In the aftermath of President Obama’s public affirmation of same-sex marriage, a high profile Black pastor not only supported the President’s position, but also gave a robust defense of the government sanctioning of same-sex marriage. Pastor Otis Moss III serves as Senior Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, formerly pastored by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Pastor Moss is making a mark and stamp on the social order, contemporary culture and the Black church at large as did his predecessor and his beloved father, Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a retired Baptist pastor and iconic Civil Rights leader during the King era.
Pastor Moss is affable, articulate, and academically credentialed, and has a winsome personality. His position on same-sex marriage and his rationale for supporting the President’s position is gaining traction in some Black pulpits and churches. There are Black pastors being swayed by Moss’ rhetoric and reasoning, and some congregants are giving a hearty Amen, to what heretofore would have been blasphemous in most Black pulpits and churches; the approval of same-sex relationships. Indeed, Moss was one of eleven Black pastors who recently held a press conference in Washington, D.C., encouraging Blacks to approve of legalizing same-sex marriages in an upcoming Maryland election, and again providing a rationale for his position that’s beginning to catch fire in the Black Community. That press conference was a sight that I thought I’d never see in my lifetime—Black pastors endorsing homosexuality.
Bob Ray Sanders, a highly respected Fort Worth Star Telegram news columnist refers to Moss’ published statement in support of same-sex marriage as, “Chicago black preacher’s epistle on gay marriage is a must-read.” Sanders appreciatively applauds Moss’ position.
I may be the lonely voice of one, crying in the wilderness; but I feel compelled by the Spirit of God and the Word of God to say to Black Christians that the Moss “Epistle” is diametrically opposed to and contradicts: The Bible; Jesus’ teaching on marriage; Martin Luther King’s published viewpoint on homosexuality; the landmarks of the fathers; the official position of the nine major Black denominations; and the early church fathers, neither is his view supported by the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, while respecting and loving our President and Pastor Moss, we must love our God and our Bible—more.
When the President or a Pastor makes bold declarations contrary to the Word of God, Christians must demonstrate love, loyalty and allegiance to their faith, above their race, and above what any man might say, “…let God be true but every man a liar… (Romans 3:4)” The church should not be moved by Moss’ Bible-less and baseless rhetoric from the “landmarks”—the Bible, prominent Black historical figures and the current Black denominations have set. I want to leave a record for future generations that the “Moss epistle” was way outside of mainstream thinking and theology in the Black church community. What does the Moss “epistle” actually say about this subject matter?
PASTOR MOSS’ “EPISTLE” REGARDING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
- Moss supports the notion that same-sex marriage should become the law of the land based on his belief that it is somehow permitted in the Constitution. Moss believes that same-sex marriage is a civil right. He and President Obama refer to marriage between two people of the same sex as marriage equality. Moss believes that to deny “same gender loving couples” the right to marry is comparable to denying the slaves freedom.
- Moss believes that since President Obama is the President of the United States and not the pastor or “Bishop of the Christ Holiness Sanctified Church,” he is President of all the people—including homosexuals who want to marry. Therefore, the President is not bound by the church’s beliefs regarding homosexuality. He is bound by the Constitution to provide equal protection and equal/civil rights to all persons, regardless of sexual preferences; thus, the term used by proponents of same-sex marriage—“marriage equality.”
- Moss believes that rights governing marriage in secular society and civil government don’t have to comply with or march in lockstep with rites for marriage in the church. In all fairness to Moss, neither does he believe that the government should force the church to perform same-sex marriages.
- Pastor Frederick Haynes provides logic and arguments similar to Pastor Moss, but adds Jesus never addressed homosexuality. The implication being, if Christ never mentioned homosexuality why should Black preachers be as up-in-arms about it. Moss and Haynes refer to homosexuals as “same gender loving couples.”
This summarizes the “epistle on gay marriage” by Pastor Moss. Some of the language and logic articulated by Pastor Moss are things “new and old” (Matthew 13:52). Many of the arguments he and Pastor Haynes espouses are something “new” to the Black church. Some of their arguments are old.
THE “TREASURE’ BOX ANSWERS THE MOSS “EPISTLE”
“Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)
Thank God that the story on “same-gender loving couples and marriage equality” does not begin nor end with the Moss “epistle.”
