WILL LEE DANIELS, BISHOP YVETTE FLUNDER AND DR. FORREST HARRIS CONVINCE THE BLACK CHURCH/COMMUNITY TO AFFIRM HOMOSEXUALITY?
ORTHODOX CHURCHES MUST ADDRESS AND ADJUST TO THE NEW REALITY OF A GAY AFFIRMING AMERICA
By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
April 1, 2015
Most churches in America were birthed in an era when consensual sex between two persons of the same sex was a criminal offense; same-sex marriage was illegal; and homosexuality was viewed as deviant behavior. Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association literally classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The old adage is true; however, “Time brings about a change.”
In the dawning of this new millennium, homosexuality has burst out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life and society. Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of American society. The same-sex marriage quest for success is now knocking at the door of God’s sanctuaries, seeking a seat at the leadership table, under the banner marked “justice” and “equality.”
Along beside Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestant Liberals—the LGBTQIA wants to be recognized, respected and seated at the table of Christian brotherhood under the banner of “Welcome and Affirming Churches.” To deny the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Allies—allies are persons like President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton who passionately support the LGBTQIA community—a place at the table is considered discrimination, bigotry, homophobic, theologically and biblically ignorant; and practicing Bible idolatry. Interestingly, when President Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jesse Jackson said before the 2008 Presidential elections that they believed marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman, none of them were called or viewed as bigots. If today you hold such a view, you are considered by the LGBTQIA and—“welcome and affirming churches” as discriminating toward homosexual couples.
There are many denominations, churches, affinity groups, and divinity schools, who have granted the LGBTQIA community a seat at the table. The orthodox, traditional Bible-believing conservative, evangelical wing of the church has not recognized the LGBTQIA community as a valid social category, or denominational—similar to “welcome and affirming churches”—for three primary reasons:
- We believe that the Bible teaches that all sex outside of marriage is sin.
- We believe that the Bible teaches that no person is born a homosexual or with a homosexual orientation.
- We believe that the Bible speaks clearly, unequivocally, and eternally regarding homosexuality and strongly condemns same-sex relationships, married or unmarried, and condemns fornication and adultery as well.
Therefore, in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “Just like a tree planted by the water, I [we] shall not be moved.” For evangelicals, to change the Bible would have to change; and obviously that’s not going to happen.
The lines are being drawn fast, hard, and irrevocably among church groups and denominations surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage. Historically and currently, the Black church has held to biblical standards on the subject of homosexuality, but we are now being tested from within and without. In the past 40 years, how did we move from homosexuality being a “mental illness” and a felony and same-sex marriage being illegal, to it being “justice” and “equality,” “welcome and affirming” and approved of by every sector of society, except the evangelical church?
Reportedly, major high profile charitable foundations, have donated several million dollars to gay-friendly, Black-led, non-profit educational, ecclesiastical, and “social justice” entities, in order to persuade the Black Community to accept homosexuality. Lee Daniels—the creator of “Empire,” who is also Black and gay—was bold and brazen enough to admit that the purpose of “Empire” was to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community, with a depiction of the show’s lead character’s hostile relationship with his gay son. “Empire” is phenomenally popular and shows on Wednesday nights—going head to head with mid-week worship, and winning.
Lee Daniels is quite transparent about his goals as it relates to converting African Americans to accept and affirm homosexuality. In a response to the question regarding a gay character in “Empire,” Lee Daniels offers the following in Time Magazine:
“There are so many themes, but part of [my goal with Empire] was really to address homophobia in the African-American community and in the impoverished community. To educate people. Not that this is a gay show, but it’s one of many subject matters we hit on. There’s so much homophobia in the hip-hop community. It’s the civil rights of our time, and I think I am making a little bit of a contribution, because I’ve seen people change who were homophobic, after seeing this. “
Slowly, but surely, we are beginning to see leaks in the dam in the Black Church as it relates to compromising on same-sex marriage. We recently witnessed Bishop Yvette Flunder—the face of the: I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian and I’m Proud Movement—introduce her legal female spouse in a worship setting at the headquarters of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., in the Baptist World Center, on the campus of American Baptist College, to an enthusiastic applause from a primarily “welcome and affirming” audience. This was truly a historic hour in a Black Baptist worship context—one that I’d thought that I would never, ever see. It would be my guess that no same-sex couple has ever been presented publicly in a traditional Black Baptist Church setting before.
