The Choir Next Time
Black churches are so much at the center of African American public life, and so much in denial about the gays and lesbians in their pews and choir stalls. As the late Marlon Riggs said in "Tongues Untied," his acclaimed 1990 documentary about gay blacks and AIDS, "How many choir directors have to die before we know who we are?" The "Embrace the Change" lineup reflects how this struggle is far from over. McClurkin, who is a minister at an evangelical church in New York, calls homosexuality a "choice" -- needless to say the wrong one. The duo Mary Mary claims to love gays in a love-the-sinner kind of way, equating us with murderers or prostitutes. It is only Byron Cage of the Mighty Clouds of Joy who has been actively working to heal the gay-straight divide.
"How many choir directors have to die before we know who we are?" This question, a direct and simple plea for a community to come to grips with reality instead of fear and dogma, is one for not just African-Americans, but all Americans, including that self-denying nuthouse known as the GOP.
How many must die--not just from the Gay Plague or despair or any of the ten thousand ways to die--but how many must die not quite acceptable among the polite crowd or as consigned to the fires of hell for the Levitcus addicts.
Come on now! The Community of Churches that serves to unite yet continues to promote disdain and withering judgements upon the brothers and sisters who can only be truly, truly loved by their brethren if they deny their sexual essence, the heart and soul that was given to them? If the heart and soul are a choice it is news to me. Enough! Break free of your chains! Until we do none of us will be free at last.