For far too long, homophobic black ministers have been able to spew their hateful venom from the pulpit without accountability. Today, Jasmyne Cannick and I begin a special 5-part series to out homophobic black ministers. We're tired of the hypocrisy and divisive "Christian" rhetoric that too many black pastors are spreading, and we're tired of these same ministers selling out their pulpits to the highest bidder.
From New York to Los Angeles, black LGBT people have been the backbone of the black church. Through this network, we've discovered that many homophobic black pastors lead secret lives outside the church. We're not naming any names, yet, but if you know something to help us confirm the information from our sources, we'd like to know. Send us an email by clicking here.
Each day this week, Jasmyne and I will highlight a different black preacher known for his or her homophobia. We begin today with Atlanta's own Bishop Eddie Long and George Bush's good friend T.D. Jakes. Jasmyne profiles Eddie Long and I profile T.D. Jakes. From there, we've picked out several other high-profile black preachers who may or may not be living behind stained-glass closets. We'll let you decide. And we will bring you a special finale on Friday that you won't want to miss.
He's been called America's best preacher and he's been featured on the cover of TIME magazine, but what do we really know about T.D. Jakes?
"There are certainly clergy who steer totally to the right and those who steer totally to the left, but I have never seen an eagle fly on one wing," he said recently. "I think it is vitally important, since we say we represent God, that we don’t imply that God is for one wing of a whole bird."
That may be true, but that didn't stop Jakes from his own political involvement with the Republican Party and with President George Bush. In fact, when black America was outraged about the Administration's handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis, George Bush turned to one black man to bail him out and shore up his damaged reputation. That man was T.D. Jakes, who was all too willing to give the President the political cover he needed.
But Jakes is even more conservative than Bush. Unlike Bush, who has hired gays and lesbians in the federal government, Jakes has called homosexuality a "brokenness" and said he would not hire a sexually active gay person.
AndJakes has also adopted another part of the presidential philosphy: his lifestyle. Jakes and his congregation refer to his wife Serita as "the first lady," and they live in a $1.7 million mansion on Dallas's scenic White Rock Lake next to a building once owned by oil magnate H.L. Hunt. As Time magazine explained a few weeks ago, "He flies on charter planes or in first-class seats, sups with a coterie in a room known as 'the king's table,' sports a large diamond ring and dresses like the multimillionaire he is."
I don't believe that black preachers have a duty to be poor, but I do believe they should not make their millions off the backs of their struggling kin. It's one thing to create your wealth as a preacher. It's another thing to create your wealth with a message of sexism, heterosexism and homophobia directed against some of the hardest hit people in your own community.
"To date, I have not seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife," Jakes told USA Today last month. "This is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not," he said. But if Jakes still believes in the separation of church and state, it's not clear from his political activity. In fact, Jakes publicly endorsed the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have been the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution to legalize discrimination against a group of citizens.
Our experience has shown that the people who are the most homophobic also tend to be dealing with their own issues about their sexuality. People who are comfortable with their sexuality usually don't care as much about other people's sexuality. Which leads us to an obvious question. Is T.D. Jakes gay? If you have any information on Jakes or any of the ministers we profile this week, please contact us. We want to know, and we want you to know. Send us an email by clicking here.
We're halfway through our series and today Jasmyne Cannick and I profile two more homophobic ministers, Rev. Paul Morton of New Orleans and Rev. Gregory Daniels of Chicago.
We have been focusing on black preachers known for their homophobia. Many of these preachers hail from churches with large black gay and lesbian membership in their congregations. So why are the ministers so homophobic? We'd like to know. If you have any helpful information about these pastors, please send us an email by clicking here.
Here now is part three, my profile of a particularly egregious minister, Gregory Daniels of Chicago.
Rev. Gregory Daniels
Remember the 1966 film The Black Klansman? It's the provocative story of a light-skinned black man who impersonates a white man and joins the Ku Klux Klan to get revenge on the people who bombed his church and killed his daughter. To get his revenge, the black klansman begins having sex with the klan leader's daughter. Well, Rev. Gregoy Daniels turns the story of the black klansman on its head.
Gregory Daniels is senior pastor of the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. A self-identified Republican and supporter of President George W. Bush, Daniels made headlines in February 2004 when he told the New York Times, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them." Yes, that's a black minister who said that.
Despite Daniels's incendiary rhetoric about gays, when asked by CNN's Paula Zahn if he was homophobic, he said no. "I know what homophobic means, and I am not homophobic. I do business with homosexual people. I interact with them on a daily basis in some of my business affairs. No, we're not homophobic. We don't bash them. We're not hating them."
Like several of the ministers we have profiled this week, Rev. Daniels is also closely tied to the White House. He wrote in an article on BeliefNet, "Let's get away from a glorified image of prosperity in this country and focus instead on the unglorified reality that we are leaving too many of our people behind. If we do this, how can we not support George W. Bush, who has established an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to further cooperation between government and faith-based groups."
As we have said repeatedly, our experience has shown that the people who are the most homophobic also tend to be dealing with their own issues about their sexuality. People who are comfortable with their sexuality usually don't care as much about other people's sexuality. Which leads us to an obvious question. Is Gregory Daniels gay? But there's another issue for Rev. Daniels. Given his past comments, it's worth asking a second question. Is Gregory Daniels black?
If you have any information on Daniels or any of the ministers we profile this week, please contact us. We want to know, and we want you to know. Send us an email by clicking here.
