East of Eden
Kirk Franklin Runs Afoul of Gay Rights Activists
Gospel singer Kirk Frankin is now in the cross-hairs of the gay community for speaking out against homosexuality. LGBT activists are putting pressure on the Washington, DC government for paying the singer $80,000 to perform this year for the city’s Emancipation Day celebration.
Franklin is under attack for calling on the gay community to “abandon the homosexual lifestyle.” He joins much of the relatively conservative African American church, which is under consistent criticism from liberal groups for not embracing homosexuality as quickly as the Democratic Party would like them to. This has created a divide between rank and file pastors and the heads of civil rights organizations, such as Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous.
Franklin is a beloved figure in the black gospel community. He has won seven Grammy Awards, and gave an outdoor concert at the Freedom Plaza for Emancipation Day. Emancipation Day in Washington DC marks the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act. On January 4, 2005, legislation was signed to make Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District of Columbia.
“He has a First Amendment right to say whatever he believes,” said Earl Fowlkes, president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, which advocates for the black LGBT community.
“However, I would not want my tax dollars to go to anyone who espouses which is in essence homophobia any more than I would want my tax dollars to go toward anyone who espouses racism or who was anti-Semitic,” Fowlkes told the Blade. “It’s just not appropriate.”
The 43-year old Franklin expresses his views on the gay lifestyle in his book, “The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms.”
Franklin calls for the church to treat the LGBT community with kindness and love, but “we can never compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality.”
Franklin was recently asked about his views during an interview with the Associated Press. He has been consistent with his theme of showing love and compassion but holding onto his own beliefs. But the pressure is growing for those in the church to conform with the liberal agenda.
Wayne Besen, founder and leader of Truth Wins Out, a national LGBT organization that follows religious groups, said, “What we have from people like Kirk Franklin and others is an exercise in double- speak and dishonesty. But their message is the same – gay people are inferior and we should punish them. As we’re enacting punitive laws and conferring second-class citizenship on them we’re going to sugarcoat it and tell them that we love them.”
This story is going to keep playing itself out over and over again as other Christian artists, musicians and celebrities express similar views. I'm not sure where Mr. Besen, of Truth Wins Out, gets "Gay people are inferior and we should punish them," from "treating the LGBT community with kindness and love". I guess it's that whole, "we can never compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality" part. The thing is, Kirk Franklin is a Christian who holds to Biblical principles... um, shocker. Sometimes I sit back and listen to folks on both sides of this debate, and it seems both hilarious and sad. I feel like asking Mr. Besen, are you surprised? Really? While there are many Christians who hold to a liberal position on homosexuality, there are also many who do not, especially within Black churches. This shouldn't be a surprise. It's also not helpful to say Kirk is using "double-speak and dishonesty." Do you know his heart? Do you know his mind? Hell, do you even know him?