Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Rev. Jeremiah Wright Gets LGBT Support
by Amy Wooten

This article shared 3577 times since Tue Apr 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Several local LGBT people have come out in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's controversial former pastor following media uproar over short clips from his past sermons.

Media frenzy and a flood of criticism over past comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently retired from leading Chicago's 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ ( UCC ) , have caused some unease among Americans, including members of the LGBT community. Some activists have second-guessed Obama out of fear that the man he labeled as his 'spiritual mentor' might be anti-gay after seeing the short clips. Since media outlets started showing video clips of racially charged past sermons, Wright has received a high amount of criticism. Even Obama has tried to distance himself from Wright.

However, there are many who vocally support Wright, saying he has been nothing but supportive of the LGBT community over the years. His supporters say three-minute clips taken out of context and shown by the media mar a lifetime of sermons filled with inclusive messages. Others say the uproar over the clips also show a misunderstanding of Black theology and the Black church.

'I have only the highest regard for Trinity and Rev. Wright,' Equality Illinois Political Director Rick Garcia e-mailed to Windy City Times. 'It is so sad that a man of faith, a man of justice, a man of fairness is being vilified and that his church is being portrayed as controversial, racist, separatist and marginal. Nothing is farther from the truth.'

Garcia described both Trinity UCC and Wright as a 'Chicago treasure.'

'It disgusts me that rank politics is disparaging the Reverend and his church's exemplary work,' Garcia added.

During a recent speech, Obama said that while he does not agree with the message shown in the video clips shown by media, Wright is still a part of his identity and he does not denounce the man. His speech also tried to shed light on how race has become a divisive issue in the run for the White House.

The Rev. Otis Moss II has replaced the recently retired Wright.

While not everyone may fully support the messages of the former reverend shown in the clips, many, including some members of Chicago's LGBT community, have come forward out of anger that video 'sound bites' of the former Trinity UCC pastor's sermons have been taken out of context by mainstream media to further divide Americans on issues of race and even sexuality as the race for the Democratic nod drags on. Both Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Clinton have been battling for every vote, including the LGBT vote.

Over the years, Wright has included LGBT-inclusive sermons, and has also been very welcoming to HIV-positive individuals. Trinity had one of Chicago's first church-run HIV/AIDS ministries. Toward the end of 2007, Wright voiced his opposition and disgust of anti-gay violence in a sermon following news of the murder of Trinity's openly gay choir director Donald Young, according to congregation members.

Former congregation member and current minister Sherri Jackson said that although she has 'outgrown' Trinity, she had several positive experiences while there.

'I'm grateful for that part of the journey, and to have been under Wright's leadership, and his spiritual guidance, his scholarly teaching of liberation theology and Black theology—that's what I was in search for,' Jackson, an out lesbian, said.

She appreciated the church's work in HIV/AIDS ministry, same-gender-loving ministry and on domestic violence issues, noting that many churches avoid addressing those issues from the pulpit.

'It has always been a very welcoming place for LGBT individuals to come,' said Ronald Wadley, who has been a member of Trinity since 1987, and has participated in the church's same-gender-loving ministry program. He said he has had nothing but positive experiences with the church and Wright.

Prior to coming to Trinity, Wadley said he was raised in a Baptist church that taught anti-gay messages. He applauds the leadership at Trinity for refusing to 'gay-bash from the pulpit.'

'I'm a very vocal, very political, African-American gay man, and being able to also go to church and worship God and not have to feel like I'm going to hell because of who I am and who God created me to be is very important,' Wadley added. 'What I love about Trinity is I never have to step in that door and wonder, 'Oh God, what's the pastor going to say about gay folks today that's not welcoming?''

Although Wright has been inclusive during his years of service, there have been inconsistent moments. In a 2005 article titled 'Maybe I Missed Something!' Wright spoke out against the UCC's decision to endorse same-sex marriage. He wrote, 'Are 44 million Americans with no health care insurance less important than 'gay marriage'?' he wrote. 'Why aren't Black Christians in an uproar about that? Maybe I am missing something!'

Jackson said she was very upset by the 2005 article. 'He and I had discussions about that,' she said. 'That article, from a political standpoint, if you are out and active, can be taken in many ways.'

She said that Wright should have had more dialogue with more political, out people, because LGBT people are also victims of racial disparity.

However, Wright was vocal about his opposition to a federal marriage amendment around the same time. Some say the article has also been taken out of context, and say he wasn't attacking gay marriage so much as stating his priorities for issues impacting the Black community.

Others have voiced their disappointment that Wright never accepted the invitation to join UCC's Open and Affirming Program. Open and affirming churches have publicly stated that they welcome LGBT people.

'It does bother people,' Jackson said. 'Not everyone, but it does bother some people.'

However, according to the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns board member Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Trinity's failure to hop on board is very common. In fact, there are several thousand churches that have not accepted the invitation over the years.

According to Schuenemeyer, the Open and Affirming Program is a movement within the denomination, and there has been a steady increase of church's adopting open and affirming policies over the years. However, in order to be recognized as an open and affirming church, a church has to vote in an inclusive policy, and they can do that in a number of ways.

'We have a lot of churches that may offer a welcome, but just don't have it in their culture, in general, to vote an action on anything, much less an action about sexual orientation,' Schuenemeyer said.

'Just because they have voted on it doesn't mean that they haven't been working at it, and there haven't been folks in leadership who haven't been trying to help the congregation build toward an understanding of values and fusing their sense of values with what it means to be welcoming to people who are lesbian, gay and bisexual,' Schuenemeyer said. 'That's a cultural shift, and you have to respect the culture of a congregation.

