Rev. Anthony Evans, one of the more vocal opponents of D.C. marriage equality, sent us the following news release defending the New Hampshire Union Leader
for refusing to run announcements of same-sex marriages, which are legal in that state:
National Black Church Initiative
P.O. Box 65177
Washington, DC 20035
Rev. Anthony Evans
October 26, 2010
THE NATIONAL BLACK CHURCH INITIATIVE STRONGLY SUPPORTS NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER
For Immediate Release
GAY COMMUNITY NEEDS TO STOP INSISTING ON THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS
Washington, D.C. -- The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 34,000 African-American churches across the nation, strongly supports the New Hampshire Union Leader and their publisher John McQuaid in their refusal to publish gay wedding announcements. NBCI believes the gay community is becoming a moral bully, trying to force the rest of society to accept their marriage. When NBCI and other religious organizations refuse to go along with this homosexual community definition of marriage, they in turn call religious organizations hateful. This is a public relations tactic on the part of the gay community to force us to accept their definition of marriage and to paint the Christian church as hateful when the Church and anyone else opposes the gay lifestyle. This is an overall strategy by the gay community to redefine the sexual morality of the Church, the Bible, and the society, putting themselves in a position to determine what is holy and what is not. The Church will never allow this to happen.
NBCI wants to make it clear that they are simply exercising their God-given right to believe in their faith and that a marriage only exists between one man and one woman. If gay community, however, continues to insult and try to force those of religious faith to accept their lifestyles -- which NBCI views as wicked -- there will continue to be a clash of cultures. NBCI and the Black Church strongly urge their gay brothers and sisters to finally realize that they will never accept gay marriage as legitimate because their faith will not allow them to do so.
Reverend Anthony Evans, president of NBCI, states, "We are doing everything in our power to create an environment in which tolerance of the gay lifestyle is accepted for the purpose of civility and civil society, and we reject all forms of bullying -- whether verbal or physical -- on the gay community." Rev. Evans and NBCI uphold the belief that violence and belittlement toward the gay community is unbeneficial toward resolving the matter at hand. They also, however, want to make known their expectations concerning any interactions between the Church and the gay community that may exemplify a similar kind of hostility. "They cannot continue to try to force (read: bully) the Christian community to accept their lifestyle as consistent with the teachings and ethics of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have a right to our belief. It is wrong for the gay community to categorize our faith as hatred. This is a form of bullying."
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI's mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. The National Black Church Initiative's methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science. The National Black Church Initiative's purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI's programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.
Oy, where to begin with this nonsense? Well, here goes. I will only touch on highlights (or lowlights) rather than attempting a comprehensive response. Rev. Evans likes to refer to "the Church" and "the Black Church" as if there is a single, monolithic black church community, and as if he were its appointed spokesman. No. Can you say D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality? Evans says that "the gay community is becoming a moral bully." Pardon me, but who is trying to block whom from civil marriage?
What Evans and his compatriots are essentially saying is that gay people's existence, or at least our claim to the rights of citizens, is an affront to morality, and that there should be no distinction between civil and religious law. He has an ally in Senator-wannabe Christine O'Donnell on that last point. He says that the gay community seeks "to redefine the sexual morality of the Church, the Bible, and the society, putting themselves in a position to determine what is holy and what is not." Um, no. We are indeed changing society by dint of living our lives as members of it, but we are not trying to change the Bible or force anything on anyone's church. As it happens, though, he and his allies have no monopoly on faith, and gay people and our supporters are not members of his imaginary universal church.
Beyond all of that, Evans is doing the same thing that Maggie Gallagher did recently: try to avoid blame for helping create the climate of intolerance that leads some young people to despair and suicide. So he wraps his intolerance in tolerant wrapping paper. I actually called him Tuesday afternoon, because he had suggested a few days ago that we hold a joint press conference. I declined, and said that he has contributed to the problem and is just looking for cover, and GLAA has no interest in providing it. He refers to our orientation as a "lifestyle," calls it wicked, and fights tooth and nail against gay people's right to marry. If he had his way, gay youth would have no prospects of future happiness, only abuse disguised as help in the form of "ex-gay" quackery. But he means all of this in a loving and nurturing way! Gee, thanks.
BTW, I told Evans that no one that I know disputes the right of a privately owned newspaper to refuse advertisements that it doesn't like. At the same time, however, we have a right to criticize them for it.
As to the "About NBCI" at the end: if you go to this guy looking for "sound health science," you are in trouble.
One request: If you decide to contact Rev. Evans, please be civil (as hard as that may be). Or just leave him be, and do something to counter his harmful efforts instead.