City Desk

More Gay Bashing from the Pulpit

LISTEN
Excerpt from Owens’ April 9 sermon (MP3 format, 3 MB)
(Photo by Darrow Montgomery)

Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr.—pastor of the Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, one of the city's largest congregations—had a clever theme for his April 9 service. His sermon was titled “Fan or Follower!” Owens, who is an honorary member of Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ Interfaith Council, delivered a message urging congregants to be move beyond being fans of the church to becoming followers of the righteous path.

He also made clear that one segment of his congregation is not welcome on that path: gay men.

During a dramatic presentation on how strong men follow the teachings of the church, he pointed out that “real men” for the Lord are straight. “It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy,” said Owens on a church tape recording. “Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow,” he said, inviting them to the front of the church. “All the real men—I'm talking about the straight men,” he preached. “You ain’t funny and you ain’t cranky, but you're straight. Come on down here and walk around and praise God that you are straight. Thank him that you're straight. All the straight men that's proud to be a Christian, that's proud to be a man of God.”

Owens did not return calls seeking comment.

One attendee of the service, who describes himself as a gay, says the house was packed for the Palm Sunday service. He and “about 20” other closeted gay men in the crowd, he says, felt they had no choice but to join Owens’ spontaneous celebration of straightness.

He calls the bishop's message “offensive” because it suggests “it is impossible to be gay and serve God.” He also objects to Owens’ use of “faggot” and “sissy” to describe gay men. “If I wasn't delivered,” he says, “I wouldn't have been delivered on that day.”

The Bishop's anti-gay rhetoric is no surprise coming from the No. 2 man in the conservative Mount Calvary Holy Church of America Inc. Gay activists say Owens has a history of homophobic sermons, but add that his congregation include numerous gay members.

Sermons less than welcoming to the gay community are nothing new in D.C. The Rev. Willie Wilson of Anacostia's Union Temple Baptist Church delivered a strident anti-gay sermon last summer, warning that lesbianism was about to “take over our community.” His comments stoked a outrage in the gay community and prompted many city leaders to denounce the politically powerful minister.

Owens doesn't share Wilson's loaded political history, but his sermon celebrating straight men adds fuel to the simmering battle between the city's conservative churches and the politically powerful gay community.

Owens’ 7,000-member Northeast congregation has long been a regular election-season campaign stop for city politicians, even though most members of the church live in Prince George's County, Md. Last month, Owens offered up his church as the venue for Ward 5 Councilmember and mayoral candidate Vincent Orange's “State of Ward 5” address. The D.C. Council also passed the “Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. Recognition Resolution” in 2004, for his church's work in the community on drug treatment and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Ward 8 activist Philip Pannell says the bishop “has a longstanding record of homophobia. I literally will not step in his church,” says Pannell, who is gay.

The mayor's religious advisor, Dr. Susan Newman, says Owens is a non-voting “honorary member” of the council, based on his leadership post in the national Mount Calvary church. Owens, she says, has not attended a meeting of the council for more than a year. “He's not one of the high-profile, politically active pastors that you might see on the news,” she says. Newman says the sermons of any Interfaith Council member do not reflect the views of the mayor's council.

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  • Anonymous

    I am a proud member of GMCHC and I support my Bishop 100% Sin is sin and thats it. Bishop has a straight forward way of preaching and teaching, I recommend you go to another church were your sin is welcome. Some earlier said that all men are children of God, I disagree all men are creations of God. How can you claim to be one of his sons or daughters and not live by his ways. Salvation is a life style. God made no mistake when he created Adam and Eve. If he wanted two men to be together he would not have commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. I never seen two sperms mixed and make a baby. Yes I know that being fruitful is more than just making a baby. But how else will population be if it were intended for two same sex individuals to be together. To my Bishop my family loves you and you hold your head up NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU WILL EVER PROSPER. God is on your side and so is your church family. And for all the demons who have been sent to the church just to check things out, vengence is mine saith the LORD!

  • Anonymous

    Well we got our Apology, and he took it right back. Bishop u need to say u are sorry to your Church. Your men and some women are going through a really rough time with this situation. Bishop do u really care about your congregation? Noone is concerned about your pass, but you should be concerned about the future of your church...........

