More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Making Pro-LGBT Preaching Go Viral
Sadly, in recent weeks, there has been a spate of sermons calling for violence against LGBT people. An Independent Baptist pastor in North Carolina suggested putting all LGBT people behind an electric fence, which prompted a major peaceful protest and in Kansas, a pastor called for the government to execute LGBT people. Even a young child was filmed singing an anti-gay song at his Apostolic church.
Video footage of these anti-LGBT remarks have gone viral via YouTube, garnering considerable media attention.
Yet, in the last few weeks, several other faith leaders have uploaded pro-LGBT equality sermons to the internet without much response. Below, we have posted several videos that GLAAD would like to see go viral. First up is a short sound clip (uploaded just yesterday!) from United Church of Christ Rev. Molly Baskette First Church Somerville of Somerville, Massachusetts. In the clip, Rev. Baskette declares that being gay or lesbian is not a sin to the applause of members. Her pro-LGBT sermon was timed wonderfully, given on Pride Sunday (June 10, 2012).
Recently, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ spoke out in favor of marriage equality as well. A clip from his sermon below is framed as a reaction to President Obama’s historic endorsement of marriage equality.
In a more robust speech, Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III of the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas preaches his pro-marriage equality stance in spite of mixed audience reactions. While some of the audience members seem to disagree with Reverend Haynes fiery demands for equality, other members raise their hands in agreement.
It is important to note that both Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III and Reverend Haynes serve as counter examples to the media’s constant framing of Black pastors in opposition to marriage equality. In fact, according to new polls, strong public support for marriage equality exceeds strong opposition by a significant margin. These polls also indicate increased support for marriage equality among African-Americans. Some press outlets are slowly beginning to cover the pro-LGBT equality words and actions of black pastors, though. Last week, for example, the New York Times spotlighted Rivers at Rehoboth church in Harlem. The predominantly black congregation is a welcoming church for gay and lesbian members, serving as a counterexample to assumptions about black churches and their stances on LGBT-equality. Additionally, several other prominent, black voices supported marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples recently. This month, the board of the N.A.A.C.P. voted to express its support for marriage equality. Bishop Melvin Talbert stated his support for LGBT equality at the United Methodist General Conference. Reverend Oliver White, pastor of the only predominantly African American Congregational Church in Minnesota, expressed his support for LGBT members even in the face of criticism from congregants.
Next is a video from Reverend Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Reverend Lavanhar, using charismatic humor, argues that, ultimately, the marriage equality debate comes down to family and love. His sermon is met with “Amen!”s and applause.
Sermons like these are happening all over the country, despite limited coverage of them. GLAAD commends the faith leaders who bravely voice their support of LGBT equality and upload their sermons online for all to view. Such statements do not go unnoticed. GLAAD encourages faith leaders to post their videos and comments of pro-LGBT equality statements in order to make equality, not anti-LGBT preaching, go viral.