Reconciling the imposition of the "White Man's" religion

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, May 25, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    "playainda336" made a post at another thread which intrigues me.

    In his gallery I see a handsome Black man with an amazing cock. In his post I hear the overtones of Christianity and the bias inherenent therein to homosexuality.

    So, in the spirit of "playainda336's" post regarding homosexuality on that thread I'd like to ask others who are black how they reconcile practicing a faith handed them by those of European descent?

    I realize the significance of Christianity to those of African descent in a social context in as much as it was the glue which held community together in past generations when there was little else to hold onto. But how can the concept of bigotry and social marginalization be so lost on many in the current generations when only one or two generations ago the same bias was imposed on ethnic peoples in just that same way as homosexuals are challenged and ostracized today? It defies logic and comprehension to me.

    Or is that just the point; when it comes to Christianity logic is heaved out the window?

    For my boyfriend and me, when we were arguing pro gay marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts two years ago, we were perlexed by those among the Black community who were so adamantly against homosexuality per se and using the Bible as their reference point. These are the same people whose ancestor's religion was denied them as was the sum total of their existence when they were forced to these shores against their will.

    I'd especially like the response of those on the board who have the perspective of both situations.

    I have my own argument certainly with the Christian church but I'd think many in the Black community would be aghast at the nature of how this same theology has now focused itself on another minority. Oddly, it doesn't seem to be the case often.
     
  2. Lex

    Lex
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    WOW. Heavy topic, babe. Let me try to gather my thoughts here.

    I struggled with reconciling my faith with the inherent homophobia within lots of religion and religious people way before I came out to myself. I got to a point where I felt that I would no longer tolerate marginalization of groups because someone preached that God said it was right to do so. So, I spoke with my grandmother and greatgrandmother and based on the amount of hypocrisy both among the congregation and coming from some of the pulpits (my paster was a gem) I decided to stop attending churches. Not a popular choice among my rather giganitic Baptist family--but my path, it seems, is never easy.

    After seeing the documentary about gay marriage (Same Sex America, I think it is called) that also focused on the MA legislation, I can say that Black and White Christians seem to stand united on the grounds of their faith when they are fighting the "good fight" against all us fags and dykes imposing our deviant lifestyles on them and their chilkdren. SIGH.

    In this documentary, a lesbian daughter watched and cried as her parents protested on the opposite side of the state house from her and others like her (and me) who are pro-gay rights, including marriage. Later, the documentary showed the three of them (mother, father, daughter) attempting to reconcile their differences over dinner. "God made me like this and he loves me too--just the way I am," she cried. I cried as well.

    Many people of color forget thet the Bible was once used to deprive us of basic human rights and education as well. Not I. The Bible is a book whose distortion causes widespread damage. They (those against gay rights) don't see the queer struggle as a human rights struggle because they see queer people as somehow less than human. There is no other way to say that. You have to acknowledge that ugly truth before you can overcome it. To say that Matthew, Mindseye, Stronzo, Alex8, Sorceror and I deserve fewer rights than Pecker, Steve26, Naughty, or Madame Zora is to say that we are LESS than they are. Ugly when you speak it plainly, isn't it?

    It sucks to now idenitfy myself as a queer male and be around people who make offensive and homophobic comments thinking it is okay. Since they can't "tell" I am queer because I do not fit their conceptions of gay/queer men being feminine, they think it is safe to do so. Just as some who look like me (read: other Black people in my family, old community, etc.), feel that it is safe to bash/blame whitey or call someone a cracker in "safe" (read: all minority) company.

    I get it on all sides, being as black and queer as I am. When I am in a bar and some of the guys (usually all white) there crack a homophobic joke --I think--wow, they would not crack some "nigger joke" with me standing here, would they? Ah, the struggle of hiding in plain sight. They have to see my race--their limited notion of homosexuality does not allow them to see my queerness--even as I sit there drinking my beers watching the bar tenders AND bar maids while rubbing my nipples.

    In the end, I can't stand and don't tolerate any of it. I tell people that stuff is out of bounds, unacceptable, etc. "OOOOOOOH~!!" as Paulie Walnuts would say. In the end, I can only live the best life I know how to live, in the way that make me feel the most complete living it. If I go to hell because I like dick as much (and sometimes more than) pussy, then I am at least comforted knowing that I will be in good company.

    It took me a LONG time to get here. I did not want to be queer for a long time--I still have moments when I wish my life and path were easier. Alas, it is not. There is a reason for my struggles and I have to believe that my presence in BOTH worlds helps people in all worlds. It's been a struggle getting here--I had to first love myself, all of me--my queer side especially--and escape my own homophobia, religious trappings and racial aggression before I could come to a place of peace within myself.

