I Now Pronounce You “Mrs. and Mrs.”

While we’re talking about God, sex, and marriage, let’s talk about…um…er…same-sex marriage.

Here’s a poll (or at least part of a poll) that came in the mail recently to my house.

If you had three choices regarding the laws governing same-sex marriage, what would you choose?

1. Same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry.
2. Same-sex couples should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry.
3. Same-sex couples should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships.

marriages and black conservatives

Now as you all know, this summer California became the second state, after Massachusetts, to make marriage licenses available to same-sex couples. And if you’ve been following the campaign news closely you’ll notice that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain seem particularly comfortable talking about gay marriage as a campaign issue. NPR aired a story this past Monday containing statements made by each candidate, in public forums.

In the past Obama has said  that he opposes gay marriage but that every state should be allowed to decide the issue on its own. He has changed his mind in recent months saying that while he opposes same-sex marriage, he supports civil unions and domestic partnerships between same-sex couples.

As for McCain, well after receiving lots of pressure from big guns like James Dobbs of “Focus on the Family” and other leading conservative evangelicals who complain that McCain has been reticent about talking about issues that motivates grassroot conservatives (you guessed it, abortion and homosexuality), McCain sent a short statement back in June to the “Protect Marriage” campaign, one of the conservative groups spearheading an effort to amend the state Constitution in November and define marriage as between a man and a woman saying that he supported the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman.

What folks on this blog probably don’t know is that the great untold story of the 2004 presidential elections was the black evangelical vote. Conservative Republicans figured out in 2004 that to get their man George Bush back into the White House they needed to inflame black’s anti-gay bias. Although black evangelicals still voted overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, blacks gave Bush the cushion he needed to bag Ohio and win the White House. What did it? Opposition to gay marriage. A national coalition of religious conservative groups, which included Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Family Research Council, formed in early 2004 to defend traditional marriage. Conservative blacks were key to their strategy.

In case you failed to get the memo, word has it that in 2008 a new younger crop of evangelicals has come on the scene. Young evangelicals who can not be easily pegged by pollsters nor easily manipulated by politicans. Young evangelicals who are passionate about a broad platform of issues, and not just the grassroots moral issues of their parents, abortion and homosexuality. Conservative icons like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson are being replaced with kindler, gentler faces like those of Rick Warren and Brian McLaren who, though socially conservative, are determined to market themselves as compassionate and generously involved in lots of issues (HIV/AIDS, poverty, the environment), and have shown that they are willing to engage in conversation with people with think and believe differently. Both McCain and Obama are glad for friends like Rick Warren who give them the chance to bypass the old guard of conservative leaders and speak directly to “open minds” of young evangelicals. That’s young, white evangelicals, in case you were wondering.

Where do young black evangelicals figure in all of this? Who cares? No one, from what I can tell. That’s probably because everyone assumes that young black evangelicals are an uncomplicated lot. Even if they oppose same sex unions, as many assume they do, race trumps theology which means Obama can count on their vote. But is that true? How much does homosexuality and same sex marriage matter to this generation of African American churchgoers?  What say you who admit here on the blog to playing hooky from bible study to get home to watch “Sex and the City”? You’re a pretty complicated lot to me. Like me, you wring your hands over the risky sexual behavior of our teens. Some of you say that it doesn’t make sense to teach abstinence, and that protection and good judgement is the better church curriculum for teens. A few of you even share some of my old-fashioned notions of marriage, at least the notion that what we are witnessing is a generation of young people gone wild from being raised in an environment that believes sex is a god, being sexually satisfied is an inalienable right, getting pregnant outside of marriage is unfortunate, but not a calamity, and that marriage is optional.  So, do your broad, generous attitudes toward heterosexual marriage and sex extend to homosexual unions and the efforts by lesbians and gays to see to it that their unions enjoy the same protection and rights of as heterosexual unions?

Knock. Knock. Who’s there? The conservative white evangelicals who will surely try to figure out a way to corral just enough Blacks this Fall to swing the presidential vote in the direction they want and get religious conservative black folks to join them, their nominee, and God in their campaign to save America from gays, unwed mothers, and all those who have sex any way other than the way God intended. Whatever way that is.

63 Responses to “I Now Pronounce You “Mrs. and Mrs.””

  1. wisdomteachesme Says:

    my my, sister weems you are on a roll,lol.
    Fear is a powerful tool that just grows and grows as people use of daily as a weapon against anything that is different from them no matter what it is. I knew about the tricks and manipulation-you are very correct in speaking about the repub. serving up fear to black church folk-So many are Stuck at Saved! “They” have been doing it for many years and some black folk still fall for it-no matter the topic. (shaking my head)-The Sky Is Not Falling chicken little!

    i have said this and i’ll say it again-lesbians and gays have nothing to do with the crash and burn effect that is affecting traditional marriages in America.
    As far as i know of, we have nothing to do with somebodies man or woman cheating on them, beating them, abusing them or any of the other negatives that attack traditional marriages and relationships. They have done all of that All on their own!
    Fears and pride & selfishness would be part of the rootball cause of these effects. It is a shame that so many people can be manipulated so easily.
    Personally i nor my partner has a desire to be ‘legally married’. But if that is what others want-let them have it. That battle is not on the agenda of my Calling. lol

  2. Wanda Says:

    Wow!! As a African American clergy lesbian in a 13 year committed relationship, I am unashamed to say I know I was created by God. I do agree that our teens have gone wild. I agree that in 2004, the black folks were inflamed over the issue of gay marriage and you are correct, that is how Bush ended up back in office. Unfortunately, he got the votes, yet he has done nothing for them or at least not as much as he claimed he would.

    Some people would say that I am conservative in my views even though I think I am quite liberal.

    Your point is well made. Where are the black, young evangicals that are, obviously, out there? Are they TOO busy on the DL (Down Low) to dare speak out? Do they have friends in the gay community that, behind close doors, they support but in public they do not?

    I am sure that Dr. Weems has read the book, “Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches” by Dr. Horace Griffin. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to explore, further, the issue of blacks and the black church because that is the basis for many of the arguements that, at least, I have heard.

    I really hope this made sense. I had so much going through my mind and trying to get it down can cause confusion.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Rev. Wanda Floyd

  3. Danielle Says:

    Dr. Weems,

    You never cease to amaze me with your commentary. :)

    Well, gulp, here goes my two cents…

    My main concern with gay and lesbian rights issues is when it gets all mixed together with African-American rights. I just see them as two totally different causes. I don’t see any connection between the increasing divorce rates and homosexual couples. It is however a very uncomfortable subject for me to even discuss. It is just such a hot button issue but I think any person who has ever loved can empathize with homosexual couples who want to be free to experience the fulfillment of a lifelong relationship. My aunt is a lesbian and my family has embraced her and her partner. She is the same auntie that I have known my whole life even though the situation was a little different since she had been married to my uncle for 18 years. I must admit that I would probably have a much tougher time if one of my daughters grew up to engage in a relationship with the same sex. I don’t know.

    @Wanda
    What does support mean? Do I have to wear rainbow t-shirts and march in a parade to show my support of homosexuals in my life that I care about? I resent that mentality of “for or against”. Do you support clean environment? Have you gone totally green and driving a hybrid? Do you support AIDS research? Have you dedicated your life and resources to research? Do you support quality education? Have you volunteered all of your free time in the school system? I’m just saying, what does that mean?