Jesus referenced the knowledge that’s retained by students (disciples) in the Kingdom of God as a “treasure.” Jesus identified his disciples as “scribes,” “disciples,” or students of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:52). And as a disciple (student) of the Kingdom of heaven, one becomes a “householder” possessing a “treasure.” The “treasure” is knowledge, and according to Jesus the treasure contains “things new and old.” The knowledge of the Kingdom will never be outdated.
When persons raise new questions or present new arguments that contradict the Bible and our faith, Jesus taught that we could find the answers to those who raise the opposing questions and present opposing arguments, in the “treasure” that’s in our household. The “treasure” contains His words, the Word, and a timely word—“things new and old.” I want to respond to the Moss “epistle” by reaching in the “treasure” box and seeing if there are answers to the Moss “epistle.” After all, he raised new issues to support “same-gender loving couples” and referenced old issues—slavery and the civil rights struggle in America.
The “treasure” box that Jesus referred to and Moss’ “epistle” are in total disagreement with each other.
In response to Moss’ belief that the same-sex marriage is a civil and constitutional right, in the “treasure” box that Jesus said would be in my house, I’ve found the following answers:
- Even if the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is authorized by the Constitution and is a civil right that must be granted, the “treasure” is clear; when man’s law contradicts God’s law the citizens of the Kingdom of heaven (Philippians 3:20) are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).
- The request for two persons of the same sex to marry is asking for a special right, not a civil right.
- If any two people who “love” each other are authorized by the Constitution to marry, that opens the door for a man to marry his sister; his daughter; his mother or grandmother; his fifteen year old stepdaughter; or two wives. Why not, if the issues is simply “marrying who you love” or “marriage equality”? I’m curious if Moss would approve of a man marrying his sister, or his biological or step daughter in the name of “marriage equality” and civil and constitutional rights? And if not, why not? Wouldn’t we be denying those people “marriage equality” and their civil rights?
In Response to those who compare civil rights to gay rights, I’ve found the following answer in the “treasure” box in my house:
I. CIVIL RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN MORAL AUTHORITY; GAY RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN A LACK OF MORAL RESTRAINT.
Moral authority was on the side of the abolitionists and slaves. Moral authority was on the side of women and those who supported the suffrage movement. Gay rights are not rooted in moral authority. Gay rights are rooted in what the Bible calls the “lust of the flesh” (I John 2:16).
Clarence James, a Temple University professor who has written books about the Black church and homosexuality stated, “The homosexual movement has nothing to do with civil rights. The civil rights movement was about positive freedom, which is freedom to rise to the highest levels of capabilities. The homosexual movement is part of the sexual revolution. It is about negative freedom and the freedom from moral restraint.”
I’ve often read and heard homosexuals say that they discovered that they were homosexual at 18 years of age, 25, 33, etc. I don’t know of any Black people who didn’t discover their Blackness until they were 25.
I’ve met former homosexuals. I’ve never met a former Black. You cannot compare civil rights with gay rights because my Blackness is a result of my birth. Homosexuality is a result of wrong decisions. My Blackness is a skin issue; homosexuality is a sin issue. Therefore, you cannot compare to two.
If I could be a homosexual by nature, I could also be a polygamist, adulterer, or pedophile by nature. Should we pass laws to approve of these behaviors? Again, at the roots of the Civil Rights movement is skin; at the roots of the gay rights movement is sin–Big Difference!
II. CIVIL RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY; GAY RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN CIVIL ANARCHY, LIBERAL COURT DECISIONS AND RENEGADE CIVIL AUTHORITIES THAT DEFY THE LAW.
The goal of the Massachusetts court (the first court to approve same-sex marriage) decision in their own language was to limit the influence of historical, cultural, and religious reasons for preserving traditional marriage. This was a judicial fiat.
The 14th and 15th Amendments secured citizens’ rights for people of all shades of skin, including the right to vote. There are no constitutional guarantees to people based on their unnatural, unwise, unhealthy, unholy and unbiblical desire to marry people of the same sex.
