Sex is and will always be a hot topic and in today’s news, not only who you love but who you want to marry, is at the center of social, political and religious debate. States like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, along with Washington, D.C. say you can marry whomever and others are following (for instance, Maine, Maryland and Washington state.) But for the African American community, particularly the traditionally conservative Black Church, talking about same-sex marriage has provoked a heated debate among congregants and their pastors in the shadows of President Barack Obama’s May endorsement of same-sex marriage.
For Rev. Jonathan B. Whitfield, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Hackensack, N.J., there was no time to waste in addressing the president’s historic announcement. On Mother’s Day, without a single written note and a firm, determined voice, Rev. Whitfield explained why he did not agree with the president’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. He also stated that he had come to terms with the realization that he would not agree with the president on every issue. He urged the congregation to stand on the word of God but to remember that President Obama was not God. The more he spoke, the greater his inflection became and the firmer his words were delivered. But out of reverence for his position as an officer of the Air Force and therefore, as an employee of the Commander-in-Chief, he asked that the church recorder be turned off.
Following the service, Whitfield received positive feedback from his congregation. “Most seemed thankful for my insight on the subject. I believe at least one was not pleased,” Whitfield recalled. He suspected that the woman who was displeased with his sermon was, as he put it, “a participant in the lifestyle.”
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