  4. Renita Says:

    @Wanda.
    I surprise myself too with my commentaries. LOL.
    Thanks for weighing in despite whatever hesitancies your intially felt.

    @Everyone.
    Obviously, everyone is still holding their breath. Breathe. That’s good. Now come on and jump in. And keep it as brief as possible, and to the point. (I won’t name any names. LOL)

  5. revmamaafrika Says:

    Whew! You actually went THERE?! Sis. Dr. Rev. Weems, truly your blogspot is by far the most interesting, creative, intellectually and theologically challenging one for the sistas-in-Christ set . . . :)

    I sat in on Dr. Griffin’s workshop last month at the Religous Coalition Reproductive Choice/Annual Summit on Sexuality, his book is definitely on my list. The panelists were G&L brothers and sisters, some of whom are friends of mine. My quick points, 1) marriage is indeed a religious AND legal question. 2) harm to children? PLEEZE! Do we realize how many children have been raised by G or L parents? 3) “don’t ask, don’t tell”? I do ask AND tell, why can’t we allow and encourage people to be whoever they really are? 4) “there were no Gs or Ls in Africa B 4 the Europeans and Arabs came.” Humm-mm, then why do I keep meeting G & L brothers and sisters from throughout the African world?

    Ok, I’ll stop before Sis. Dr. Weems takes out the ruler on my knuckles . . . :)

  6. socgrad Says:

    Good evening,
    The issue of lesbian and gay rights means a lot to me as a black heterosexual Christian woman. Though I don’t conflate patriarchy with heteronormativity, I see those two types of oppression as mutually reinforcing. What our ministers say and don’t say about the marginalization of same gender-loving communities is sometimes (not always) an indication of what they think about women regardless of sexual orientation. Additionally, both have to do with policing bodies and designating groups as “Other”.
    Also, I admit that I struggle with our (black Christians’) ambivalence towards lesbian and gay rights. The same kind of logic that was used to deny us our human rights based on our race is used to deny people rights based on their sexual preference. We see the same justifications, grounded in the same out-of-context interpretation of Scripture to accomplish the same ends- inciting fear in the masses and detracting from REAL issues.

  7. Kimberly Says:

    “So, do your broad, generous attitudes toward heterosexual marriage and sex extend to homosexual unions and the efforts by lesbians and gays to see to it that their unions enjoy the same protection and rights of as heterosexual unions?”

    I believe that our homosexual brothers and sisters should enjoy the same protection and rights as heterosexual unions. If two gay men are in a committed relationship but their state does not recognize their commitment as a legal marriage, does this mean one sponse cannot obtain medical coverage through their partner’s job? Heaven forbid the uninsured partner take ill. Or, suppose there are two lesbians who are raising a child together. The woman who actually birthed the child dies. Should the child go into foster care because the state does not recognize the other woman as a legal parent to the child? Forgive my ignorance as to what a “civil union” entails…I am not sure if this means they would have parental and property rights as would the spouse of a heterosexual married couple. For me the issue is denying these rights to a certain segment of the population simply because of the way they have sex. It’s discrimination.

  8. Renita Says:

    Aha, just as I figured. The saints have gone mute.
    What’s wrong: cat got your tongue?

    You’d think a topic like this would have this comments section on fire by now. LOL. Just as I figured, all my faithful readers have gone silent.

    This is why thinking folks leave the church when they want honest, passionate dialogue about topics that really matter.

  9. Sistah Y- Says:

    Sistahs,

    I am unsure if we are silent because we don’t have anything to say or if we are silent because to say what we think is too intimidating. Again, many of the bloggers stated earlier that this is a divisive topic and many of us may hide under the cloak of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. I am clear that I am not in support of same-sex marriages or civil unions because I do not believe that if GOD created us to reproduce ourselves that same-sex relationships enable us (without the help of science and adoption) to do just that. The question that I have not heard the Church engage in is what leads/draws a person to a homosexual lifestyle. I am not convinced that we are born gay, but as a Christian, I believe that there are demonic spirits at work in the earth that draw people into all types of pathologies (drugs, promiscuity, alcoholism, abuse..the list is endless)

    I apologize in advance for any of my comments that appear to be harsh or insensitive, but I wanted to be honest in my answer and would consider myself an evangelical which is open to discuss.

  10. Lisa Says:

    Well, I’ll discuss anything…Mic, please!

    I have friends who are MtF transgenders (persons who have a male sex organ and who take female hormones and get hip, breast and butt implants). At my blog, I wrote about the reactions to them in church. I was told by church folks to take down that post. And they can kiss because it’s MY blog.

    @ Sistah Y
    Homosexuality and lesbianism IS considered to be demonic in NEARLY ALL of the black churches that are Charismatic (except those who have a gay or lesbian congregation and pastor).

    @ Wanda
    Many black clerics believe that the laws in our country should be the same for ALL Americans. However, most do not believe that God condones homosexuality or lesbianism. The constitutional rights of Americans and their personal spiritual beliefs are not being intertwined.

    @ Dr. Weems
    Very few church folks will write that they believe homosexuality and lesbianism is a sin before God. They are silent probably because they don’t want to start any drama at your blog. They respect you and your blog so they would rather stay quiet rather than ignite somethimg that could turn into a negative exchange.

  11. wisdomteachesme Says:

    please know the i am saying all this in love. We are all at different places of accepting and learning-of growing in our spiritual maturity.
    i beleive that demonic spirits keep people ignorant also. unwilling to learn and accept All of what God has created.
    if a person has already made up their mind to believe what they do–that is the end of it the way i see it.
    I can accept anyone that has made up their mind as to how they think we got here. Some people think we came from apes-others think differently.
    It Does not bother me at all. I’m busy with My Father’s Work.
    AS
    i believe and i know that we are born this way-just as i was born a light-skin black women with so much mixture in my skin and blood–some people tried to tell me i was not black either. I never felt it was my personal responsiblitlity to try and convince them I am a black woman.

    Lesbians and Gays were not put here by GOD as a mistake as He makes none. And i will Stand and preach His Gospel Till Jesus returns to Who So Ever Believes-Just like He said to do.

    lol yes i have heard that one–people that believe that we are possessed by demons and that we don’t belong right where we are–Working for God. Whos place is it to question God about what God has me doing for Him? No ones.

    No one is here to convince anyone to believe the truth–you either do or you don’t. and if your truth is different than my truth-that is ok by this one-I know that at the end of the age everything will be separated by His angels–not by us.
    Jesus surely didn’t try to convince anyone to believe He Is Who He said He Is. And that is one teaching that i hold on to dearly.
    Regardless of who comments and who doesn’t–tinking about what you believe will definitly happen. How far people will go to get to the root of their issues is another.
    I pray without ceasing Col 1:9-10

  12. Danielle Says:

    Dr. Weems,

    I will try to be brief! :) Get the ruler out just in case…

    I think this topic has us silent because most of us have the mentality that you can love the person but maybe not condone their life choices. It is part of being human.

    I held on to the same view as Sista Y regarding the inability of same sex persons to procreate. But then at a certain point in my life I came realize that there was more to it than that for me. That thinking almost suggests that there is something wrong with people who are in childless heterosexual marriages; or people who marry for the first time beyond child-bearing years; or single people who never had children.

    I don’t want to get all “Bishop Carlton Pearson” with you all but I have wondered if there are just some mysteries that our minds will never unravel; some ways that we have yet to comprehend about right and wrong.

  13. revmamaafrika Says:

    Sis. Rev. Weems, you are on point; the Christian conservative types are indeed plotting much mischief this election season, as evidenced by how Jack Abramhoff went to jail, not Karl Rove.