    Now, I feel that I can ask and expect others to do the same. He wants us to withhold judgement. Most people, even some who call themselves Christains, often can not do this because it is easier to go WITH the mob mentality than against it. Going against the grain and thinking critically and independently is tough. Standing on your OWN comvictions is so much more effort than blindly following someone esle's.

    But this much I know to be true. God wants us to love each other first and foremost. And that starts with loving and accpeting yourself. It's supposed to be about INCLUSION, no exclusion. Come are you are indeed: unless you are gay, right? Wrong. And I'll have no part of it.
     
  3. dong20

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    As a white person I can't possibly speak to how a black person perceives anything but that aside, I'd say the paragraph above contains the essence of the answer to the question in the one below:

    You're asking "Surely logic would dictate that Black people (for example) would have a greater acceptance of all 'minorities' because of historical and present wrongs perpetrated against them as one"...I think?

    At face value it seems reasonable, but to me at least, bigoty and predjuce have little if anything (inherently) to do with colour or race and even less to do with logic. They are just outward manifestations of deeper, internal problems of which there could be numerous causes. I don't think people of any 'colour' have the monopoly on that aspect of the Human condition.
     
  4. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    First off, it's fairly obvious I was seeking Lex's input above most others because he (to the best of my knowledge) has a unique point of view on this topic. I cannot tell you how valuable it is, for me, to begin to understand what motivates people's hearts and the window of opportunity I have through your postings Lex. Thanks. And before I write more to address your good response I want to see what/if others have more to say.

    I did not mean to limit members responses solely to those of African descent. I just wanted Lex to weigh in first and he has so very eloquently. My buddy dong20 has had the courage to do so too, and I want to comment on just this one piece of what he posted:


    Yes. Exactly.

    Yes of course. I want it to be simple but it's not "dong". Why confuse the issue with logic, eh? I think my "Polyannaism" is certainly naive but isn't mass disenfranchisement the same across the board no matter what the focus group? Or oughtn't it be? This is the very reason, often, I won't engage Christians (with the lovely exception of Freddie!) in a discussion about my orientation. I refuse to have that same old "mud" slung at me.

    I guess my point in making the comparison was that - to me - it seems dreadfully short-sighted to simply sense the beginnings (for that's all they really are - beginnings) of inclusion and slam the door shut behind you. When I saw it happening at those "Town Meetings" (which were broadcast locally) in Boston about gay marriage I had all I could do not to stand up to the Black Baptist minister who was extremely vocal (and his equally vehement wife) and say "What the fuck man! Don't you understand there's effectively no difference in what you're doing to us as what was done to your own parents and grandparents??"

    Trust me, I didn't. But I swear I wish I had just to bring it down to a level playing field. (Of course, as it was, my boyfriend thought I was too mouthy and told me so on the ride home):rolleyes:
     
  5. Dr Rock

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    this isnt necessarily true, as large areas of east africa had christian churches long before europeans started colonizing the new world. in any case, i imagine that most black christians alive today had their faith "handed them" by their parents, the communities in which they grew up, and the crucifixation media machine.
     
  6. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    yes Doc. I knew someone would get technical to nitpick. I'm talking primarilly about those of African descent who were brought to this country via the triangular Atlantic trade route in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. We've all seen the diagrams of the holds of those slave ships. But I think you could have guessed I meant that.:rolleyes:

    This did not include those Africans you reference.
     
  7. Dr Rock

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    you're welcome
     
  8. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    to what precisely Doc?:cool:
     
  9. dreamer20

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    Hello Stronzo. Re:The "White Man's Religion" a historical perspective:
    Where God=The Hebrew tribal God Yahweh

    The Hebrews and the Egyptians were like two peas in a pod in Genesis (and Exodus too despite what Moses would have stated) and one of the faiths that they had in common was the cult of Yahweh/ Baal Peor which was of African origin via the elder civilization of Egypt. King Solomon was black. As Jesus was his descendant persons such as Marcus Garvey deduced that Christ was a black Messiah.

    The R.C.C.'s doctrine of original sin (from Adam's disobediance) was formed by St. Augustine, who was an African. I believe that persons are born without sin though. It is illogical to think that we are all descended from Adam and Eve( circa 4,000 B.C.) The Hebrew's story of creation was just one of hundreds of creation stories in the ancient world. Unfortunately the congregations aren't told that those stories were written by the primitive man who knew little about the forces of nature, thought that the world was flat, that diseases were caused by demons and other superstitious claptrap.

    The early R.C.Church comprised of both races. However at the time of the Renaissance I doubt that there were any blacks (if any) in the R.C.C.'s hierarchy and Europe's religious paintings had biblical characters possessing European features.

