Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cathedral Responds to Homophobic Preaching

Sunshine Cathedral Responds to Homophobic Preaching
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Senior Pastor

Another homophobic preacher has taken to gay-bashing from the pulpit and calling it the gospel. Of course, we enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion in our country, so he and his church can have any understanding of God they choose and can believe anything they want about people who are different from them.

However, some of what the North Miami pastor (who meets in a rented space at a public school) preaches to his congregation (and posts on You Tube) is hurtful, mean-spirited, and inaccurate. Invoking the same rights of free speech and religion, Sunshine Cathedral has been dutifully offering a corrective to such intolerance disguised as virtue.

Jack Hakimian (the North Miami preacher) has posted videos on You Tube equating same-gender loving relationships to pedophilia (which is outrageous - mutual adult relationships have nothing to do with the abuse of power that takes place when an adult enters a relationship with a non-adult), claiming that the bible says gays can become non-gay (which is false - it says no such thing anywhere), and comparing same-sex love and attraction to drug abuse and witchcraft (which is too ridiculous to warrant a rebuttal).

On Facebook, Mr. Hakimian has posted, "I want to make clear that I disagree based on the scriptures that you can actively be gay and still call yourself a Christian."

Hakimian is entitled to his opinions and to the expression of them, but he has neither the moral nor the institutional authority to determine who may call themselves anything. A Christian is one who is either culturally or historically part of a larger community that identifies as Christian, or one who actively participates in a worshiping congregation that has Jesus of Nazareth somehow as its central figure. Sexual identity does not make one a Christian nor does it exclude one from being a Christian.

Responses to this situation have been shared in E-blasts from Sunshine Cathedral, in interviews with a local Channel 10 reporter, and in a commentary to be posted on the South Florida Gay News website.

We can’t change “Pastor Jack’s” mind, nor would we bother to try. But to those who are hurt by his misinformed rhetoric of intolerance and bigotry, we have an obligation to offer an alternative message that is truly good news. And so we are. And so we will.

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