Sharpton delivered the keynote at the Human Rights Ecumenical Service at Atlanta's Tabernacle Baptist Church, probably the city's largest gay-friendly and inclusive black church. The good reverend used the opportunity to question the role of the Mormon Church—which heavily bankrolled the Yes on 8 campaign—and the black mega-church pastors who mobilized congregations against gay marriage.
"There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people's bedrooms and claim that God sent you."
"It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners."
"I am tired," he went on, "of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they're preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade...We know you're not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California--when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren't there you had nothing to say. But all of a sudden, when Proposition 8 came out, you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we're going to step in the rain with you."
This is not new for Sharpton. When the reverend ran for president in 2004, he was one of only two candidates to support full marriage equality. In June 2006 he told CNN, "There are no gay people coming to our churches asking to get married. But there are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail."
The civil rights activist has never really gotten his due from the mainstream LGBT community or much of the black LGBT community outside the Tri-State. But how fierce is it to have a pastor speaking the truth we know oh-so-well about those anti-gay pastors who rant from the pulpit and "cruise for trade" at night? You'd better work it out, Rev. Al.