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Editor’s Corner

Stop Acting Brand New: Homophobia Has Always Been Rampant in the Church

For the past week, my timelines have been filled with news that Kim Burrell made a homophobic sermon in which she called homosexuality a “perverted spirit of confusion and delusion.” After expectedly being dragged to hell and back (pun intended) on the internets, Burrell promptly went live on Facebook to issue the standard unapologetic apology, saying that while she knows many suffer from that spirit, she has never discriminated against them. Apparently, standing at the pulpit telling them how they will be damned in 2017 is not discrimination, but I digress.


Well, it seems in Burrell’s foretelling of the planned damnation for the queer community in the new year, she didn’t realize that violent homophobia would write a check her Bible couldn’t cover. You see, Burrell was scheduled to appear  with Pharrell Williams on The Ellen Degeneres Show (one of the lesbians Burrell was sure would catch hellfire this year) to perform a song from the soundtrack for Hidden Figures. When the video surfaced, Ellen obviously was having none of that. Pharrell still went on Ellen’s show, though, and while there, discussed why there is absolutely no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017. (No question that homophobia should never be tolerated, but neither should casual racism like this or this, Ellen!)


Not to be outdone, renowned pastor and gospel singer Shirley Ceaser took to the pulpit to back Burrell’s bigotry saying that Burrell should’ve called out homosexuality years ago when “Obama made that stuff alright.”


I’m not shocked by Burrell or Caeser. And of course I’m not shocked by Ellen or Pharrell. What does shock me, though, is that so many people have declared they’re now done with both Burrell and Caeser as if violent homophobia is not characteristic of the church. A few years ago, we watched a man so shamed and humiliated by the COGIC church for being homosexual that he stood before the congregation declaring that he had been “cured” of homosexuality in a startlingly depressing performance that has become legend on the internet.

Now y’all are done? How many of you have called out this kind of homophobia at family reunions? How many of you have sat through sermons where pastors made the same kind of condemnation that Burrell and Caeser have? How  many of you have ignored the words f**got and d**e lobbed at gay and lesbian people on the street? Don’t wait until it’s trendy to call this toxic, violent, and often fatal shit out!

Thoughts? Keep the discussion going below.

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Kinfolk Kollective avatar About the author: LaSha is a writer who’s obsessed with Black people. Find her work here of course, but also on Ebony, The Guardian, Essence, Salon, Everyday Feminism, Teen Vogue, HuffPo and For Harriett. She’s loves trap music & 90s R&B, watches Jeopardy faithfully and believes fried chicken is her soulmate. The clapback queen is loud and clear about loving her kids above all else and kinda digs her Yankee husband too. Anti-Blackness gives her hives. Get at her @lashawrites on Twitter.

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