The civil rights movement was birthed in the church. The gay rights movement was birthed in the closet. At the root of the civil rights movement is constitutional authority. At the root of the gay rights movement is constitutional anarchy and carnal antinomianism—lawlessness.
III. THE SUFFERING OF THE HOMOSEXUAL DOES NOT COMPARE TO THE SUFFERING OF THE BLACK MAN IN AMERICA.
When homosexuals have spent 200 years in slavery, then we can begin discussion of parallels. When homosexuals have been legally defined as 3/5 human, then we can begin the discussion of parallels. When homosexuals have been denied the right to vote and own property because they are homosexuals then we’ll begin the discussions of parallels. No White lesbian has ever been murdered for whistling at another White girl. Black men have been murdered for perceived interest in White women. Ask members of the family of Emmet Till. The comparison of civil rights to gay rights is extremely offensive because of the disproportionate suffering issue, and the comparison of race to sexual preference.
IV. THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS BIRTHED IN THE CLOSET; THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS BIRTH BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (II Cor. 3:7).
The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 1:27, 32, “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful …” In Romans 1:32, Continuing to speak of these men who engage in these same shameful homosexual acts the Apostle concludes that these men, “who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
God’s Word not only disapproves of homosexuality, His Word also disapproves of those who approve of homosexuality.
Self-identified homosexuals are American citizens and should be entitled to all the rights, privileges and protections of any American citizen. Their constitutional and civil rights are based on their citizenship, not their sexuality. President Obama is President of all the people. But when he and Moss emphasize that he is the President of “same-gender” loving people that is an attempt to dignify, legitimize and affirm homosexuality, in a way that it has never been affirmed historically in America. Homosexuals are to be valued and respected as human beings and citizens. There is no legal, moral, historical or constitutional basis to respect them on the basis of their bedroom antics
Martin Luther King led a march on Washington to demand that the United States make good on a check-guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing civil rights for all her citizens. Dr. King said the American check for equality and justice issued to her Negro citizens had come back marked “insufficient funds.” The homosexual community is trying to cash check on the constitution that has never been written to them. Their account was never constitutionally opened.
For Moss to argue that President Obama is President of everyone—including homosexuals—is a true statement; but the statement in and of itself does not grant legal status to homosexuals. The President is also the criminals’ (child molesters, murderers, thieves, bigamists) President. This statement about the President being the President and not Bishop of the Sanctified Church is a nonsensical, meaningless, empty statement. That statement by Moss only appeal to the most gullible, and non-critical thinkers.
At the root of Moss’ statement and the President’s, as both being professing Christians, is the notion that homosexuality is not a sin. It is no small matter that a high profile pastor and a President who professes to be a Christian—and I don’t question or doubt Moss’ or President Obama’s Christianity—but I do question whether or not they believe—and the eleven pastors at the D.C. Press conference—whether or not a homosexual act between “same-gender loving persons” is a sin. I wish Pastor Moss would answer that question. I wish President Obama would answer that question. I wish the pastors at the press conference would answer that question: Is a sexual act between a “same-gender loving couple” a sin?
I agree with Pastor Moss that the government can’t and shouldn’t dictate to the church that they must perform same-sex marriages. However, I disagree with Pastor Moss that Christians should not vote their values, views and convictions regarding this matter. To not vote your convictions regarding this matter is like not voting your convictions on civil rights. Everywhere where there has been a state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, Black people have voted overwhelmingly in favor of disapproving of same-sex marriage. Romans 1:32 is clear that believers should not approve of homosexuality or give approval to those who approve of homosexuality.
W.E.B. Dubois makes it very clear that moral matters can and should affect voting matters and decisions. As a matter of fact, Dubois chose to not vote in the 1956 presidential election because of both parties being morally corrupt. However, I am advocating that people vote in the election—vote their conscious and vote their conviction, even if that means having to vote for a third party candidate or write in a candidate. Vote for President Obama if that’s your choice. Vote for Mitt Romney if that’s your choice. Vote for a third party candidate if that’s your choice. Write in a vote if you must, but by all means—vote!
