by Dr. Boyce Watkins and Dr. Jeff Gardere – AOL Black Voices
Dr. Jeff Gardere and I both agree that the recent gay sex scandal of Pastor Eddie Long has opened a chasm in the black church and the black community that needs to be filled with discussion and most importantly, understanding. The relationship between the black church and the black community is one that begins for most of us as children and never ends. It is time to begin a conversation that can heal a lot of people.
My Take – The Black Church
The black church is one of the deepest and most significant institutions in the African American community. Anyone who struggles with a problem in their lives is encouraged to turn to the church for answers. If you want to know why you made it through your surgery, got a better job, or found a way to get off crack, there's probably a church on your corner willing to provide you with a convenient explanation. The church is in our blood and our pastors are our spiritual fathers.
Many black folks understand the church before they ever even understand God. This socialization puts a psychological stranglehold on us: Many of us are taught to condemn those who are different, whether it is because they are gay, not baptized or simply believe what we don't believe. Some accept a life of hypocrisy, since the idea of being marginalized by the church is far worse than the challenge of maintaining a double life. We learn how to twist and manipulate the bible to help us explain away every socially deviant behavior and moral imperfection.