Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Indiana Black Pride Denounces Black Ministers' Prayer Vigil Against HRO

Indiana Black Pride responded angrily today to a prayer vigil conducted this morning by African-American ministers, who represent approximately a dozen area churches, at the city-county building in opposition to Proposal 622, the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO). The group said, “As a community of African American GLBT people we are offended with the suggestion that these black pastors speak for all black people or even all black congregations.”

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. the group said, “‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ With these words Dr. King taught us that to discriminate against anyone for any reason is wrong. The question put before us by the proposal of a Human Rights ordinance is not whether or not you agree with or condone a particular sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather do you condone discrimination.”

Indiana Black Pride urges Indianapolis’ African-American community to stay focused on the legal and constitutional issues of the HRO, and not on one’s perception of morality. “The argument for equal protections under the law is a legal and constitutional one, not a morally driven one. We believe, as does Mayor Peterson and Governor Daniels, that all of Indianapolis’s citizens deserve equal protection from job discrimination and unfair housing practices. Both Mayor Peterson and Gov. Daniels have issued executive orders saying that their respective governments will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The group blasted the black ministers for suggesting that black’s alone have ownership of civil rights. “African-American gays and lesbians certainly understand the many sacrifices our forefathers and foremothers made during the civil rights movement. However, we as black people do not own the term civil rights. Coretta Scott King, Julian Bond and Rev. Al Sharpton have all spoken out in favor of GLBT equality and an end to the homophobic rhetoric that has stifled all healthy dialogue concerning same gender love and sexual identity within the black family. The efforts by a few local black pastors only serves to widen the gap between the church and the black GLBT community.”

At this morning’s prayer vigil, one black minister sought to disabuse any notion that black civil rights and gay civil rights can be equated as reported by the Indianapolis Star. “It is an offense to black people to be used – that the blood of our fathers and our own blood that was spilled on the pathways to civil rights should be used as a lever to get legal license to make their own choices law,” the Rev. Melvin Jackson, pastor at Christian Love Missionary Baptist Church and a participant in the civil rights marches of the 1960s, said after the vigil.

Indiana Black Pride’s statement complained that many black gays and lesbians are members of the very churches represented by the group of ministers praying against the HRO. The group reported: “Many black gays and lesbians sit quietly by every Sunday morning listening to sermons filled with homophobic ranting and separatist theology. Meanwhile, the HIV infection rate among African- American men and women is reaching pandemic proportions. Yet, the only dialogue that comes from the black church is morally objectionable, unnecessary, and insulting.”

For more information on Indiana Black Pride, contact Robert Ferguson here.

No comments: