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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another DC Anti-gay Black Pastor Ignites Firestorm

Pam Spaulding:

"It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy...Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow. All the real men -— I'm talking about the straight men."
-- DC pastor Bishop Alfred A. Owens, in a recorded sermon delivered at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church

We've got another live one here, courtesy of Jasmyne Cannick. Instead of taking the tack of fellow homo-bigot pastor Willie Wilson, who saw a lesbian around every corner, we've got Bishop Owens, who's trying to root out the gayboys in his church with a call-out from the pulpit.

This is a prime example of the sickness in the socially conservative religious black community, and you will not see these hateful sons-of-bitches called out by the mainstream Democratic leaders. The spineless Dems won't touch this homobigotry with a one-hundred-foot pole for fear of the race card being slapped down on them. Falwell, Dobson and the white fundamentalist extremists can be held up as sick examples of conservative fear and hate, but men like Owens and Willie Wilson get a pass.

Now Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams is threatening to remove Owens from his post on the Interfaith Council if he doesn't apologise for his remarks. WaPO:

Mayor Anthony A. Williams threatened yesterday to remove a prominent minister from his interfaith council if the minister does not issue a public apology for derogatory remarks he made about gay men during a Palm Sunday sermon last month.

Williams (D), who made his position known at his weekly news briefing, said he had been unsuccessful in trying to contact Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr., pastor of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church.

Owens can be heard on an April 9 church recording saying, "It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy."

The mayor said yesterday: "If you can be shocked, saddened and disappointed all at once, I really am, because I really have to condemn remarks made like that whenever they're made against any group on the basis of sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity or anything else."

Williams said he expected public contrition from Owens. "Otherwise, we would have to discontinue that relationship, and I would really regret that because he really has been a great leader in our city."

Owens responds with a letter to the editor. The Washington Blade calls for his ouster.

Owens responded in a letter to the editor in today's Washington Post. And guess what? He's not apologizing. Although he offers a half-hearted apology in his opening sentence, claiming he didn't mean to "wound anyone," the egomaniacal Owens goes on to defend his anti-gay sermon.

"I will not submit my sermons through political filters for fear of recrimination by political or social groups," he wrote. "On any given Sunday, I preach about love, faith and holiness, and, yes, about hell and sin. For that, I offer no apology."

Remember, this "bishop" stood in front of his congregation and called the gay men present "faggots."

Once again the double standard that allows public figures like Owens to demonize gays and lesbians but demands thorough public ridicule and contempt for anyone accused of racism (imagine a white pastor using the dreaded "n word" in a sermon) rears its ugly head. No big city mayor would give a white person caught on tape using a racial epithet a chance to apologize and move on. Williams should remove Owens immediately from his position on the interfaith council.

And Owens can keep his half-hearted apology. The entire city now knows exactly how he views the gays and lesbians in his congregation. How sad and ironic that those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are always the ones acting in the ways most unlike Christ.

I remember Mayor Anthony Williams firing someone for using the word niggardly. A synonym for niggardly is miserly. That word has no connection with the "n word".

Update: Keith Boykin's take on this is here. Jasmyne Cannick has her take here.