Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors has come out. The highly respected African American pastor and scholar was so appalled by a group of black pastors’ recent demonstration against same-sex marriage in Detroit that he could not stay silent any more.
“I am coming out of the closet as a heterosexual, male pastor, with all the privileges this has afforded me in more than 30 years of ministry, to say that I do believe in gay rights. I also believe that if gays love each other in the way I love my wife, in the way that any man-husband loves his woman-wife, it is perfectly fine for them to be married,” Nabors wrote in an open letter Mar. 4. (see Dr. Nabor’s complete letter on http://www.pridesource.com).
On Mar. 28, Nabors met with Rev. Darlene Franklin, former pastor of Full Truth Fellowship Church in Detroit, and Rev. Roland Stringfellow, the newly-appointed senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church in Ferndale, to discuss the theology and politics behind his decision to come out as an ally to the LGBT community.
“It was seeing about 50 African American preachers in Detroit that got national attention for stating that they were unalterably opposed to same-sex marriage,” said Nabors, referring to a Feb. 24 press conference at the First Baptist World Changers Church in Detroit. “It was the aftermath. It garnered tremendous local press, and then I’m seeing it on television and reading about it in USA Today, The New York Times, and I said, ‘Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I’m a pastor in Detroit and I don’t feel that way about it.’ And that compelled me to sit down and try to write something.”
Nabors, 54, who has been at New Calvary for 16 years, said he submitted his letter to The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, but had not heard if either paper intends to print it. He reached out to Franklin, his former seminary student, to explore what he could do to get his message out. Franklin had been out as a lesbian throughout her studies at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary. “I am so honored to bring you two together,” said Franklin to the two pastors. “I am interested in being that person to help bridge the (black and the gay) communities of faith together.”
Dr. Nabors is senior pastor at New Calvary Baptist Church in Detroit, a 64-year-old, large black church with hundreds of members. He is also an assistant professor, director of graduate programs and director of student life at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary on Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Born in Kalamazoo to a large family – he is the youngest of nine children – and raised in a fundamentalist Baptist church, Nabors said his world view expanded while in college at Western Michigan University and later at Princeton’s Theological Seminary where he earned a masters degree in theology and Christian ethics.
“I went to Princeton – it was a big leap. A sort of new world opened up for me. As a Princeton seminary student you could take as many classes as you wanted at the university. After I got all my requirements out of the way I was doing everything I could under Cornell West and (civil war) historian James McPherson,” said Nabors.
Nabors said he was angry, offended and embarrassed that the anti-marriage demonstrators claimed to represent all of Detroit’s faith community. He also accused some pastors of being influenced by right-wing donors.
Source: Pride Source | Jan Stevenson