Civil rights & gay marriage

Michael Paulson of The Boston Globe wrote an even-handed story earlier this week about black clergy in Boston who want to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The statement came from the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston Ten Point Coalition, and the Cambridge Black Pastors Conference, which Paulson identifies as "the three major associations of Greater Boston's black clergy." The statement did not inspire the Massachusetts legislature to approve a constitutional amendment preserving the historic meaning of marriage.

For these religious leaders, the authority of Scripture trumps usual political sympathies:

"As black preachers, we are progressive in our social consciousness, and in our political ideology as an oppressed people we will often be against the status quo, but our first call is to hear the voice of God in our Scriptures, and where an issue clearly contradicts our understanding of Scripture, we have to apply that understanding," said the Rev. Gregory G. Groover Sr., pastor of Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston.

The group, which includes the contrarian Eugene Rivers, has drawn the wrath of Massachusetts Rep. Byron Rushing, an Episcopalian and a leading gay-marriage advocate in the legislature.

"Martin Luther King [Jr.] is rolling over in his grave at a statement like this," Rushing told Paulson.

Bishop Gilbert A. Thompson Sr., pastor of New Covenant Christian Church in Mattapan, isn't buying it:

Today, we look back with scorn at those who twisted the law to make marriage serve a racist agenda, and I believe our descendants will look back the same way at us if we yield to the same kind of pressure a radical sexual agenda is placing on us today. Just as it's distorting the equation of marriage if you press race into it, it's also distorting if you subtract gender."

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