My Take: Overcoming the black church’s tradition of homophobia – CNN Belief Blog

How quickly we forget. The sooner we recognize and accept that, the sooner the society will move forward.  I encourage the African-American community and church to reconsider ways to address the presence of gay people.. There was a time when the “white man” feared black people and were threatened by our presence. Similar traditions are known to other faith traditions, even if they’re not widely discussed.

I heard statements from my grandfather as far back as I could remember that homosexual practices were something the “white man” taught us and that it was a sign of weakness and weirdness in their culture. The African-American church has traditionally used a kind of “don’t ask don’t tell” approach toward homosexuality.

Homophobia is hardly unique to the African-American community. We can mind many of the same things without necessarily having the same mind about everything.

What we fear, including homosexuality, we tend to amplify and exaggerate. But once someone’s homosexuality becomes public, the denunciations begin.

Acts of violence against perceived unacceptable behavior, particularly if the behavior isn’t harmful to self and others, is a sign of the deterioration of conscience.

Such denunciations, exemplified in Morgan’s comments, can send young people into depression and even drive them to suicide.

Homosexuals and homosexuality are not going away. When given the opportunity, adherents act out against them with the same violence they presume God would use. They were marginalized but not demonized. I’ve discovered that many who angrily denounce homosexuality have latent homosexual tendencies or fantasies themselves and fear them – or are actually quite conflicted about the issue.

The same slave owners evangelized the slaves into Christian moral codes and dogmas that insisted slaves renounce their native spiritual traditions.

The most troubling aspect of Tracy Morgan’s remarks is the bodily harm he said he’d inflict on his own child if he were to be seen acting in an effeminate manner.

African-Americans in particular should be sensitive to the violent injustices humans can perpetrate on other humans because of fear, ignorance and hatred. It’s a social malady that’s due largely to the influence of fear based-theologies, particularly fundamentalist Christianity, Islam and Judaism, all of which grow out of the Abrahamic tradition.

Editor’s Note: Carlton Pearson is spiritual leader and author of the The Gospel of inclusion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bishop Carlton Pearson.

We don’t have to go along to get along. What we make the issue we make the idol.

They were considered to have a higher vibrational level that enabled them to be guardians of the gateways to the spirit world. We suffered horribly because of it. It was the white man’s perverted way of exerting power over us, my grandfather said.

When something or someone is perceived as being despised by someone’s God, the worshippers of that God tend to despise and hate that person or thing as well. He spoke of how the white man sought to humiliate strong black slaves through sexual submission and subversion. That can happen through literal violence or in other ways – including the use of comedy.

Preachers, too, often issue vicious denunciations of homosexuality.

In some West African traditions, particularly in the Dagara tribes of Burkina Faso, certain Shamanistic spiritual leaders - sometimes called witch doctors by Westerners - were known to be of homosexual or bisexual orientation.

I’m referring to Tracy Morgan’s reported an anti-gay rant at a recent show, during which he said”he’d stab his son to death if he said he was gay.” Morgan has apologized for the rant and this week phoned a major gay rights group, vowing to return to Tennessee to apologize to those who heard it.

By Bishop Carlton Pearson, Special to CNN

African-Americans have always viewed male homosexuality as more of a sign of weakness than evil. This stems back to slave times, when male and female slaves were randomly abused sexually, usually by men.

In more than 30 years of pastoring and dealing with pastors, I have observed that often when a public figure, secular or religious, shouts out in anger about or against a particular subject, it’s usually a sign of the inner turmoil of the person crying out around that very issue

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