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