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The Voice of the Black Community
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Opinion

My faith instructs me to stand up for LGBTQ neighbors
Protecting rights of all are essential
 
Published Monday, May 18, 2020 4:16 pm
by The Rev. Ray McKinnon

PHOTO | TROY HULL
The Rev. Ray McKinnon is pastor of South Tryon Community United Methodist Church in Charlotte.

I lead a congregation on the south side of Charlotte. We’re an affirming congregation, and I’m an affirming Christian. But even more than that I believe strongly in the call for justice. As part of this, my congregation welcomes our LGBTQ siblings with open arms.


I preach that, as a part of our Christian faith, we need to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means all our neighbors, including those who are LGBTQ. Unfortunately our state and this country don’t fully hold the LGBTQ community in the same regard in the way that it should – not yet anyway.

Now more than ever, as we have entered a time of national crisis and all of our people, all of our communities, are facing the threat of COVID-19, we have got to recognize that we are one vast community.

North Carolina learned a lesson the hard way when it passed HB 2 several years ago. It was the worst anti-LGBTQ law in the nation permitting discrimination against transgender people in public spaces. The law was repealed, but not until the state had lost over $400 million and no doubt caused harm to LGBTQ people and their families.

North Carolina is one of 30 states that still do not have statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people to ensure fairness in employment, housing, in public spaces and beyond. What is the message we send to those who enter a heath-care clinic, a doctors’ office, a hospital waiting room — unemployment line or even enter a grocery store to purchase much needed supplies.  Are we all treated equally?  Can any one of us be turned away because of our faith, or whom we love?

Now, I’m watching even more closely a trio of cases before the United States Supreme Court that could determine whether federal law protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination and consequently other areas of discrimination. The Court heard the LGBTQ employment discrimination cases in 2019 and a decision could come down any day. The stakes could not be higher. Believe me when I say now is not the time to endorse discrimination but rather to open the doors wide to the neighbor, and the stranger.  

How the Supreme Court rules in the employment discrimination cases is especially important in North Carolina, where our LGBTQ friends and neighbors lack statewide protections. Discrimination is a real and urgent problem that disproportionally impacts the most vulnerable members of our community – LGBTQ people of color, especially black and brown people, immigrants, and transgender people.  

The disturbing reality is that millions of LGBTQ people in North Carolina and across the country report experiencing discrimination in their everyday lives. What will happen now as essential needs increase and resources — in grocery stores, and medical facilities are scarce?  As it is, transgender women of color disproportionally face extremely high rates of violence and discrimination. As a black man fighting for civil rights and justice for fellow people of color, how could I stop short of extending those calls to other marginalized groups?

To be honest, I was apathetic about LGBTQ people for many years. Raised in a conservative Baptist home, I didn’t look beyond the scripture as it was presented to me. After someone close to me came out – one of the most loving, caring Christians I knew – I did some soul -searching.  I know now that we’re all God’s children.

I also know that we all deserve to be treated with dignity, and respect in houses of worship and under the law. None of us should live in fear of being fired or denied a job   none should be denied aid or medical assistance because of who we are or whom we love.  That is something that all of us should be able to agree with.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in the employment discrimination cases, the work for justice will not be done for our community. LGBTQ people throughout our state urgently need protections from discrimination in ALL areas of life. In these challenging times, it is especially important that North Carolina and the federal government pass statewide nondiscrimination protections, so our LGBTQ friends and neighbors are universally protected under the law.  


All North Carolinians are children of God, and all deserve to be treated with love and kindness – regardless of who they love or their gender identity.


The Rev. Ray McKinnon is the pastor of South Tryon Community United Methodist Church. He lives with his wife and three sons in Charlotte.

Comments

Everyone should understand that this man is not a pastor; he is a wolf in sheep's clothing who is leading his followers into spiritual darkness. The bible unequivocally condemns ANY and ALL kinds of LGBT behavior. Under the Law of Moses, it was treated as a capital crime, deserving of the death penalty. Affirming these wicked deeds is not an act of love - it is a act of callous indifference which leaves these miserable sinners to persist in destroying their health, their mental well being, their families and communities.
Posted on May 25, 2020
 
Thank you, Rev. Ray, for your positive admonition and sharing of feelings of what the scriptures say. We are instructed to love our neighbors as ourselves, that means ALL, not just the people that think like us, not just the people we like, not just the people who are 'just like me'. All people are God's children and deserve respect, kindness, equality and not being classed as less than because of difference.
The previous comment about hatred is correct, it is a human emotion and promoted by the disdain of others because they are different, not a God given emotion.
Thank you for your support of the marginalized persons in our society and communities.
Posted on May 24, 2020
 
Do you think maybe God instructed him to put too much butter in his bread?
Posted on May 23, 2020
 
Your words and actions supporting my LGBTQ community across NC mean a lot.
Posted on May 22, 2020
 
Thank you and God bless you. These anti-LGBT measures are no more "Godly" than when white Christians distorted the scriptures to "justify" slavery or Jim Crow. If your interpretation of what God wants leads you to hate or discriminate...it is not God that you are following...but your own base feelings. God cannot be hateful. That is a human failing.
Posted on May 22, 2020
 
Thank you for your support and your leadership Rev McKinnon
Posted on May 21, 2020
 
This is so heartwarming. I wish more people were as kind.
Posted on May 20, 2020
 
Thank you so much for taking the time to advocate for the LGBTQ community! It is so important to know which churches are affirming and which churches veil their discrimination under the guise of "welcoming". Your voice matters!
Posted on May 20, 2020
 
Thank you, sir; I was raised in an extremely conservative tradition (the Churches of Christ), and I know how hard it is to see the face of Christ in others when you've been told all your life that they have chosen to deny Christ and "live a lifestyle" that violates the Scripture. Even when the face you look at is in the mirror.
Posted on May 19, 2020
 

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