Out of all the young black pastors in America no one is more down with trying to help the black community than Jamal Bryant, and no young black pastor is more down with Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream than Jamal Bryant. If black church folk let this dis-invite take place, they are not worth being called the black church. And if black pastors do not stand up against this foolishness, they are not worth being called pastors.
Prominent local gay rights organizations are asking that a nationally known African-American pastor who has made inflammatory remarks about gay people be disinvited as the keynote speaker at the 30th annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast.
And St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has declined a request to give the ceremonial key to the city to the speaker, the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant.
As pastor of Empowerment Temple, a 10,000-member mega-church in Baltimore, Bryant has built a national following. Aside from a bombastic speaking style, he has called homosexuality a sin that’s on par with drug addiction and gambling.
“Homosexuality is not the only sin,” Bryant said in a video posted to YouTube in 2012. “But it is a sin. It is not an alternative lifestyle. It is an alternative rebellion.”
Susan McGrath, chairwoman of the Pinellas County Democratic Party and president of the Stonewall Democrats, said Bryant’s views contradict the message of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
She said Bryant’s stance is “hateful” and “bigoted” and mars St. Petersburg’s image as a diverse, welcoming city.
“The city has made a lot of progress,” McGrath said. “It casts an unfair shadow on St. Petersburg.”
McGrath attended last year’s banquet, but said she won’t attend this year if Bryant speaks.
Eric Skains, executive director of St. Pete Pride, said he was disappointed that Bryant is slated to speak, despite his group’s objections.
“Hopefully, the organization comes to the right side of the equation on this,” Skains said.
State Rep. Darryl Rouson, however, is standing by the choice. Married to Angela Rouson, the organizer of the Jan. 18 event at the Coliseum, the Democratic St. Petersburg lawmaker said Bryant should be allowed to speak.
“I’m certainly not going to jump on the bandwagon,” Darryl Rouson said on Tuesday, referring to requests to revoke Bryant’s invitation.
SOURCE: The Tampa Bay Times