    Just a plug, for those guy's and women who are not scared to leave and explore other church's or just stay at home and watch Bobby Jones
    on Sundays another, well let me leave Bobby alone he is not apart of this; search this site.
    http://www.refugedc.org/

    It is with great anticipation and joy that I invite you to join with City of Refuge - Washington, DC for an initial gathering and interest meeting on Wednesday, May 24, 2006.

  • Anonymous

    OH MY GOD!!! You people are killing me!! "I support bishop", "sin is sin" or whatever else. Look I cant understand how you consider yourself a child of GOD and support the bishop and his choice of words (faggots, sissy's) its just like cussing. Would you allow your children to say that? Would Jesus say that? Yes, I believe sin is sin, just like wrong is wrong. This is out of control. At gmchc that is not the only bishop preaches about, but when he does it always gets out of hand b/c he doesnt know what to say out of his mouth. Look people I am to the point where you can believe whatever the hell you want. Everybody takes scriptures and flip it and make it what they want. Whether you are pentecostal, AME, Baptist, COGIC, Catholic, straight, gay, black white exc... I hear preachers say all the time " I BELIEVE Jesus was trying to .... I BELIEVE that he meant for us... I BELIEVE GOD is trying to get us to..." I need facts not what anyone believes. When people argue over religion or beliefs all I here is people quote scriptures back in forth to justify what the believe. Well who is right? The bible will say to do this in one verse and then something completely different verses later. The Bible says to take care of the earth, but we all drive and have chimneys on our homes to send smoke into the air that pollute. Like someone said if you belive one thing believe it all!

    Now to me the bible seems to have caused division in so many ways from religion all the way down to race. I am questioning whether if its worth believing. It causes to much debate. We can all find something to justify what we believe. So beleieve whatever the heel you want. It really doesnt seem to matter.

    As far as GMCHC it is a good church, gays is not the only focus but the only thing that will bring attention to the church, aside from all the great things it has done in the community.

  • Anonymous

    All that needs to be said is this. The word of God is the word of God. Sin is sin. Period. If some homosexuals truely believe there lifestyle is not a sin and is accepted by God...and the Bible clearly states that it is an abomination, then they need to come to the alter and tarry for the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Spirit enters in...the Bible way, I assure you they will NOT remain a homosexual. Fuss all you want about whether Jesus supported the lifestyle. YOU WRONG, and I would be scared to part my lips and utter such nosense. May thats the problem. God hasn't been striking folk down like in the Old Testiment.

    Well see who right on judgment day. But for the sake of your souls, I hope they are!!! Cause if your wrong.....

  • Anonymous

    Jesus supported homosexuality and homosexual people. That all that matters. Various humans contributed to the Bible.

  • Anonymous

    Gay brothers and sisters, IN MY OPINION, I don't think Bishop Owens respects you. You don't call your members a "slut", "drunk" or "faggot." He is using the same type of language haters would use against you in the street. High Scool children use that type of language. From my understanding, you guys represent the MAJORITY of his congregation. You have more power over him. USE IT! His heterosexual members don't really care because they were not disrespected by him. Of course, they will be on his side. One member went so far as to say Jesus would have called someone a "faggot." There are many other churches you could attend, in which the clergy would not disrespect you in front of people. You don't need his apology. He did not want to apologize to you, anyway!

  • Anonymous

    "the Bible clearly states that it is an abomination" I hear this so much if the know it all christians would look beyond our sins they would see there own. It says 100's of things are and abomination like eatting pork, touching the skin of a big" OMG does this mean all football and basketball players are going to hell? Cristians are some of the biggest sinners.

    Once again,
    To you who are rejected by "christians" do not listen to them they will only curse you with there vile tongues and they will make you believe you are not of God. They are not of God, God does not work this way. Give yourself to God not to the Christian or Church that hates you. God will crush them in the end. Turn to God he will help you, love you, and protect you. Every judgement they give you God will give it back to them.

    God Loves You go to him, and leave the sinful christans underfoot.

