I would like to report our progress to you. I was supposed to be hand-delivering the 1000+ signatures we’ve collected on our petition to William (Bill) Owens and the Coalition of African-American Pastors this weekend. Unfortunately, plans have changed. Over the last couple days, I have gotten some information that exposes Rev. Bill Owens and the Coalition of African-American Pastors as nothing more than a fraud.
First, we’ve discovered that Rev. Owens’ “Metropolitan Institutional Church” does not exist. He isn’t a pastor. There’s no church to where we can deliver the petitions.
His claim to have been a civil rights leader is false. There is no evidence nor personal remembrances from long term Nashville residents that he participated in any civil rights demonstration in Nashville from 1958 – 1961.
Rev. Owens’ claim that CAAP has 3800+ members can not be substantiated. Research has shown that there are only 20 members of this so-called organization. Most of the members are independent churches that aren’t affiliated with any reputable denomination.
Rev. Owens’ reported ties with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church are false. The AME church disclaimed any knowledge of Rev. William Owens, and alluded he was not a real pastor by publicly stating, “Contrary to the report, neither the AME Church nor its leadership is involved with or partnering with the Coalition of African-American Pastors.”
CAAP’s claim that they aren’t affiliated with any political group is false. Not only is CAAP funded through such organizations as the National Organization for Marriage, but they are also tied to The Arlington Group, who describes themselves as “a coalition of leaders from the pro-family community, that develops and executes national and grassroots strategies to: protect the traditional institution of marriage, increase respect for every human life, limit judicial activism, and act on other moral issues of concern.”
Other questionable information given by Bill Owens is whether or not he truly earned his degrees in education and theology, and if so, from where? Lastly, exactly how much money DID he and other black pastors get paid to LIE to the American people in effort to split the vote?
This new information does not change our goal to continue reaching out to refocus our collaborative energies toward healing the divide in the community and not allowing our diversity to be used as a wedge issue. Operation: REBIRTH will be sending a letter to all the ministers involved with CAAP with every signature on the petition attached. This letter will ask all of them to participate in a meeting with LGBT leaders from across the country. We will also be sending a hard copy of the petition to the post office box listed on the CAAP website via Certified Mail, requiring signature confirmation. That way we’ll know they have received all the signatures. We will keep you updated on our progress.
Tuan N’Gai is Co-Founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement. He’s the author of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma,” “Little Brown Boy’s Blues,” and a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
It’s amazing to think that with all the education and information available to us, there are people who still doubt their salvation.
There are people who wonder if they are or aren’t saved because of their sexuality. It’s almost unfathomable that in a day where faith is being preached ad nauseum for “things” people still don’t believe or have faith that they are safe in the arms of the Creator. But with all the bashing and preaching of hate going on in the churches today it’s no wonder.
One friend of mine asked “when are we gonna get past this ‘can I really be saved and gay thing?’ I mean, isn’t it time?” And that’s a valid question when there is so much to do and so much further to travel along this journey for social justice. It’s like we can’t go forward because we are still stuck on this point. This reality leads me to wonder…When will we get over this? And how will
we get past it? There is teaching that has been going forth for years on this issue. Books have been written, documentaries made, sermons preached, songs sung, and the list goes on and on. What is necessary to get people to move forward? Will be able to go toward the necessary healing and empowerment to stop spiritual violence?
The first thing people need to understand is, what the Bible says is true as it relates to faith and salvation. Romans 10.9 tells us “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” That formula for salvation is sure and applicable to all people. This spiritual truth being taken in context with the scripture in Ephesians 2.8, if you don’t have faith, no matter what you confess, you can’t even be saved. The Bible puts it this way, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. So the formula for salvation has been given, and it must be believed To drive the point home even further, Hebrews 11.6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. The writer urges us in his teaching that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith. There is no way to please God if you don’t have faith. So I guess for the SGL Christian, the question isn’t “can you be saved and gay”, but rather “do you BELIEVE that you can be saved and gay?”. And based on that answer, which must come from within, we can go from there.
If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God it is necessary for one to discern whether what they are hearing is indeed the word of God. What does the Bible say about those who have relationship with God? It says NOTHING can separate them from the love of God. Nothing means “NOT A THING”. Not sexuality. Not a preacher. Not a book. Not a Bible verse. NOTHING can separate you from the love of God. And if that’s the case, why not believe it in spite of what people think, believe or say about your relationship with God. The Bible says it like this in Romans 8.38-39, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I tell people who try to speak into my relationship with God that they are committing spiritual adultery. They are trying to get into a marriage that has nothing to do with them. My love affair with God is one that is personal and off limits to EVERYONE except me and God. And if God lets me know that He loves me and nobody or nothing can separate me from His love…I BELIEVE IT without question.
Another thing that has to be explored is the difference in “perception” and “truth”. The best way I can describe this is by talking about the universe. There was once a time that people believed the earth was the center of the universe. And because of their perception, they came up with the theory that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Again, because of their perception,
this was accepted as the truth. But is it “the truth”? NO! Science has taught us through sending satellites with cameras into space that the sun is the center of the universe and the earth is revolving around it, tilted on its axis. See the difference in truth and perception?
