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Austin Cline

Al Sharpton on Gay Rights

By February 7, 2004

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The Reverend Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president, is a Pentecostal preacher - and Pentecostalism is a relatively conservative denomination. Pentecostals don't support gay rights, but Al Sharpton does - is he a renegade? A hypocrite? No, he simply has a very strong vision of the separation of church and state. Homosexuality might be contrary to what he thinks God wants, but that doesn't mean he thinks that the state should enforce what God wants.

On The Issues carries some quotes from Al Sharpton on the question of gay rights:

I am unilaterally opposed to any civil or human right being left to states' rights. That is a dangerous precedent. I think the federal government has the obligation to protect all citizens on a federal level. And if we start going back to states' rights, we're going back to pre-Civil War days, and I think that that, in its nature, is wrong.
Are we prepared to say gays and lesbians are less than human? If we're not prepared to say that, then how do we say that they should not have the same rights and human choices of anyone else?
My religion does not support homosexuality, but I do. I was asked why I was supporting and marching with the homosexuals in parades, when according to the church, homosexuality is a sin. I responded that God gave people free will. God gave people the right to choose - even to choose sin. That's why there is a heaven and a hell. So I will fight for people to have the right to go to hell if that's what they choose. I'm not here to judge. I was placed here to fight for justice for all people.
I believe that gays and lesbians deserve to have the same rights as heterosexuals. I believe that sexual orientation should not be an impediment in the workplace, in the housing marketplace, or in the adoption market. Just as I would fight for a black or Latino not to be discriminated against, I would fight equally for the rights of gays. I believe that gays and lesbians should have the right to adopt. Sexual orientation in no way matters when it comes to parenting - all children need is love.

A further quote from Al Sharpton was found on Keith Boykin's site, and it expresses a similar understanding of the separation of church and state:

As a minister I am for school prayer, but I am not for imposing prayer on schoolchildren. I believe that just as children are not forced to pray, they should not be forced from praying, if that's what they want to do...I will not stand in the way of a woman's right to choose… I would only appoint justices to the Supreme Court who are for women having the right to choose whether or not they will have an abortion.

Al Sharpton has his own beliefs about what is and is not moral - if you asked him whether you should have an abortion, I expect he would try and talk you out of it. That does not mean, however, that he would try to use the power of the state to force you to carry the baby to term. Similarly, he would not use the power of the state to force gays into the closet or to force children to recite particular prayers. Sure, he thinks that people who are gay, have abortions, or who aren't Christian may go to hell - but from a political perspective, he also thinks that that is their right. The government doesn't exist to keep people out of hell.

There is a lot of criticism out there about Al Sharpton, much of which appears to be legitimate. In this matter, however, I have to say: he gets it. He really, honestly, and sincerely gets the principle that the government shouldn't always be used to force people to conform to particular religious ideals about how people should act. He really understands the separation of church and state - and, since he is a religious leader, that means for him a separation between his religious beliefs and the authority of any elected office he might hold. If every elected official took a similar view, I think this country would be much better off.

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Comments
May 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm
(1) benn=gunn says:

Al Sharpton is a False teacher .He should be extolling the Kindom of Heaven instead of Democracy(Ten Toes).He does not believe in the bible if he promotes Gay anything.His sexual preference is probably gay.So he is biased in favor of homosexuality and the Gay agenda.

June 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm
(2) gloria lombard says:

Al sharpton is not a preacher according to the bible. He is not pentecostal according to the bible. If he read the bible he would know that God is against homosexuality, but he gave them the right to live in heaven forever or burn in hell. If two people of the same sex can not produce children, then they should not be able to adopt children. Al sharpton needs to get in a corner somewhere & pray for under standing.

June 28, 2011 at 6:51 am
(3) Austin Cline says:

Al sharpton is not a preacher according to the bible.

According to you, you mean. Last time I looked, Al Sharpton wasn’t mentioned in the Bible.

If he read the bible he would know that God is against homosexuality,

The Bible describes God as being against a lot of things, most of which conservative Christians don’t spend any time on. It’s only other people’s sexual behavior that gets those Christians all hot and bothered.

but he gave them the right to live in heaven forever or burn in hell.

That’s like offering someone a choice between eternity in a death camp and eternity polishing Hitler’s boots.

If two people of the same sex can not produce children, then they should not be able to adopt children.

Says who?

Al sharpton needs to get in a corner somewhere & pray for under standing.

Christians need to mind their own business and stop obsessing over what other people do in their personal lives.

June 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(4) Mark says:

I disagree with you Austin. I believe the Bible and what it says about homosexuality. I also believe what it says about false teachings. I also believe the Bible when it says that a country can’t be blessed by God if the leaders of said country are not believers of God. I’m not judging anybody, but the Bible also says that when a nation Loves God it will flourish and be blessed by God. I don’t believe OUR country is currently flourishing and that (in my opion is because of people like Al Sharpton (wolves in sheep’s clothing). Jesus said it would get like this when the end was drawing near. The founding fathers of this once great nation were all followers God. I know what the future holds, I’ve read it in The Bible.

June 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm
(5) Austin Cline says:

I disagree with you Austin. I believe the Bible and what it says about homosexuality.

And how is that relevant to civil law?

I also believe the Bible when it says that a country can’t be blessed by God if the leaders of said country are not believers of God.

And how is that relevant for a secular government?

I’m not judging anybody, but the Bible also says that when a nation Loves God it will flourish and be blessed by God. I don’t believe OUR country is currently flourishing and that (in my opion is because of people like Al Sharpton (wolves in sheep’s clothing).

Funny how the least religious nations in the world are flourishing so much more than America.

The founding fathers of this once great nation were all followers God.

No, they weren’t.

I know what the future holds, I’ve read it in The Bible.

No, you haven’t.

January 6, 2012 at 5:13 am
(6) Fr.Dan says:

First of all, let me congratulate Al Sharpton for getting it right—separation of Church and State means that the State does not have the right to endorse a particular religion nor to impose religious values and morals on the public—we’re not a theocracy. However, the State also does not have the right to stop a person from practising a particular religion (as Sharpton said, a schoolchild can pray if he or she wants, but the school should not force the children to pray, since this violates the separation clause, as it imposes religion on the student). When it comes to LGBT rights, I am a little confused on his religious opinion on the subject. He says that he supports the rights of those to make the choice to go to Hell? So, he believes that homosexuality is a sin and a choice but supports full inclusion, marriage equality? That’s confusing. I would’ve expected him to say something like, “Homosexuals were created by God in His image and He loves them unconditionally the way they are—they are a unique group of people with God-given talents and I support their full inclusion into the Christian community, just as Christ would.” I also expected Sharpton to elaborate more on what the Bible really says about this. While it mentions homosexual acts, it also doesn’t condemn loving same-sex relationships. Furthermore, the mention of homosexual acts in the Old Testaments pertains to purity laws, just like eating pork, shellfish or anything non-Kosher. So, we can conclude that the Bible does NOT condemn homosexual relationships. In fact, I believe that the story of David and Jonathan affirms the deep and intimate love between two men—regardless if it is interpreted as simply a friendship or a deeper relationship.

June 19, 2012 at 11:15 am
(7) Ladd says:

Al Sharpton is a coward that fears his gay bosses at MSNBC than his Creator!

Ladd

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