    @ socgrad, I feel ya! As an African Christian staight sista, I’m concerned about “gay rights”, up to and including the right of Gs and Ls to legally marry and enjoy all the legal benefits thereof. Why? Because God’s abundance is for everybody, and for me “abundance” also means JUSTICE. The phrase is “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, not “tolerate your neighbor as you tolerate yourself.” And if all men and all women are equal under the law, then why can’t two equals get married?
    I

  14. crt Says:

    Yes, this took a minute to process for a couple of reasons, but as we learned from duble dutch rope training back in the day, sometimes you just gotta jump in.

    So…I remembered a conversation I had during the previous election with a member of my church who felt that Bush, as TBN said, was God’s choice using the “morality” clause as the reasoning. They also thought that New Orleans was hit by Katrina because of the immorality in the city. My posture was, and still is, that there are a whole lot of other things to point to in the Bible (ie. the marginalization of the poor and oppressed, the treatment of women and children, the least of these and rejected among us) that were more critical issues in terms of it’s widespread impact on our society. Not to mention it takes way more than a press conference saying that someone is a person of faith to gain my support. So though we did not see eye to eye on the issues, it was interesting to have such an honest conversation.

    In terms of where I am now, though I have experienced several changes over the years on my viewpoints concerning gay and lesbian relationships (inching away is some places from some of my dogmatic doctrinal upbringing) I can not say that I am in support of same sex marriage. But more than that, this issue for me is not the crowning issue that determines which candidate or party gets my vote. This is not to minimize how these issues impact others, but in terms of parties counting on my vote based on one particular smoking gun…I just have some other things that I look for.

  15. alucas Says:

    … but Sistah Y, if procreation is the primary goal or purpose for marriage then is it proper or right to allow couples to marry who do not plan to have children or allow couples to marry who have children from previous marriages and therefore do not want to have more children? Also what about couples who can not have children and must rely on science and adoption? What about those gays and lesbians who have “done there duty” — are they off the hook? If the union between a man and a woman is the ideal situation, then how do you explain the many gays and lesbians who were raised by hetero-sexual parents?

  16. Renita Says:

    @Lisa,

    Folks shouldn’t worry about starting drama on my blog. I reserve the right to moderate my blog which means:

    *It’s perfectly fine to disagree, but don’t disrespect.
    *I reserve the right (as owner of this blog) to edit your comment if it’s too long or just not post your comment if I find it offensive.
    *This is my online space. There is no “free speech” unless it’s me speaking.

  17. Angela R. Says:

    It is interesting in a day & age where we are distressed by the unwillingness to commit to a life long relationship that is being demonstrated by our younger generation, there is a group fighting for this very right and being denied it.

    I am some what torn by this topic because as an attorney who has practiced in the area of estates I automatically think of why legally marriage would solve so many problems same sex partnerships have when one dies. Especially if there hasn’t been proper planning.

    Then there is the Christian who knows what the Word says about these types of relationships. However I do believe that there is some genetic predisposition for homosexuality.

    If the relationship did not have a sexual component to it would the relationship be seen the same way? at the end of the day, isn’t that what everyone really gets up and arms about?

    Truth be told I think the silence on this topic comes from conflicting thoughts and emotions that are stirred up by this topic.

  18. Wanda Says:

    @Rentia
    Thanks for understanding.

    @Danielle
    First off, thanks for asking for clarity. “Support” means being my friend in private and public. For example, if you are friends enough go out with me, then the same should be true for the other person. Too often, I have invited people to events, not always gay, but because I am a lesbian and very out, they feel they will be “guilty by association” so they beg off. However, if they have an event, I am expected to show up. I don’t need the rainbow shirt (I don’t own one) or things of that sort to be supportive of me - those are outward images. Just be willing to stand with me, as my friend, in the face of opposition.

    I hope this helps to explain what I meant by the word “support” in that context.

  19. Felicia Says:

    I think what people do is thier business. But I don’t like other groups trying to attach them selves to Black issues like a rider on an insurance policy. Our issues are very different. I do not agree with the lifestyle. I feel White society will accept a gay Black as non threatning rather than accept the vision of a strong, loving Black heterosexual union.

  20. Sistah Y- Says:

    I think one of the fallacy arguments for support of same-sex relationships is to outline the flaws and sometimes just jacked-up situations of heterosexual couples. I am unsure if a man fathers a child or a mother births a child and they have “done their duty” that they are off the hook. My point/position is that I do not support the unions because I believe they are not natural and were not in the mind of GOD at the time he created marriage.

    I was thinking about this all day today and another thought I had is this:
    Is it possible because we (women) are relational by design that homosexuality is a progression from the intimacy that two women may share? My thought process is that when men befriend us, sometimes it is assumed that a sexual relationship is the next step. If I am off, ok. Again, apologizing in advance but wanting to really gain some understanding. (Prov. 4:7)

  21. socgrad Says:

    Good evening,
    I agree with Felicia that racism and heterosexism are distinctive forms of oppression, resulting in different experiences of domination. Cheshire Calhoun illustrates this powerfully in her argument that racism operates to place people of color at a disadvantage to whites. We have a place in society- it’s just a subordinate place. By contrast, heteronormativity displaces same-gender loving individuals altogether. Religious and secular norms say there is no place in society for this form of sexual expression.

    I bring up the displacement argument because often when I discuss lesbian and gay rights with black people, sisters and brothers go straight to the “they’re stealing our movement” argument, and by “they” we usually mean “white.” What about our black sisters and brothers? We often displace them from the gay rights movement and our churches. Don’t they have the right, by their racial heritage, to draw on the methods of the racially-focused civil rights movement to gain civil rights in another arena?
    Lastly, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully, knowing how the Bible was/is used to justify racial and gender oppression, why are we so willing to think we can use it to justify sexual oppression?

  22. Attorneymom Says:

    Sidebar: I don’t believe in “loosey goosey” or “burger king have it your way” type of Christianity.

    Matthew 7:13-14:

    13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  23. Angela Denise Davis Says:

    Frankly, I think “the white community” feels threatened by ANY loving black relationship: heterosexual or lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgenedered. The gift the black LGBT persons bring to the table is the ability to converse from a liminal location, one that understands the blessings and the burdens of both race and sexual orientation. Therefore, there is no truth to the idea that LGBT issues are not related to African American civil rights issues when we have the presence of those who are intimately connected to both camps. Bayard Rustin turns over in his grave everytime this arguement of divided interests surfaces.

    Oftentimes, we speak from what we know and when that well is very limited so goes the conversation. Marriage equality is a very important issue, but to talk with clarity about it requires that we have some true engagement with the concept of sexual orientation.

    I think the larger issue is the water beneath our wells, the ground where we begin the conversation about the “intentions” of God, the creation stories found in the book of Genesis, and the histories of ideas and ideals gone amuck.

    To think that we once thought the world was flat…and some still do.

    Angela Denise Davis

  24. cgcar Says:

    I sure hope that however these unions form (heterosexual or homosexual) they are more than about sex. Surely we know by now that as good as it is when it’s good, sex is not enough to sustain a strong marriage. Same goes for having or not having children. Please forgive my silly old school trying to be growing still self, but I don’t want any white person telling me to vote a certain way because they think they can play with my Christian views. They ain’t been caring about me and mine. Further, no Black candidate should think that being Black means they can just count on my vote while they ignore my issues, which happen to go way beyond who is sleeping with whom.

