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  • « HBO adds Robinson to re-broadcast | Main | A sharp but hopeful speech »

    January 20, 2009

    Two-minute prayer vs. inaugural sermon?

    Posted by: Chris

    Tdjakes With all the hoopla about the two-minute prayer that Rick Warren will offer during today's inauguration of Barack Obama, I am surprised to have heard nothing about (self-proclaimed) Bishop T.D. Jakes giving the sermon at this morning's inaugural church service.

    Back in 2005, black gay activist Keith Boykin included Jakes among a series of black church pastors with anti-gay views who he believes are closet homosexuals:

    Jakes is even more conservative than [George W.] Bush. Unlike Bush, who has hired gays and lesbians in the federal government, Jakes has called homosexuality a "brokenness" and said he would not hire a sexually active gay person.

    And Jakes has also adopted another part of the presidential philosphy: his lifestyle. Jakes and his congregation refer to his wife Serita as "the first lady," and they live in a $1.7 million mansion on Dallas's scenic White Rock Lake next to a building once owned by oil magnate H.L. Hunt. As Time magazine explained, "He flies on charter planes or in first-class seats, sups with a coterie in a room known as 'the king's table,' sports a large diamond ring and dresses like the multimillionaire he is."

    I don't believe that black preachers have a duty to be poor, but I do believe they should not make their millions off the backs of their struggling kin. It's one thing to create your wealth as a preacher. It's another thing to create your wealth with a message of sexism, heterosexism and homophobia directed against some of the hardest hit people in your own community.

    Jakes has endorsed the so-called Truth for Youth campaign, which is distributing specially-made anti-gay Bibles to high school students all across the country.

    "To date, I have not seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife," Jakes told USA Today. "This is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not," he said. But if Jakes still believes in the separation of church and state, it's not clear from his political activity. In fact, Jakes publicly endorsed the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have been the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution to legalize discrimination against a group of citizens.

    As Time magazine put it, "gay Americans would have no reason at all to consider Jakes their preacher."

    Ultimately Boykin's proof on Jakes' anti-gay past is much stronger than the rumors that Jakes may be a closet case. (A former male staffer went public with charges that Jakes repeatedly propositioned him for sex.) Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether activists take note of Jakes' high profile role.

    My own view, of course, is that Obama is fulfilling his promise to unite the country -- and making a shrewd political move -- by including the likes of Jakes and Warren, along with openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, and pro-gay ministers Joseph Lowery and Sharon Watkins, in inauguration ceremonies.

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    Comments

    1. Tom in Dallas on Jan 20, 2009 10:06:41 AM:

      I do find it interesting that the Catholics and Jews were left out of the religious programming.

    1. Hawyer on Jan 20, 2009 5:43:16 PM:

      Chris - Oh, trust me, I didn't miss the factoid that Jakes was tapped to preach Obama's pre-inaugural sermon. Further dismaying me at his downright defiance of gay sensibilities.

      How politically easy it would have been to pick somebody with an inclusive gospel and not the shopworn god-said-it-I-believe-it-that-settles-it blather. (Rev. Weldon Gaddy, director of the Interfaith Alliance, comes to mind.)

      But you know, Jakes's disgraceful homophobic record pales in comparison with his gospel of capitalism and acquisition - a dogma he unrepentantly shills - the doctrine that God blesses the righteous with wealth and possessions - a laughable conceit crafted to sanitize his opulent lifestyle skimmed from the poor bastards who fill his collection plate.

      Lordy me. All this could be avoided if our pols really had any interest in adhering to the First Amendment.

    1. Chris on Jan 21, 2009 1:31:29 AM:

      Wow. I had never heard of "Truth for Youth." Look it up--it's wild.

      OK. So it's "I'm born that way," vs. "Jesus can change you if you really want." Of course we expect comic books to lack some of the subtler points, but this is way over the top. Does he think kids are stupid? Unfortunately, yes.

      And the Gospel here? Exodus. Forget that.

      It's too bad that in order to placate a large element of society President Obama gave these folks center stage, while shooing off a real Bishop, Gene Robinson, onto a stage that didn't carry his prayer to the wider nation. Check this out: http://blogs.kansascity.com/tvbarn/2009/01/why-was-rev-gen.html

      But, gol darn it, people I disagree with are part of my society and community as well, and I don't want to live in two separate countries, which is and has been the way things have been. I just don't want them saying to kids that they're going to get suckered into homosexuality and then have to fully turn around on sin, including being gay, (oops, a p-c term like "pro-choice") or seal their choice in going to hell. They've had the mic long enough.

    1. the troll on Jan 21, 2009 3:55:58 PM:

      I am getting sold on the shrewd political move spin. Obama is including people that he disagrees with, such a Warren, but not giving into their beliefs. He is saying in effect, I hear you opposition to abortion, for example, but disagree and that is that. You can listen to any point of view, but to listen and not be swayed in you opinion is the ultimate way of saying Fcuk you".

    1. Keith on Jan 21, 2009 5:23:03 PM:

      I don't think activists are interested in changing what people believe in their own churches; but when religious people put their beliefs into law, that's when you have a problem. On inauguration day we should be able to have our entire country represented, so a controversial religious leader was perhaps not the best choice.

    1. vanicegin6 on Jan 21, 2009 9:40:26 PM:

      I do support gay right. We LGBT hope to get more. And will show support all the time as we LGBT like those on SeekBi.com always stand in one line.

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