He’s the President, Not the Pastor! June 14, 2012

He’s the President, Not the Pastor!

I’ve got your feel good moment of the day right here!

That’s Pastor Frederick Haynes III from Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and here’s what he has to say about President Obama and his personal stance on gay marriage:

I’m sure some of y’all came here today wondering what I would have to say about what was said by the President of the United States this past week… The president remembered that when, on January the 20th, he lifted this nation by raising his hand of 2009 and took the oath of office, don’t forget that he was sworn to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States which was born out of a declaration of independence. Do you know the words of the Declaration of Independence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men (all people) are created equal.” I gotta hang out there. Notice it doesn’t say that “all straight men are created equal.” It does not say that “all men, unless you are gay and lesbian, are created equal.” He swore upon oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution, not the Bible, but the Constitution of the United States.

He is not the pastor of the United States, he is the President of the United States and for the first time in the history of this nation, we have a President who has dared to use his position to make the democratic promise available, not just for a select few who are up and in, but for everybody regardless of their race, their creed, their color, or their sexual orientation.

And, my brothers and sisters, I salute the President for that. Now, I recognize there are those who are upset about this. I recognize that because I can’t believe how many conference calls I was asked to participate in this week to discuss what the President had talked about. You should have seen preachers just scurrying and hurrying to call a conference call to call out the President for what he had declared (watch this) as a personal opinion. He said it was a personal opinion, but whenever you like to ostracize other people it’s because there’s a fear that you have yourself and the fear that you have finds itself rooted in an ignorance of other people or… in a projection of your issues. Either there’s ignorance or there is a projection of your issues.

Because I’ve been trippin’ — ask some of my colleges. You know what, it really blows my mind how outraged you are, you are so outraged over what the President said. First of all, take a chill pill, take a deep breath, everything’s gonna be all right. You are not going to lose your 501(c)(3) if you do not marry a same-gender-loving couple, you are not going to lose it. Why? And Senator Royce West is right here, back me up State Senator. He is an attorney. Do you not know that marriage, watch this, is a state law. That’s what happens in a state, am I right about it? And in a state, that’s why when I pronounce you husband and wife, I say “according to the laws of the state,” not the United States.

And so he is not saying something that is going to eventuate in a public policy that’s going to cause churches to lose their 501(c)(3) if they don’t marry same-gender-loving people. But I have a question for you:

Why are you so upset? Why did it bother you so? Why were you so emotional that you had to clothe your anger with the Bible and justify your bigotry with scripture? Why did you have to do it? I gotta hang out here because you do know, and I’m going to lose some of y’all right now, we often major in what Jesus minored in.

Have you ever read the gospel and heard Jesus say anything about homosexuality? I’m with Kelly Brown Douglas, black folk can’t even deal with homosexuality because we’ve got issues with sexuality and because we’ve got issues with sexuality we can’t have a healthy discussion about homosexuality.

… Why? Why do you get so upset? Why are you so mad at the President that you got to call conference calls so you can organize the statement that you’re going to make about what the President said? Why are you so angry? Jesus never said a word about it, but you want to major in what Jesus minored in? Well maybe we need to talk about what issues you may have. Because evidently you’ve got some major issues or there is an ignorance that is rooted in fear. Y’all not feeling this, but I’m going to preach the gospel anyhow! Because you do understand, my brothers and sisters, that the sad reality is we love to judge other folks’ sins because it keeps it off of us as opposed to looking at us! Aw yeah!


Yay!  Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality!

Yay!  Maybe if you are so angry about gay folks running around, you should focus on your own issues!

Yay!  Don’t look to random Scriptures to justify your own prejudices!

Yay!  Preaching to be loving and accepting of other people!

Yay!  The Constitution is different from the Bible!

You know, after reading and writing about people teaching their kids that homos are going to hell, or pastors trying to exterminate queers, or ministries trying to shove gay people back in the closet, this was so refreshing!  A pastor not only preaching marriage equality, but chiding his congregation for being homophobic.

And he never, ever once said, “This is a Christian nation”!

I could get behind this guy!  I say, good for you, Frederick !

It may be a message you’re not used to sending, but if you support what the pastor was saying, let his church know you. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were swamped with negative messages this week.

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  • Bravo!!

  • Skjaere

    Can I get an “Amen”? 😀

  • In fairness Jesus did talk about homosexuality according to the
    Christian philosophy.  As Jesus is God, and God talked about homosexuality
    Jesus talked about homosexuality.  Either Jesus is God or he is not. 
    If the pastor does not believe Jesus is God then he is no kind of
    Christian.  If he believes Jesus is God then he must believe Jesus did
    talk about it. 

    Jesus did make it clear he was not here to change the old laws.  The old
    laws are pretty clear on homosexuality. 

    I of course do support the message of the Pastor that Obama is the president of
    the country not a religion.  I of course support the message that
    homosexuals should have the same rights as everyone else.

    But without abandoning Christianity there will still have to be this twisting
    of logic.  Lets not pretend that Christianity is the friend of equality.

