By Corey Dade
Fairly or not, African-Americans have become the public face of resistance to same-sex marriage, owing to their religious beliefs and the outspoken opposition of many black pastors.
Yet the presence of gays and lesbians in black churches is common. And the fact that they often hold leadership positions in their congregations is the worst kept secret in black America.
While many black pastors condemn gays and lesbians from the pulpit, the choir lofts behind them often are filled with gay singers and musicians. Some male pastors themselves have been entangled in scandals involving alleged affairs with men.
"Persons who are in the closet serve on the deacon boards, serve in the ministry, serve in every capacity in the church," the Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Maryland, says of black churches. Wiley is a prominent advocate of gay marriage. "I do believe a certain hypocrisy is there."
Persons who are in the closet serve on the deacon boards, serve in the ministry, serve in every capacity in the church. ... I do believe a certain hypocrisy is there.
- The Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ
President Obama's recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage turned the spotlight on reservations many blacks harbor about gay rights. Most polls show African-Americans evenly divided about gay marriage, but the vocal opposition, led by preachers, has gained more attention.
"This particular decision I find appalling, and I could not disagree with the president more on it," the Rev. Patrick Wooden, senior pastor of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in North Carolina, said on NPR's All Things Considered. Wooden helped lead the recent campaign that outlawed gay marriage in his state.
Last week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right to be protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Read more here: