The Bible. People of faith. Those that lead them. There is a delicate balance between the three. People of faith, for many an era, have had to struggle with acceptance and condemnation. It doesn’t matter the group, for there have been many, for there is always some group in the minority.
In recent years, gays and lesbians have been in the light and under intense scrutiny. They have been the victims of people of faith and not. They have been austricized from their churches, their friends, and their families. They are told they are an abomination, they are sick, they are deviants, they are going to hell, and they are not wanted. This has been most noted in the Church.
However, in recent times, there are those Church leaders who have stepped out of their comfort zones and gone from preaching on how those of faith must convert the sinner (the homosexual) and bring them into the light of their god. This is even more present in the Black Church.
The unexplored territory of the Black Church is a haven to those who feel the Bible is paramount and quite blunt on how to treat those who are deviants and sinners. These people are the backbone of the Southern Black Baptist Church. They are the financial backbone of the church as well.
Black Church Leaders are also realizing that there is a flock that is left out in the cold. This flock deserves to find the love of faith and of the God they (the leaders) worship. Left and right, there are Pastors now preaching from the pulpit about embracing the homosexual.
“The church has to come to a point when it has to embrace all the people Jesus embraced, and that means the people in the margins,” Dr. Samuel, of the Victory Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, said in a story in the New York Times. “It really bothered my congregation when I said that as people of color who have been ostracized, marginalized, how can we turn around now and oppress other people?”
However this may be, there are still other leaders that are convinced, and espousing, that the Bible condemns the homosexual nature and that by tolerating and accepting the gay, it is just another thing making it hard for the already struggling Black Family. Whether or not a person believes the Bible is true and accurate, or a compilation of tradition and story, the real matter at hand is how it is interpreted and preached.
We cannot doubt the seriousness of what is preached at the pulpit. The Church leaders hold sway and influence over their “flock”. The sheer fact that the hold-out, the Black Church, is finally coming out to preach love and acceptance, is a sign that things may be about to change. This may have better influence on the “Down-Low” movement, in addition to the unsafe sexual practices of many of its community. By loving and accepting, and by providing a place that is safe, the tides may turn and people will find a place to call “home”. They will find a place to be loved, nurtured, and cared for.
They may find a reason to be safe and to LIVE!
Jason P. Ruel
BellaOnline's Gay Lesbiand and HIV/AIDS Editor