    People are outraged because they think the bible is true and a good moral
    guide.  However stupid that may be.  Only by saying that it is
    neither of these things will people eventually stop this nonsense. 

  • The Other Weirdo

    On the other hand, this all boils down to, “Chill, bros, it was just a private opinion, and in no way will it affect marriage as defined by our state, so you got noting to worry ’bout. Am I not right, State Attorney?”

    In other words, nothing’s changed and we don’t have to worry about suddenly loosing our taxfree benefits.

    He’s cherry-picking, too. Jesus may not have said anything about homosexuals, but Paul certainly did, and Christianity is not wholly and exclusively about what Jesus said. Besides, Jesus did say that the Old Law would never pass away, and Law had plenty to say about homosexuality.

    You’ve got nothing to be all that cheerful about here. He didn’t say, “You know what, let’s just dump all that nonsense about homosexuals out the window and behave as though it had never been said or written.” He said basically “Don’t worry about your tax exemptions.” Apparently, to a Christian, that’s the most important thing.

  • Kodie

    At the very least, he’s acknowledged a secular government. Churches can still refuse to marry gay people, and legitimizing homosexuals to marry equally, even if it occurs by state law, will not impact the religious freedom to oppose it according to biblical beliefs or affect the status of churches for refusal to accommodate requests.

    I didn’t try to read into it that they (his congregation) should follow the president’s lead, just that they shouldn’t be frightened of it or try to stop it.

  • Philbert

    “You know, after reading and writing about people teaching their kids that homos are going to hell, or pastors trying to exterminate queers, or ministries trying to shove gay people back in the closet, this was so refreshing!  A pastor not only preaching marriage equality, but chiding his congregation for being homophobic.”

    Or for not backing Obama. 

    Cynical, I know, it’s just that I have a hard time buying the idea of a baptist pastor one handshake from the President (he co-authored a book with Jeremiah Wright) who just happens to discover the importance of gay rights right after said President starts taking heat for standing up for gay rights.

    Still, whatever his motives, the fact that he’s saying all this is a positive development. I just can’t quite reach your level of enthusiasm.

  • Philbert

    Unless of course he’s being saying this for years and nobody covered it until now. I tried to Google but the results are dominated by his present statements.

  • galdre

    “Either Jesus is God or he is not. If the pastor does not believe Jesus is God then he is no kind of Christian.” 

    Except your wrong. Before the council of Nicea both views were generally accepted. The only reason the view that Jesus is God is dominant now is because the leaders of the early church favored it and suppressed all opposition as heresy. But if you look at the bible Jesus never says that he is God, indeed he says things which suggest the opposite.

    FYI I am an atheist.

  • The Other Weirdo

     True enough. But the way it’s words seems to imply to me that everything’s OK so long as their tax exemptions are all still fine.

    The secular government remark is great, though, I must admit.

  • Michael Brice

    As a Canadian observer I sometimes feel that the U.S. is under attack from the christian taliban, I was astonished to view the video………even tho’ it is a relatively small step overall, surely this is good news for American free thinkers

  • Why do preachers get so worked up and sweaty? They’re not trying to tell these people things they don’t already believe (for the most part), so they don’t need to expend so much energy on being animatedly dramatic and speaking quickly and loudly.
    Is it just me, or is it kind of like a theatrical performance?

  • The Other Weirdo

     It’s the sort of message that must drilled into the congregation’s heads over and over and over again. If you don’t, some of them might begin to think on their own and who knows where that might lead.

  • Because the Bible is so self-contradictory and so frequently re-translated, it HAS to be cherry picked.  There is no way (unless you’re Ned Flanders) you can follow every single tenet in it to the letter.  And you know and I know that our own moral compass is what guides us, individually, to decide which parts of the “good book” get endorsed and which parts get ignored.  Those who call themselves Christians are still going to adhere, however falteringly or tenuously, to this book.

    If Christians decide to forego the parts about hatred and abomination and so forth, then far be it from me to stop them.  Of course I’d prefer that everyone just toss the whole thing out, but damn it, I’ll take whatever steps forward we can get.

  • A Reader

    I love it! So refreshing and different from what most pastors preach. Still not quite a full endorsement of equal rights, but it’s a huge step in the right direction, especially if other churches could follow…

  • as much as i hate preachers i gotta admit that i would turn gay for this guy.

  • Gus Snarp

    WOW! Can I get an AMEN! If all preachers were like that, what a better world we would live in.

  • Gus Snarp

    Wait, that wasn’t a full endorsement of equal rights? What did I miss?

  • Fsq

    TESTIFY BROHERS AND SISTERS!!! Can I get an AMEN here!!!

    A lone voice of reason and sanity in a sea of vitriol and ignorance.

    Sir, while we may disagree on the ideas of god, you have spoken true words and acted as c lose to what I imagine a christian is supposed to act like.

    You have shown there is a glimmer of hope and you are planting seeds that may grow into something good. Wel done sir, simply well done.

