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Dr. Boyce: CNN, The Black Church and Gay Marriage – 5 Questions I’d Like to Ask

After reading a peculiar article about the black church on CNN this morning, I admittedly had a moment of pause.  The article seems to imply that the lack of support for gay marriage within the black church is not only unsubstantiated, but further undermined because the bible being quoted is the same book used to justify the institution of slavery.  As a proponent of gay marriage myself (I have no problem with it), I was admittedly disappointed by the CNN depiction of the black church as a haven of unsophisticated dimwits who need to move to the 21st century.

This led me to consider five questions I’d like to ask both CNN and the liberal Democratic establishment as it pertains to the issue of gay marriage:

1)      Do you think that Black people work for you?

Ever since the Democrats backed African Americans on the issue of civil rights, some have behaved as if we owe them a lifetime of gratitude.  Our issues are swept to the side, and we only get a voice if we express concern over gay rights, the environment, immigration and all the other things that liberals care about.  Even some of our most prominent civil rights leaders end up bringing issues to the black community that lead listeners to give them the side eye:  “Why is Rev/Dr/Pastor (fill in the blank) talking about immigration and the environment, but never discussing poverty, racism and mass incarceration?”  While certain black public figures may work for the Democrats, the rest of the community does not.  There isn’t enough money to pay off everyone.

2)      Why aren’t you making the same critique of white Christians?

The notion that African Americans are somehow psychologically diseased for disagreeing with a popular liberal viewpoint gives one serious cause for concern.  Ostracizing the black church and its members in this way implies that African Americans are not the “cool kids,” and should give in to political peer pressure.  All the while, I’ve barely heard a peep about white Christians who read from the same bible.   There are white people who oppose gay marriage too.

3)      Slavery?  Did you really have to go there?  

Let’s be clear:  Gay is NOT the new black and black will never be the old gay.

Making reference to slavery as a way to convince members of the black church to support gay marriage is about the foulest, most distasteful type of persuasion known to man.  Slavery is the emotional trump card, and the thing that lies in “don’t even go there” territory.  I would never ask a Jewish man to support Affirmative Action because “black opportunities are being slaughtered like Jews in a furnace.”  Homosexuals being disallowed to marry is not, in any way, equivalent to an institution that led to the murder, castration, beating, rape, torture and enslavement of a group of people for over 400 years.  Let’s get that one untwisted right now.

4)      Do black people seem ignorant to you?

Liberal paternalism can be a worse form of racism than even the Republicans can dish out.   There are some who get angry at black Americans for having views that differ from the liberal establishment, as if they are in dire need of additional enlightenment.  Perhaps one day others will realize that the “good lawud’ endowed all of us with a similar number of brain cells and that black people aren’t wrong for being different.

5)      Can this debate be handled with civility and mutual respect?

While one can appreciate the efforts of Team Obama to convince African Americans in the church to abandon their beliefs, the reality is that the persuasion process is probably going to take some time.  I am consistently fascinated with the psychological aerobics that take place when the Obama Administration makes an announcement that is not in the interest of African Americans (such as the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court in spite of her racially-discriminatory hiring record).  I am even more impressed by the amount of effort spent to convince black folks that the decision was good for them, when all indicators say that it was not.

The fact is that there are some decisions that will be made that aren’t going to make everyone happy. In the case of gay marriage, all Americans aren’t going to be on-board.   It’s OK to have a dissenting opinion, even if you’re black, CNN needs to respect that.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email,please click here.

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18 Responses to Dr. Boyce: CNN, The Black Church and Gay Marriage – 5 Questions I’d Like to Ask

  1. nyblackatheist Reply

    May 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm


    • olivia Reply

      May 13, 2012 at 2:23 am

      co-signing on that, nyblackatheist,u r so on point!

  2. dennis Reply

    May 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    This commentary is poinant and on point.

  3. Demetrius Simpson Reply

    May 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Yeah, but why do I have to be married to pass benefits to my girlfriend with whom I shack with? Then you attack the democratic party with the same fervor with which one should or could attack you for being a christian.

