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Texas: ‘Gay rights,’ civil rights not the same, black leaders say

ARLINGTON, Texas (BP)–Several hundred black Christians gathered on the steps of city hall in Arlington, Texas, to show their opposition to same-sex “marriages” and to comparisons between the homosexual right movement of today and the civil rights movement of 1950s and 1960s.

The Arlington rally attracted people from all across the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond, including two representatives from Promise Keepers who traveled from Colorado to attend.

Leaders of the “Not On My Watch Rally” compared their mission to that of a story in Ezekiel 3 in which God made Ezekiel the watchman for the people of Israel to sound the alarm of coming judgment.

“May God’s recording angels of eternity record that on this date, May 22, 2004, some watchmen stood and declared God’s desire to bless the obedient and God’s warning of judgment on the disobedient,” Howard Caver, one of the three founders of the Not On My Watch Coalition, said in remarks opening the rally.

Caver said he, Terrance Autrey, a Dallas-area pastor, and Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s Pastors’ Conference, began meeting about six weeks ago out of concern over the direction of the country concerning same-sex “marriages.”

According to Caver, this rally was that alarm.

Six pastors and leaders from different denominations took the stage to explain the groups’ reasoning for their stance against the homosexual activists’ movement in America.

Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, gave the biblical response to the movement. He began by saying that God is “pro-family.”

“Marriage was defined to be a relationship, a lifelong relationship, between a man and a woman,” Carter said. “It is a lifelong relationship between a man, a woman and God.” He said that it was God who created marriage; it was not an idea created in the minds of mankind.

Carter read the account in Genesis 1 in which God created both male and female, gave them dominion over the earth, told them to be fruitful and multiply. He told about God creating woman to be a suitable helper for man, about how a man should leave his mother and father and should become one flesh with his wife.

While the attendees shouted, “Amen” and clapped, Carter spoke of the church of Christ being called the bride: “He [God] created marriage because He wants us -– the man, the wife -– to reflect the image of Christ and the church. So He gave us a model, so that every day that we see a man and wife joined together, we see Christ and His church.”

Carter finished by proclaiming that homosexuality is a sin. But, he said, it isn’t the only sin. He said Christians are not immune to sin. And because of that, Christians need to be careful in how they approach the homosexual community and others who favor of same-sex “marriage.”

“We have to open our arms of restoration,” Carter said. “Our churches need to be a place where we point the sin out, but we also give the people a chance to be restored. It ought to be a place where we despise the sin but we love the sinner.”

McKissic then addressed why the group takes exception with the parallels between the homosexual rights movement and the civil rights movement.

“At the dawn of this new millennium, the church of the living God cannot allow the gay rights movement to hitch itself to the civil rights movement without first putting up a fight,” McKissic said.

He said the comparison is “insulting, offensive and racist.”

“To compare civil rights with gay rights is to compare my skin with their sin,” McKissic said.

He pointed out three major differences between the two movements.

First, civil rights are rooted in moral authority, while homosexual rights are rooted in the lack of moral restraint, McKissic said. Trying to undo the damage of years of a race of people in slavery was the right thing to do, he said, whereas trying to change laws solely because of the decisions of a group of people is not the right thing.

Second, civil rights are rooted in constitutional authority, while homosexual rights are rooted in civil anarchy, McKissic said. According to the Constitution, all men have God-given rights. It was because of these rights Martin Luther King Jr. and others fought for freedom. He cited a speech King gave in Washington D.C. “He says, ‘America has written black folk a check and the check came back marked with insufficient funds,’ because the Constitution guaranteed us rights to vote, rights to buy property. It guaranteed us certain unalienable rights.”

“But,” McKissic said, “the gay community [is] trying to write a check on an account that hasn’t been opened yet.”

Third, the sufferings of the homosexual do not compare to the suffering of the black man in America. McKissic said when the homosexual community suffers through 200 years of slavery, is declared only three-fifths human and is denied the right to vote or buy property, then the two movements can be compared.

Terrance Autrey, pastor of Eirene Christian Center in Dallas, spoke about the destructive health issues associated with homosexuality. He predicted that if the homosexual agenda makes progress in society, the health issues that confront homosexuals will confront heterosexuals as well.

Autrey quoted a 2002 study from a group of social scientists that marriage is an “important social good.”

“Married men and women and their children are often happier, healthier and more prosperous than any type of household,” Autrey said.

He said he believes diseases such as AIDS could be eliminated in one generation if people would follow biblical principles.

“If society would adopt the biblical philosophy of sexuality,” Autrey said, “AIDS, HIV, HPV, GBS … would cease to exist in one generation.”

Karla McKissic, daughter of Dwight McKissic and the children’s minister in her father’s church, spoke to the group about the educational effects of the homosexual movement.

The movement could cause confusion not only to the children but to those who educate our children, she said.

“Legalizing gay ‘marriages’ will change our textbooks and the way we teach our children,” she predicted.

She put her concerns in the form of a series of hypothetical questions: Will lesbian teachers be able to put up pictures of their same-sex partner? Will high school health books show pictures of two men holding a baby? In college, will the psychology professors define homosexual “marriages” as normal or abnormal? Will a child’s parent be able to request the child’s transfer to another class if it is learned that the child’s teacher is homosexual?

Ralph Emerson, pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church, spoke on the role of the family to the homosexual movement.

“The family must become the safe house in the midst of the satanic turmoil that looms before our lives,” Emerson said.

“Marriage brings about completion. Therefore, any other type of union … is out of order,” he said.

The last speaker of the day was Perry Ford, who spoke on behalf of Terry Turner, pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church and a member of the SBTC board of directors who was out of town attending a funeral.

Ford told the group the spiritual fight over homosexual rights will require Christians to stand strong. He told the story from Daniel about how three young Hebrew boys were able to overcome the social dilemma of their day: obey the King’s command or God’s command.

Because of the growing swell of social pressure, opposing homosexual rights today can be considered socially unacceptable. In spite of that pressure, Ford said Christians have to stand up and sound the alarm.

“We need to stand up and say we are not going to bow down,” Ford said. “If we say we’re not going to bow, we may have a fight on our hands. We may have to go to that fiery furnace, but I’m here to tell you, just like Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego with their fiery furnace, God will be right there with you.”

McKissic said the coalition will now seek God as to its next steps. He said leaders in several other cities already have been in contact with the group.

McKissic summed up his time on the podium with these words: “If God gives me strength, I’m going to fight this thing with every fiber of my being.” He said he concurred with the words of Martin Luther: “My conscience is captive to the word of God. To avoid this conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me, here I stand.”
Rodney Hayes is a correspondent for the Southern Baptist Texas, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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