Pastor, prison chaplain and LGBT ally Rev. Reggie Longcrier featured in Many Voices video

Today, Many Voices, the video series highlighting Black LGBT-affirming voices in the U.S. South, released its third video in a three-part Ally Voices series. In the video, Rev. Reggie Longcrier, a pastor at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina, talks about LGBT acceptance, his work as a prison chaplain, and his commitment to ensuring that all who enter his church feel safe and welcome.

Rev. Longcrier begins the video, saying:

"Even when I go home now, and I've got gay and lesbian friends. We're tight, from childhood, so I can't see myself acting any different because I know the lord now. All of the sudden I'm supposed to treat them different? My theology is based on what I've seen in life, what I've experienced. So when other pastors can't understand, you haven't been where I've been, you haven't seen what I've seen."

He also discusses becoming appointed a chaplain at the one of the same prisons where he was once incarcerated. Rev. Longcrier brought inmates out of the prison to the church, regardless of their race or sexual orientation. In order to foster a more welcoming congregation, Rev. Longcrier established a multiethnic inner-city ministry that would meet the needs of all who came to the church.

In an essay accompanying the video, Rev. Longcrier writes:

"I read the Scripture not just with my mind but also my heart. It’s got to match up with my heart. I’ve got to ask, “Is this God’s character?” Scripture has been used to deny men and women their rights—to promote slavery, deny interracial couples the right to get married, justify persecution of the Jews, support Apartheid and the Ku Klux Klan, condemn women as witches, and now to refuse gays and lesbians their rights. You’ve got to dive deep into the Scripture—look at culture, history, and context. Even though we say Scripture is without error, we’re taking a big risk to say that our understanding is without error."

Watch Rev. Longcrier's interview for the Many Voices campaign below, and read his essay about the video here.

Rev. Reggie Longcrier for the Many Voices Video Campaign from Many Voices on Vimeo.