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Don’t tolerate homophobia

Published: Sat, May 21, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

In recent years, I have committed myself to the work of justice that speaks loudly and boldly to proclaim that God is on the side of the oppressed. As a seminarian and an African-American faith leader, I continue to hear progressive clergy speak out against sexism, poverty, and economic injustice, but so many stop short of naming homophobia as an injustice.

When I think of the children who have killed themselves after being bullied by taunts of being gay, I weep. The silence of faith leaders who support gay people privately contributes to this loss. And of course, many lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender young people and their families have become used to hearing they are not loved by God.

Homophobia does violence to the well- being of our children and families — whether we are gay or straight, transgender or gender-conforming. No apology after the fact can bring back a child’s life. We must speak out to stop the losses and the harm.


Beginnning tomorrow and running through Tuesday, I will join hundreds of clergy with the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., to tell our stories to legislators and the world. There is a word of hope; there is a word of honesty to be shared. Our stories are changing history. Anti-bullying legislation, employment protection and immigration changes are all on the table so that all people can live their lives in peace, regardless of who they love or who they are. Our stories — our truth telling — are making a difference.

I submit that the message of Scripture is good news for the oppressed. Hearing the stories of gay and lesbian youth and families is hearing liberation and freedom. It is also my story as an African-American man studying to be a pastor. The gospel infused into our African-American stories created black theology and the black church, because we heard the stories of those crying out for justice and understood that God walked with us.


Gay and lesbian folks have always been part of the black church. Whether in the choir, the pulpit or the pews, we have been there. Today, we long for words of hope and honesty from our gospel singers, our preachers and our neighbors. But, too often homophobia is heard in the pulpit and people take the message of bad news for gay and transgender people into their jobs, schools and neighborhoods. Without a word of encouragement, we are left with the discouraging message that gay and transgender lives and stories are to be ignored at best and condemned at worst.

The stories about God in the Bible tell us that God is with us and that we do not have to be afraid to be prophetic. Being a prophet is simply a matter of speaking the truth. The truth is, that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people are created by God and loved by God. And God has already honored gay rights. We have always been part of the church and all faith traditions. It’s time to tell our stories. It’s time to tell the truth.

T.J. Williams is a 1990 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Youngstown who is a minister-in-training at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, and a master of divinity student at New York Theological Seminary, where he is a member of the historic Riverside Church. In 2001 and 2002 he organized the first two years of Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS that took place in the rotunda of the Mahoning County Courthouse.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

God doesn't sanction homosexuality . Sodom and Gomorrah are spelled out very clearly in the Bible .


In Christianity and Islamic traditions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God's wrath.[Jude 1:7][1] Sodom and Gomorrah have also been used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality viewed as a deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including the English word "sodomy", used in so-called sodomy laws to mean basically any sexual act deemed unnatural.[2]

Then, (not having found even 10 righteous people in the city) they command Lot to gather his family and leave, revealing that they were sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. As they make their escape, the angels command Lot and his family not to look back under any circumstance. However, as Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by Yahweh with fire and brimstone, Lot's wife looks back at the city in defiance of the angels' specific command, and she becomes a pillar of salt.

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2tjescaped(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I do not agree and the man who wrote this article is earning his Masters degree in Theology. San he is more educated then you......and you are jjust another Harold Campy (day of rapture guy) your interpretaion is just another bible base false messege.....

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

tjescaped :

The man who wrote this article is earning his Masters degree in Scatology . The Bible is very clear on homosexuality .

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4musidorus(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Jesus says NOTHING about homosexuality, quite an oversight considering how much of it was going on in the Greco-Roman world at the time. What he does say is that "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (John 11:26, People's New Testament). He doesn't say, "Everybody but queers."

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Just remember that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed . Did they die ? You bet !

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6WarrenRicheyKid(167 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

"Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together." (Deut 22:11).

Check your closet. You may end up in hell if you don't toss out those "no iron" shirts. Yep,
you've missed the whole point of the Bible. Musidorus said it right.

God keeps making gays. He must have a plan. You gotta beef with God?

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