Well, my review copy of the book I mentioned earlier — Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians And Gays in Black Churches
— if it will help me understand people like Wellington Boone, the latest black minister to join the ranks of anti-gay bigotry.
In the last QKos round-up I link to Right Wing Watch, which noted one Values Voter Summit Speaker stating that the gay rights movment was “birthed and inspired by the anti-christ” and that the anti-christ himself will be gay. But somehow I missed Wellington Boone’s inspired oration. Fortunately, PageOneQ led me to Think Progress which has audio (for those who can stomach it) as well as a transcript of Boone’s speech which I’ll offer here as evidence of … Well. It speaks for itself.
BOONE: This matter of gay — I want the gays mad at me. I’m not on enough of their hit lists. [Applause] Bless God. I want to tell you something, and I’m gonna get [inaudible] here, and I hope I don’t embarass anybody about this here. But I want to say something to you, that I’m not afraid of these people. And they do play dirty tricks, and they do try to, you know, you know, do stuff with your mailing lists, and they’re really nasty about trying to stop us from, you know, taking away their perversion.
But I want to tell you something is, they don’t know, we’re driven by God to deal with this stuff, and I want to say to you that, in this regard, I’m not playing with you. That when it comes to the matter of this gay stuff, I know that a family is not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. It’s a man and a woman. That’s the creative order, and I’m not backing down. I’m standing flat-footed on that right there. [Applause]
Everywhere I get to speak, I am guarded by the grace of God, being strong on it. Now they’re fussing on it, they’re saying a few things, but they don’t have me, you know, in their, you know, on their web sites. They’re not coming at me strong, and I would say this. Back in the days when I was a kid, and we see guys that don’t stand strong on principle, we call them “faggots.” A punk is — and our people, I’m from the ghetto, so sometimes it does come out a little bit. I got another one I’m gonna say in a minute — [laughter] — that don’t stand up for what’s right, we say, “You’re sissified out!” “You’re a sissy!” That means you don’t stand up for principles. And I just believe that God hasn’t called us to be sissies on a principle level. We’re called to be, to stand up and be men. I’m not talking about as in gender. I’m talking about man of God, men in the marketplace, and when a U.S. senator or congressman says that he wants me to vote for them, and he’s not biblically based — if he doesn’t have God as his Lord, how can somebody that doesn’t feel the need for God lead me?
As yet another hate-filled black preacher, with a successful ministry, Boone joins the ranks of:
“Sisters making more money than brothers and it’s creating problems in families … that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians,” Wilson said.
…“Lesbianism is about to take over our community. … I ain’t homophobic because everybody here got something wrong with him,” he said. “But … women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that.
“No wonder your behind is bleeding,” he said. “You can’t make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female.”
During a dramatic presentation on how strong men follow the teachings of the church, he pointed out that “real men” for the Lord are straight. “It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I’m not talking about no faggot or no sissy,” said Owens on a church tape recording. “Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow,” he said, inviting them to the front of the church. “All the real men—I’m talking about the straight men,” he preached. “You ain’t funny and you ain’t cranky, but you’re straight. Come on down here and walk around and praise God that you are straight. Thank him that you’re straight. All the straight men that’s proud to be a Christian, that’s proud to be a man of God.”
“In Christ, God puts his seed in us. Any other way is a spiritual abortion. Cloning, Homosexuality and Lesbianism are spiritual abortions.”
“Homosexuality is a manifestation of the fallen man.”
… “God brings himself back to himself through covenant through blood. When the ordained process of God (marriage), when a virgin man has sex with a virgin woman, there is blood shed on his penis which represents covenant and the redemptive grace of God. That’s the reason why men, you are circumcised, so that every time you pull out your male organ and wants to go in the wrong direction, you can SEE that you are in covenant and anything that goes against the covenant is Anti-Christ. It creates a religious system that will not return God to God. Anything that will hinder that is Anti-Christ. It’s an abortion of the whole process of covenant and blood shedding.”
“…They (children) cannot have 2 female parents. They cannot have 2 male parents. They will be off balance.”
Bishop Long’s answer to “I was born that way” – “spirits can be inherited or acquired. You can have a strong domineering mama and a weak daddy that creates a spirit in the male child that makes him more effeminate. This is true for homosexuality or any other disorder in our lives.”
In fact, when black America was outraged about the Administration’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis, George Bush turned to one black man to bail him out and shore up his damaged reputation. That man was T.D. Jakes, who was all too willing to give the President the political cover he needed.
But Jakes is even more conservative than Bush. Unlike Bush, who has hired gays and lesbians in the federal government, Jakes has called homosexuality a “brokenness” and said he would not hire a sexually active gay person.
… Jakes has endorsed the so-called Truth for Youth campaign, which is distributing specially-made anti-gay Bibles to high school students all across the country.
Gregory Daniels is senior pastor of the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. A self-identified Republican and supporter of President George W. Bush, Daniels made headlines in February 2004 when he told the New York Times, “If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them.” Yes, that’s a black minister who said that.
These are some of the most successful, or at least the loudest, African American religious leaders. No doubt their sentiments are share by many, if not most, of their fellow ministers. Precious few in their churches, their communities, or among their fellow ministers challenge them.
It brings me back to what I wrote when I first read Wilson’s comment.
But I have to ask: why bother? If the above is an example of the welcome we can expect when we try to reach out to our communities, to “go back home” as it were, isn’t the price too high? Where do you begin to dialogue with someone who’s comign from that position? It’s not possible that his words were taken out of context. Anyone who reads them or hears them can’t fail to understand exactly what he means. And at least some of his audience approved of the message. So, why even bother trying to make inroads into black communities where we, as black gay people, are not welcome or wanted? Sometimes it turns out that home was never really home to begin with.
I have news for Mr. Wilson (and, yes, I’m purposely dropping the ministerial title here). It’s not lesbianism that breaking up black families. It’s attitudes like his that are doing damage. How many sons and daughters distance themselves from their families because of attitudes like his? How many end up leaving their communities to try and find acceptance elsewhere? How much might our communities have benefited from the talents and abilities of those of us who are regularly driven away by people like him?
It’s time to call people like Wilson out for what they are. Bigots. Sometimes talking to them, and appealing to their humanity is a waste of time, because it’s wrapped under too many layers of hatred. Wilson can wrap himself in his ministerial robes all he wants. From where I sit, he might as well be wearing a white sheet. He’s no different from those who do, or who used to.
Neither, I guess, is Wellington Boone.