WASHINGTON - JUNE 06, 2006: Rev. William Owens, of the Coalition of African Americans, speaks about same-sex marriage while Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), left, and Sen.Wayne Allerd (R-CO) stand nearby during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
It’s been a whirlwind of press since President Obama said last week that he is in favor of gays and lesbians being allowed to marry one another. In the ensuing days, both rapper Jay-Z and pop icon Janet Jackson have come out in support of the president’s statement, and other Black Americans have also said they plan on sticking by Obama’s side despite the controversy his statement has created. But one group is not so cheery about Obama’s great proclamation, and they’re letting their displeasure be known.
In Memphis, a group of influential and well-respected Black pastors, led by the Rev. William Owens, who founded the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), is coming together to decry Obama’s gay-marriage pronouncement. In a letter accusing gay people of “hijacking ... the civil rights movement,” Owens and his coalition went on the attack:
We cannot and will not remain silent while marriage, the most fundamental institution in our and any nation, is undermined by our own president while using Christian language and relating it to civil rights. … For activists, politicians and now the highest office in the nation to link sexual behavior God calls sin to the righteous cause Martin Luther King gave his life for is abominable in and of itself. There is no civil right to do what God calls wrong.
People like Owens always shock me. Not because of the things they say, but because they love to cherry-pick passages from the Bible to make their point as if nobody else in the world has read the book. I’ve read it, and I remember the part when it says slavery is OK, too:
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)
That’s just one of the many passages in the Bible that condone slavery, but it’s enough to make my point: If you’d like to use the Bible and God’s words to promote your bigotry, that’s reprehensible, but it’s also your choice. However, if you’re going to do that, at least remember that it’s all God’s word, not just the parts you like.
I’ll look forward to reading Owens’ next letter about how slavery should be legal again, too.
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