Primarily tied to historic moral beliefs
The Black community has always heavily revered and relied on the church as a major influence in their lives. This dates back to the launch of the Black church freedom movement in the 1800s. Black history scholars argue that the connection dates from the earliest days of slavery.
Sec. of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay man, opened a dialogue during his presidential run in 2020 regarding low levels of support for people within the LGBTQ and same-sex marriage communities among African-Americans in religious and elder communities.
A reported 3% of Black voters backed Buttigieg for president. A primary reason for the drastically low support for Buttigieg among Black churchgoers was tied to moral beliefs about the LGBTQ community.
Many church elders who have attended church all of their lives sometimes harbor negative feelings toward the LGBTQ community. There is a level of conflict not easily dismissed. A February 2020 LifeWay Research poll demonstrated that 15% of Black pastors view same-sex marriages in a positive light. Basically, only one in eight Black pastors surveyed agreed with the statement “I see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married.” According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey on the subject, the Black church finds same-sex marriage is looked upon more favorably by those sitting in the pews (44%) in far outpacing those behind the pulpit (15%).
Surveys and data found that “religious denominations play a strong role in structuring attitudes about the morality of homosexuality and support for specific policies of toleration and nondiscrimination.”
The notion that the LGBTQ and the Christian church are at odds for several decades can make it virtually impossible to feel safe expressing one’s sexuality within the church. Just recently, a young woman by the name of Terri Crank left her faith after hiding her sexuality within the church. Crank attended church multiple times throughout the week. Her church wasn’t queer-affirming. Rather, congregants held the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and preferred to keep aspects of their personal lives–including sexual preferences–private.
“It was honestly Kam (her partner) who reminded me of God’s love,” Crank said. “She stopped me from fully walking away. She reminded me that it’s about relationships and not about rules.” Crank’s story is a testament to the possibility of acceptance, harmony, and the intersectionality of faith and LGBTQ expression and openness.
For more information on how to create tolerance, acceptance, and navigate intersectional faith and sexuality please visit: Faith Resources - Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org).