    I don't consider it to be the white man's or black man's religion though. I do consider it as a religion that was peculiar to the ancient Hebrew's until it was adopted by Rome and spread throughout the world.

    lol dreamer20
     
  10. dong20

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    Lex is far more qualified than me on such matters which I why I waited till he responded before wading in..:smile:

    I'd say you should have stood up and shouted it at the top of your voice, but you'd have been playing into his hands in his eyes. I've felt the same urge myself about things I've heard said in church but one incident I recall the 'hypocrisy' wasn't directed at me it was delivered in my name and thus the more irritating, my partner could see me fuming but the look in her eyes made me bite my tongue.

    There's nothing polyanna about raging against disenfranchisement whether it's motivated by malice or ignorance and whatever flavour or colour it is. Ignorance is 'easily' fixed, malice...well that's a different ball of wax.

    Does prejudice breed predjudice in the same way as violence does for example even across generations? Or is that a naive viewpoint? Is it simply part of the Human psyche to behave in a generally crappy manner to those we percieve as 'different' when we can't accept that difference and let it be..and all the better if we have a ready made justification to hide behind. Or all of the above?

    My 2 pennies, I'll leave this to those who are far better qualified to speak to the above in the context Stronzos' question was posed.
     
  11. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Hi dreamer.

    Again- I meant it ONLY in the historical American sense in which I introduced it to this thread. I know the historical context of which you speak but it's not my frame of reference here. I hope that's clear.
     
  12. rob_just_rob

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    Has anyone asked how women feel about having been handed the white Man's religion?
     
  13. Freddie53

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    I'm white. But I live in a small southern town. I've played at predominently black churches for weddings, funerals and other special occassions. One of the first things to notice upon entering a black church is the face of Jesus. Jesus is not white. Maybe not full blood African, but nevertheless black.

    Black theologians have known the truth about Christianity for decades or longer. The black congregations my my area are fully aware of the larger world and know the stories that there were Jews that were black. Moses himself had a black wife and God said it was good.

    So, the answer is that blacks at least here in the south do not think of it as white man's religiion. They look at it as the larger picture. More of the culture in Africa made it over here to America than many white people realize. Many of those blacks sold into slavery by their black peers who had defeated them in war, knew about Christianity.

    So I believe that is the answer. The average black doesn't see it as a white man's religion. They see Jesus as one of them. Black.

    About women. In general, women have higher standard of living and more rights compared to men in nations with Christian heritage backgrounds than nations with non Christian backgrounds. There are a few exceptoins. Not many.
     
  14. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    I know how the phenomenon's come about Freddie really I do.

    I must refer you again to my premise in this thread that the initial imposition which has now morphed into some version of Christianity but was something -at the arrival of those ancestral peoples to these shores- entirely foreign and unknown to people from the so-called "Slave Coast" (Gulf of Guinea on the West Coast of Africa).

    To them it was the "White Man's Religion". Theirs was nixed upon arrival.

    I understand socialization. I get that part. But what thinking black American cannot ask him or herself "why have I been handed a religion that was thrust upon my ancestors?" Hell I ask it and I'm white! I know I'd certainly question the legitimacy of that legacy were I black.

    I think it's a legitimate question.
     
  15. Freddie53

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    Strronzo,

    Some things just are beyond rationalization. I don't know why the first generation slaves converted to Christiantiy. Nearly all the Black spirituals are about freedom and the black slaves firmly believed that God would send a Moses to rescue them like God did in olden days. Several of the spirituals were banned by the slave owners.

    Then came the Union army south. And most of that army were Christian and freed the slaves. Lincoln was the new Moses.

    So there is a rationalization for this from 1800 on after the slave trade had ended. It is one of the greatr mysteries why the black slaves acceptted Christinaity so readily.

    As horrible as those slave ships were, the first generations of slaves were blacks who were already slaves in Africa and so they just got new slave owners. Whether their lives were better or worse than being slaves in Africa is something only they knew and they have left no history of that as far as I know.

    Later slaves were stolen, kidnapped as the existing slave population in africa became too small to support the slave trade. This was even more barbaric than the early slave trade. These slaves were captured, tied down, given few if any restroom breaks and given enough water and food to keep most of them alive until they got to New Orleans where they were auctioned off like cattle, then branded with a hot iron to show which plantation they belonged to. Very horrific.

    This is the best I can do to answer your question. Today I don't know if there is anyone alive who can answer it. With just an oral history for several hundred years, much has been lost forever from a historical prespective.

    I've often wondered the same question and did some research into it and what i have posted is what I found out.

    If someone knows more of the history and why and how it came to be that blacks adopted Christianity, I wish they would enlighten us. Many here would like to know.
     
  16. dreamer20

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    N.P. experienced the civil rights movement, blacks gaining political power and desegregation in the 1960's, but there was no focus on gay rights whatsoever. Although Britain decriminalized m2m sex in 1967 it was not decriminalized until 1991 in N.P.