'When you look at the positive things Jeremiah Wright has said in support of LGBT rights, you can know that he was working his leadership of the church in a very radical way, trying to move things along in that congregation,' he continued, adding that he has witnessed sermons of Wright's that have addressed his opposition to a federal ban on same-sex marriage, his opposition to anti-gay violence and his support of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Schuenemeyer recognizes there are congregation members who are frustrated that it isn't moving forward as quickly as they'd like. 'But it's also okay to say that steps have been made,' said Schuenemeyer. 'It may happen at some time, and even if it doesn't, there are people who find themselves welcome at that congregation.'

Wadley said Trinity and Wright do not support separatism, and as an out, gay man, he supports Trinity '100 percent.' 'You have people who don't look like us judging what is being said,' Wadley said.

'People just don't get it,' he added. 'People are judging that he teaches Black theology, which is nothing more than preaching about standing on your own two feet in society. Immediately people don't understand, so they think it's racist. It's not racist, it's believing in one's self. … Why do we have to follow someone else's framework?'

Jackson described as being 'very hurt' by how Wright has been portrayed by the media, as well as the attacks on Obama. 'I was there for that service, and the sermon has been totally blown out of context. … I was very upset by it because of what we have not talked about, and what it's become. It was always going to be a race and gender issue in this election, and now we see how it's really becoming a race issue.

' … They picked five minutes and 15 seconds of a sound bite, without politically and spiritually addressing what the whole sermon was all about and what was he really saying,' Jackson added. 'Instead, he looks like a madman.'

Jackson hopes that some good can come of this, and that much-needed discussions can take place, especially in the Black church, about racial disparities and LGBT issues.

'But we're afraid to do that behind the pulpit,' she said.

This article shared 3577 times since Tue Apr 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Vatican reiterates opposition to gender change, theory 2024-04-08
- On April 8, the Vatican reaffirmed its opposition to gender changes, gender theory and surrogate parenthood, as well as abortion and euthanasia, Reuters reported. This newest document—the 20-page Dignitas infinita ...

Gay News

LGBTQ Catholic group mourns the passing of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton 2024-04-05
--From a press release - April 5, 2024. DignityUSA joins members of the Archdiocese of Detroit and millions of people around our country and the world in mourning the death of Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Bishop Gumbleton received DignityUSA's Risk Taker/Justice ...

Gay News

United Church of Hyde Park hosts LGBTQ+ storytelling event 2024-03-25
- About 20 people had gathered around four round tables in the community room of the United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St., on March 23. They were listening quietly to a man tell the story of how, on a ...

Gay News

Bring Chicago Home Campaign releases open endorsement letter from 100+ faith leaders 2024-02-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With just over a month before the March 19th primary election, prominent Chicago faith leaders will today release a letter—signed by over 100 religious leaders—endorsing the Bring Chicago Home campaign to restructure the Real ...

Gay News

WORLD Marriage in Greece, UK politics, cruise death, HRC grants 2024-02-02
- The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously agreed at a recent meeting that it is "strongly opposed" to the Greek government's promised bill on same-sex marriage and adoption, Balkan Insight reported. The conservative New ...

Gay News

Ohio man sentenced for firebombing pro-LGBTQ+ church 2024-01-30
- On Jan. 29, 2024, Ohio resident Aimenn D. Penny was sentenced to 216 months (18 years) in prison followed by three years of supervised release for attempting to burn down a pro-LGBTQ+ church, according to a ...

Gay News

VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity 2024-01-02
- The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ peopleā€”a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...

Gay News

WORLD Brianna Ghey, archbishops, HIV, George Michael, Albanian women 2023-12-29
- A boy and a girl, each 16, were found guilty of murdering a transgender teenager in northwest England earlier this year in a knife attack, per a Yahoo! News item that cited the AP. Brianna Ghey, ...

Gay News

Catholic Church allows priests to bless same-sex couples but reaffirms disapproval of gay marriage 2023-12-22
- LGBTQ+ couples can now receive blessings from priests, but the Catholic Church maintained its strict ban on gay marriage, according to a Vatican document approved by Pope Francis Dec. 18. This historic change in doctrine marks ...

Gay News

Greek government vows to back marriage equality 2023-12-22
- Despite opposition from the Church of Greece and within the ruling New Democracy, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government said it will eventually move to legalize same-sex marriage, The National Herald reported. However, no timetable was ...

Gay News

Dignity/Chicago welcomes new rule on church blessings for same-sex marriages 2023-12-18
--From a press release - Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and friends, welcomed the news that the Vatican's doctrinal office has officially declared it possible for Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions and ...

Gay News

New Ways Ministry: Pope's blessings approval is Christmas gift to LGBTQ+ Catholics 2023-12-18
--From a press release - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Statement by Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry: Pope Francis gave LGBTQ+ Catholics an early Christmas gift this year by approving blessings for same-gender couples. The Vatican ...

Gay News

Pope Francis changes policy, allowing priests to bless same-sex unions; GLAAD responds 2023-12-18
--From a press release - GLAAD: "By removing barriers to priests blessing LGBTQ couples, the Pope accurately recognizes that LGBTQ people and our relationships are worthy of the same affirmation and support in the Church, and this strengthens couples in their ...

Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen 2023-11-28
- It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...

Gay News

Ghana cardinal: It's time to understand homosexuality 2023-11-27
- Ghana Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson told the BBC that being gay should not be considered illegal and that people should be helped to understand the issue of homosexuality better. Turkson's comments come as his country's ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.