  • Coyotenose

     If you take his tax status comments in context with his other statements about bigotry, anger, and such, then what he’s saying is “The government cannot coerce you into performing marriages. Your fears have no basis. Gays marrying has no effect on your lives or your churches at all. Also: Grow up.”

  • Toast41

    Church is boring you have to liven it up somehow. Also part of the reason people go to church is to feel certain emotions and if the pastor is worked up with the spirit of god it helps the flock feel the same way.

  • Coyotenose


  • Gus Snarp

    No, it’s not kind of like a theatrical performance, it’s exactly like a theatrical performance. The goal is to provoke an emotional response while entertaining, just like a theatrical performance. But it sure is nice when one of them attaches the emotional response to a message this positive.

  • I hate sending emails.  That said, here’s the one I sent to Mr. Haynes, because DAMN that man took a heck of a risk and I applaud!


    I’m not a member of your congregation, I don’t even live in your state,
    and I’m not even religious, but I had to send you a message and tell you
    that you are a WONDERFUL pastor, Mr. Haynes.  Had there been more
    open-minded, tolerant, and CHRIST-LIKE clergy in my life as I was
    growing up, it wouldn’t have been near the heartbreaking trial it was. 

    I applaud your common sense, your compassionate stance on gay marriage,
    and your understanding of the separation of government from religion. 
    You truly are a pastor that *gets* it.  The religious world needs more people like
    you in it, sir.  I’d be proud to have you as my pastor if I were
    Christian.  I’m sure you’ve been getting a lot of hate coming your way,
    so I wanted to let you know that many of us respect your words more than
    we could possibly say.  I like your style and if I’m ever in Dallas on a
    Sunday, I’d love to stop by and hear more of what you have to say.  You’ll be hard-pressed to convert me, but I’d still love to say hello and sit a spell.

    So when people get on your case for your words or denounce you and try
    to pull the “You’re not a TRUE Christian!” line, you can just smile and
    say, “Yeah, well, can you say that an atheist would love to hear YOUR
    sermon?”  Keep being awesome and keeping it real.  I’m a big fan of a
    lot of the things Jesus advocated (love, compassion, helping the poor,
    caring for the sick, etc.), just not a fan of, as you put it, the stuff
    “Jesus minored in.”  Honestly, you’re a shining example of what a
    spiritual leader should be.  I thank you again for your words because it
    gives me back hope that religious belief doesn’t need to go
    hand-in-hand with hate.  I kind of love you for that. 🙂

    All the best,

    Mandy in PA

  •  Well, to be fair in this case, he wasn’t telling them what they wanted to hear. 😀  But yeah, all church is performance.  My high school drama teacher used to tell us to watch televangelists and really animated clergy closely and we’d see many of the techniques and tricks he was teaching us at the time.

    It’s not just you. 🙂

  • Maybe it was just the way I read it (can’t view the video at the moment), but it seemed to me like his harping on the tax status was more aimed at all the clergy furiously conference calling and having a hissy fit.  The beginning of that particular bit starts off with “Because I’ve been trippin’ — ask some of my colleges.”  I think he was more addressing other clergy members with his bit about state law and keeping their tax exempt status.  Kind of a way to say, “Why are you so worked up over this, Bill?  It’s not like YOU have to marry them.  They can go to the JP, it doesn’t affect you or your church.”

  •  I sent something similar.  Hopefully he is encouraged.

  • Maybe there is hope for Texas after all, though that may change once their new generation of kids who learned creationism in science class reaches adulthood.

  • NightRaith

    Preaching equality LIKE A BOSS!

  • Therealpamcameron

    I’ve never heard anything like this from a pastor before. I’m stunned in a good way.

  • Pparker002

    In the past few weeks there has been a lot of focus on things preachers have been saying from the pulpit. I am a huge supporter of giving credit where credit is due and I’m so glad you gave this man credit. When I organized the protest against Pastor Harris in NC, I struggled with it because you feel for these people when they feel defeated and pushed in a corner. This man sets a great example for his fellow laymen.

    Thanks for this blog.

  • Pseudonym

    Actually… I’m going to disagree with you slightly.

    Jesus is quoted as saying things that suggest he thinks he is God in some sense in the fourth gospel, historically attributed to John. This is also the gospel that was written last, which suggests that the belief was starting to appear in an embryonic form some time between the synoptics and John, probably around 80-90CE.

    So while you’re right that Jesus almost certainly never said he was God, you could be forgiven for thinking that he did based on John.

    You’re right about Nicea, though. Before Constantine, there were seven major schools of theological thought. After Constantine, only the Roman school remained, so all of the minority positions that it held won the day. That’s also how the idea of eternal punishment won over the previous majority view of conditional immortality.

  • Pseudonym

    If by “a sea of vitriol and ignorance” you mean Texas, I’d like to point out that a large part of NASA, as well as all the Silicon Triangle companies are in Texas.

    But otherwise, yeah. I wish I’d had a preacher like this. I’d love to see what the music is like in his services, too. I bet they’ve got soul.

  • Gus Snarp

    I think he means Christianity. Or Religion.

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