In 2004, Long led a march to Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave site in support of a Georgia constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Two years later, when it was decided that Coretta Scott King’s funeral would be held at New Birth — the Kings’ daughter Bernice is one of the ministers there — veteran civil rights activist Julian Bond was outraged. “I knew her attitude toward gay and lesbian rights,” he said of Coretta Scott King. “I just couldn’t imagine that she’d want to be in that church with a minister who was a raving homophobe.”
The black church in America has long mixed political activism with a deep social conservatism. But while polls show that the nation has become much more understanding and tolerant of homosexuality, the black church has been painfully slow to change. I wrote a column several years ago suggesting that black preachers come down from the pulpit and get to know their parishioners — and I still think that would be a good start.
Robinson goes on to hit every note sans maybe the admonition we should expect our political leaders to observe and keep homophobia from the pulpit from infiltrating and influencing public policy. Bishop Eddie Long, whether proven guilty or not of allegations, but certainly culpable of repulsive homophobia, is a fine reason for the continued separation of church and state.