Why Catching Hell and Shaking Off the Flames-Podcast

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Gospel Legend, “President Obama Made Being Gay (that stuff) All Right”

To recap, Gospel singer Kim Burrell was this close to cashing in on crossover success when this happened. Now fellow Gospel artist, actually Gospel legend Shirley Caesar joined in when she spoke about the Burrell incident this week.

You can watch the video below, but let me give you a script of what it would have been thinking if I was in that audience on 1/4/2017.

Caesar: “We’re living in critical times now, The Lord dropped this in my spirit.”

Me: “Preach Mother Caesar”

Caesar:  “Anytime you wanna say something to your church, to your members, collect the cell phones at the door”

Me: “Huh what?”

Caesar: “Everybody in here over 4,000 people in here one phone is about a million people by itself. …If there’s something that you wanna say in house, you better have the ushers get their phones and the other people’s phones, too – the ushers, the deacons, get all of their phones. Say amen, somebody.”

Me: “Oh so nobody can record you saying something that can cost or embarrass you?” Ok

Caesar: “Alot of us have made a whole lot of mistakes, if doors can talk, if hotel beds could talk,”

Me: “Okay, we have all sinned, not sure where you are going?”

Caesar: “So if you were going to say something you should’ve said it four years ago when our President made that stuff all right,”

Me: “Oh that’s where you are going, oh no.”

(she says something else but I am still stuck on the, “President made that stuff all right”, part)

Caesar: “..but now I’m learning to process it, Bishops before I speak. I’m learning to not speak too fast because once its out there its gone”

Me: “What prophetic words and not in a positive way. Yes, they are out there now Mother Caesar. You may have felt that you were called to protect your fellow pastors from undergoing the public shaming that Kim Burrell has received for her homophobic comments. But Mother Caesar, who will protect their LGBTQI members from them and you?”

Rev. Gerald Palmer is a Husband,Father,Ordainded Reverend, Social Worker, Preacher, Teacher, Activist, Believer in Social Justice, and a Believer in Jesus Christ

Transphobia: The Hill Where Christianity Will Die?

Unless you have done the smart thing and disconnected from all social media and both morning and evening news, you know about the current attack by the Conservative Christian vocal majority on transgender people. The first target was Target and the next, public school accommodations for transgender students.

With their rally cry of, “Keep our women and girls safe from men in bathrooms”this movement of propaganda and fear is making its presence felt in the very places charged to protect all students. An example of this was seen in Medford, Oregon where parents and students protested Transgender accommodation at their schools.

This fear of “boys in girl’s bathrooms” a message pushed by many Conservative Christian talking heads and groups, seems to be carrying some Christians to the point of break as seen in the message below from a concerned parent expressed on social media:

“The best solution is for mass removal of students, no students, no federal money. The problem is between the high number of single parent homes, dual income homes that usually have one parent working during the school hours an order to barely survive, and many other social problems that society has already grabbed onto as normal, most homes are not capable of doing Home School for their children. Then add in the rules and regulations certain states have for being allowed to do so and you have a nightmare on your hands. Of course there is the option of computer schools for those who don’t want to be personally responsible for their child’s education, while still removing them from these kinds of detrimental situations, but they have an enrollment limit for each sate, and many are already at their capacity- and the remainder would fill up practically overnight in the case of mass removal. This leaves the option of Christian parents of forming a teaching co-op, where they each take a subject they are good at and a time slot that works for them, and work together to educate their children. This plan of course works best if you all live near each other, and there would still be all kinds of rules to follow in certain sates about what education materials would need to be used, and possible testing. BASICALLY THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO MAKE IT AS IMPROBABLE AS POSSIBLE FOR THE KIND OF MASS REMOVAL OF CHILDREN THAT WOULD NEED TO HAPPEN TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! Let’s not forget that they can arrest a parent for their child’s absentees in many states, so a straight up boycott would result in many parental arrests, removal of children, and they would be not only back in the schools you don’t want hem in, but also being raised by strangers.”

Yes, she too has been whipped into a “boys in girls showers and restrooms” frenzy. Conservative Christian leaders like Eric Metaxas are advocating this fear mongering spirit by advising parents to “seriously consider alternative educational options”. For Metaxas’  and his conservative Christian organization BreakPoint this seems to be an opportunity to make some coin.

Not to be outdone, conservative commentator David Limbaugh is calling for a country upheaval in response to Transgender accommodations in public schools.  In an article titled  Resisting Obama’s Transgender Directive: A Hill to Die On, David stated,

“This is a hill to die on, and if the sane states don’t fight back on this one, we might as well just completely surrender the republic today. It’s either that or eventually seeing the people rise up in a way we haven’t witnessed for many years.”

As I read and listen to the current storm of anti-Transgender hysteria propagated from my Christian brothers and sisters, I hear the voice of Jesus calling from John 13:33-35

33Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. 34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. KJV

How will all men know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ if all they see is fear and propaganda?  Will the Hill of Transphobia be the hill that the credibility of Christianity as a religion of love die on? I pray not.

 

 

 

A Biblical Do Over

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we no longer have to wonder what the Bible really says?

It is blasphemy for me to even say the words, “Biblical Do Over”. But yes we are in need of just that.  There is nothing wrong with our current adaptations of the Christian Bible. I think the Bible is just fine. If it is not broken then why a do over?

