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Note: I'm neither Christian nor black. Polls show black America as a whole are in fact basically in line with the general population on the issue of marriage equality,but sit well below Democrats as a whole (who blacks vote 90%+ for), so there is an obvious break in the issue of marriage equality, which has been the subject of much discourse.

As someone who used to vote Republican and even voted against gay marriage equality in my state five years ago, I feel an obligation to undo my stupidity of the past (I took the "anti-gay -> separate but equal (civil unions) -> full equality" path on the issue).

That's why, while I normally don't care much for social issues and focus a lot more on economic issues in both my research and casual reading, I do speak out against those who are against marriage equality (or who are outright homophobic). It's probably more from a sense of guilt than true passion or purpose. I can't help but think about my current and past gay friends that I disrespected with my vote against gay marriage in Florida in 2008, and I feel extreme shame from making such a horrible mistake.

Typically I'd mock as unserious and distracting the kind of news that came out from an NBA player Jason Collins (who I really had no clue even existed) that he's gay. But then I saw the response from a Chris Broussard at ESPN. This is representative of what I've seen from a lot of black America -- using the Bible and Christianity to say, seemingly against their own will, that God forbids homosexuality and gay marriage is an abomination as delineated by their religion, and that's that!

Here's a small sample of the Twitter garbage on the hashtag #IStandWithChris. Your typical southern Christian bigots, but a lot of blacks who were using Christ and God's word to justify their brand of intolerance.

It really made me sick to my stomach on Twitter seeing the outburst of support from the religious right as well as many blacks. In fact, the first thing I thought about was this touching speech by Pastor Phil Snider of Missouri.  In it, he makes a passionate case against gay marriage, using a speech from a half-century ago that was used to justify legislation against interracial marriage. Pastor Snider merely replaced all the references to interracial marriage with gay marriage!

And it's a point that demands more thought. This is part of a greater theme of right-wing Christianity to fundamentally and literally interpret the Bible on matters that they see personally fit, but to ignore the "crazier" stuff.

What much of black America seems to forget is that in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bible was used regularly to justify slavery, segregation, and broad racist vitriol in the United States. And now much of the community is turning around and using the same exact "reasoning" (if you can even call it that) to promote bigotry against gays, which was what was used against their people last century!

Here's a list of biblical verses that have been used to promote slavery, against the very ancestors of the black people using the bible to support anti-gay public policy:

Titus 2:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
Boy that's odd, and from the New Testament as well. So slaves should obey their master, and doing so makes God happy and serves god...okay then. Ah, must be a bad translation, right? Or, maybe it was just from one weird book?
Ephesians 6:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Well damn, so being a good slave to your earthly master is equivalent to serving Christ? Now it's becoming difficult to interpret these verses as really anything but outright plutocratic propaganda.
1 Timothy 6:1
New International Version (NIV)
6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.
Okay now this is just getting repetitive. Three different verses from three different books in the New Testament of the Bible, all with the same message: slavery is okay, and slaves must obey their masters as it pleases Christ.

And for good measure, in case slavery wasn't hitting home enough for blacks in America, the women out there also have cause for concern using the bible as justification for anything:

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says
The above verses are mere samples of the voluminous anti-female, anti-gay, anti-freedom message the Bible sends to those who choose to interpret literally many passages. And I've only covered the New Testament! The Old Testament is considered way too easy of a target, due to its truly arcane references. But for a bit of an outline on the pro-slavery references there, check out this link.

For me, going to college and befriending gays and having gay work colleagues really broke the ice and "demystified" gays in America for me. Before then, I deferred the issue to the church (as I was growing out of my evangelical phase) or the status quo, and didn't give it much more thought. But the Bible can be used to justify any and all forms of bigotry (racial, religious, gender, sexual, national), and has indeed done so. Instead, I appeal to everyone to use their human instinct, the good that lies within us all, to understand this issue from the point of view of homosexuals who merely want equal rights under the law as our enlightened founding fathers outlined (but failed to implement many score later).

In this spirit, the passage black America should be citing that would be more appropriate is "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31). One must always look at these issues from the point of view of the oppressed, of the underdog, to get perspective on the bigger picture of what's at stake. Blacks should not fall into the trap of religious bigotry that many whites did which used the bible to oppress blacks. It is the height of sad, pathetic irony that many blacks are using the same exact tactics to push for oppression of others.

But more importantly, Christians of all colors in America shouldn't make the mistake of letting bigots hijack their beloved book and preach a selective interpretation that ignores certain literal crazy things, but embraces the bigoted aspects. Think about the issue from the view of homosexuals, don't cop out by pointing to the Bible and insisting it's the word of God, while ignoring the obvious human angle.

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