Gospel music superstar, Kirk Franklin made headlines recently with an apology on behalf of Christians for their usage of the Bible as a manual with which to hate gays. The contemporary, Grammy-winning artist’s comments were made in an interview with The Grio and met quickly with both support and opposition from many in the public.
Conservative Christians have often criticized Franklin, going back to his arrival on the Gospel music scene in the 1990s. For their tastes, Franklin’s music was “too worldly,” meaning it sounded more aligned with the provocative productions in R&B and Hip Hop than the traditional gospel of yesterday. Undoubtedly Franklin’s latest assertion of how God feels about the gays will make even more of their heads spin.
In his conversation with The Grio, Kirk Franklin addresses explicitly the very real homophobia in the black church. It’s not his obligation to do so, but Franklin offered an apology to the LGBTQ community, “I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the church that have been talented and gifted and musical, that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed… and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” Franklin said. “We have not treated them like people. We’re talking about human beings, men, and women that God has created.”
Though not exclusive to the black church, Franklin is right, and he nails the hypocrisy accurately. As an African American raised with a devout family of a black Baptist church, this is something I take issue with because openly gay men are and were always visible in black churches where I grew up. Many were overtly effeminate, young men dressed to the nines, in flamboyant men’s suits, wearing makeup, manicured nails, and clutching fabulous little murses under their arms.
The pastors, deacons, and parishioners all knew them, and often relied upon these men’s devotion to the church and exploited their innate creativity to do the colorful tasks, such as decorating the church for events, cooking for bake sales, directing the choir, producing the church plays, coordinating fundraising efforts, and more. They used them, taking advantage of the talents of their true nature –but then later, had the audacity to condemn them all to hell in fiery sermons, citing the laws of Leviticus in the Bible, as God’s alleged testament against homosexuals.
Christianity, as an organized religion, has been responsible for some of the greatest atrocities to man. We can take into account the murderously treacherous legacy of the papacy, the rise of the KKK who formed as a Christian group that believed God granted them superiority because of their lack of pigmentation (let that sink in), and in more modern times, the lone-wolf of today who blows up abortion clinics because, “God told me to.”
With this month commemorating the 50th year of Stone Wall, in conjunction with WorldPride, I appreciate Kirk Franklin’s efforts in making an apology to gay people on behalf of Christians. However, by the same token, who cares what “Christians” have to say in the first place? These are same people who dubiously thumb through all the pages of the Bible, skimming right past God’s ABUNDANTLY CLEAR words forbidding fornication, gambling, adultery, divorce, lying, cheating and stealing – you know, all the stuff THEY are doing.
Then somehow these “Christians” miraculously arrive at the exhaustively used, ambiguous line in the book of Leviticus 18:22, that allegedly says “Man shall not lay with a man as he lay with a woman.” Really? What does that even mean? This is their rationale for gay people going to hell?
Orthodox Jews (The Torah) and Evangelicals (The Old Testament) both love themselves some Leviticus when it comes to cherry-picked declarations of what is an abomination to God. What I want to know is how do they arrive at the “abomination” of Leviticus18:22, without first reading Leviticus 11:10?
Leviticus 11:10 makes it clear that it is an abomination to eat any shellfish such as crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Leviticus 11:6-8 states it is an abomination to touch the skin of a dead pig, which implicates the entire NFL as offenders. There is one very peculiar law in Leviticus, that as I see it, will damn the whole human race to hell –Leviticus 19:7, which declares it to be an abomination to God if you eat three-day-old left-overs. Yes, you read that correctly.
So at this stage in my life, I give zero credibility to the “Christians” who feel the need to condemn based on the alleged laws of Leviticus. Whereas I definitely can appreciate Kirk Franklin’s apology, I will no longer validate Christian ideology when it comes to my life, especially when considering that supposedly my gayness, is equally as offensive to God as Tuesday’s pot roast –if I ate it again on Thursday.