When did criticizing singer Kim Burrell‘s anti-gay statements become a racist attack?
E.W. Jackson, the conservative activist who ran a losing campaign in 2013 to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, said on his radio show yesterday that the “godless atheist secularists” who went after Burrell for saying gay people were perverts who would die from their homosexuality did it because they hate black Christians.
“If you are a Christian and you happen to be black, these Democrats and liberals hate your guts, if you are a Bible-believing Christian,” he said. “Now, if you are a wishy-washy, don’t half-believe anything and aren’t willing to stand up for anything, you’ll be okay with them. Of course, now God will spew you out of His mouth, but you’ll be in with the Hollywood crowd and you’ll be in with the liberal crowd and everybody will like you because basically you’re so wishy-washy that you’re about like warm spit. So, yeah, they’re going to love you, they’re going to love you. But if you’re a Bible-believing Christian who is on fire for God and you believe that His word is true and you believe that you have a responsibility to stand on the word God, that it is the final authority in all matters of faith, morality and practice, they hate your guts. Don’t you let anybody kid you.”
Jackson has it mostly wrong. If Burrell was merely a Christian preacher, this might have gone under the radar. We’re used to hearing bigots defend their beliefs by pointing to the Bible. But she’s not some random preacher who lives in a bubble. She’s a singer whose work appears in a new Hollywood movie that she was supposed to be promoting before this scandal hit. We can’t talk about the film today without talking about the disturbing things she said.
But I’ll give Jackson credit for one thing. If Franklin Graham or Tony Perkins said the same thing, it’s true that liberals might not have noticed. Black churches, on the other hand, tend to be more focused on social justice issues. It’s a little jarring to hear a black preacher take on the rhetoric of a white evangelical when it comes to demonizing a group of people who still have to fight for their rights.
So Burrell is being treated differently because of her skin color. But only because it’s unusual to hear this sort of rhetoric from people like her. If her comments taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of church leaders have the same sort of hate in their hearts. And they all need to be called out on it, not just the ones who get the opportunity to perform in Hollywood.