Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homophobic Pastor James David Manning Strikes Again

I first became aware of Manning during the 2008 and elections.  He had posted a video on youtube, in which he called Oprah a whore and Obama and his then longtime minister Jeremiah Wright  "homosexuals." He further suggested that Oprah was a lesbian and that Obama attended the Trinity Church for 20 years because he had an affair with the Reverend Wright. One of the great things about the digital age, is that it allows people to be connected in ways that were unimaginable a scant 20-30 years ago.  Unfortunately, it also means that people who really should be quiet, are given a larger audience than they otherwise would have had. 
According to Wikipedia:  
Pastor James Manning is chief pastor at the ATLAH World Missionary Church on 123rd Street in New York City. Manning grew up in Red Springs, North Carolina, born to an African American family, and has been at ATLAH since 1981. ATLAH stands for All The Land Anointed Holy, which is Manning's name for Harlem. His congregation, "ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church" is the former Bethelite Missionary Baptist Church. The church is also the site of the ATLAH Theological Seminary, which offers classes on preaching and prophecy.

Manning graduated from The College of New Rochelle with a Bachelor of Arts degree and continued on to Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York where he was awarded a Master of Divinity. Manning also holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from his own ATLAH Theological Seminary, an unaccredited educational institution.

Gotta love how he granted himself a doctorate from his own seminary. I suppose that is one way to toot your own horn.  I would love to be able to ignore him for the insipid tool that he is, but because he is Black and claims to represent Christianity, I cannot afford to look away.


Partial transcript

2:31
CNN has a number of people broadcasting for them that look like homosexuals.  Anderson cooper, you know he looks like a homosexual.. Don Lemon who confessed this past Saturday night while doing an interview with three members of the short legged mac daddy, Bishop Eddie Long's church, that he had been molested as a young boy and so he looks like uh err, he looks like, Don Lemon if you put a blond wig on him, I do declare he looks just like barbie; so you know he does.  And the you got Tony Harris who is an old school homosexual.  You know he's from the old old old school.  Is that bigotry?  Tell me, is that sterotypical bigotry for saying that? 

3:56
During the interview that Don Lemon was doing he had Mar Lamont Hill who looks like a homosexual too.  I mean, just the way he looks.  I mean Don Lemon looks like a drop dead homosexual, he does.  Roland Martin, he looks like a homosexual.  All of these men, all of them.  And then they got some guy named Austin and then they had this guy Ted Haggard.  You know but Black homosexuals look different than black homosexual but they are...I'm try to figure this out, because if you say this publicly and place other than the Manning report, with the faithful Manning report listeners people would call me a bigot.  "He's a bigot, he's a homophobe." Wait a minute now, I think acrophobia is right, claustrophobia is right you now hungryphobia is right, but why would you call someone a homophobic?  Someone who is afraid of homos, I'm not afraid of homos, I'm not homosexuals.  I'm not, so I think that is a misleading term.  I've never met a homosexual that I was afraid of and I've met a lot of them.  So I think that is terribly, in trying to find a generic term for people that don't praise homosexuality, you have mislabeled.  So I think you oughta go back to Oxford us Websters dictionary and re-canon that word. Because homophobe is a mis-identification of people instant identification of someone who they believe is a homosexual. 
From start to finish, Manning's speech is a homophobic hot mess.   This video already has over 3000 views on youtube and like his others, I am sure that the tally will not stop climbing. This would not disturb me as much if he was simply a fringe personality that people discounted or disagreed with, but the fact of the matter is, that while there are those that would not openly use the language that he does in his videos, the homophobia that he exhibits is a common place occurrence.

Part of the reason I chose to address his commentary, is because he identifies as a minister and is a Black man.  He is absolutely supporting the meme that the Black church is homophobic with his speeches.  As I have said before, I am a Christian woman and people like him make it publicly hard to own my faith, because of the hate that they spew.  What man of God decides that it is okay to spit upon one of God's creations the way that Manning routinely does?  As a Black man who has had encounters with the prison industrial complex, he must have been subject to oppression and yet he is using his power to do the same to others, as though this somehow elevates him. He flails wildly and is almost incoherent at times because the hate that he expresses is absolutely senseless.

Manning's hate is overwhelming that he feels justified in victim blaming.  When Don Lemon spoke publicly about being abused, not only was it an extremely brave thing to do, it ignited a conversation that was long overdue in the Black community.  When we think of religious leaders abusing children, we think of Catholic priests, but the truth is, any person in authority has power over a vulnerable child. This is not something that happens solely in White supposedly straight communities, and this is something we have ignored. 

When I discussed the issue with Sparky he had this to say:
Not only is that trope disgusting but it has lead to a lot of gay abuse survivors unwilling to admit they were abused or seek help or counseling - because the damn supposed-therapists have pulled that shit. Rather than have aspersions cast over their sexuality they just bury it and don't get help .
What Manning is calling for is the silence of victims, which only further emboldens abusers to attack vulnerable children.   Being gay is not a terrible thing; it is a neutral like any other identity -- but being abused is absolutely soul crushing and it leaves scars that last for a lifetime. Manning would rather sacrifice innocent children then get over his lust for power.

These hatemongers have become more emboldened as they perceive a loss in power, but homophobia has not lessened, it has only in some cases become covert, as people avoid saying trigger words while still engaging in behaviour that absolutely "others."  This is specifically we cannot afford to call Manning and those akin to him simple fringe people.  This is especially true at a time when LGBT children are committing suicide at such high rates.  Children are born into a very specific discourse and learn to conform to so-called norms, or they suffer a lifetime of bullying and marginalization.  To be silent in the face of such overwhelming hate, is to let their deaths be in vain.  Children learn to be bullies from adult bullies and part of stopping the cycle is standing up to men like Manning.

H/T Intersection of Madness and Reality