  25. Tre Says:

    Hello All.

    One thing I dislike about emailing is the questions/responses can come across as mean-spirited or insulting, though they’re not [necessarily] intended to be.

    @Sistah Y: are heterosexual couples who are unable to have children except through adoption and scientific methods, or those simply unable to have children, or don’t want to have children created by god? Does either of those scenarios diminish their ability to love and nurture? (End of response to Sistah Y).

    Intimacy between two people DOES NOT LEAD TO HOMOSEXUALITY — if for no other reason than “intimacy” is NOT all about SEX. To imply otherwise is to negate close, loving relationality between people. Being SGL (same gender loving) is not all about sex, just as being heterosexual is not all about sex.

    If the argument against SGL unions is founded in a literal interpretation of what God intended, why not apply the same literal interpretation to the entire Bible and thus, to our existence today? Why do we trip over ourselves exegeting and finding the true meaning of what scribes wrote regarding race, gender, children, food, clothing, divorce, [hetero]sex, etc….but put brakes on with SGL persons?

    I am lesbian clergy — although my denomination will not ordain me because I refuse to lie about who I am/whom I love. Yet, my being SGL is NOT the SUM TOTAL of who I am. My current congregation supports me as the student pastor, Sunday school teacher, cake baker, etc., etc., and yes, sometimes, I do wear a tee shirt (depending upon what I’ve ironed for the day). I can’t tell you how many straight clergy and other friends and acquaintances (female and male) are down low, yet question, condemn, or tell me “I just don’t understand their position” because I am out.

    I do believe LGBT rights is a civil rights struggle. There’s no difference between being lynched, denied employment, housing, insurance, medical treatment, etc., for being African American or supportive of African Americans, than being LGBT or supportive of LGBT, and denied those SAME rights SOLELY because we are LGBT or supportive of our cause. I can no more change my God-given predisposition for the gender of the one I love than I can change my skin color. The lesbian me was created and ordained by God to bring the Good News to the world and make disciples for the Kingdom of God. Regardless of what others may think, say, or do, I will not be separated from God.

  26. wisdomteachesme Says:

    @sistah Y
    you (& others) are not out of line in your wanting to know the hows and whyfors concerning lesbians/gays. i hope that the conversations here help those that are hiding/struggling with their true desires to live the life they know is true to their hearts-and to have a relationship with God through Jesus is possible. Also for people that have children,relatives or friends that are lesbian/gay-i hope gaining knowledge of accepting them whole heartily is helpful.

    For me there is not a direct answer other than, i am just attracted to women and have always been all my life. i’m 46 yrs old.
    well, right now i have a partner and we are in a committed relationship. we have been together for 4 yrs. going on a lifetime. :D We are educators, raising our 2 children-paying bills, helping others, spreading the Gospel, enjoying this Good life we have been given and praising God and Jesus daily. We are aunties, godmothers, sistergirls to many relatives and friends. just like everyone else.

  27. Kimberly Says:

    My point/position is that I do not support the unions because I believe they are not natural and were not in the mind of GOD at the time he created marriage.

    @Sistah Y
    Can we ever confidently say what is in the mind of God?

  28. Renita Says:

    I’m trying not to be heavy handed here in the comments section, although I have had to edit a few of my longwinded loyal talkers. But it’s all good. I’m just glad to see folks are jumping in and exchanging views.

    Let me pat myself on the back while I’m here. (Hold my mule.) I like that this blog piece gives folks from different sides of the table a safe place to air their differences and challenge one another’s positions. Safe and anonymous.

    I know from personal discussions that those who oppose homosexuality are rarely pushed to get beyond being reactionary and turning up their faces when the topic comes up. They are never forced to sit down and come up with an cogent, thoughtful argument against homosexuality and rarely engage with lesbians and gays in a civil discussion. I applaud those of you who are trying here on the blog to talk this through.

    At the same time I’d like to push the discussion a wee bit further out into deep waters by reminding my LGBT readers that surely you know that part of what “straights” are reacting to and part of what conjures up in their minds when they think of homosexuality/homosexuals are the “flamers”: the hard core butches who dress and take on the worst of male personna and behavior and the gay men (I’ll refrain from the label) who take on the most exaggerated (and perhaps worst) female personna and behavior. What’s up with that? What’s up with these gendered personnas within homosexual relations that end up only reproducing the gendered roles we all fight against in heterosexual relations? Are you trying to convince “straight” Christians that this is all a part of God’s creation and should be embraced too?

    Tah. Tah. LOL. I’m off to get on my plane.

  29. Tammi Says:

    As I am gasping for air. It’s amazing that when it comes down to a campaign and presidental elections we hear a lot from the government on their views about what God has intended. I guess my real question is when the president elect takes office what are they going to do for church folks then. In many cases in my short time here on earth I don’t recall that once they take office they make good on the committments during the campaign. For example Bush won the second time on the fact he was against the issue of homosexual marriage yet two states now have the ability to marry. I think the campaign using the way God intended is just that a campaign tool to win votes. There are many more issues that need to be tackled than how a person chooses on how they live their personal life. How about New Orleans still needs help, HIV Aids researchers still need money, cancer research, homelessness, and much much more.

  30. deborah Says:

    I’m not seeking drama. I’m an old Bible thumper and for the same reason I don’t endorse heterosexual sex outside of marriage, I don’t endorse lesbian or gay marriage.

    I don’t think gay/lesbian marriage is a socially significant issue and all of the attention the christian right has placed on gay marriage was a attempt to redirect concern away from real issues such as health care, poverty, the crisis in public education, homelessness, and the insane war in Iraq.

    I have been personally offended by the way in which some (mostly white) gays and lesbians have tried to compare their cause to the civil rights movement or the abolitionist movement. Who knows who is gay or lesbian unless someone chooses to reveal that fact? Everyone knows who is what color and while people my color were getting blown up and murdered for attempting to vote or live free, many gays and lesbians were safely in the closet watching it all unfold.

    I would support civil unions, but not marriage.

  31. Danielle Says:

    I do have a major issue with the “flamers” within the gay community. It just seems to me that if woman wants to be with another woman who is trying best to be a man, then why not be with a man? It does not make any sense to me.

    I guess I never answered the question you posed. I just don’t support gay marriage but I think there shoudl be some civil agreements for the property, children and health care issues.

  32. Ruby Sales Says:

    Hello All, Is this bound for the ruler?

    Let me begin by thanking our sister Renita for opening this space up for us to have a much needed transparent conversation on lesbian and gay love and marriage. No matter the pain, as a family of sisters, we cannot survive the deadly onslaughts from outside until we get to the heart of issues that divide us.

    Having said this let me say Sister Y, yes, there are demonic and radical evil in the world. However,contrary to your belief thatit is homosexuality, it is systemic injustice such as racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism. It amazes me that we can talk about sin without understanding that injustice is a radical sin that separates us from each other and God. WE ARE NEITHER PASSIONATE OR OFFENDED BY THEIR PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES AND IN THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN. Instead, we foam at the mouth about whether same gender loving people should have rights and equal protection under the law in a democracy.

    This reminds me so much of white supremacists who argued that we were a debased people whose ancestral offense to God made us unfit to enjoy the benefits of a democracy and the gifts of God’s creation. They grounded this argument in scripture. They argued that our skin color and conditions as an enslaved people represented God’s curse on the descendants of Cain and Abel. With God in one hand and the Bible in the other,they perpetrated all kinds of radical evil on us.

