Several New York City pastors are predictably outraged over a proposed Harlem Pride picnic that is scheduled later this month in a local park, reports the New York Daily News. The loudest protests? From the rabidly anti-gay Church of God in Christ
"If children start to believe it is okay to be gay, they will think it's okay to be a pedophile or have sex with animals," said Dr. Ronald Ferguson, the senior pastor at Antioch Church of God on W. 124th St. "It's a slippery slope."
Ferguson, who has three adult children and four grandkids, said he expects parishioners to follow his lead and stay indoors when the second annual Harlem Pride event arrives June 24. "This gay pride nonsense is an abomination," Ferguson told the Daily News. "God does not want to see homosexuals in our parks."
Neither do Ferguson or some other local pastors fuming over the celebration of gay rights set for Marcus Garvey Park. "The park is a family area, and the homosexual agenda will do nothing but harm the community," said Pastor Charles Curtis of Mount Olivet Baptist Church.
Too bad Pastor Ferguson will stay indoors. It might be a beautiful day to tool around Harlem in his brand new Jaguar ...
Harlem Pride President Carmen Neely says she won't back down: "I want the gay and lesbian people of uptown to have a celebration of our own. This will be different than the events in the West Village because it will be filled with people of color. ... I realize the church plays a big role in the black community, but we're people, too, and deserve our day in the sun."
Ferguson might want to look closer to home. COGIC—the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S. and the second largest African-American denomination—rivals the Catholic Church for the many sexual predators within its leadership. Last fall, a Las Vegas COGIC pastor was arrested on 11 sexual abuse charges. A former COGIC pastor was sentenced to 20 years on rape charges in January 2010. In March 2010, an Alabama COGIC bishop was also accused of sexual misconduct.
Despite COGIC's hardline on gays—or maybe because of it—the church has always attracted many Black gay men. In November 2010 at the COGICs Holy Convocation Youth Service in Memphis, the infamously "ex-gay"—or should we say merely "re-closeted"—Grammy Award winning gospel singer Donnie McClurkin delivered an incendiary rant against gays and gay youth and compared them to vampires.