Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mary Mitchell: Black clergy hypocritical on same-sex marriage issue

Remember what was posted her last Friday about whether or not Black ministers are chasing the wrong issue with their opposition to gay marriage. Well Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell has her own take on this issue.
So I’m not impressed that a group calling itself the African American Clergy Coalition has geared up to battle a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Illinois.

The coalition is attempting to persuade 20 Black Caucus members, who may be the key to passage of the legislation, to vote against the measure.

The coalition, led by the Rev. James Meeks, has partnered with Cardinal Francis George to conduct an “aggressive street campaign” that includes robocalls to African-American households.

“It’s time for the church to wake up,” said Meeks, who also was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriages when he was a state senator.

But it seems hypocritical for black clergy to put this kind of energy into blocking people who want to get hitched legally while doing so little about the absence marriage in the communities where most of their congregants live.

To his credit, in 2010, Meeks challenged 25 unmarried couples in his church to take the plunge at his expense.

Unfortunately, marriage rates in the black community have been in decline for decades. In 2011, there was a lot of moaning and groaning when the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that only 52 percent of black women will marry by age 30. That means 48 percent of black women will sit out their prime childbearing years, or give birth without the support of a committed spouse. Today, 70 percent of black children are born outside of marriage.

Researchers blame a host of factors for black people not getting married, including high unemployment and their failure to inherit or accumulate wealth. Instead of marriage, a lot of people have serial relationships that may or may not involve cohabitation. The problems associated with these kinds of arrangements are well-documented. Children of unstable families are more likely to do poorly in school and end up in the criminal justice system.
Here's a real ball of fire thrown here!
Additionally, black clergy need to be careful about where they throw stones.

Despite the hostile attitudes they may encounter, there are gays and lesbians in the black church, and some of these young people are being victimized.

For instance, the black church was recently rocked when the pastor of one of the country’s largest megachurches was caught up in a gay sex scandal.

In 2010, five young men accused Bishop Eddie Long, of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, of lavishing them with gifts and coercing them into sex acts. Long admitted giving the gifts but denied engaging in sex with the men. The pastor settled the cases out of court.

Despite the settlement, one of the accusers, who said he was gay, released a tell-all book in February alleging that he and Long were in an abusive gay relationship.
 OK, so the Black church should tackle the issues of out of wedlock births and the lack of commitment between men & women in Black communities instead of chasing down the issue of gay marriage. In addition, Mitchell is right, there are gays & lesbians who attend church on Sundays as well. Even worse we see an example of a sex scandal when it comes to a Black minister.

I generally don't support gay marriage although I do accept civil unions. At the same time gay marriage should be the least of our concerns. Besides if this is an issue that socially conservative people want to address then perhaps instead of focusing on gay marriage perhaps they should focus on the issue of why people are choosing not to get married.

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