    Homophobia runs deep in our veins. I say our because even as a lesbian, I struggle to rise above and not internalize the virulent homophobia that lurks and screams out at us in all venues of society. Its hard! At the same time,I must constantly ask myself, how can I love God when I cannot love my homophobic sisters whose bitter words sound so much like the howls and screeching of a lynch mob? Its hard,but I try because I know that hate separates me from the love of God and undermines the profound experience of opening myself up to the fullness and worth of all my sisters’ humanities and possibilities even as they degrade me and my same gender loving sisters?

    Sisters who love women, take heart, we are in the lion’s den. As our enslaved ancestors shouted and sang if God delivered Daniel why not us?

    If my sisters on line here are going to take theological license with homosexuality then what about oral sex which can be argued as a form of cannibalism? Are you offended and disgusted by this? Are you peeping into the bedrooms of your hetero brothers and sisters? Meantime as we carry on, injustice buries us, and I suspect it will into the fifth generation

    Ruby Sales

  33. monique Says:

    Dr Weems, as a young African American evangelical, i do not support the acknowledgment of civil unions or homosexual marriage or children born out of wedlock. i am upset that people who say they are Christians do not teach their children Christian principles and/or expect the church to teach them,the adults, Christian principles. i’ve met people who think that if a topic had not been covered in bible study or a sermon, it is not a sin. Will the real Christians please stand up! if My people who are called by My name…
    i tell people that God loves them but hates sin. i make it very clear that Christianity is a lifestyle not a political tag. meb

  34. hagar's daughter Says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the difference between civil union and marriage. I think of my marriage as both.

    I view those who express their sexual orientation with exagerated personas as persons who are expressing themselves. I believe, no I trust that God does not make mistakes. Persons struggle with what we believe God intended. I would officiate a marriage ceremony of a loving, mature couple same gender couples included.

    There was a time when I would remain silent while others joked or said offensive comments about gays & lesbians. I had to repent and no longer am silent.

    During my first year at seminary I read a theologian’s wise response to something similar that I have taken to heart. This thinking woman of faith said, “God called me to minister and not to judge.”

  35. Rev. Angela Says:

    Well, here goes…
    What concerns me most is how Christians live out their baptismal calling and covenant. I had very hurtful experience as a pastor by “straight” (in more ways than one) devils. I seriously considered leaving the ministry altogether but as God would have it, an “open and affirming” UCC congregation called me as an interim while their pastor went on a sabbatical to study labyrinths. This congregation was more than half GLBTQ. With notable exceptions (We are talking about churchfolks, afterall.)folks faithfully lived their baptismal covenant and calling as they faced the exactions of daily life. These sisters and brothers loved me back into the ministry. I am grateful.
    In another vein: Sexuality and the Black Church is a helpful read in teasing apart what torques us off as Black folk when it comes to sexuality.

  36. alucas Says:

    I have no problem with defining marriage as a union of two - between consenting adults.

    What I think some Christians fail to realise is that gays and lesbians are not seeking their validation when they ask for the right to marry. What they are seeking is equal protection under the law, and as citizens of the U.S. I feel they have every right to expect and demand this protection. What they are wanting is what every American citizen is promised and that is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    It is not necessary for you or me to understand the ins and outs of homosexual relationships. To be honest I don’t feel its any of our business, because our comprehension of their relationships has nothing to do with having equal protection under the law. They pay taxes like everybody else, they have to abide by the laws like everybody else and some serve in the military and have given thier lives for this country, so why can’t they enjoy the same protection as everybody else?

    And while I’m at it …

    The Bible also says, Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me … I don’t see any Christians picketing and voting to shut the doors of all non-Christian churches, mosques or temples. Do we have a full comprehenion about all the diverse religions in America? Do we know all that is going on behind those doors? So why should they be allowed to exist in this Chirstian country with full protection of the law. I’m just saying …

    We really need to get beyond our fear of “other”, and not let our differences divide us.

    Peace and blessings.

  37. pioneervalleywoman Says:

    Greetings, Rev. Weems!

    Thanks for this post. My perspective is coming from someone who lives in New England, where there are civil unions in Vermont and gay marriage in Mass. Beyond that, I have spent the past 5 years teaching this subject, ever since the Goodridge decision in 2003.

    This means that although I am straight, there are lots of gay couples around. Up here, although the way gay marriage began (by Supreme Judicial Court ruling) is controversial and probably will be for a long time, the storm anticipated by the decision has not followed.

    I think it comes from the basis of what the Goodridge decision said, that gay people are just like straight people and are entitled to live their lives with dignity.

    For example….

    I know two of the plaintiffs in the Goodridge decision–an interracial lesbian couple (b/w). I used to see them at the local YMCA. I know where they live. I have seen them around town with their children, two young biracial black boys (the w partner gave birth to them). I have seen the black mother reading to the boys from a children’s book as she walked them to school in the morning.

    I had them come talk to my class. I have heard them say exactly why they wanted marriage. No matter how many legal arrangements they sought to use in order to protect their family unit, they were insufficient without the right of marriage. Just being married, all sorts of rights follow, legal and otherwise; one can barely think of them: inheritance, taxes, benefits, rights to care for children, rights to make decisions on behalf of a sick spouse, etc.

    Recently, the governor of Mass., Deval Patrick, black man, signed a bill passed by the legislature which overturned a statute passed in the 1910s which had been used to deny black/white interracial couples the right to marry in the state. In the wake of Goodridge, it was being used to deny out of state gays the ability to marry in the state.

    As for civil unions, all they mean is that in Vermont, gay couples can have lots of rights similar to what married couples have. But it is not marriage. As for gay marriage, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states that no other state need ever recognize another state’s gay marriage. So for gays who are married in the state of Mass., their marriage is worthless in about half of the states that passed their own version of DOMA, or which banned same-sex marriage by constitutional amendment.

    One issue that I can see being of importance, is the significance of the gay rights issue in light of anti-discrimination law–how will it affect private (ie., religious) institutions? Probably similar to the racial discrimination laws–private action not protected…Now this is very controversial. For example, Catholic Charities in Mass. has stopped doing adoptions. The state permits gay marriage and gay adoption, but the church does not permit it. Rather than run afoul of the law, they removed themselves altogether.

    Please excuse the essay, but I just wanted to inform…

  38. deborah Says:

    I support civil unions because I think it’s wrong to be mean-spirited regarding blocking access to a loved one’s medical records, inheritances, property, etc.

    But the Bible is very clearly against homosexuality and if we want to use the Bible as the standard of who God is and what our faith is about, we can’t just blow off the parts we don’t like.

    My personal belief is that Jesus is God the Son and that He and God the Father are in agreement, as one. I don’t think we can say Jesus endorses something The Father condemns.

    If we think we know more than God, we have got a really large problem in our perception of reality.
    I will argue all day about why Paul has crazy ideas about women, but Jesus and God are not Paul and Paul is not God. God really has spoken on the gay/lesbian issue and our objections don’t change that fact.

  39. Renita Says:

    @Deborah
    I don’t have a problem with your position, but it would help everyone if you would specifically cite the texts you have in mind when you talk about what we know for sure to be Jesus and God’s position on homosexuality.

  40. Angela R. Says:

    Rev. Weems from what I understand about the “flamers” (not sure I like that phrase) is that they may in fact be transgender. Meaning, they see them as the gender they personify. They often believe that they were born the wrong sex. For those who can afford it they have the gender reassignment surgery and are know as transexuals.

