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Dear Religious Black People

Speaking as a black woman who was raised in the church (AME Zion, to be precise, but I have strong Baptist ancestry, too), speaking as a woman who is still deeply spiritual though no longer Christian, speaking as a woman who is queer, I have something to say: Knock it the fuck off.

I understand the tension between LGBT folks and Christianity, but what you need to understand is that this whole crap where you participate in bigotry, discrimination, and hate is not only un-Christian, it’s completely insane from people who not that long ago were considered a half step above gorillas by many people and are still considered such by a significant minority now.

I am well aware that we cannot compare the stuff that LGBT folks go through to what black folks and other ethnic minorities go through wholesale. There are some similarities, yes, and there are some major differences. This argument isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that you, as people who have and still suffer from the effects of hate, bigotry and oppression, do not seem to have any compassion or understanding for LGBT folks.

This is not true for all Christian black people, I know. If this isn’t true for you, then just know that I am not talking to you. I am most likely talking to the woman in the big hat behind you fanning herself. I am talking to the people who, despite the fact that we are in a serious crisis in this country that starts from the White House and trickles down on us all like urine, are still playing the You Have To Be Against Them To Be With Us game. It’s not cool.

Let me put it to you this way: Do you want a president who hates a whole group of people for an arbitrary reason? I know you may not think that sin is arbitrary, but I invite you to take a close look in the mirror before you start throwing stones (yes, that is me referencing the Bible). How many sins have you committed today, this week, this year? The whole point of protestant Christianity is that Jesus loves you and will forgive you if you repent. So, therefore, quit fucking worrying about what other people are doing. Or, if you can’t stop thinking about them, try projecting some love and compassion. You know, like Jesus would. But this whole prejudice thing? The whole not supporting a candidate because they won’t say “I hate those people”? That has got to stop.

No, I mean right now.

Love,
ABW

28 comments to Dear Religious Black People

  • Amen! Not that long ago, people used ACTUAL BIBLE VERSES to justify slavery, Jim Crow and racism…..

    And, Dear Religious Folk In General:

    While their are scriptural passages condemning homosexuality, they happen in a *context*. Leviticus has hundreds of other things you shouldn’t do that people do all the time. And Sodom and Gommorah, Lot offers his daughters up to be gang rapped by a wild mob–and this is considered GOOD….

  • This is not true for all Christian black people, I know.

    THANK YOU for this!

  • nojojojo

    I have two words: A, and men. This kind of shit is what drove me away from church, though I still consider myself spiritual. If I can ever find a progressive, truly Christian black church (in NYC, if anyone reading wants to offer suggestions), I’ll try it again, but until then I’m a church of one.

  • nojojojo

    OK, that was more than two words, sorry. =P

  • CroMagnon

    ABW said: “It’s about the fact that you, as people who have and still suffer from the effects of hate, bigotry and oppression, do not seem to have any compassion or understanding for LGBT folks.”

    I think I know why that is. I think that people who feel that way about LGBT folks mistakenly believe that being LGBT is a lifestyle choice. Once you understand that some people are born with an LGBT orientation – just as some people are born with darker skin than others – then it’s easier to have compassion and understanding.

  • Jessica E

    I am a christian young woman and this post however eloquently written seems more like a personal vendetta and stereotypeing of the less mondern christian more than a logical, mature and productive argument over some peoples views on political canidates stands on issues. What does religion have to do with politics? Knowing that you mentioned this does not pertain to all christians i still seem to feel very uncomfortable that anyones moral views are scrutinized other than understood. I do not condone anyone treated wrongly for there orientation. But i do beileve that God’s word (the bible) never changes. It is the same yesterday, today and forever more. With saying that when all the argueing and hurt feelings are gone God has the final word. I do not vote for the canidates religion i vote for the candiates position on issue i personally find important.

  • Politics and religion do not belong together, no. However, the current culture we liv ein conflates them all of the time. this post was written in direct response to the kerfuffle over Barack Obama’s courting the black church-going vote (which has a strong anti-gay skien) while at the same tme trying to court the liberal LGBT vote and failing on both counts because he won’t adequately condemn anti-gay folks and also won’t adequately condemn LGBT folks. All of this leads to a huge mess.

    now me personally? I think he needs to tell the anti-gay folks to stop being haters. because one position requires denial, prejudice, and badness, while the other does not.