    Peace

  • Anonymous

    Jesus supported homosexuality and gay folks. He said that people were born homosexual. Yes, certain biblical authors offered different perspective on same sex behavior. But, Jeusus NEVER disrespected homosexual people nor homosexuality.

  • Anonymous

    I have yet to find in the Bible where Jesus, or anyone for that matter openly supports homosexuality. Everyone says "God supports homosexuals." Find it in the scriptures. Don't tell me about opinion. Where is it in the BIBLE. Thats what we christian go by. Your just as human as everyone else. You entitled to you opinion, whether I feels its right or wrong. My opinion doesn't matter. Only what God has to say! An in His word, it says that lifestyle is a sin.

    Whats more important than what someone's opinion is the fact the souls of everyone is at stake here. I would much rather make it into heaven believing Gods word then not make it because of my or someone elses opinion.

    Real Christians don't preach hate. They don't have to. I people truely understand just how much God truely hates sin...all sin, we would do as the scriptures say and judge ourselves.

    I challenge every homosexual to do this one thing...and really mean it. Ask God to show you...you. Ask him to remove anything that in you that is not like Him. I can guarentee...If you do, there will be a change in you. Take a step further and pray for the Holy Spirit...Gods Spirit and wait for God to answer your prayer. When the Holy Ghost comes, just like the previous writer said...the Bible way, You will be changed.

    Don't take my word for it. Try GOD !!!!!!!

  • The Koochie Kid

    Human Sexuality was created for the sole purpose of perpetuating the species and that takes one man and one women.

    Homosexuality is wrong because if all of us were homosexuals then that would kill off our species.

    Homosexuality is just not the natural order and thus it should not be condoned!

    We do not need a religious base to see how wrong homosexuality is as there is a more logical reason it is wrong and I just said what it is.

  • Anonymous

    Jesus supported homosexuality and homosexual relationships. According to religous tolerance.org

    "Michael Kelly wrote of Jesus' attitude towards a same-sex couple as described in Matthew 8:5-13: and Luke 7:2: "One day a Roman Centurion asked him to heal his dying servant. Scholars of both Scripture and Ancient History tell us that Roman Centurions, who were not permitted to marry while in service, regularly chose a favorite male slave to be their personal assistant and sexual servant. Such liaisons were common in the Greco-Roman world and it was not unusual for them to deepen into loving partnerships....Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion asked him simply to speak a word of healing, since he was not worthy to welcome this itinerant Jewish teacher under his roof. Jesus responded by healing the servant and proclaiming that even in Israel he had never found faith like this! So, in the one Gospel story where Jesus encountered people sharing what we would call a 'gay relationship,' we see him simply concerned about ? and deeply moved by ? their faith and love."

    Now, why don't you guys pray for the starving children in Africa or the people suffering in the Sudan, because that is what Jesus talked about. He was not going around judging people. Also, the procreation argument is really weak. Gay folks have only existed since the beginning of mankind!

  • Anonymous

    More biblical proof that Jesus may have supported homosexual relationships.

    "J Richards" suggested that Mark 7:14-16 shows that Jesus approves of homosexual acts. The critical phrase reads: "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him..." Richards suggests that Jesus gave great emphasis to this teaching, directing it to everyone. Richards suggests that the sentence refers to dietary laws and also extends to "blood transfusions, medication, organ transplants, and artificial insemination" and to homosexual acts as well. 8"(religioustolerance.org)

  • Anonymous

    "Homosexuality is wrong because if all of us were homosexuals then that would kill off our species."

    That is just the dumbest thing I have ever herd. of course that would never happen. A Str8 man can not or ever be gay. you dont just turn it on and off.

    God must sit up there and shake his head. I wonder how many times he said to himself "I Never Said That" Christians are Gods worse enemy.

