At what cost to these children of God?


My own journey as a Black, same-gender-loving man brought me, years ago, into a church whose pastor never uttered a condemning word. Outside the pulpit, the pastor was gentle and supportive. Inside the pulpit, he wasn’t gay-hateful, but neither was he gay-affirming.

For years, I thought that was the best I could hope for in a Black church experience. At least, I thought, they weren’t condemning me to hell. Being silent, just not talking about it, felt like enough.

But then a new pastor arrived who was hateful and hurtful. When a youth said to me, “She’s killing us!” I realized that all those years of neglect had left me unequipped to stand up to abuse.

Later, during Bible study, when the preacher said that “homosexuals make God vomit,“ that “God didn’t create no homosexuals,” that same child asked, “Well, who created them?”

If you’re gay or transgender (LGBT), and you go to a church that’s not explicitly affirming, you have to get away. Otherwise, you may live the rest of your life believing that who you are is a problem for God.

The pastor and others then descended on the child, and in that moment, I found my voice. I heard the Spirit saying to me, “Don’t you dare let them do this to the child. I know you better speak up.”

That was when I understood my call to speak the truth, to protect our children from misguided judgments and ill-informed readings of Scripture.

If Jesus—as you understand Jesus—were right here, what do you think he would be saying about how we treat gay and transgender people in our churches?

If you knew a child or a member of your congregation was being abused psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually, what would you see as your responsibility to address that?

Pastors say to me that they’d like to be supportive, but it would cost too much.

What is silence costing the lives of children and adults who can’t reconcile their sexuality and their faith?

Many Voices invites us all to fully know the God of Genesis – for whom all of God’s children are beautifully and wonderfully made in the divine image of God. And God judged the whole creation not only good, but very good.

Will you join me in calling on our churches to do better by our children?

About Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington

Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington is the founding president of the Washington Consulting Group, a multicultural organizational development firm and has served as an educator, administrator, and consultant in higher education for over 30 years. Dr. Washington is also the president and a founder of the Social Justice Training Institute and serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Social Ethics at Winston Salem State University. Co-pastor of Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore, Dr. Washington serves as the board chair of Many Voices, a Black church movement for gay and transgender justice.
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