by Alberta Parish
Michael Sam, a defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, has recently announced that he is a gay male. He will be attending the 2014 NFL Draft in May, and will be the first openly gay man to play professionally in the National Football League even though there are active NFL players that are gay and have chosen to keep their sexual orientation from the media spotlight. For good reasons, gay professional athletes who have chosen to keep their sexual orientation from the public would rather not have their entire lives scrutinized because they happen to love someone of the same gender.
Although the league has a policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, the locker room like any other professional workplace has individuals who will harass and discriminate against those that identify as being gay. Being a gay African American male, Mr. Sam will not only face criticism from certain players, coaches and management staff, but he will face opposition from the African American community. Black people are the most prejudiced and discriminatory people against members of the LGBT community. Much of the opposition against gays, lesbians and transgender people come from Black Christians.
As a former Christian, I’ve witnessed constant criticism of gay people from the pulpit and was taught that homosexuality is an abomination against god. In fact, the Black Christian community was the first to reject the LGBT community. Black preachers often use the bible to justify their hatred and discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. But there is never justification for hatred of one group based on race, sex, age, religion or disability. I think the Church often uses the bible as justification to discriminate against those that are not easily dominated and manipulated. If the preacher can’t control you, he or she can’t manipulate you. If the preacher can’t manipulate you, he or she can’t get your money. The Church is a business like any other multimillion-dollar industry. The products being sold by the Church are salvation, false hope, a biblical savior, and the afterlife.
The reason why a lot of gay preachers have not openly confessed their sexuality and choose to remain in the closet is because they know they will lose the support of much of their congregation, which means a loss in revenue for the church and its leaders.
There are a lot of gay preachers who openly bash the LGBT community, and refuse to admit that they themselves are homosexuals. Many of these hypocritical gay preachers hate themselves for having sexual desires toward men, and foolishly think they can change their ways. Even if a person bleaches his skin from a dark color to a lighter complexion, he still can’t change his DNA, race or family history. Therefore, when it comes to the biological make-up of a human being, a gay person can’t change his gay DNA either. Even if he or she chooses to have sexual relations with members of the opposite sex, he or she will still maintain sexual attraction for members of the same sex. Just as I was born a dark-complexioned female, a gay person is also born gay. What is gay? What is straight? Aren’t these only mere labels that were created to put everybody in certain categories?
As a heterosexual black woman who grew up in the Black Church, I have seen so much hatred for gays, lesbians and transgenders until I was glad that I was not born gay. I think if I had been born gay, I would have walked away from Christianity many, many years ago. I think the Church would have turned me away from being a Christian because of the bigotry that many church members have for gay people.
As an atheist today, I realize that the bible was written and constructed by human beings, and that it is not the infallible word of a god. Never was. Men wrote the bible condemning men that practice sex with other men. Since sodomy was very prevalent in the Greco-Roman culture, those that created the bible did so with the express purpose of controlling the population through religious dogma.
The bible was first compiled during the 4th Century when the Roman Emperor Constantine and religious leaders set about to produce the first bible. Lucifer was also added to the Hebrew text of Isaiah by a Christian priest named Jerome. Originally, Jerome was not talking about an evil entity called Lucifer. The text of Isaiah describes the planet Venus which is Lucifer as the bright and morning star. It was never about a fallen angel that was cast out of god’s presence for his arrogance.
The bible is a mere book of fiction, which has been used by church leaders for thousands of years to exercise mass control of the population. As the most staunchest religionists die out, new generations that do not believe in the gods and do not affiliate themselves with religious institutions will control the future narrative. A new generation of atheists has risen and are teaching people the folly of religion as well as destroying the concept of gods.
Michael Sam and others like him have absolutely nothing to fear from some cosmic entity created by human beings to strike vengeance upon those that exercise their free will and live their lives in honesty. There are many Christians that are very miserable and wish they could be honest about who they really are. Instead, many are forced to wear a mask and hide behind organized religion.
Christian leaders teach that god is a loving and kind deity. Yet, all the stories about god’s wrath, judgment and vengeance upon humanity would lead one to suspect that god is not so kind and loving after all. In fact, the biblical god is an evil deity if one chooses to believe all the stories written about the biblical Jehovah and his various acts of destruction upon humanity.
Because the Old Testament deity was not great publicity for the Church, religious leaders had replaced the malevolent god Jehovah with the peaceful messiah from the New Testament as the number one deity of Christianity. Jesus became the new god of Christianity in 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea. Even though the biblical Jesus never historically existed, he was given historicity by the Roman Emperor Constantine and council members. I think many Black Southern gay men have not embraced their own sexuality, because many were raised in the Black Church and were taught to hate who they are as gay boys and gay men. I think the Church is very hard on gay people and does not accept gays unless they can control and change them.
The Church is not an institution that saves lives. Instead, it is a place that promotes intolerance against those that are different and prefer to be themselves. I’m happy that Michael Sam has chosen to be himself instead of living up to societal and family expectations. More gays in the NFL should look to Mr. Sam as an example of how to live your life in honesty and integrity. Maybe there would not be so many black gay males committing suicide if they embraced their sexuality and accepted who they really are.