Don’t let anyone’s “perception” of you and your relationship with God make you question the truth. The truth of the matter is you are God’s child. You were created in God’s wonderful image and likeness. God loves you with an unconditional love. He created you and knew who you are and would become before you were in your mother’s womb. And when it comes to God’s love for you, NOTHING can separate you from it. Remember, faith is the key to pleasing God. Faith is the key to being saved. Determine for yourself, are you gonna believe “the truth” as God reveals it to you in your life, or somebody else’s “perception” of it?
RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of my favorite shows on television. Anyone who knows me will be able to attest to that fact. I’m always intrigued by the Creativity, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent that most drag queens possess. Their being able to transform and create the female illusion is the ultimate for me. One of my favorite contestants this past season was Mariah Balenciaga. HUN-T WAS FIERCE!!! Mariah captured everything that is femininity and presented it with class, elegance and REALNESS. To me, she pays true homage to the feminine. To me, the realness factor is paramount.
One thing most drag queens have is quick whit and sharp tongues. It’s really an endearing quality. And I love the ones who “keep it real”. Keeping it real, one would assume would be defined as one always having the courage to be truthful, to walk in integrity. “Realness” would be a good thing. In a perfect world, whether in full geech or in real life, being able to truly serve realness should be something we all aspire to. But more often than not, like good drag, what is perceived as “realness” is just an illusion. For some people, their realness is just as deep as the makeup and costumes they would wear to lipsinc for their lives.
In this day and age, it seems like people actually prefer illusion to realness. What does it say about us? Have people become so jaded that we’d rather present and celebrate illusions than living authentic lives? Has “keeping it real” become an illusion itself?
Too often in gay culture, we see people say and do mean and hurtful things to other people. It’s normal. In fact the arrogance and cattiness is expected and seen as just a part of being gay. But does it really have to be that way? It’s one thing to read someone for pure filth because they are coming for you and you haven’t sent for them… that’s merely self defense. But it’s quite another to just be mean and hateful.
Usually the mean and hateful queens are truly insecure little boys (or girls) who are trying to present the illusion that they are grand. People who are ALWAYS in “reading mode” or are always catty are trying to hide something. They are trying to hide the fact that what they are presenting is not reality. In fact, their reality is too hard for THEM to deal with, so they treat others badly trying to make themselves feel better about their own lives. It’s really sad when you think about it. When it’s easier for a person to attempt to live their illusion than present a real person to the world, there’s a big problem. It’s dangerous for the lines of realness and illusion to be blurred.
One thing about drag, when it’s done well, it’s very entertaining. Being able to serve realness is indeed a beautiful thing. And from what I understand, one can make MAD coins. But when the music stops, when the deejay and the crowd goes home, and the lights go out, the illusion stops and real life begins. Sure, we all have a persona that we present to the world. Thing is, what we present to others should be the real us, not an illusion or a character we’ve created. If one truly has the courage, keeping it real is more beautiful than any illusion will ever be. If only more people understood that.
In the classic movie “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar”, the late Ms. Vida Boheme taught us one valuable lesson that everyone must learn to live… REAL queens always use their powers for good, and in every situation, seek out the opportunity to help others. THAT my dear, is better than the best illusion. It’s realness at its finest.
This weekend I am out on a retreat in the mountains. Me and Hubz in a luxury log cabin, and the view outside our bedroom makes me celebrate how BIG GOD must be. It’s just so quiet out here. No sounds of the city, no sirens, no trains, no traffic… just peace.
Last night, it was so dark outside with no street lights or anything to illuminate the roads. In fact, it was so dark it made trying to drive through the mountains to reach the cabins very dangerous. No guard rails or anything to keep you on the road should you swerve or take one of the too many curves too fast. And it was so quiet my spirit couldn’t help but be quiet and rest.
This morning, WAY before I wanted to wake up, I went out and walked Lady Savannah, and for the first time, I felt dew between my toes. There must be at least 100 types of trees right out here. All of them speaking to how glorious diversity is. If only human beings could learn how to live and thrive together like the trees. The sun seems to shine a little bit brighter out here than in ATL. All the colors I see just seem so vivid. It’s absolutely beautiful. Breathing and relaxing seems to be a lot easier.
Right now, in this moment, looking at all the trees and the mountains, allowing myself to take in all this nature, I am in awe and asking GOD, “What lesson am I supposed to learn from all this? What are you going to teach me”? I am hearing Spirit say, “Uncover your light. Uncover your light”.
Inside me lies the same power that spoke into darkness and created everything that I am seeing here. I can create not just beautiful things that speak to the spirit, but entire environments that can inspire and bring peace. Somehow the light within that makes all that happen has been covered. Though covered, I’m thankful and relieved to know it’s still there.
From one plantation to another and “call” them free
Yet it seems that is exactly what religion has done so effectively
People put a new spin on old dogma and “call” it liberating theology
The leaders and the people who follow it without question
Are bound in the worst type of slavery
Slaves unaware they live so unashamedly
Thinking they are free living lives without real integrity
Not knowing that if they continue in it
They will be destroyed in entirety
For slavery destroys all who participate in it
Slavery destroys all who participate in it
Slavery destroys all who participate in it
Slavery destroys all who participate in it
Truly liberated people do not
Or cannot lord over another
In an attempt to control their
Thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, or money
Truly liberated people understand the essence
Of love and truth
Both are free
Therefore they are free-ing
They exist without bondage
And bring liberty to those who seek and walk in them
Truly liberated people only seek
To free others in the name of God
The Great Emancipator who made them free
From the beginning
From “Little Brown Boy’s Blues.” Get your signed copy at http://www.tuanngai.com