Today Congressman André Carson attended Easter services at Light of the World, a leading westside megachurch. The minister, Bishop T.G. Benjamin, gave as close an endorsement as the IRS will allow from the pulpit to Congressman Carson. Allegedly [Carolene] Mays had tried real hard for that very important statement of support but Congressman Carson got it!
Operation Rebirth is a website dedicated to ending the religious and spiritual abuse against black gays and lesbians inflicted by Black churches. The site describes itself as becoming "the watchdog within the black church, holding black clergy accountable for their anti-gay messages and its impact on the community as a whole." The site took to task Bishop T.G. Benjamin of the Light of the World Christian Church in its watchdog role, examining his sermon entitled, “The High Cost of Low Living”. Operation Rebirth quoted the following anti-gay diatribe by Benjamin during his sermon:
The most dastardly thing about homosexuality is silly silly homosexuals going around trying to convince people that what they're doing is normal. That’s the sin; the abomination. Instead of saying I have a serious problem and I am struggling with it and I know that it is wrong . . . Homosexuality is a spirit of the underworld and you who collaborate with that spirit collaborate with the devil himself. But be careful on who you think is a homosexual and who is not. Everybody that is effeminate is not a homosexual, they just didn’t have the kind of parenting where a father said ‘son take that switch out yo' walk boy, son we don't walk like that, or bend like that either.’ The first time a father sees his son do his wrist like this he needs to take his hand and say .....uh............uh...........here. Your wrist goes like this. Men don’t talk up here (high). It’s a choice, you can change, you can choose, you can choose. Every effeminate person is not gay and every weight lifter is not straight. He might be the biggest girl in the city.” Uproarious laughter breaks out in the congregation.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has recently come under intense criticism for attending church services for the past 20 years at a southside Chicago church where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a close friend of Obama's, has delivered sermons in the past which many consider to be racist and anti-American. It seems to me that politicians like Obama and Carson send mixed messages when they speak out against discrimination and intolerance while openly associating with and even seeking support from persons whose messages seek to divide rather than unite us. Their defenders will say that Wright's and Benjamin's controversial views are commonplace in black churches. It's a part of the culture we're told, and we should accept it for what it is. My friends on the left have always bludgeoned Republicans who associate with the likes of Bob Jones, Jerry Fawell or Pat Robertson. Their admonitions were deserved given the controversial and divisive statements these gentlemen made on any variety of social and foreign policy issues. I just wish they didn't apply a double-standard to politicians on the left who court support from equally as divisive and controversial figures.