    This very discussion is always brought up to stir emotions. What I don’t understand is why are people so offended by an individual’s choice of partners. What is the fear or threat? If it is a sin then isn’t it our duty as Christians to pray for the “sinner” and not condemn them? The last time I checked we are all sinners falling short. Politicians pandering to Christian self-righteousn, holier-than-thou mentality is only for their advantage and causes the real issues that the church needs to concern with to be lost.

    What do you use to define who you are and why is it a threat to a woman/man if in the presence of someone who is part of the GLBTQ community? Just because someone is attracted to someone of the same sex it doesn’t mean they want you. Move out the way of your ego and the because this is what I was taught mentality, and get to know people for who they are not for who they choose as a partner.

  41. alucas Says:

    @Deborah

    My Sister you have to remember that the Bible is not everybody’s guide book. Everyone is not trying to adhere to what the Bible says. Everyone does not care about what Jesus would do … they are only concerned with equal rights and equal protection under the law as citizens of the U.S.

  42. karic Says:

    People say choose your battle, and same-sex marriage is not mine. But as a critical thinker on the issues I have a few thoughts:
    First, 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce, both in and out of the church. Clearly heterosexual couples don’t value the institution of marriage. Does anyone know the “divorce/separation” rate among same-sex couples in life-long commitments?

    Second, I have heard people say that marriage was God’s first covenant with humans. If we’re going by the bible, that is not the case. God’s first covenant was to give humans dominion over the earth. The evangelical, bible quoting people have largely chosen to skip right over the part about taking care of our planet. Same sex-marriages forbidden, but the planet will not sustain another generation. Does that make sense to anyone?

  43. CP Says:

    I’m sorry. Perhaps I am not a thinking woman of faith after all. Perhaps it is because I don’t have the luxury of having the information received in seminary. Perhaps I am just totally missing what I understand about the word of God. Perhaps I’m just a little irritable and sensitive today. Perhaps all of the avbove is true.
    That being said…I keep this blog open Monday-Friday because I enjoy the dialogue. And, although this dialogue began last week, I am just miffed at how we can convince ourselves of somethings. I had to just stop reading because too much of this is just off.
    I don’t recall the blogger, but earlier someone wrote about God putting gays and lesbians here. I think I shut down at this point. I realize that there are two creation accounts in Genesis 1 & 2. But do we all believe the fundamentals of God created the earth and then created humankind for the earth? Do we all believe that God said that it was not good for man to be alone and therefore created WOman to complement the male? Male and female created He them?
    Yes, God is merciful and kind, slow to anger…but, what some Christians have convinced themselves as acceptable to God is just off! It is off and I resent it being taught to children in the schools, I resent it being accepted by Christian leaders! I resent that I am expected to accept it as a part of God’s plan because this is not scriptural and no will ever allow convince me otherwise!
    A gentleman I was helping get state services to assist him because he had been stricken with AIDS and could no longer go to work once said to me that if I lived more I would not have so many questions about homosexuals. I don’t think I have to accept sin to understand sin, and most of the time because we choose to, inspite of accepting Christ as our savior. We all fall short on some level, but to convince ourselves that God made us this way and it is His perfect plan for our lives and people should accept that and not struggle with who we have decided to be, when that is totally against what we know to be true… Come on this is exceeds taking God’s grace and mercy for granted!

  44. Kimberly Says:

    @deborah
    There are lots of biblical references to sexual activity that modern day Christians don’t necessarily adhere to in a 21st century reality: DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21 If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
    DEUTERONOMY 22:22 If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death. LEVITICUS 18:19 The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed. MARK 12:18-27 If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
    DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12 If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.
    Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property were all commonly accepted in the Bible. I am curious if these are equally as offensive as the edicts against homosexuality, which you did not cite. I ask because you made the argument that we can’t “blow off the parts we don’t like.” What about the preceding parts?
    Kimberly

  45. Monica Says:

    I’m late to this discussion, but I do want to ring in. First of all, I supposed the right to marry for all persons, whatever their gender. But what really bothers me is the conflation of “church”/ religion and state that occurs with marriage in this country. The arguments against gay and lesbian marriage that I’ve heard are usually on religious grounds. But this country was founded to avoid religious discrimination. In a better USA, I think that civil unions should be available to all persons in all states. And whatever rights are associated with “marriage” now would go to civil unions. And all people would have to go to a judge or state official to get a civil union. And if marriage is a religious ritual, then people can go to their faith communities to have marriages done. They would be two separate issues. When ordained clergy are given the right to bestow state sanction on marriage (which is currently the case), we’re just operatives of the state. Talk about conflation of church and state. Of course, I don’t think this will happen, but I think it would be clearer and would allow individual faith communities to take their stances and those of who strongly believe that there is no sin in being GLBTQ (I’m in this group) can affiliate ourselves with those communities.

  46. Fal Says:

    @ All,

    I’ve been camping with adolescent girls for a week so I have not been able to weigh in on this post. But there are some amazing sistahs like TRE, ANGELA DENISE DAVIS, REVMAMAAFKA, RUBY SALES, ALUCAS, KIMBERELY and SOCGRAD holding it down and saying everything I would say in response to Dr. Weems’ blog as well as the responses I would level against Christian fundamentalists.

    @ RevMamaAfika

    Ashe. Thank you for dispelling some of the myths regarding same gender loving relationships, especially the often cited myth, “there were no gay and lesbian people in African, its European disease.

    @ Angela Davis, @ Tre, and @ Ruby Sales,

    I agree with all of you. The intersection of race and sexual orientation is something that makes the situation even more oppressive for lesbian, gay, transgendered, bisexual, and queer people of color. It’s compounded marginalization.

    @My Middle of the Road theologians and Saints, and whoever else . . . ?

    “I would perform the ceremony because it is not my right to judge . . .”

    “It is not necessary for you or me to understand the ins and outs of homosexual relationships. To be honest I don’t feel its any of our business, because our comprehension of their relationships has nothing to do with having equal protection under the law.”

    Even by saying I will not judge or it is not my right to judge is indicative of a judgment. Clearly, deep within you feel there is something wrong with loving the same gender. To be honest a relationship between a man and a woman can be considered same gendered if they enact the same gender such as when both man and the woman exude feminine characteristics or male characteristics. And of course this can happen because gender is a “social construct” and it has nothing to do with biology.

    Additionally, even if black lesbians are given equal rights under the law systemic discrimination is still present. So, this is not just a discussion about rights, but it is also a discussion on how do we transform how we see sexuality, relationships, and power. This means that my middle of the road “I will not judge, it’s their choice” people are also responsible for interrogating their assumptions and bias about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people of color.

  47. Renita Says:

    Thanks CP. I’m glad you came back to the discussion and weighed in. That’s what makes you a thinking woman of faith, that you don’t withdraw from touchy topics just because you disagree. Listen to opposing positions. Weigh in. Respond thoughtfully. Listen some more. Think about it some more, and respond. Respectfully disagree.

    @Pioneervalleywoman
    Thanks for a broader lens on the issue.

    @Kimberly.
    Thanks for reminding us that we all pick and choose, that we all are part of traditionss that have influenced us in our thinking that some passages are more timeless and sacred than others — despite our rhetoric to the otherwise which says that we believe and abide by all that’s there.

    @Monica.
    You hit it out the park by breaking it down along the lines of the separation of church and state and the difference between civil unions and religious ceremonies/rites.