What is broken is our interpretations. There are hundreds of Biblical interpretations as well as tens of thousands of Christian denominations and all with their distinct handling of certain scriptures.

History is littered with proof of interpretations gone bad. We have examples of people with bad intentions using good scriptures to commit bad deeds.  Fueled by need to gather social, political, and/or financial influence and/or gain, these people use scripture to collect what they desire. Sometimes these people go unchallenged. How can you compete with, “The Bible says”?

In American history we have seen examples of social injustice committed with the disclaimer, “The Bible Says”.  Lives have been and are disrupted and families have been/are even split in half based on whatsome thought “The Bible Says”.

Like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae of social injustice, “the Bible says” has been used to justify the slavery of black people, the almost annihilation of Native Americans, the murder of Mormons, the oppression of women, and now the oppression of LGBT people.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we no longer have to wonder what the Bible really says?

“How Gerald, how”, you ask?

“Simple”, I say.

A new edition of the Bible from the desk of God or better yet the audio book with Jesus narrating will end all of the confusion and all the manipulating of scripture to harm others. We can finally know what the authors of Genesis, Leviticus, Romans, or what ever passages that have been used to oppress others really meant.

Until then, we have what we have. We have hundreds of versions of the Bibles and thousands of Christian denominations. And we have this:

Matthew 5:43-48  You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Am I unrealistic to think that if we seek love and if we follow God’s perfection that we will be to busy seeking and following to harm others with our personal interpretations of scriptures?

Gerald is  a Husband, Father, Ordained Minister, Social Worker, Educator, Social Commentator, Social Activist, LGBT Ally and all around Renaissance Man

 

Of Leprechauns, Unicorns, and Black Dads?

I am black and I am a dad.

The current thought process (as of the 1960’s) is that I don’t exist. We don’t exist. To some the black dad is in the same magical land as the Easter Bunny who only shows up once a year and the tooth fairy who leaves money under a minus one tooth child’s pillow.

Tales of our non-existence have been so woven into American tapestry that sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to make sure that we are real. We are real.

We exist.

We go with our partners to well visits.

We wipe the runny noses of our little ones.

We sit in their bedrooms when they are afraid even though we have checked under their beds and in their closets for the boogey person.

We are present in their lives even if we are not living with them.

We kiss the foreheads of our sons and our daughters.

We strive to be their protectors.

 

We are not figments of your imagination.

We are not merely talking points to what’s wrong with black communities

We are not merely sermon fodder on Sunday Mornings when questions of, “Where are the black men?” illuminate from the pulpit.

We are real!

We are present!

We exist!

 

Catching Hell and Shaking Off the Flames of Homophobia in the Black Community

By: Gerald M. Palmer, MSW

The term homophobia within itself is a divisive term and one that is quickly disregarded by many. I only used the term homophobia to gain the reader’s attention. Instead of being sidetracked by a word, let us address behavior. Let us talk about a system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes others. This ideological system is one in which any non-heterosexual form of behavior, identity, relationship, or community is branded as not essential.

In the black community there seems to be two competing thoughts in which this ideological system (let us call it heterosexism) is prevalent. These two competing thoughts are religious thought and black consciousness. In both systems, non-heterosexuality is believed to be either chosen, brought on by past sexual trauma. Both ideologies believe that it can be changed. To be non-heterosexuality or even a supporter of the rights of non-heterosexuals is to be on the fringes of both groups and looking in. Again, these are the dominant black belief systems and it is important to know that these groups disagree on many levels but seem to unite by the way of their heterosexism. Our LGBTQ brothers and sisters catch hell from both sides. Many shake off the flames by turning away from both ideologies.

Traditionally in black religious thought non-heterosexuality is viewed as Satan’s construct used as a Heaven population control because non-heterosexuals “are disqualified from Heaven”. Those who are anything but heterosexual are believed to be controlled by their Satan given sexual desires. They are also deemed unfit for brother or sisterhood because heterosexuality is viewed by some to be incompatible to a Christian life. Many who operate in this belief or world view, purge themselves of their non-heterosexual members be they related or not. This purging could be either physical or emotional as they pull away from their non-heterosexual members. The works of Elijah J. Ward among others speak on this tragedy.

In the conscious community non-heterosexuality is viewed as a white construct used as a tool to control black population. Those who are anything but heterosexual are viewed as pawns of the white man and deemed unfit for brother or sisterhood. Race survival fuels this ideology and black gay men are seen as stumbling blocks to black survival. It is viewed that gay men are taking part in black annihilation. This ignores the fact that sexual reproduction can trump sexual orientation. Sexual behavior may not reinforce sexual orientation. Some in the conscious community believe that non-heterosexuality did not exist in African culture. Scholarship including work by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe make some compelling arguments against those beliefs.

What does it mean to be both black and a non-heterosexual in America? According to many who are both black and non-heterosexual it means that you are too gay to be Conscious, too gay to be a Christian and too black for the at-large non-heterosexual community.
That is a damn shame.

Gerald is  a Husband, Father, Ordained Minister, Social Worker, Educator, Social Commentator, Social Activist, LGBT Ally and all around Renaissance Man