  4. elrancho2 Reply

    May 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Dr Boyce’s questions are fair and he is totally right to pose them. However, I still find it incredibly sad that many in the black churches operate with such hypocrisy. So many preach the gospel (as they interpret it) clinging to the myth that black men aren’t really gay and it’s a white thing. None of this helps anyone, nor does it really count for anything positive, especially when many who preach “fire and brimstone” are themselves, getting up to considerable mischief on the down-low. Surely, by now people are aware of the vast numbers of young, gay, black men who meet their partners at church?! A black friend of mine comes from a family who are strongly religious and were strongly homophobic. Strongly homophobic – UNTIL the day they found out their son was gay. Now, they are fierce supporters of gay rights because they LOVE their son and want him to be happy. Isn’t that what we want for those we love? Happiness and fulfillment. Isn’t it time to end the hypocrisy, stop beating ourselves up for something none of us can stop or control, and face up to the truth about ourselves and each other?

    • DaTruth Reply

      May 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Great post! Well said!

  5. Leta Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 1:18 am

    There is mans opinion of homosexuality and then there is Gods opinion of homosexuality. God gave us all the right to choose life or death by the decisions we make. He also gave us the right to choose to be gay or straight. Regardless of our choices God still loves us unconditionally however He set up His kingdom in such away that our choices will determine our consequences good or bad.

    There is nothing new under the son so God is not shocked by the debate of supporting same sex marriage. You had down low and up high brothers and sisters back in the day and so it is in 2012 however when you look at Gods purpose for creating the male and the female it was to multiply and replenish the earth in the animal kingdom and human kingdom. The word says what God has joined together let no man put asunder. The question is, is God doing the joining when it comes to same sex marriage? Would God truly create two males to become one and have sex in a perverted manner and turn around and afflict them with HIV. Being that HIV is also contracted through dirty needles did God cause that? No our choices did. The beat goes on……….. If you choose to marry someone of the same sex that is your choice but please remember that when you refuse to accept the truth eventually you will be turned over to a reprobate mind and He will cause you to believe your own lie whether you are straight or gay. Jesus truly does save and I am a living witness!

    • celeste Reply

      May 14, 2012 at 2:10 am

      All I can say is you spoke the truth and nothing else! I hope it reached who it needed to reach.
      Thanks & God Bless!

  6. Mlh Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 1:48 am

    This article is one of the best articulated views of the issue in the black community let alone black church that I have seen! I thank you for your thoughtful response!

  7. B K Ray Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 3:37 am

    While the struggles of gays and black people can never be considered the same, they are both still Civil Rights issues. All Civil Rights issues are not about black people, yet black people act like we got a lock on the whole ideology of Civil Rights. We need to let that go and learn to support other Civil Rights efforts that are being made in other areas.

    When it come to homosexuality and the black church, its simple black homosexuals should stop going to churches that do not support their right to marriage. What would the black church look like with no gay men in it? But until black gays are willing to confront the black church, they are going to continue to be tossed under whatever bus is handy for the black church leaders to appear to have a the delusions of morality.

    Stand up for your rights!

  8. Renee Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    You know Dr. Watkins there are moments you annoy me with some of your blog commentary. However, I agree with you 100% on the issue of African American and gay rights. Why is there such an intense focus on African Americans’ opinion regarding gay rights? I can’t comprehend it. I’m wondering to myself, “Geez, white, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian people have views that are not in favor of gay rights.” Are African Americans not allow to have an individual opinion that isn’t traditionally liberal? I have noticed white liberals go completely apeshit whenever a black person simply state they don’t agree with homosexuality. If you ever want to read or watch the racism spew from their lips, go to Youtube. They try to label blacks as hypocrites considering we endure racism and so forth. Interesting how they acknowlege the existence of racism in the heat of their rage, but turn a blind eye on any other day where the issue of gay rights is not front and center. Ya know, those are the days we are playing the “race card” according to some whites who easily dismiss the topic of discrimination and racial injustice. This article on CNN talked about predominately black churches as if these people are a monolithic group of brainwash dimwits misinterpreting the bible. I read no articles dissecting the white churches. After all, The Westboro Church protest at dead soldiers’ funerals, denouncing homosexuality with vile and hateful language. Mostly white GOP politicans make the most henious remarks about gays. I have seen videos and read stories of white preachers who are not shy at all about expressing their disgust on homosexuality. It was a predominately white, Mormon group who raised $55 million dollars to put an anti-gay initiative on the 2008 ballot. And lets not forget the whites who protested Ellen Degenres in some JC Penny Ad. Yet somehow, the entire white race are not put under a fucking microscope like some alien species people are trying to understand. It’s insulting, ignorant, and I am tired of it.

