California’s Marriage Battle, The Black Church and Remnants of Homophobia
In California, the fight for equality in marriage continues. Even though I have conflicting thoughts about marriage in general, I still believe that homophobia and intolerance is what drives decisions like prob 8. These issues as we all know, are nothing new. And many of the remnants of homophobia are just as strong in the black community as any other. In High School I went to a church that rallied students to stand in front of abortion clinics with red tape covering their mouth and black marker written on the tape displaying one simple word. “Life.” I never personally went on these escapades, but there was already a contradiction building between my personal life and my religious life, my God and my homosexuality, my religion and my passion for civil liberties. Beginning from before I was able to read, before I was old enough to understand what homosexuality was, before I began to have an attraction to any type of sex, I knew being gay “was wrong.” And I knew this single fact because of my up bringing in my grandmothers Baptist church. The bible verse that is most frequently used against homosexuals in the church is in the Torah, in the book of Leviticus “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” What I know now, is conservatism and hate are concepts that one must be taught, and with prop 8 supporters in mind, there are institutions that breed hate and intolerance.
According to the findings of the Black Youth Project Survey, 55 percent or “the majority of black youth believe that homosexuality is always wrong.” An even larger preponderance, 58 percent to be precise, disagree with the statement that “the government should make it legal for same-sex couples to get married”; to add more economic opposition and insult, 66 percent of black youth, “believe that the government should actively promote marriage by offering special benefits to married couples, such as lowering their taxes or paying for childcare.”
Many believe that young people have broken through the traditionalist values of past generations that oppose gender and sexuality that does not fit into societal norms. But this data paints an entirely different portrait of black youth and their views on sexuality. These views that can easily draw parallels to similar situations that I experienced as a young child growing up in the Black Church and how remnants of homophobia in Baptist churches –and other denominations—continue to breed the oppression of black LGBT people across the country.
Religion is a fundamental participant in what creates such a frequency of intolerance with black youth and the black community. In the past couple years there was a large outcry in the church when popular gospel singer “Tonex” came out the closet. Donnie McClurklin a pastor and gospel singer started a campaign to correct the “demons” among black youth, comparing homosexuality to perversion.
I believe it is the essential political black establishments that have become so indoctrinated with “heterosexist values” and are associated solely with heterosexist exercises, that it politically produces harm and stops effective policy to influence better lives for the black communities.