  • Anonymous

    Look I am straight Black Man, Why in the hell do we care about what the homos are doing? HUH? Truth be told there have been some good homos in your life at some point. Wheather we like it or not, they are tax paying good and some are even great citizens. Bishop Owens was wrong for his word's yes, accept it GMCHC women. I believe he was pushed into saying what he said by the hunger for a man women at his church. To prove a point I don't believe he meant what he said And I have my own personal reasons for saying that, mine your business. However we can say they are going to hell all we want, but I am sure u have one or two up in your families that u suppose to love, why should we care whom they choose to sleep with? Don't make sense to me. Women you have these dudes doing your HAIR....come on. You break your damm necks getting to Hector. We also listen to their gospel music believe it or not, I work with several gays, yes I am a musician. But they respect me and I do them, some of our best artist and musicaan are gay come on Calvary u are not blind. If you have such a problem with the gays maybe you should leave the church and not them, because you all are judging. They can feel up the church better than we can. huh..yeah I said it. Bishop knows what is up in the church, he got alittle caught up, Bishop apologize to the church and lets move on.

    Faithful Member of GMCHC

  • Anonymous

    Lets not forget. Since people seem to piont out the color of there skin (Not sure why) but it was not that long ago the bible was used to hold the Black Family down. Whatever people fear they hide behind the bible twisting its true words.

    All that matters when it comes down to it is we Christians (A True Christian)Should never allow God's word to be used for spreading hate from the pulpit or anywhere.

    I am not comparing African Americans to Gays I am just pointing out the bible is used for evil doings every day.

    Have a great weekend All!

  • Anonymous

    Gay brothers and sisters, IN MY OPINION, I don't think Bishop Owens respects you. You don't call your members a "slut", "drunk" or "faggot." He is using the same type of language haters would use against you in the street. High Scool children use that type of language. From my understanding, you guys represent the MAJORITY of his congregation. You have more power over him. USE IT! His heterosexual members don't really care because they were not disrespected by him. Of course, they will be on his side. One member went so far as to say Jesus would have called someone a "faggot." There are many other churches you could attend, in which the clergy would not disrespect you in front of people. You don't need his apology. He did not want to apologize to you, anyway!

  • Anonymous

    You are all hypercrites, you judge Bishop Owens for the things he said, but look at the things you are saying about him. Are you any different than him? Who ever said that "faggot or sissy" defined a homosexual? I remember growing up hearing that a man was a sissy if he cried, or if he was scared of the dark. You labeled yourself not Bishop Owens. I have been a member of Calvary since 1992, and Bishop has preached numerous sermons on addiction, and for a while I still did my thing, it was not until he preached one of those hard core sermons that I got delivered. It hurt but it was the truth and now I have been free for 11 years. Anyone who is offended by his sermon, most likely don't want to change. Why even go to a church where you know that they speak against your lifestyle if you want to continue in it. I just want to know who is going to the papers when Bishop preach about the liers and thieves. Will the sermon on adultry make front page? Everyone who speaks hatred about Bishop is not different than what they think he did. If he is so wrong, you being the christian you say you are need to pray for him and realize that just like you, he isn't perfect either. I love you Bishop Owens and keep preaching life changing messages even if we don't like how it makes us feel. The word is like a two edged sword, it cuts, so it hurts. But we are better because of it. You all pulled two words out of a forty-five minute sermon, what credit does the rest of the message get. It opened my eyes as a woman, am I a fan or a follower. Maybe you need to ask yourselves that. You only want the messages that can make you shout,but I want the one that will make me change. Lastly, can we concentrate on the individuals who are still lost to sin and stop wasting time on a subject that will always be debated. Let God deal with Bishop and let God deal with your sinful life. Because you won't receive from a man, maybe if God showed you his views on it then you will know. Its to much going on in this world right now to concentrate on trying to bring Bishop down, someone who has contributed to this area as well. Why we are wasting time typing, someone is on the street overdosing, someone is robbing a store, someone is thinking about suicide. Come on people! There's work to be done!! Love you all, MT

