By Victor Ochieng
The silence of the church on matters of s*xual abuse and homos*xuality by church leaders is so deafening. Churches fear talking candidly about these issues simply because they either want to stay politically correct or let situations die their natural death. As they continue to do this, our children continue to suffer at the hands of rogue bishops, pastors, deacons, and other self-proclaimed men of God. For example, when Bishop Eddie Long was accused of coercing some four boys into a s*xual relationship with him, some may have thought that the church would move in to address the issue, including listening to the victims. But nope; the church got overly possessed about the bishop’s s*xuality.
At least finally someone has come out to talk about it. And that’s none other than Pastor Jamal Bryant. In a YouTube video posted last week Wednesday, the pastor castigated the church for keeping mum over such issues. There is homos*xuality in the church; there is s*xual abuse in the church; there is adultery in the church; and the church is just busy preaching a prosperity gospel.
Pastor Bryant pointed out a report released by the LGBT community, stating that the community now accounts for 13% of the American population. That’s a big number. Sadly, some of them were “groomed” into such lifestyles by our pastors.
Bryant, who pastors Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland, warned the church against dealing with s*xuality and not humanity when it comes to s*xual wrongs committed in the church. When Bishop Long was accused of molesting boys, the focus was his s*xuality and not the wrong he committed against the victims. That’s why Pastor Bryant pauses and asks: “What if Eddie Long’s victims were not boys, but girls?” Would we be having the same conversation? And now that Long has passed on, are we going to cremate the issue and forget about offering redress?
A strong point he brings across is that grace and mercy aren’t free tickets that rid one of his accountability and responsibility. Those who make up the Christendom must understand that the gospel of grace and mercy still requires that we be responsible for the things we do and always be ready to answer for our actions.
If things continue the same way, more atrocities will be committed in the church and more millennials will find every reason to keep away from services.
In a nutshell, Bryant is saying that in as much as Long’s family and his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church members are mourning the death of the Bishop, let all and sundry understand that the gospel is for all, including the four men he allegedly molested and apparently paid off. Bryant is, therefore, stressing that once we’re done with the burial of the bishop, let the church get down to addressing the issue so that when we depart, we leave the church a better place for the next generation.
Well, as the church looks into the issues of homos*xuality and s*xual abuse, let her not forget to deal with infidelity among pastors. Hope Pastor Bryant will be happy with looking into that as well.