I don’t think I’m the only one who thought something was missing in 2005 when those calling themselves Evangelical Christians set their whole agenda around three issues: abortion, homosexuality, and conservative judges. Neither do I think I was the only person who felt that there was something unchristian about working to destroy your ideological [...]
Gary Smith takes a look at the recent Controversy over the Air Force Academy’s recent installation of a worship space for “Earth-Centered” religious followers. [...]
Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John’s Downtown Church in Houston, posted an interesting entry in his blog which is published on the Houston Chronicle website. He makes reference to President Obama’s call to end the military policy, “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell”. Then he reflects that the church, for all practical purposes, has the same policy.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been the rule in the church for as many years as there has been a church. Like the military, people have sat and suffered in silence in churches hoping to avoid detection and dismemberment for as long as there have been pews nailed to the floor. The military may have legislated the rule of “not telling” but the church has historically imposed silence on gay members with the threat of being marginalized and ostracized by hurling humiliating comments from pulpits and whispering rumors across pews.
Pastor Rudy, as he is known, applauds President Obama’s decision, and frames this issue as an act of discrimination.
This is significant in several ways. First, there are very few Methodist ministers willing to offer very public pronouncements like this. They are out there, to be sure, but many who are fighting for this issue often find themselves struggling in less public ways, and many find push-back within and outside the local and global church. Second, the black church has historically been very socially conservative on this issue, often it is more of a contentious issue in the black community than in the larger society. They are often very reluctant to equate racial discrimination with sexual identity discrimination.
Another predominately black Methodist church in Houston is the Windsor Village Methodist Church. Senior minister Kirbyjon Caldwell famously delivered the prayer for both of George W. Bush’s presidential inaugurations. When Caldwell decided to endorse Barack Obama for president, it came to light that the Windsor Village website linked to the Metatonia Ministries, a movement to “reform gays”. When this became publicized by gay rights activists, Caldwell had the website scrubbed clean of it, and explained that he had not been aware of the association. This could of course suggest that Caldwell is more enamored with fame and publicity than any particular theology. After the WVMC website was scrubbed, the question of gays being allowed to marry in the church or participate in civil unions was put directly to Caldwell. He courageously deflected and explained that he would “need to check with the church”. Continue reading Prominent Black Pastor in Houston Seeks to End “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” In the Church