphs into clamor for total equality and lifestyle legitimacy. Basically that will be perceived as greed & a force of minority will upon the moral majority. And in the political realm, in which this heated debate is wallowing, perception is reality – an essential axiom for the gay activists to consider. So, if perceived as deceptive and therefore unworthy, there will be a very slim chance of success. Be smart, get the rights first. Then, if the cause is truly just, rest in that confidence that over time, the playing foield can be altered. But it begs the question, why is it even necessary to coerce legal equality status when it is the rights of the civil union that are the necessary reality?

    One last reflection: the gay marriage issue, for me, is complicated by the separate issues of lesbianism and male homosexual behavior. I see women together as far more understandable, acceptable, and more natural than the repulsive male kissing and practice of lurid sexual behavior. It makes my normal male skin crawl. Many ask, “Why do you care what people in love do in private?” I respond that I could care less what they do in private; my significant concern is the insidious crusade to publically force the moral majority to accept, legitimize, and legalize behavior that is quite likely to considerably contribute to the disintegration of the moral fabric of American society. In addition, I find that women have no clue of what the degenerate gay male life entails and often stridently do not want to know, which compounds the problem. They eagerly and naively support gay marriage based on the amiable outward appearance of the gay males and their own gender limited view of the gay lifestyle.

    In conclusion, no matter how one views this complex dilemma, it must be thoughtfully considered that the prevailing trend of over-simplification of the issue and the resulting polarization is not conducive to a reasoned, logical, and legal solution.

    Sincerely,
    Jerry Clifford, the Word Guru

    • Don Duitz says

      YOU sound like a homophobic righteous Christian. Whether your are or not you may consider that Jesus had no preconceived bigotry against anyone except the bankers. Recent events affirm his bias. He stood against the abuse of power. So, as a religious person you may reconsider your antiquated values based on traditions that need reexamining. Your arguments make no sense to someone who believes that people should be judged and treated by the way they treat others and the values they pass on confirming human dignity and individual rights.

    • Bob says

      Well-said, Jerry! Extremely articulately put!

      Don Dultz, the use of loaded words in a rational argument begs your interest in a rational exchange. You demonstrate a grand misunderstanding of Jesus, or the God of the Bible. You seem to want just some of the Biblical God, but not all of Him. Once you invoke an appeal to “what Jesus would have done”, you are inviting all of what he did. Jesus certainly loved the sinners, but never did he ever say “don’t repent”. He called on all to do so. As far as being against the abuse of power, he was against wickedness, and hypocrisy in the leaders. Those who desired to be healed went to him. Those who didn’t want to change sought to use him for their own purpose and advantage, as you seem to do, but he would have none of it.

      • NP says

        Pftttt. You’re a cafeteria christian – you pick and choose the biblical rules you’re willing to follow. Did you shave today? Shame on you (Leviticus). Are you wearing a cotton t-shirt and polyester-blend socks? Shame on you (Leviticus again). Did you have gravy on your turkey last Thanksgiving? Oh, oh (Deuteronomy).

        Sorry Bob, I’m not buying your version the Bible. God made gays. If you want to think they’re sinners, fine. But please keep your magic sky beings and your silly beliefs out of my country’s laws.

    • SK says

      … overall, gay marriage opponents are purely mounting protective reaction to attempt preservation of the 6,000 year old moral marriage tradition.

      Baloney. That 6,000 year old moral marriage tradition was not anything like today’s heterosexual marriage. Polygamy was rampant throughout history, yet our laws prevent it today. Divorce was disallowed, but since the 1950s-60s, marriage law has allowed divorce. And what about miscegenation? Blacks weren’t allowed to marry whites in this country, and that only changed during our lifetimes!

      So, please, spare us the “traditional marriage will be destroyed if gays can get married” nonsense. The “moral majority” you refer to is neither. Heterosexual divorce is rampant, as is cheating on spouses and sex out of wedlock. That’s what’s wrecking marriage – immoral heterosexuals, not committed same-sex couples.

      Personally, I don’t even like the word marriage. If I could have a marital contract that actually conferred all the legal rights of marriage, I’d be happy. It’s equal rights for my kids that I want. But civil unions are practically worthless as long as some states and the federal government treat them like separate and unequal marriage contracts.

      In addition, Black equality was totally deserved because there was nothing intrinsically wrong with Blacks…

      Oh yeah, sure, white bigots neverjustified discrimination and even violence toward blacks based on their belief in the inherent inferiority of dark skinned people. Uh huh.

      … the gay lifestyle holds great controversy over intrinsic value or morality…

      I don’t have a gay lifestyle. I work, I pay taxes, I raise my kids, and my co-parent is the same sex as me. Big deal. Where’s this wild gay lifestyle? I’m just like any other parent who I meet at my kids sports events or school function. Sure, plenty of lesbians and gay men choose to have multiple partners, especially via serial monogamy. Just like many heterosexuals are doing nowadays. Just because some gay people whoop it up during gay pride celebrations (and why not, given that their jobs and even their lives are at risk simply because they’re homosexual), doesn’t mean there aren’t many, many more of us who lead simple, normal lives raising our families and being regular old boring American citizens.

      I could care less what they do in private; my significant concern is the insidious crusade to publically (sic) force the moral majority to accept, legitimize, and legalize behavior that is quite likely to considerably contribute to the disintegration of the moral fabric of American society.

      Ouch! You really think that because I love another person of the same sex that I’m contributing to the disintegration of the moral fabric of American society? Wow. Perhaps you should clean up your own community first, including getting those millions of married heterosexuals to stop cheating on their spouses, to stop getting divorced and to stop destroying the concept of committed marriages.

      Again, the moral majority is neither. Didn’t you learn that from bumper stickers back in the 1970s? I don’t care if you ever accept gays and lesbians, but in this country, we are all equal. It’s just a matter of time before our constitutional guarantees of equality are reflected in the laws of every state.

      By the way, I’ve been working for equal rights my whole adult life. The primary fight for equality is not for social or religious acceptance, it’s for legal rights. If I don’t get equality soon, my children will suffer from the unfair IRS rules that cheat my family out of their inheritance. My kids are heterosexual, at least as far as I can tell, and they don’t have equal rights with kids from straight families.

      You may want us to go slowly, but I’m tired of waiting and I’ll NEVER stop fighting for equal rights for my kids. Deal with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *