Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maryland black pastor gives excellent defense of marriage equality

Rev. Delman Coates
As marriage equality moves closer to becoming a reality in Maryland, it's important to remember something.

The National Organization for Marriage is playing the divide and conquer game between the gay and black community to the hilt and will continue to play this game with the help of some of the area's black pastors.

But not all black pastors are participating in this mockery. From NPR:

Reverend Delman Coates is a pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, located in Prince George's County, Maryland, where skepticism about gay marriage is high. He talks to us about his evolution of thought on this issue.

From Truth Wins Out comes portions of this excellent interview:

The opening moments of the interview feature a short excerpt from one of Reverend Coates’ sermons; it’s delivered in that intense rhetorical style traditionally favored by fire-and-brimstone preachers, except that he’s using this voice to scold his flock for religion-based bigotry. It makes for remarkable listening, and the interview that follows will put heart into LGBT activists who have despaired of other Christian leaders’ position on civil rights. If he’s a political conservative (and he declines to discuss his personal views on homosexuality), then he’s a rational, intellectually honest one of a type we seldom hear from these days.
“My support for the Civil Marriage Protection Act,” says Reverend Coates, “is rooted in my heartfelt sense that in America, we have to protect public policy from personal and private theology and personal belief.
“I think the principles of our country are founded upon the ideals of our Constitution which protect religious freedom and institutional autonomy, yet at the same time preserve individual liberty as well. I’m really concerned about the way in which in many of our public-policy conversations…people are using theology as a basis for public policy. I think that’s a dangerous precedent.
“Governments fund things that are against people’s religious beliefs, personal theology and doctrine, all the time. Right now, local governments and municipalities allow for alcohol establishments, liquor stores in communities, gambling, and yet at the same time religious institutions teach their parishioners not to engage in these activities.
“There’s a difference between our public policy imperatives and our theological imperatives. Our challenge is to live in our faith…not to legislate it.
“We want foreign policy decisions as Americans to be based on sound intelligence. We want it to be based on credible threats. We don’t want foreign policy decisions for example, to be based on the theology of a particular religious tradition….
“We know that there could come a point in the future when the majority now is no longer the majority…I want to make sure that, 200 years from now, if my local church and those who worship in the local church, are no longer the majority in the local and national community, that our rights are preserved from the theological musings and understandings of whomever might be in the majority at that time. So I think it’s critically important for us to figure out a way to segregate and to separate public policy from theology.”

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