    I sympathize with people who feel that “gay activity” is a sin, I really do. I also feel that, if God really has something to say to LGBT folks, he’ll say it himself. he doesn’t need us acting like asshats in his name.

  • CroMagnon

    With all due respect to the ABW, I have a hard time sympathizing with people who feel that “gay activity” is a sin. How can an expression of love between two consenting adults be a sin? Isn’t love what Christianity is all about? What would Christ do? I think he’d probably tell those narrow-minded bigots to grow a heart.

  • “Politics and religion do not belong together, no. However, the current culture we liv ein conflates them all of the time.”

    I agree that politics and the Church don’t go together. As an institution, the Church should be as far away from the levers of power as possible.

    But that’s different than saying that “religion” and politics don’t go together. I’m hesitant to say that religion and politics “go together,” since it sort of implies a value judgment. I think the more appropriate thing to say is “politics and religion are together.”

    I think Gandhi said something to the effect of “Those who claim that politics and religion don’t mix understand neither.” And I think that’s about right. People’s religious convictions will influence their political ones, you just can’t avoid. And with Christianity in particular, theological views have clear political implications.

    It may not be a good thing in some cases, but you really can’t separate religion from politics.

  • abw

    Nogojogo, you are not the only person that has been turned off by the homophobia in the church, I am too. This is not the only thing either-but it is a factor;and I am not too quick to assume that I am the most enlightened person on this topic. I am the other abw, not the blogger. Thank you.

  • abw

    Jessica E. speaking from observation, the face of mainline Christianity is not a pretty one. That is the Christianity people some people are rightly throw potshots at. I feel that Christianity sometimes get slighted too much. I am also all too aware that religious/spiritual people face ostracism, but the message coming out of many of the mainstream Churches are not good . Also, anybody that deviate from the message are made to feel like outcasts. I know God’s word never changes but people have been born flawed in the past and present; and will be born that way in the future meaning even though the writers of the Bible had wisdom and spiritual outlook at times, some of them also had the biases of their culture and era. Which made their message different than what Jesus said on similar subjects at times. With this said, Craig, I am glad you pointed out that people once used the Bible to justify slavery, Jim Crow and Racism. The same people doing this are using the Bible to justify homophobia. And for the record, Sodom and Gamorrah was destroyed because of inequality and disparities in wealth among other things, more than homosexuality, if at all-but you will never hear some of the Bible thumpers speak out on this.

  • As a member of Sirens Chronicles, I came over via the linkage on our site. Awesome post..and to the commenter named Jessica E..I would like to remind you of religious groups like Focus on the Family, who preach hatred not acceptance of anything they do not like. How about Jerry Falwell’s group of homophobes, or Pat Robertson? Lets talk about all the rightwing religious nutjobs that actually spend money and time spreading hatred of homosexuals and liberals just to name a few things they despise.

    What would Jesus do? Well, those sob’s will find out when they die and think their going to heaven. Cuz they friggin ain’t..Jesus preached love and compassion for EVERYONE, not just those that worshipped at a specific church or religion. He hung out with lepers, prostitutes and poor folks..you won’t find James Asshat Dobson doing that..you can freaking bet on it.

  • Admiral Komack

    Good post.
    Thank you.

  • Gabe

    Boy, I hope none of those folks who use that Leviticus passage to justify their homophobia eat bacon, or lobster, and that any time their clothes mildew they burn them and consider themselves unclean until sundown, and don’t have pet geckos (which are unclean,) and believe that when a woman gives birth to a daughter she’s unclean for two weeks and then has to make atonement to God with the price of a lamb to be made clean again….

    You don’t get to cherrypick. Follow it all or don’t use it.

  • iamthelostgirl

    It’s crazy, I’m not that religious and it really bugs me too when people push their religions on other people this much.

  • Josh Jasper

    Jessica E. – i still seem to feel very uncomfortable that anyones moral views are scrutinized other than understood.

    For the most part, of those moral views were kept internal to the churches in question, we probably wouldn’t be having the same discussion.

    Christianity of the sort ABW is talking about has a history fof treating LGBT people like crap. I’m not sorry if it makes you unhappy to hear that this pisses some people off. ABW certainly has nothing to apologize for, and your criticism of her getting her rant on about this really sounds like you complaining that you’re uncomfortable with certain churches being judged on th truth of how they treat people like ABW, and like me.

    Do you expect us to just shut up and take it? The “understanding” you’re talking about has no explanation about how we get to stop being treated like crap.