The objection to Bishop Flunder’s coming was based on her same-sex marriage and practicing, proud lesbian lifestyle which was/is in violation of the Bible. Dr. Harris does not deny what the Bible says, but makes it relevant only for the First Century. Dr. Harris’ adamant stand in support of gay marriage is in defiance of the accrediting agency that has accredited ABC for the next ten years. The Association for Biblical Higher Education—the accrediting agency—requires that schools that they grant accreditation to affirm the following statement:
“We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.”
For a college president whose accreditation requires that he believe the Bible is “infallible,” his invitation and defense of the Flunder invitation is simply incomprehensible and impossible to reconcile with a belief that the Bible is “infallible.” The Bible cannot be “infallible” and irrelevant simultaneously. Harris’ view of intolerance must bow to the infallibility of Scripture.
It is impossible to reconcile the above requirement confession of the ABHE with Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible. Dr. Forrest Harris, President of ABC, defended Flunder’s appearance as a matter of not tolerating intolerance (“The Tennessean” article):
“What does Harris define as ‘idolatry of the Bible?’ ‘When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,’ he said. ‘We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.’”
Reported by The Associated Press supporting Dr. Forrest Harris:
“In a phone interview, Harris noted the college’s long commitment to social justice. ‘We will not tolerate intolerance,’ he said.’”
It is a high, high probability that by late June of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States will sanction same-sex marriage in every State in the nation. Currently, it is approved in 37 states. The only hope that same-sex marriage does not become the law of the land this calendar year, is that the church comes together across racial and denominational lines, and hold a solemn assembly, seeking God’s face to Divinely intervene and prevent this from happening. Nevertheless, the Church needs to be prepared to address our position on homosexuality regardless to the decision that the Supreme Court takes.
Every Evangelical church needs to be prepared to provide rational and biblical answers for the following questions before 2015 ends:
- Are acts of homosexual behavior sin?
- Is it discrimination to fail to perform a wedding ceremony between two people of the same sex?
- What will we do if a same-sex married couple seeks to join our church next Sunday?
- What will we do if a same-sex engaged couple wants to rent our facility for a wedding?
- What would we say/do if we are asked to perform a wedding for a same-sex couple?
- What would we do if the legal spouse of a same-sex partner wants to be recognized by name in a funeral program because they are related to a deceased family member?
- What would you do/say if you are asked to allow your facility to be used to hold a funeral service for a same-sex married partner?
- What if you’re asked to perform a dedication ceremony for a same-sex couple who adopt a child?
- Do you already have policies in place to address these inevitable scenarios that are going to become real life, real soon?
- What are the legal ramifications of the decisions that we make, if any?
Orthodox evangelicals who hold to a biblical view of marriage are going to have to answer these questions soon, and very soon.
The major social question that had spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical, and political ramifications that America faced the first 200+ years of her existence—that took a war to partially resolve—was the question of civil rights for people of color.
The next major social question that America and her churches will face the next 200+ years if the Lord tarries His coming—is the question of should the LGBTQIA community be recognized by churches and in every realm of society as a distinct social category deserving the same kind of constitutional and ecclesiastical rights that people of color are entitled to? Resolving this question will not result in another civil war, but I predict it will produce a social/ecclesiastical war the likes of which we’ve never seen.
The difference between the rights of the people of color, and the non-rights for the LGBTQIA is this: This is not a color issue, it is a character issue; this is not a justice issue; it is a righteous issue. The Orthodox Church has to decide if she is going to view the act and sin of homosexuality as a “skin color-like” issue, or a character issue? Will we view it as a “justice issue” or a righteousness issue? Dr. King not only talked about his four children not being judged by the “color of their skins…he also talked about them being judged by “the content of their character.” Dr. King not only sounded a clarion call for justice, but also for righteousness. On this issue, the Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian Church ought to be able to stand together across color and denominational lines. What we didn’t do together during the Civil Rights Movement, we have an opportunity to do together now. Let’s pray that God raise up some anointed men and women of God who would call the Orthodox Churches of this nation to a solemn assembly. May God’s hand be upon His Church as we must now address and adjust to the new reality of a gay-affirming America! Will we let Lee Daniels, Bishop Flunder, and Dr. Forrest Harris change our minds? HEAVEN NO!!!