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Kim Burrell and Problematic Christian Allies

The Bubble of Bible Based Bigotry

Scott Gries/PictureGroup

At the end of December 2016, a video came to light of gospel singer and evangelist, Kim Burrell, going on a rant against homosexuality. In her sermon, she denounced those troubled with the “homosexual spirit”, stating that they are a “stain on the church”, calling them “perverted” and stating that they are “making a mockery of the church”. She specifically, called out televangelist Eddie Long at the end of the released clip of her sermon.

Burrell was scheduled to appear on “Ellen” but an announcement that her appearance was canceled was posted from Ellen DeGeneres’ twitter account after the video surfaced of the pastor’s homophobic rant.

ellen-burrell-cancelation

Ms. Burrell has responded to the backlash in a video that appeared on her social media. She seems to double down on her position, while simultaneously attempting to soften the words she used. Near the end of her response video, she takes a slightly odd turn as she seems to be reading live responses to her post. Stating that when people, presumably those from the LGBTQI community, state that they have supported her, she replies that she has “yet to sell a million records” and has “not won a grammy, so where is the support?”.

When the Pulse Nightclub shooting happened in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016, there was an outpouring of concern for the LGBTQI community even from Christians, many of whom believe homosexuality to be a particularly egregious sin. But some weren’t buying it as they noticed the reaction seemed to be incongruent with the actions of those same Christians when it came to defending their rights on a daily basis. There was a feeling that those prayers were less about support for the LGBTQI community and more about maligning the Muslim faith as an integral part of the “War on Terrorism” that seems to consume those of the religious right.

Most notably was an article published by John P. Sundholm titled Fuck Your Prayers For Orlando where he stated the following: 

I’m angry that Christians were taking to YouTube calling for armed reprisals the day marriage equality happened, and so far not a single Christian I know has voiced any support or agony over this barbaric tragedy that killed 49 gay and trans people and allies.

I’m angry that that will be swept under the rug because the gunman was a Muslim.

This article seemed to offend many Christians who couldn’t understand why there was such a vehement reaction in response to offering prayer at a time of tragedy. I tried to explain to those who follow me on social media that those prayers fell short because they are the same people who condemn the LGBTQI community weekly by supporting pastors who preach hate for them from pulpits across the country and to call for their slaughter and who actively work to strip the LGBTQI community of their civil rights.

I wanted to remind those people that when you refuse to stand up to the type of religious-wrapped bigotry Kim Burrell demonstrated in her sermon, you have sided with hate. This was why your prayers were seen as hypocrisy and a co-opting of the pain and suffering of those you regularly malign at worst or quietly allow to be maligned in silence in order to foster another hate you harbor against those of the Muslim faith.

If you want your religion to be respected then your religion must show respect. Your compassion for the lives of all should be demonstrated on a consistent basis, not simply used as a tool to shore up your sin of anger and hate of another group of people. Your outreach can not be suffused with bigotry and hatred and also shuttle love and acceptance. If you complained about Fuck Your Prayers for Orlando but haven’t been motivated to say anything against pastors like those linked above. These pastors who seek to not only alienate members of our society, with some calling for the government to do them bodily harm or sentence them to death — you are the problem and hiding behind the term “ally” and the Bible will not change that.

Written by Pamela Getz

Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Elaine is a Senior Writer for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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