    @Fallon

    Even by saying I will not judge or it is not my right to judge is indicative of a judgment

    Perhaps you’re right. But give this group a break. They are trying.

    Let me go on record in saying: I do judge. I have no problem with judging. I started a blog because I am willing to make judgements. I don’t have a hell to send anyone to (although I wish I did), but I don’t mind opening my big mouth and saying what I think is right or wrong, and why. And every now and then, I even appeal to religious scripture to bolster my case. LOL

    And, finally:

    Rev. Weems from what I understand about the “flamers” (not sure I like that phrase) is that they may in fact be transgender. Meaning, they see them as the gender they personify. They often believe that they were born the wrong sex. For those who can afford it they have the gender reassignment surgery and are know as transexuals.

    Perhaps I’m not the thinking woman of faith I thought I strive to be after all. I’ll have to trust the rest of you on transgendered sexuality. Here’s where the screaming Pentecostal in me wants to bolt for the door.

  48. Danielle Says:

    My final words here but hopefully not in an intelliegent dicussion on these issues. It is uncomfortable but necesary.

    @Wanda
    Thanks for giving me a better sense of your feelings and I appreciate that.

  49. Tamecia Says:

    Weighing in, I admit that my opinion is evolving. I have lived in both CA and MA when legislation was passed regarding legalizing homosexual relationships. Denominationally, I cannot officiate over any ceremonies of same gender couples if/when I am ordained. (Am I so conflicted that I will leave my denomination? No, but there are PLENTY of denominational issues that could chase me away.) I have friends who have lived double lives for years because they were afraid. As a young minister, I tell anyone who asks to do the research to make decisions, and ‘If you can handle whatever consequences there might be, regarding heaven, hell, premarital sex, etc., Do You.’ The State may say yes or no now, but the GATE will later. I don’t work the GATE. As far as the conflation between church and state, all weddings are not religious and all unions are not legally respected. What I wonder is: There are unmarried heterosexual couples who have been together for years and are considered ‘common law.’ What rights does that union have? Are they comparable to the rights of civil unions that same gender couples desire? Would those two sisters in Women of Brewster Place now be common law or desiring marriage? Is marriage to get legal respect or symbolize union like heterosexual couples? Motives are sometimes important because semantics are obstacles.

    Lastly, some of the couples married in MA flew into town for a wedding, and couples that want divorces cannot get divorced in the states in which they live because the marriage isn’t recognized, but MA has some residential requirement as prerequisites. Whether we Agree or disagree, whoever came up with these plans didn’t tie up everything neatly. Maybe its a backhand way to punish those couples. (I’m conspiratorial today.)

  50. deborah Says:

    I’ve had a chance to grab my NIV. Here goes:

    @Renita

    Levitcus 18:1: “The LORD said to Moses;…in verse 18:22 we can read God’s objection to homosexuality.

    John 10:30: Jesus says “I and the Father are one.”

    @alucas

    I understand and respect the rights of others not to follow the Bible. But as Christians, isn’t the Bible our primary source for understanding God? If the Bible isn’t a primary source, what is? If we don’t think the book is reliable, why follow this faith?

    As I said, I’m not in favor of being mean-spirited, but I just don’t see how we can get around Biblical instruction on this point.

  51. deborah Says:

    @kimberly

    I’m sorry…I forgot to answer to your question in my earlier response.

    While it is true we can always find Bible verses that apply to something that is not an issue in the 20th/21st century, it is also true we can find verses that answer issues of our time.

    The other day, I had a young person ask me for a verse that says he cannot smoke weed. I told him there was no such verse. The real issue he needed to address was whether or not he wanted to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ. I explained that if he wanted to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ, he did not have the exclusive right to choose his own preferences and priorities.

    I think that principle applies to this issue.

  52. Chude Says:

    I once asked the eldest of my sisters-in-law about why she would vote to prevent gay and lesbian marriage. She said it was because she believes it is a sin and she could not in conscience contribute to some one sinning.

    I then asked my sister-in-law about intersex people, people who are physically neither male nor female. “What about them,” I asked. “Well,” she answered, “I guess they couldn’t marry either.”

    I believe in choice. How could I not? I am a white woman married to an African American man. But I have a friend who has two X chromosones and one Y. She looks female but didn’t have a womb. She can pretend to be a woman, but in truth she is an inter-sex person. If one truly believes that God only sanctions heterosexual marriage, then people like her wouldn’t be allowed to marry. She is neither male nor female.

    My sister-in-law worries about her brother and me going to hell because we haven’t proclaimed Christ as our savior in her church’s terms. I’ve never felt I could ask her if he and I are going to go to hell for having oral sex. I think Ruby Sales is correct raising this question. The thing is my sister-in-law would agree with Ruby about social justice. It’s the sex that has her confused. That and the separation of church and state.

  53. revmamaafrika Says:

    I have a big brother who is Muslim and gay. He has studied Islam in Saudia Arabia and China, speaks fluent Arabic and Chinese and has his own business. He plans to start a mosque where women will be allowed to lead prayers. Imagine that! :)

    Well, for what I know now about Baynard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, the sisters and brothers in South Africa (and their allies) who fought for legal marriage of Gs and Ls, etc., well, there’s no way in the world I’d be a member of any church or organization that would not welcome GLBTQ sisters and brothers. PERIOD.

  54. Tess Says:

    “Even if they oppose same sex unions, as many assume they do, race trumps theology which means Obama can count on their vote. But is that true?”

    If history is to repeat itself, race will not trump politics. It never has, for there is always a weaker black candidate who can be talked into entering an election just to draw votes away from the stronger black candidate. There will always be someone to say racism is dead and we should just vote the issues, regardless of the fact that there is a perfectly qualified black man running.

    “How much does homosexuality and same sex marriage matter to this generation of African American churchgoers?”

    It matters, but I don’t plan on attending any marches. I want marriage for GLT people, but there are other issues like poverty and domestic violence that trump this one for me.

    Nice chatting

  55. Ruby Sales Says:

    Sisters All,

    I have listened to each of your comments, and I have so many different responses. However, the rules of the house require me to limit my response. I am amazed that a people whom God brought out of the bowels of enslavement and southern apartheid failed to learn lessons about oppression and grab the opportunity and the grace to take our experiences as a people to deliver a new message about love and justice and what it means to reaffirm our common connections as children of God.

    Yet, we become mouth pieces for religious imperialism by believing that God only reveals God’s intentions to Christian prophets and that Christianity is the only road to God. Obviously, we serve a different God. Thanks be to God!

    @Deborah, When I was young and twenty I did not want to hear about Lordships and Jesus. I had a burning desire to follow in the footsteps of the radical Jesus who went all the way for righteousness. What about Jesus the Jew who came from a people who lived under the violent weight of the Roman Empire? Jesus, the Jew who descended from a long line of freedom fighters? And while we are on this subject, the primary source for me is not the Bible. After all God did not write the Bible. Rather, the books came from the mouths of men who said that God spoke to them, and not to mention that the church councils and that choose books in the Bible. I read the Koran, Audre Lorde, Renita Weems and a host of sources whose words continue a long conversation on liberation and what it means to live build up a new world. It must be terrible to only see God and our options only through the narrow optics of Christianity.

    So much of what passes for Christianity is merely a covering for our narrow injustices and unbending dehumanization of others. We can do so much better? Can I get a witness for the lives of our sisters and brothers lesbian and gays who fought in liberation movements that gave us the cushioned seats that we sit on today?