  • Anonymous

    I just want to know when is the article about the liers and the adulterers is coming out. I mean we have all this time to debate this sinful lifestyle, why not debate them all. Bishop Owens is one of the nicest, straight pastors I have come across in a long time. You individuals who claim to be Bible believing homosexuals, why don't you read the part about not putting your mouth on God's anointed and doing His Prophets no harm. You better be careful, God will get you. And I think that will be far more hurtful than anything Bishop or anyone else could do to you. What makes you any different from what you are saying Bishop did. You say that he talked about you, hurt your feelings and so on, what do you think all of this nonsense is doing to him. You are a hypercrite
    and you need forgiveness also. Can we just get back to the important things. People are dying, and all we have time for is typing comments. There is work to be done, Kingdom work! Pray for Bishop, he isnt perfect either. Yes the words were strong, but hey
    someone needed to hear them, just that way. And it probably needed to be that strong for the homosexuals in the congregation, how many times do you need to hear that your lifestyle is not pleasing in the sight of God? Just for the record, Bishop's apology was edited for the viewers. He was not apologizing for his sermon, only for the two words. Lets get that clear. We at GMCHC believe that homosexuality along with numerous other lifestyles is wrong in the sight of God. love you all MT

  • Anonymous

    Why do we even acknowlege this, this is one man's opinion (Bishop Owens) he is not the Creator that's who I listen to and his word says Love every one if you think someone is livivng out the the will of GOD (PRAY FOR THEM) and let God do the rest

    Humble Servant

  • Anonymous

    Again, gay brothers and sisters, leave Bishop Owens church. Last year, a black man punched and killed his 4-year-old son because he thought the boy behaved like a 'sissy.' It was said that the man attended bible study in his community. Now, did the "word" tell that man to punch his son in the chest and kill him? Now, who do you guys think influence that man to kill his son? People like Bishop Owens!

  • Anonymous

    More on the 3-year-old child who was killed by his ANTI GAY father. The following article was featured on the tbo.com news website:

    TAMPA - Even though the boy would shake and wet himself, his father, Ronnie Paris Jr., would box with the 3-year-old, slapping him in the head until he cried because he didn't want his son to grow up to be ``a sissy,'' the boy's mother testified Monday.... He died six days later with swelling on both sides of his brain.... Even Sheldon Bostic, who was Ronnie Paris Jr.'s Bible- study friend, said he warned the father several times not to play so rough with his son.

    According to sptimes.com: "He kept hitting him in the back of the head," she said. "He said that the baby jumped at him."

    According to planetout.com

    "He was trying to teach him how to fight," the boy's aunt, Shanita Powell, told the court. "He was concerned that the child might be gay."

    "He didn't want him to be a sissy," Shelton Bostic, the defendant's Bible-study friend, testified.

    Now, gay brothers and sisters, 3-year-old Ronnie Paris is dead. Will you guys respect the memory of that little baby by attending a homophobic church?

  • Anonymous

    Good morning all,

    It still baffles me that there are people who still support and/or condone what this man said across the pulpit. If, at the very least, you can not appreciate that many times his words have injured the very people that God sent to Calvary to be restored, then this whole dialogue is meaningless. And, in fact, Bishop Owens will continue to do what he has been doing for several years now and that truly is scary.

    God help us all.

  • Anonymous

    what is truly scary is that homosexuals think that God accepts their actions and is even pleased with their actions. He clearly states that He is against all actions that are not holy including lying, stealing, gluttony, backbiting, deceitfulness, hatred, and sex outside of marriage. and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess...

  • Anonymous

    So everything in the Bible is God's word?

  • Anonymous

    A gay person has no control over his/her sexual orientation. Therefore, homosexuality should not be in the same category of a thief or murderer. Now, people against them lose because you can't judge someone over something they have no control over. They are gay if they have sex or not. You do not represent Jesus Christ if you keep judging them. You only represent what prejudice ministers have taught you!

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  • Evangelist Fred Travis

    The Bible is true and states in Lev 18:22 That mankind shall not lay with mankind; as with womankind, for it is a abomination. Romans 1 and I Cor 6;9 Nor effiminates shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. God loves you as a human but not as an unrepentant sinner to allow uoy into heaven. Repent of this evil and God will heal you with in Three years. This is spiritual warfare against the enemy of GOD and man. The enemy alays want to counteract God's Law and lead man to destruction(Hell fire. Ask Jesus to save and heal you. You must do this while the blood is running warm in your veins. If you don't when you die and see Jesus Matt 25:41 is what your going to hear. Depart from me ye cursed, Be ye casted into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Abandoned all Hope at that point for hell is your new home for all eternity.

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