Is Donnie McClurkin Still Gay?By Keith Boykin
September 30, 2005 08:05 AM
We have reached the final day in our series on homophobic black ministers. Today Jasmyne Cannick and I profile Donnie McClurkin. During the past five days, we have profiled T.D. Jakes, Eddie Long, Willie Wilson, Noel Jones, Gregory Daniels, Paul Morton, Charles Blake and Creflo Dollar. All these black pastors are known for their homophobia.
Today, on the final day of our series, we take a different course. Today we profile a gospel musician who is also a minister. But this time we're not asking if the subject of our profile is gay. He's already acknowledged his homosexual past. Given Donnie McClurkin's familiarity with homosexuality, we want to know why he is still preaching homophobia from his pulpit. If you have any information to help us understand, please send an email by clicking here.
Here now is part five, our joint profile of Donnie McClurkin.
Donnie McClurkin first came across our radar several years ago. The 46-year-old unmarried gospel singer and preacher, best known for his hit songs "Stand" and "We Fall Down," popularized the phrase, "A saint is just a sinner who fell down."
Back in 2002, we reported that McClurkin's church, Perfecting Faith Church in New York, drew nearly a thousand people every Sunday, including his friend, Starr Jones of ABC-TV's "The View." The collection plate at the church reportedly brought in $100,000 a month. There's no doubt McClurkin has carved out a successful career as a gospel music artist and as a minister. Next Friday, a new film called "The Gospel" will feature McClurkin when it opens in theaters.
Believe it or not, we like Donnie McClurkin as a musician. We enjoy his music. We may even like his acting. But what makes McClurkin a controversial figure is his preaching. It began with McClurkin's 2001 book, Eternal Victim/Eternal Victor, where he explained his 20-year experience with homosexuality, which he said started after he was raped by an uncle.
"Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you," McClurkin told the media. He says that God delivered him from homosexuality, and since that time, he has been counseling adolescent boys that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice that can be overcome.
We'd like to see the proof. No reputable scientific study has ever demonstrated that homosexuality is a choice or that it can be "overcome." As we've said before, homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is a sexual orientation. People don't choose their sexual orientations. They are who they are. They may choose whether to act on their sexual orientations, but they have little or no choice about the sexual orientation itself.
Donnie McClurkin had a very rough childhood. That alone is a tragedy. But what makes his otherwise inspiring story so troubling is that he is now violating young people in much the same way that he was violated. By teaching young people that they can pray their way out of who they are, he is essentially creating a generation of newly confused adolescents.
Gay teenagers are already more likely to be abused in school or to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts. We've already reported on young gays and lesbians who have been beaten to death by their parents (3-year-old Ronnie Parris) and their neighbors (15-year-old Sakia Gunn). Do these young people really need to have their ministers beating them up too? We think not.
A Bush supporter, McClurkin performed for the President at the Republican National Convention last year. "There is a moral aspect that was overwhelmingly a part of Bush's appeal," said McClurkin, who also appeared in Michigan with Bush during the campaign. Shortly after, he was quoted on the Christian Broadcasting Network's (Pat Robertson’s organization) web site saying: "I'm not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children." So now gays are trying to kill children. That’s completely absurd and there’s no proof to validate that statement.
In May of this year, McClurkin finally responded to criticism from the gay community, including criticism that appeared 3 years ago on keithboykin.com. In an interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, McClurkin downplayed the controversy and described it as the product of "a few of the radical activists in the gay community trying to spin things into something that it really isn't."
So what is and what isn't? Listen to what Donnie McClurkin himself says about his sexuality. "There was a big 20-year gap of sexual ambiguity where after the rape my desires were toward men, and I had to fight those things because I knew that it wasn't what we were taught in church was right. And the older I got, the more that became a problem, because those were the first two sexual relationships that I had. Eight years old and 13 years old. So that's what I was molded into. And I fought that. When I tell you from eight to 28, that was my fight -- in the church. And you were in an environment where there were hidden, you know, vultures I call them, that are hidden behind frocks and behind collars and behind -- you know, reverends and the deacons, and it becomes a preying ground, a place where the prey is hunted, and that was what it was like."
McClurkin basically describes a world in which homosexuality is common in the church community. Something we have been trying to point out from day one in our campaign. The black church is the most homophobic and the most homotolerant institution in the black community.
And McClurkin was a part of the community. Then he says he changed. "God started making it plain to me the things to hate. You don't hate the people, but there are certain things that are against God that may be in you that you have got to learn how to hate, even though it's in you." That leads us to wonder, how did these "things" get into you in the first place?
Comparing gays and lesbians to liars, McClurkin explains, "There are certain things like, you know, anybody who has a lying problem; they get to the point where they hate being so, having such a lack of character that they make a change."
In the same interview, McClurkin argues again that homosexuality is simply a lifestyle choice. "There's a group that says, 'God made us this way,' but then there's another group that knows God didn't make them that way," he says. Notice the circularity in his rhetoric. The people who say that God made them gay don't know what they're talking about because the people who say God did not make them gay are right. Well how do they know if someone was born gay or not if they are not gay themselves? It's insulting and presumptuous of others to tell gays and lesbians that they're not smart enough even to know who they are.
As we have said all along, our experience has shown that the people who are the most homophobic also tend to be dealing with their own issues about their sexuality. People who are comfortable with their sexuality usually don't care as much about other people's sexuality. Which leads us to an obvious question. Is Donnie McClurkin still gay? If you have any information on McClurkin or any of the ministers we profile this week, please contact us. We want to know, and we want you to know. Send us an email by clicking here.