    N.P. claims that it is a Christian nation. However attending a church is seen to be more important than being a Christian. The pulpits of most churches state that gays are mentally ill, "not real men" and infer that most of them are child molesters in an effort to cause mistrust and fear of homosexuals. Yet there seems to be an even split of the ignorant persons who spew this rhetoric and those that believe that being gay is a natural occurence and nothing to get hysterical about.
    This film, circa 1961, pretty much sums up the thoughts of the former group. ( It was shown in U.S. classrooms for at least 20 years )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5VNe9NTOxA

    I fortunately attend an easy going church with members that are more enlightened than those of the traditional churches. I too think that Christians should think logically but too many of them do not question the pastor's doctrine or see what is illogical in the bible.

    lol dreamer20
     
  17. Lex

    Lex
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    It would be nice if other people of color who are reading this thread and are faithful (or not) would chime in with their opinions. I know I don't (and would never presume to) speak for everyone or anyone other than myself.

    This thread is no intended to ask how Americans of African decent feel about practicing the "White Man's Religion." This thread is not intended to be our exposition of the History of religion.

    What Stronzo is really after are the questions which baffle even me:

    • How do so many people following and practice something that has, on many occassions been shown to be the foundation of hate?
    • How does someone with faith reconcile their religious teachings about sexuality and homosexuality given that fact that they themselves might be gay, the probably have gay family members/friends, they certainly have gay co-workers and/or that they participate on this board (which is about a gay as it gets, really).
    • How do people of color in this country allow their faith to compell them to marginalize homosexuals and queer people when they themselves are STILL being marginalized?
    • How do those who so blatantly feel the sting of discrimination via racism and classism turn and shut the door on those behind them, instead of extending the olive branch?
    • Must the shit ALWAYS roll downhill? We did not compell the creation of the legistlation that protects us all by ourselves--we were helped my sympathetic White Americans and Jews (who also felt/feel the sting or discrimination).
    • Why aren't we using the numbers in our favor? It's totally illogical not to.
     
  18. prepstudinsc

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    Lex brought up some good questions. These questions can also be applied to what are historically "White" churches.

    The bottom line is that we fear anything that is different. If a person is not like us for whatever reason (skin color, sexual orientation, etc.) we are scared because we don't understand. The sad part is that those fears are allayed by using the Bible to condemn those who are different.

    In the Caribbean, the South and in other places where native African religions and Christianity met, there was often a merging of the two. That is why and how Voodoo (in dialect "vodun") came about. Not all people adopted the "mainstream" religions that were thrust upon them. Many kept their native rituals and amalgamated Christian themes into them.

    For those who have been cast into terrible situations, they generally turn to God for more strength. Read through the Bible and see how God has carried people through tough times.

    There are plenty of churches who accept gay people. Not every Black church condemns gay people. There are progressive congregations where it's not a big deal. There is, in fact, a Black "gay" church, sort of a sister to the MCC, called The Unity Fellowship Church. In my conservative area, they have participated in a community service at my church--for the National Black Week for the Healing and Awareness for HIV/AIDS. In my city, it is celebrated each year and different churches host the service that kicks off the week. We've hosted it several times. Why? Because we have a huge HIV/AIDS ministry, and it's not for those just afflicted with it due to drugs.

    Since I live and work and worship in both worlds (Black and White) I see how both sides react to many of the hot topics. Believe me, we are not really different. Some issues may affect us more than others, but we are all people and we just need to come together to fight these things together, because they are not Black or White issues, they are PEOPLE issues.

    PS. Freddie brought up something about pictures of Jesus being depicted as being "tan" in pictures in Black churches. In the stained glass windows in my new church building, people are depicted as being of color. The old testament windows show the Egyptians as being tan, and it shows some of the new testament people being non-anglo-saxon. No matter how hard anyone tries to prove it, Jesus was not blond and blue eyed. He was from the Middle East! He would have been tan skinned and have had black hair and brown eyes--not looking like he came from Central Europe.
     
  19. Lex

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    Monty--thanks for chiming in. As someone who works and relaxes in both worlds, your perspective on how things around you happen and occur is equally invaluable.
     
  20. DC_DEEP

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    Stronzo, I think at least part of the answer to at least part of your question boils down to the most hideous and immoral practice known as "being on the down-low." And (at least for this thread) I'll expand DL to include several deceptive practices, not just the sex. These guys get some very mixed signals about what a "man" is supposed to be. He gets one thing from the "white-man's church", something else from his family, and still something else from "on the street." The conflicting ideas of strength and morality get amalgamized, and he proceeds to do what his id tells him to, all the while covering up those behaviors in different ways, depending upon the situation. If he's gay, that means "doing the right thing in the eyes of the church," but doing things that he knows he'll have to lie about when he gets home.

    Lex, you have no idea how much I respect I have for you, for being able to come from that background, and having the strength, courage, and conviction to overcome it and be a good and honest man.
     
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