    I wanted to talk about the internalization of male power by women who ape male culture. However, that will have to wait because we are still on first base in the first inning.

    Ruby Sales

  56. Lisa Says:

    @ Chude
    I have been engaging with the transgender and intersex community for several years. What I have found is that MOST Christians I know are afraid of MtF transgenders (feeling that they are “not normal” and that they are “freakish” in appearance). It seems that FtM transgenders are viewed as manly-women but NOT as men (althought FtM transgenders do NOT want to be identified as women). No one realizes just how many people have two sex organs! The church doesn’t mention it!

    Most people do not know the difference between a drag queen and a MtF transgender! {shaking my head} You are correct that there are many, many layers to peel away when discussing this marriage issue.

    @ Dr. Weems
    I understand there are…um…concerns in the church about transgenders. Church folks are horrified to see me in public with my transgender friends (eating at restaurants, etc.).

    Once preop MtF transgenders have taken female hormones for a number of years, they have a male sex organ but it looks um… different after hormone therapy. (Don’t worry, I won’t go into details here!) Ask me at my blog if you want! I’ll go there. Their bodies do not appear to be entirely “male”. And yes, I’ve seen the male body change to non-male/partially female with female hormones.

    By the way, you are a HUGE pulpit celeb in the blsck trans Christian community. Seriously!

  57. Tre Says:

    To my Sisters/Sistahs in the struggle – thank you for your insight and voice. For those of us (regardless of sexual status/orientation) who are not afraid to take to the streets, churches, houses of politics, and blogs, DO NOT allow ourselves and our voices to be silenced. We cannot, we will not, and we must not, stand idly by as our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are willfully “in the name of god and christianity” removed from full fellowship in the family of the community of faith.

    The greatest tragedy of our time may well be the way [so-called] moderate and liberal Christians have allowed the right wing fundamentalist, literalist camps to define the Scriptures for all – often completely ignoring Jesus’ message of radical inclusion and love. In this quest for full inclusion, I believe, I trust, with all the faith in God that I have, that God has a plan. We are continuously in dialogue with those who are not listening…but God has a plan.

  58. Tre Says:

    @Tess …. those issues are important for me also — especially as a survivor of same-sex domestic violence — not that one type of violence trumps the other. As are the issues of poverty (sometimes I have more month than money), homelessness, lack of adequate medical treatment and insurance for people of color, children, women, the socio-economically disadvantaged in a land flowing with milk and honey, the destruction of the planet in the name of “progress”. (end to Tess)

  59. deborah Says:

    I’ve learned a lot from these comments and I appreciate the courtesy shown to my unpopular position.

    True: there are some very mean-spirited people who are using and have used scripture as a weapon to hurt and divide. On the other hand,there are some of us committed to Biblical Christianity and we understand that commitment means you don’t always get to choose your own path and do whatever you wish.

    It’s been a good discussion.

  60. Tre Says:

    OK. I promise I won’t post anything else….

    @ Rev. Dr. Weems 8/9: One of the problems with reactionaries is the inclination toward selective deafness.

    I’m not sure what gives rise to the ultra in either homo- or hetero- sexual representations. Truth be known, I find myself completely irritated by the ultra flamers/butches(f/b’s) – though I don’t like either term…reminds me of the “N” word. On the other hand, I don’t know if they are trying to convince anyone of any particular thing. I wonder if they are simply trying to express a [possibly] repressed part of their inner being…or, are they just simply…being?

    Then again, I also find myself completely irritated by young women/men who are scantily dressed, pants hanging down past the jewels, disrespectful, inarticulate,
    functionally illiterate, “i-breathe-therefore-i-am-entitled” mentality – possibly as much as any person or group of people are irritated by “ultra” (outside of “normal” – whatever or whomever decides what “normal” is) members who give rise to negative, catch-all reactions from society. If the whole/majority of the LGBT community is to be judged by the ultra f/b’s, why not judge all of specific segments of society by those committing the most outlandish acts/exhibiting the most ridiculous behavior or dress?

    @ Tammi 8/9: Just a point…If one looks to what Dubya has/has not accomplished during his tenure – he cut funding for stem cell & other medical research, he cut funding for public housing, he cut funding for education, he cut funding for Safe/Green Planet/atmospheric conservation causes…heck, he went through 4 TRILLION [1+12 zeros] dollars in the space of, what, 6 months? And the beat goes on.

    @ Deborah 8/9: LGBT – regardless of race/ethnicity – were and are involved in the Civil Rights and abolitionist [present-day world slave trade] movements. The term “civil rights” is not etched in stone, to be utilized solely for and applied to, the African American community. It is my civil, moral, and ethical right to be able to walk down the street with my partner and be secure in my [our] beings.

    @ Ruby 8/9 & 8/11: AMEN WALLS!!!!
    Tré

  61. Renita Says:

    Thanks to everyone who weighed in. Whew!!! This has been a rich discussion. I’ll probably close the comments when I post my new blog piece in the next few hours. Some final thoughts.

    Welcome those of you who are new to the blog and have left comments for the first time. Hopefully you’ll like what’s here enough to subscribe to the feed to this blog or drop by regularly.

    If the whole/majority of the LGBT community is to be judged by the ultra f/b’s, why not judge all of specific segments of society by those committing the most outlandish acts/exhibiting the most ridiculous behavior or dress?

    Take the time to read this blog Tre. You’ll see there’s been plenty of hue and cry over current dress standards and behavior of the young.

    And I simply can’t let this one go. I was hoping someone else would speak up.

    While it is true we can always find Bible verses that apply to something that is not an issue in the 20th/21st century, it is also true we can find verses that answer issues of our time.

    @Deborah
    Whoa! Did you understand Kimberly’s question?

    Why do you suggest the scriptures Kimberly pointed to that regulate divorce, adultery, fornicate, and sex during a woman’s cycle in Deut. 22 and Lev. 18:19 as no longer ISSUES applying to the 20th/21st century, but insist that the one there in Lev. 18:1 (the same chapter!!) alluding to sexual contact between men is an issue and one worth regulating and enforcing?

  62. Ruby Sales Says:

    Dear Everyone.

    It’s probably too late to weigh in but I’ll try. This whole business of butch dress/culture nags at me based on comments that forced me to interrogate my assumptions. I must begin by saying that I find women who dress, dominate and act like men politically and intellectually problematic. I am no more willing as a same gender loving women to submit to them than I am willing to submit to men.

    Yet, I am bothered by a deep and growing feeling after comments on blog that this is one more hideout for homophobia. We do not dismiss the entire Black male species because they internalize white patriarchal culture. As a Black feminist, one of my deepest criticisms of the behavior of some Black males is that they do not want to change the heart of society; they just want the right to rule like white men. Nor do many believe that rape is wrong. Instead, they want us to accept that castration justifies rape. We do not write them off. Instead, we keep relating to Black men and making excuses for disturbing aspects of their patriarchy. They might not dress like women but many damn sure do act like white men in churches,in our homes and in the public square.

    So, I think on this one, we need to search our hearts. I promise I’ll begin at home. This tasks is all of ours including butches. What images and ideology fuel our assumptions? Are we women wanting to be men? Blacks wanting to be White? We cannot I understand after reading this blog be selective in what we detest or critique. Intellectual and political honesty require us to dig deeply on this one. I think Tre is right on! Perhaps her example about dress is not the strongest,but her analysis and instincts are solid.

    Ruby Sales

  63. Tre Says:

    It has truly been a rich conversation. Thanks for allowing me to participate. Be blessed.