African Americans: Same Sexuality & Race
By Dr. Derek Grier
It has been argued that same-sex ‘marriage’ is a civil rights issue akin
to the black struggle for equality. No less a civil rights icon that Jesse
Jackson has denounced that claim, noting that, ‘gays were never called
three-fifth human in the Constitution.”
— Sydney Hunt, Washington Times
“We’ll look back on these people who got married in California as the Rosa Parks of the gay and lesbian movement.”
—Steve Sanders, U.S. News & World Report
“The Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, former democratic congressman and the
architect of the 1963 March on Washington, calls same-sex marriage an
‘abomination’ that could destroy society … ‘For most black Americans who know
our history, we do not want further confusion about what a marriage and a family
happen to be.”
— Phuong Ly and Hamil R. Harris, The Washington Post
“Jason West, the mayor of the little Hudson Valley village of New Paltz
who married 25 gay couples last month… doesn’t see a difference between the gay
rights movement and the civil rights movement, or any other movement, for that
— Robert Sullivan, The New York Times Magazine
“The Congress of Racial Equality has fought against invidious
discrimination and prejudice for over 60 years. We take it very seriously…
Lifestyles changes and choices are not the moral equivalent of racial, religious
and ethnic protection. While I will fight for the individual right of any one of
any particular lifestyle, I will not equate and elevate it to the same moral
high ground that we had in the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s.
Sexual orientation is not on the same moral high ground as race…”
— Roy Innis, Congress of Racial Equality
“When small-town mayor Jason West started presiding over gay weddings, he
saw it as nothing short of ‘the flowering of the largest civil rights movement
the country’s had in a generation’ ‘The people who forbid gays from marrying in
this country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the
bus’ said the Green Party mayor of New Paltz, N.Y.”
— Allen G. Breed, Associated Press
More than 20 million human beings lay bloody from resistance, bruised by
chains, fevered from lying in their own excrement. They were carried over the
ocean in the shadowy hulls of slave ships. The air was thick with disease and
the crew took turns with the young girls. Tens of millions died. Their bodies
were beaten and identifies erased. This was the price of the one-way ticket
Africans paid to arrive in the New World.
Chattel slavery lasted for hundreds of years in the Americas. Mothers were routinely sold away from their children. Slaves were worked to exhaustion in the heat of the hotter months and were shoeless, shirtless and hungry during the winter. Eventually, slavery was transformed into another, equally dark form of oppression – Jim Crow, and American apartheid thrived for another 100 years. Until the dawn of the civil rights movement, African Americans were denied not only social equality, but political and economic equality as well. The monumental challenge of the civil rights movement to overcome racism does not even come close to characterizing the homosexual movement in the United States today. It is a glaring minimization of African American history to liken the two struggles.
Today pundits conveniently link racial identity with sexual desires. Many such commentators purport to be supporters of the African American community. However, if they really understood the average African American and were trying to champion our cause, they would not be so surprised by the pained looks on our faces when we hear them discuss the issue. We ask ourselves, “Where were the water hoses, attack dogs and midnight rides to terrorize the marriage registrants in Massachusetts and San Francisco?”
A few weeks ago, my six-year-old son read the autobiography of Jackie Robinson and asked me, “Why was he treated so badly?” If I had left it to our news programs to give my child the answer, he would have concluded that being black is much like being a homosexual. To equate his brown, handsome skin color with homosexuality is not only insensitive; it ignores the deep racism and self-hate that is so imbedded in our national psyche.
Proponents of the homosexual lifestyle argue that as race is merely a byproduct of inherited genes, so is homosexuality. The weakness of this position is that people of color reproduce and pass on the DNA that makes the skin brown; however, homosexuals cannot reproduce. If homosexuality is a genetic trait and homosexuals were true to their orientation, the trait would die in the first generation. Nature does not perpetuate homosexuality.
The only way homosexuality could be passed on genetically is through bisexuality. This really muddies the water, because it indicates that the homosexual has the capacity to choose between male or female sexual partners. If this is the case, our sexuality is less a matter of biology but more an issue of personal choice.
Sexual response is a deep mysterious union of the mind, body, will, and emotions. The difficulty with equating race with sexuality is that if I lose the use of my mind, body, will or emotions, I would still have brown skin. I know of former homosexuals but not any former African Americans. The color of my skin was an inevitable consequence of the combination of my mother and father’s DNA. It is an immutable fact and not something I chose.
This concept of “immutability” was the very foundation that the civil rights movement was built. My forbearers successfully argued that it was discriminatory and immoral to limit the rights of anyone based on things they could not change. Sex is not a biological trait but a deed. It should not share the same status as ethnicity. Homosexuals already have the right to have intercourse, and I am not opposing this right between consenting adults. However, in the homosexual marriage movement, they have moved beyond asking for tolerance and are demanding a national endorsement.
Many hold the philosophy that we should avoid “legislating morality.” This sounds attractive until we consider the consequences. It is the purpose of government to create laws. Every law declares one behavior right and another wrong. The making of laws is nothing less than values-based morality. For many years, I resented the Christian church for not using its influence more widely to stop slavery and segregation. In other words, I felt that a person’s religious belief should not only influence their personal lives, but their votes. I think Dr. King said it best: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me. But it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” Morality always has and always will be legislated.
The real issue is not whether morality should be legislated, but whose morality will be legislated. Should certain people be locked out of a debate simply because they have faith? Are others more credible because they are considered secular? The best answer to a bad idea is a better idea, and it should not matter who it comes from. I happen to be an Independent, but this is neither an Independent, Republican, nor Democratic Party issue, it is an American issue. Considering the current crisis of the American family and, in particular, the African American family, gay marriage would only compound our problems. Studies show that children develop best in homes that have both a mother and father. Let’s not continue to lower the bar by confusing homosexuality and race. Our children are at risk.
According to the Omega Journal, a leading publication on death and dying, the median age of death for a homosexual man without AIDS And With a long-term sexual partner is only 41 years of age. The median age of death of heterosexual married men is 75 years. The average age for a married, African American male is 69 years. Given these statistics, this is not only a moral issue, but an emerging public-health crisis. Passing laws that would institutionalize a lifestyle that could cut the lives of our young men by nearly a third is unthinkable. Let your voice be heard by contacting your local congressperson and letting him/her know how sacred marriage is to you. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
Dr. Derek Grier is the founding pastor of Grace Christian Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. He serves on several boards and has recently served as president of the Eastern Prince William Ministerial Association in Northern Virginia. Dr. Grier has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and has traveled extensively around the world as a gifted speaker.