I essentially agree with Pastor Moss’ distinction between “rights” and “rites” when it comes to the marriage law. There is a difference between an ecclesiastical ceremony and a secular ceremony. The marriage “right” is secular and granted by law, but there is no Federal law at this point authorizing this “rite.” There is no federal law that supports a “sacred” or “secular” “rite” or “right” same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is illegitimate.
To pastors who say that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, I have found the following answers in my “treasure” box: Jesus addressed homosexual marriage when He addressed authentic marriage in Matthew 19:4-6. There He makes it clear marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus also pointed out that when He returns, marriage will be an issue, (Luke 17:27) “they were given in marriage,” and He specifically mentioned, “As it was also in the day of Lot” (Luke 17:28)…on the day that Lot went out of Sodom” (Luke 17:29). We all know that homosexuality was an issue at Sodom. Indeed, the root word of sodomy is Sodom, which is a legal reference to homosexuality, derived directly from the Bible. Revelation 11:8 is clear that the spirit of Sodom would be prevalent just before Christ declares the consummation of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:15). When Jesus sanctioned the Old Testament when He often said, “It is written,” that would also be an affirmation of OT passages disapproving of homosexuality. In Mark 7:21, Jesus mentions “fornication” as a derivative of “evil thoughts” out of the heart of men. The Greek word translated fornication would include all types of sexual sins including homosexuality. Therefore, it is simply not true to say that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality. This is a desperate attempt to give approval to what Jesus clearly disapprove of. Jesus never mentioned pirates or pedophiles; shall we then approve of those behaviors?
THE VOICES OF THE DEAD SPEAK OUT OF THE “TREASURE” BOX
Martin Luther King, Jr. was not supportive of homosexual relationships. In response to a boy who wrote Dr. King admitting to having an attraction to other boys, just as he also was attracted to girls; Dr. King had this to say:
“Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was writing an advice column in 1958 for Ebony Magazine when he received an unusual letter.
‘I am a boy,’ an anonymous writer told King. ‘But I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?’
In calm, pastoral tones, King told the boy that his problem wasn’t uncommon, but required ‘careful attention.’
‘The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired,’ King wrote. ‘You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.’” (religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/what-did-mlk-think-about-gay-people) (Emphasis mine)
George Washington Carver was a strong Bible-believing Christian in addition to being an agricultural and science professor at Tuskegee Institute. He taught Sunday school weekly on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. He clearly viewed Genesis 19 as an illustration of the judgment of God on a nation that embraces homosexuality. While discussing Sodom and Gomorrah, Dr. Carver asked his class, “And what happened to these wicked cities?” He viewed the desire and activity of same-sex involvement as “wicked.” He then used his scientific talents to cause a sudden burst of flames and fumes to shoot up from the table, and the Bible students fled. He sure knew how to make Sunday School interesting and to illustrate his point. George Washington Carver taught against the practice of homosexuality. (George Washington Carver; An American Biography, by Rackham Holt, 1943, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, p. 198)
In September 1929 Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., published a series of sermons on sexual perversion, (as per an article written by John McWhorter entitled, “What the Harlem Renaissance Teaches about Gay Rights”). Powell stated that homosexuality was one of the powers that debased a race of people and could destroy the Black family.
“Powell considered this ‘perversion’ to be ‘one of the most horrible, debasing, alarming and damning vices of present-day civilization.’ He decried ‘contact and association’ with gay people, considered them a threat to the ‘Negro family.’ He hated homosexuality for ‘causing men to leave their wives for other men, wives to leave their husbands for other women and girls to mate with girls instead of marrying.’”(http://www.theroot.com/views/what-harlem-renaissance-teaches-us-about-gay-rights
“Those shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D.400]).” (http://www.gcmwatch.com/97/an-unbroken-witness-against-sexual-sin)
I give God thanks for Pastor Moss and his gifts and leadership. However, on this issue he has chosen to stand on the wrong side of the Bible, the wrong side of history—the fathers, and the wrong side of God’s will for future generations. May the Lord use this writing to speak to future generations His will regarding same-sex relationships (Psalm 145:4)!
Pastor Moss is attempting to remove the “ancient landmarks” that the fathers have set. This could prove to be very dangerous and dastardly to the Black community and a death blow to the Black family. I hope that he will reconsider his position.
“Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)