  9. Davchi Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    The white baby-boomers that grew up with racist,bigoted parents and are the adult indivduals of pre-civil rights opponents are the ones that encouraged the water-hoses and dogs, screamed ni**er and defied the law to keep Jim Crow instilled in their childrens conscience. We keep trying to forget while they keep trying to say that it was a long time ago. Hence negroes like Herman Cain and Justice(don’tspeak)Thomas and others have access to white woman and they declare that “I don’t see nothing wrong”.

  10. mozlyric Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    The Image of the Divine Creator is being erased from the Earth. Who will listen? Who has eyes to see? We have reached an all time low as a humanity, when we don’t need mothers and fathers to raise families and illuminate the Image of Creation. Instead mothers and mothers, fathers and fathers will suffice.

    Who has heard of such a thing? There is a much larger agenda here that many don’t see and don’t want to see. I don’t believe in Jesus or any man made religion. But I do believe in Spirit, as did my ancestors and the divine Essence. I don’t need a book to tell me actions that are anti-life.

    The homosexual couples (including relatives) that I have observed throughout my years almost ALWAYS imitate the feminine and masculine principle in their relationship. In other words, one takes on the feminine role, one takes on the masculine role. Why? Because that is what is natural. You rarely see to manly men together, or two feminine type women together.

    The black church is not alone in condoning this taboo. Many indigenous frown upon this practice (who are NOT christian base) because relations between men & men/ women& women defy logic and are in essence not BIOlogical. Simple.

    To compare to the a sexual choice or desire to the vicious dehumanization of black and brown indigenous peoples around the world is unintelligent and ignorant. And scapegoating blacks or the black church into this political ambush is cowardly.

    Black people are the original seed on the planet. And we have our share of illegalities, violence, and “sins” against our Cosmic Parents. But that does not change our original plan and that is to be priests and priestesses on this planet….to reflect the divine light of the Cosmos here on Earth.

    Wake up black people. We have reached an all time low. There is no place else for us but to look up. Don’t jump on the banwagon of this homosexual, emasculating agenda of alien spirits that abhor true LIFE.

    Google MANLOVE, and see the underlying agenda that is stirring in the shadows of degradation. These fools want to the right to pursue minors!

    We will put our stamp of approval on this as well? Will we sacrifice our children to MOLECH? Even white folk are standing their ground on this one.

    Stop taking a back seat to profanity. No matter how much we try to assimilate into their program, their agenda is to extinguish our PRESENCE from this EARTH. That’s why Black love is diminished in multi-media and we are literally being whitewashed. They want a piece of us, but they don’t want all of us.

    We are the Children of Zion, sun kissed gods and goddesses who are cut off from our parts.

    Get it together black people. Time to clean house and stop defiling the GOD in us. Stop letting the profane enter into our gates. If rise against our own profanities, it will put a fear upon this Earth that man has not seen.

    WAKE UP!

    • mike holmes Reply

      May 14, 2012 at 12:54 am


  11. mozlyric Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    My bad. Its Man/Boy Love


  12. drboo Reply

    May 14, 2012 at 2:32 am

    My question ib, who is john blake who wrote that for CNN. I can’t seem to find any info. About.

  13. oren elow Reply

    May 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I will ask my Christian Churches to never, never give their support to something that is not only wrong but evil. Gay Rights is both wrong and evil. However, as Christians we must respect their person, never do we have to respect their sicking “behavior”! Moreover, don’t let them trick you in to supporting their “behavior” by comparing it with the fight against slavery.

  14. John Reply

    May 15, 2012 at 3:41 am

    I wonder if Boyce considered that the Bible while it teaches against homosexuality, it does not preclude ministry, and service to the gay community, along with every other community, it also does not let the church off the hook, making a clear distinction between homosexuality and every other sin. We have a twisted sense of holiness, the holiness of Christ did not drive sinners away, to the contrary, it drew sinners (the sinners of the day) to Him. What is also telling is that He never said anything about the subject while He was here. I think that those of us who make a big deal of it as though it were some horrible sin, far more deplorable than any other fail to understand that the blood of Christ was shed for
    ALL, ALL means ALL. It’s sad that men who have the title Dr in front of their name are abysmal, in their assessment, impotent in their willingness to follow the example of Christ for fear of how they may look as opposed to being willing to serve a community that more and more is being marginalized. How horrible it is that instead of looking like the Master, we look more and more like those who were so jealous of him that they sent him to Calvary. What is even more interesting is that there are gay people in the black church. and I have yet to see a preacher turn down thier tithes, thier offerings. Makes you think huh?

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