Black Southern Pastors Call for LGBT Justice in Video Campaign
Straight clergy challenge scripture & stereotypes; send powerful message to church and community
WASHINGTON, DC — October 21, 2014 — Today, Many Voices, a Black church movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) justice, launches the second in a series of unprecedented videos that feature LGBT-affirming African American clergy from the South. Video subjects include Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor of Bible, Union Presbyterian Seminary at Charlotte; Rev. Dr. Terence Leathers, Pastor, Mount Vernon Christian Church; and Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Executive Director of prison ministry Exodus Missionary Outreach Church;
“There’s too much segregation and too much separation because we’ve used the Word to do it,” says Rev. Dr. Terence Leathers.. “My whole concept has been to bring together and not to break apart. I believe we must be well-studied…[T]here are scriptures that we don’t fully examine, that we take out of context, and we take those scriptures and we move them to where we are now—not understanding that you can’t always do that.”
Each interview captures experiences from ally voices of faith that undermine the misconception that Black pastors are monolithically homophobic. The videos also illuminate how African Americans can be both religious and supportive of LGBT people, and that being LGBT-affirming can be consistent with one’s faith.
“Each pastor partaking in this powerful platform talks from a place of religious grounding, and their understanding of how scripture harmoniously informs their understanding of LGBT acceptance,” says Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Co-Director for Many Voices. “Our allies are deeply important to this work because they remind us that at the heart of the movement for LGBT justice is the fight for everyone in God’s family to live safely and authentically.”
All interviewees are based in North Carolina, a state with a substantial Black LGBT presence and strong ties to the Church. With over 40 percent of Black Protestants supporting the freedom to marry, the testimonies are representative of a growing number of justice-seeking pastors across the country. In addition to sharing the videos through social media and community collaborators, Many Voices offers training, resources, and relationship-building opportunities for church leaders and Black LGBT people. The video release is part of an ongoing campaign that launched in 2013.
The Many Voices Visibility Campaign was funded in part by the Arcus Foundation, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Foundation, and the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and was created by Katina Parker, a filmmaker and PR specialist. The music was performed by Rachael Derello, Monica Douthit and Meredeth Summers Moore, and recorded by Sammy Truong and Katina Parker.
For more information about the Many Voices Visibility Campaign, visit manyvoices.org/about/video-campaign.