If there is a way to miraculously part the Red Sea without black Christians drowning over the same- sex marriage debate, I think civil rights icon and theologian Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and his son Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, may have found it.
Recently, father and son laid out a two-pronged scenario that offers a way for concerned African American Christians to oppose President Obama’s embrace of gay marriage without abandoning him in the upcoming election.
In a statement to African American clergy, Moss III urged fellow pastors and skeptical African American Christians to not only make a distinction between Obama as president and as pastor but also between rights and rites.
“We should never misconstrue rights designed to protect diverse individuals in a pluralistic society versus religious rites designed by faith communities to communicate a theological or doctrinal perspective,” Moss III said. “These two questions are answered in two fundamentally different arenas. One is answered in the arena of civic debate where the constitution is the document of authority. The other is answered in the realm of ecclesiastical councils where theology, conscience and biblical mandates are the guiding mandates.”
Making a plea for separation of church and state, Moss added: “Ecclesiastical councils are not equipped to shape civil legislation nor are civic legislation nor or civic representatives equipped to shape religious rituals and doctrine.”
Meanwhile the elder Moss, a close confidante of Obama, urged dissenting blacks not to make this a single issue election.“Our ancestors prayed for 389 years to place a person of color in the White House,” he said. So the question becomes if Obama is indeed an answered prayer, can one single issue, no matter how deeply felt, break that special bond?
The president’s announcement on gay marriage, even two weeks removed, continues to anger many in the black community. Many of these African Americans see the Bible as the primary source of their lifestyle, and they resent politicians who, in their view, wish to