I was saddened to read a post today on Facebook by a local religious leader, who alleged in a roundabout way that being gay is reason enough to not hold public office.
What this area needs right now is understanding and understanding among each other and that won’t come as long as we continue to divide ourselves among our differences be it race, religion, political affiliation and sexual orientation. The time to stop the labels and begin the healing is now and that will only come when we practice understanding.
I write this today after reading a Facebook post by a local Detroit bishop who stated, “Well Detroit Church Leaders… Members..well,well, well! You vote them in…when there are viable Godly alternatives…I ran in this same election…Pugh (Charles) came in #1 Vaughn came in #19.. Where’s his pastor now? You KNOW his is gay..yet you stayed slient…I am sick of it!!!!
What Bishop Corletta Vaughn is talking about is the allegation that former Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, a gay man, may have had an inappropriate relationship with a teen under the ago of 18. Whether this is true, I have no idea and would leave that up to authorities to prove, but what I am concerned with is Vaughan’s comment that knowing he was gay was enough for his pastor to not have supported him as a candidate, and that perhaps being gay is reason to keep your name off the ballot.
First and foremost, all gay candidates are not child molesters or people anyone would or should have concern about leaving their children around.
I know a little about this as Michigan’s first openly lesbian school board president in the Wayne-Westland school district in 1996-97 and having been elected to the board to serve from 1993-97. During my re-election campaign, I was targeted by many religious groups and one asserted in a flyer placed on every church door the night before the election that “electing Patricia Brown is the equivalent of a pedophile in a daycare or an alcoholic driving a school bus.” I wasn’t re-elected because of the nasty campaign that focused on lies and my sexuality and those words hurt. Instead of focusing on my experience as an education leader who brought approximately $100 million to the district, I was alleged a deviant and also had my life threatened. That was 17 years ago, and to read this today, says we have not come far.
What we say to each other is important and leaders must lead and be responsible for those they are leading. What about the gay youth who read statements from a religious leader, who in a roundabout way asserts, it’s not good to elect gay folks? What about the fear this contributes to the hearts of our gay youth? Are we not responsible for making sure they feel safe in their homes, schools, communities and churches? Do we not want to lead with love and example? Are we not responsible for making sure they feel loved, respected and cared for?
I asked the bishop to amend her statement to which she posted in the thread the following: “Trish Brown Homosexuality, fornication, (all sexual sin) is ungodly and the Bible calls it “an abomination”…but the Blood of Jesus was shed for ALL sinners..of which we all were…Jesus Saves FROM sin.”
I do believe we need to stop judging from the pulpit and start promoting love and understanding and in no way am I asserting we love and understand someone who may have harmed a child. I am asserting we don’t judge and leave that up to the courts.
I hope with more love and understanding for all of God’s children coming from the pulpit and other leaders who seek a climate of understanding, we can begin to heal our area and region which has taken so many hits in the last 15 years. But in no way and no form do we need to continue to conquer and divide. That serves no one especially God. No one is better than anyone else. If you are a believer, we are all God’s children and will be judged by ONLY him and till that day, we should serve each other and not condemn.
Hatred doesn’t solve anything. Intolerance doesn’t solve anything. Only understanding will lead to solutions.