Posted Feb. 1, 2008 – A member of one of the largest Black churches in Washington, D.C., outed more than 100 gay choir members last month, telling the pastor that she was leaving because they had ushered in “sin” and “sexual spirits,” a local gay activist told BET.com.
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In an email to Bishop Alfred Owens, pastor of the 7,000-member Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in northeast D.C., an angry woman on the choir put 45 members of one of the church’s several choirs on blast in late December; then on Jan. 2, she sent another email, identifying 62 other choir members as gay, Brian Watson, a local gay activist told BET.com
Watson, who said a friend showed him one of the emails, said it reads as follows: “The following people I am asking you to monitor very closely and my prayer is that you will sit them down from their ministries because they are ushering in the presence of sin, lies, a spirit of homosexuality and sexual spirits.”
The unidentified woman wrote that 80 percent of the tenors are gay and act more like females in choir rehearsal than she does, according to Watson, a member of the National Black Justice Coalition, an African-American group that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians.
"It's the talk of the community," Watson said, noting that a lot of the church members "shut it down" when the topic is brought up. He said that the coalition is not taking any stand on the issue because "we have publicly [stated] that Bishop Owens and Greater Mount Calvary is homophobic, yet members who are gay continuously worship there."
"They actually have an ex-gay ministry at the church, which is listed on their Web site, to turn gay members straight," Watson said.
Neither Owens or officials from the church returned BET.com’s calls.
This is not the first time the church has been rocked by a scandal involving gay members.
During a Sunday morning sermon in 2006, Owens used the word "faggot" in referring to homosexuals.
“It takes real men to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior,” Owens said in the sermon, which was recorded by the church on Palm Sunday. “I’m not talking about no faggot or no sissy. Let the real men come down here and take a bow — all the real men. I’m talking about straight men … praise God that you’re straight.”
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