When it comes to demagoguery scapegoated by dogma, gospel artist Kim Burrell recently sang a song all too familiar.
In her now infamous sermon delivered at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston, Burrell spoke of those she feels suffer from an affliction with the scornful tone typically reserved for mortal enemies.
“That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women,” she declared. “It has come into our church and it has embarrassed the kingdom of God."
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Keeping with the theme of blunt condemnation, Burrell also said: “You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”
She says perversion, I say don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Nevertheless, in response to the immediate pushback, Burrell took to Facebook Live to play the role of victim and tone down her vitriol, wrongly assuming that speaking ill of someone in softer language makes them feel any less denigrated.
"I never said 'LGBT' in the sermon,” the 44-year-old alleged. “I said 'S-I-N.’ I know that people are going to be mad. To every person that is dealing with the homosexual spirit, that has it, I love you because God loves you. But God hates the sin in you and me, anything that is against the nature of God. I'm called to do what God called me to do, and that's it, and I do it with passion. I make no excuses or apologies."
Instead of truly standing by the words she spoke, Burrell opted to feign ignorance about actively antagonizing a community. Burrell played fool once more about her feelings regarding where gay people end up.
"I never said that all gays were going to hell,” Burrell added. “That never came out of my mouth. I said people who operate with that spirit in the church with deception and attack themselves are going to have to face the master."
Despite all cowardly cries to the contrary, there is no instance of miscommunication and misinterpretation.
Burrell’s words are clear: "I've never seen anything as heartbreaking as watching Bishop Eddie Long go down to nothing. It is an embarrassment to the Church ‘cause nobody would be making that you have AIDS unless a homosexual man didn't come out and reveal what you did behind closed doors ... they have yet to deny it."
To publicly speculate about the HIV/AIDS status of a man is one strain of terrible, but to then employ language that suggests all those who “suffer from the homosexual spirit” will soon get theirs is even more heinous. Kim Burrell, like the White people before her, use their Bibles as weapons to beat others into shame with the hopes of yielding subsequent submission. In her mind, she probably does believe she is doing God’s work, though in actuality, she is a female presenter of a patriarchal form of her own faith that doesn’t even uphold her in the highest regard.
When it comes to Christians of Burrell’s ilk, though, there is not much that can be done. She is not interested in theological debates about biblical-justification of anti-gay sentiments. She will not watch documentaries like For The Bible Tells Me So, nor will she read books like Matthew Vines’ God and The Gay Christian. She will likely not engage Black clergy men and women in support of LGBTQ people.
No, Kim Burrell will presumably stay in her hotbed of hatred in Houston rather than join others like Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr., Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church, who push for a more progressive and inclusive version of Christianity.
Such is her right, but there is one thing Burrell can do: she can truly stand by her convictions.
While Ellen DeGeneres ultimately canceled her appearance on the show scheduled this week, one wonders why Burrell would even bother to appear. Moreover, Frank Ocean’s mom has taken to Twitter to publicly share that she asked her son if Burrell's vocals can be stripped from a recent recording. Following that, she wrote, “I mean damn. Hypocrisy and the inciting of hate pisses me off. Opportunistic &?%#€!!”
Indeed. If Burrell and others like her truly believe in their anti-gay stances, reject us altogether. Do not ask us for our support. Do not accept our services. Do not take our money. If we’re that repulsive, keep away from us.
And to those who fit the bill of Burrell’s objurgation, provide them that same courtesy. We are no less of God than Kim Burrell is. I’d happily engage her faux-sanctified self in a morality-off any damn day of the week.