Monday, January 12, 2009

Love and Acceptance Inc.

January 12, 2009

Last night I was privileged to give the invocation at what was billed as “The First Annual Human Rights Ecumenical Service”, the first event of a new Alliance of Affirming Faith-Based Organizations called ‘Love and Acceptance, Inc. This is the brainchild of Pastor Dennis Meredith of Tabernacle Baptist Church ( who was featured in New York Times article on March 27, 2007:

There were a number of speakers in the midst of worship that was more like a Tina turner concert than anything else: raucous, rollicking, energetic and for many present, also profoundly moving. The main speaker of the evening was the Rev’d. Al Sharpton. He went back to his roots as a Pentecostal boy preacher condemning homophobia in the black community and especially among clergy. Those who had said nothing in the face of war and murder and poverty, but who organized and spoke against Proposition 8 in California received special condemnation. About ten minutes of his twenty five minute oration was done by hooping (or whooping), --that characteristic from of high energy rhythmic black preaching that is almost sung. He told of how his mother who was on welfare insisted that her children be home for dinner even when they did not whether there would be any dinner at all. He remembered that the same God who put food on the table was those one who healed Bartimaeus with out asking for any qualifications first and who now wants people of faith too stand up against injustice. “There are no civil rights for anyone unless there are civil rights for everyone”, he said, echoing a number of other speakers of the evening.

The evening was filled with memorable lines such as “I’m less disgusted by men on the down-low than by preachers who are low down. They condemn homophobia by day…” One that I will remember, ponder and doubtless use: “There are too many churches trying to be ‘cutting edge’ with out ever cutting anything.

Homophobia, especially among preachers was blamed for the disproportionate number of black men suffering from HIV/AIDS. The alliance will, among other things, serve to give some real support to clergy in the black churches who are willing to take on their colleagues as a matter of gospel proclamation.

I was proud to see some of our parishioners in attendance and proud to be from a parish that has, like Tabernacle, paid a price for doing the right thing. I was aware of how far we have still to go to assure and protect the civil rights of GLBT Christians.

Donations may be made to Love and Acceptance, Inc, PO Box 55529, Atlanta, GA 30308

1 comment:

Jetteye said...

Just want to add my "amen!" to Geoffrey's assessment of this event. What an amazing experience it was to hear Al Sharpton (and others) preach with such energy and fervor in support of ALL of God's people being invited to The Table. It was a loud, joyful celebration of hope. We are so blessed to have Pastor Meredith among us to spearhead this effort on behalf of GLBT Christians.