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Black LGBTQ Ministers Speak Out About Kim Burrell’s Homophobia

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As the backlash continues following gospel singer and pastor Kim Burrell’s homophobic tirade — after getting disinvited from Ellen, she got dropped from BMI’s Trailblazers of Gospel Music event in Atlanta on January 14 — The Root, a black cultural site, asked seven black LGBTQ ministers what they thought of Burrell’s words.

All their responses are worth reading, but two quotes in particular showed how Burrell’s rant failed in terms of  liberation theology; if religion should free oppressed people, homophobia hardly helps.

Here’s some thoughts from Bishop Yvette Flunder, senior pastor of Oakland’s City of Refuge United Church of Christ:

“I’m the progeny of slaves, but the Bible also says ‘Slaves obey your masters.’ Masters read from that text to African slaves and they felt justified to be slaveholders. But black people read past that and came up with songs like, ‘Before I be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free. The Scripture didn’t free us from slavery, but it was the knowledge of a God who loves us so much to not want us in that wanton institution. A lot of oppressed people are oppressing other people from the pulpit. Free people free people. So we need to work on getting free so that we can be agents of freedom.”

And then here’s a pearl from Reverend DeWayne Davis, pastor of All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in St. Paul, referencing a passage from 1 Corinthians telling women “to be silent and submissive in matters of the church”:

“This [passage]can be grounded in a history and context removed from our own, yet it’s been the basis to deny women from ordination—and Caesar and Burrell are on the receiving end of that kind of discrimination in Apostolic and Pentecostal circles. [Caesar and Burrell] may not know they’re using the tools of a patriarchal theology, but they’re using that same structure to [oppress]queer people … we have now arrived at a more modern interpretation.”