    You want to talk personal vendettas? Listen to what those churches have to say about us. You agree with them? If you do, stop expecting us to greet you with tea and sympathy.

    But i do beileve that God’s word (the bible) never changes. It is the same yesterday, today and forever more. With saying that when all the argueing and hurt feelings are gone God has the final word.

    And, of course, God chose you, or whatever church you prefer as special keeper and interpreter of his word. That’s always the way it goes, isn’t it?

  • trevlove

    So true, so true. That’s why I can’t embrace Christianity with my whole heart. I say I’m a Buddhist, but am I really? I try to be spiritual and not too much of an asshole toward my fellow humans.

    Love your blog, BTW. I stumbled upon it one day and I’ve been hooked ever since.

  • I’ve always been confused by the religious tendency to select which passages/messages they should embrace. Adultry…eeh, well, that can be overlooked, slavery, maybe justifiable, murder even but mention homosexuality and their all up in arms.

  • “But i do beileve that God’s word (the bible) never changes. It is the same yesterday, today and forever more.”

    Perhaps so, but limited as we our, our understandings of that word are not the same yesterday, today and forever more.

    Great post ABW. There are still places in the world today where Christians themselves are targeted for being such, that some of them still turn around and do it to others baffles me.

  • two cents

    The church I attend in performed more gay marriages than hetero marriages last year. The congregation was a great mix of young and old, different ethnicities,
    and gay and straight people.

    P.S I live in Canada

  • unnamedafterher

    wonderful post .

  • “Divide and Conquer” is a strategy for dissent and violence. It has no place for peacemakers who think their neighbours deserve a fair shake. They shouldn’t be thought of as “Christian” when the “Prince of Peace” is not their guide : no matter how much yelling the Pharisees do about their loyalty to religious text.

  • LaJane Galt

    Jessica E said “But i do beileve that God’s word (the bible) never changes”

    The Bible which has several versions (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Maronite) has always been changed.

    “It” is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy…….of transcribed oral traditionS and folktales. Many, particularly in the NT are pseudoeponymous (that means someone who thinks they know what “Mark” would have said wrote as “Mark”; same for Peter, Paul etc…). Most are forgeries.

    No one actually mentioned in the bible ever wrote anything.

    Various traditions all over the Jewish world (modern day Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Greece, the Levant) had stories, traditions and “books” that were important to them.

    There are many traditions (in “books”) that were excised or deemed heretical. Eg Gospels of St. Thomas & Mary.

    Most of the earlier copies of these stories were found in Greek (as they were transcribed by Greek-speaking Jews). Some were in Hebrew. Many casual mistakes and intentional changes were made.

    I strongly urge you to study the history of the Bible.

  • NoOneYouKnow

    Dear ABW,
    Just thought you should know that I loved your rant so much that I started a discussion with it on a site called “Shelfari” (Shefari.com). Check out the link below.

    http://www.shelfari.com/groups/10675/discussions/14169/Dear-Religious-Black-People-

  • Give me a break, here. The word means “collection”. I think I could get “Separate” accepted as “Holy”.
    I wasn’t talking about Holy Writ as engraved in stone with neon flashing attention getters. Sometimes you can weaken a statement by making it more contentious than necessary. If you need to because of the company you’re keeping, you’re likely in the wrong crowd.

  • Kris opinion

    i totally agree w/ you 100% because Im a christian myself but im not judgmental when it comes to LGBT . As for myself Im figuring out whether Im Bi or not because as you said, christianity is about love, and not hate. Its really hard to find a church that preaches the word of God besides their (the preachers)word…thats not what we go to church for.

  • [...] civil rights, homophobia The Angry Black Woman is well, pretty angry about the homophobia in the black church: Speaking as a black woman who was raised in the church (AME Zion, to be precise, but I have strong [...]

  • [...] Dear Religious Black People: Speaking as a black woman who was raised in the church (AME Zion, to be precise, but I have strong Baptist ancestry, too), speaking as a woman who is still deeply spiritual though no longer Christian, speaking as a woman who is queer, I have something to say: Knock it the fuck off.I understand the tension between LGBT folks and Christianity, but what you need to understand is that this whole crap where you participate in bigotry, discrimination, and hate is not only un-Christian, it’s completely insane from people who not that long ago were considered a half step above gorillas by many people and are still considered such by a significant minority now. [...]