Calling out author Sophia A. Nelson, Roland Martin and Pastor Jamal Bryant, who in an exclusive for Newsone said that he felt “jilted” by President Barack Obama‘s decision to show his support for marriage equality, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, filling in for host Ed Shultz on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” said that religion often cloaks bigotry and was the equivalent of being a “sexual redneck.” In the wake of his provocative appearance, we find out that “Twitter beef” isn’t just for kids as Dyson and Nelson get swept away in the phenomenon over Nelson’s religious stance on marriage equality.
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Dyson, as he predicted in his Twitter timeline yesterday, went “HARD on black homophobia and the moral hypocrisy of the black church.” Calling Nelson, Martin and Bryant out by name, he said, “Come on, Sophia, Roland and Jamal, don’t use God to co-sign your bigotry.” He then exposes the hypocrisy of the Black church at large by saying, ” I ain’t never been to a Black church that turns down a gay tithe.”
You have to see it to believe it:
After being called out by Nelson on Twitter for his “attack,” Dyson responded in a series of rapid-fire tweets that I’ve pieced together verbatim below:
“I think each of you believes that being gay is a “sin” — which in my mind is the first problem. Second you believe being gay is a “sin” on par with adultery and all the other sins in whose league its often mentioned. I think that’s problematic and antithetical to the ethic of love [of] Jesus’ teachings. Third, I think there is a blindness — an inevitable bigotry — in the belief that being [LGBT] by definition makes you a sinner. Since the bible has been similarly used to condemn blacks and women, just substitute black for gay and think how unacceptable is the notion that black folk are by definition “sinners.” That’s my bottom line. I was in no way trying to offend any of you. I have mixed it up on this topic with
@jamalbryant on TV, and I continue to love and admire him. The same goes for @rolandsmartin and @sophiaredefined, both of whom are also my dear friends. I’d love to continue the conversation!”
Nelson is not entertaining Dyson though, saying that he said all that he needed to say on the Ed Show:
“Mike before you get started. You have had you say on national TV. Disgusted by your attack! The only talking I do next is on National TV-I have asked
@msnbc to make this right.”
Nelson also released a statement, which reads in part:
“[Ms. Nelson] unequivocal in her public statements and writings, interviews that she supports her fellow Americans, who also happen to be Gay with regard to equal treatment under the law, fair pay, fair treatment in the workplace, health benefits and the right to visit their domestic partner in the hospital, share property rights, adopt children, etc. Ms. Nelson also supports Hate Crimes legislation, making it a crime to abuse, assault or bully Americans who are Gay, Lesbian, or Transgender.
“Ms. Nelson has also been equally clear as a Baptized Believer of over 33 years, who was raised in a Christian family, whose younger brother is an Evangelist/Minister of the Gospel, whose Grandfather (maternal) was a Minister of the Gospel, that she does NOT support Same Sex Marriage Rights as a matter of her religious faith. This is the same position that President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, former President Bill Clinton and many public officials in the Democratic Party held for years, or in some instances still hold to this day.”
One of her followers asked the question, “I wonder why [Dyson] never called Obama a bigot?”
R&B singer, Eric Benet weighed on the controversy as well, siding with Dyson:
“Be deeply rooted in your faith without being deeply entrenched in bigotry! Michael Eric Dyson you betta PREACH!!!!”
As reported by Newsone, Rev. Al Sharpton released the following statement in anticipation of this division:
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As leaders in today’s Civil Rights Movement, we stand behind the President Obama’s belief that same sex couples should be allowed to join in civil marriages. We also affirm that individuals may hold different views on this issue but still work together towards our common goals: fair housing and equitable education, affordable health care and eradicating poverty, all issues of deep and abiding concern for our communities.
“President Obama stated his view that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. This is a view that we concur with, because as civil rights leaders we cannot fight to gain rights for some and not for all. At the same time, we acknowledge that the President stated his personal opinion, which everyone is entitled to – both those who agree with him, like us, and those who disagree. The President made clear that his support is for civil marriage for same-sex couples, and he is fully committed to protecting the ability of religious institutions to make their own decisions about their own sacraments.
“There will be those who seek to use this issue to divide our community. As a people, we cannot afford such division. It is our hope that conversations on strengthening African American families continue in a civil and respectful way, on all sides, both with those who support the ability of same-sex couples to marry, and those who do not.”
In other words: Can’t we all just get along?
With the combustibility of intersecting homophobia and religion in the Black community combining with the opinion of the nation’s first African-American president — which in Black America apparently carries more weight than the laws as they are — that may just be too much to ask.