A House Divided

Colorado Springs is the last place you’d expect to find the
Reverend Benjamin Reynolds, who has chosen to speak out against
homophobia. The military town is home to Focus on the Family — the
behemoth conservative Christian powerbroker — and Colorado boasts
the two lawmakers who introduced a constitutional amendment to ban
gay marriage in the U.S. House and Senate.

What’s more, Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, with a tightly
knit African-American congregation, is the very sort of place the
Christian right has found allies in its campaign against gay
marriage. But as Laura Bond reports in the Denver alternative
weekly Westword, Reynolds believes he was called to speak
out against ‘sexual oppression’ in the church.

‘I’m planting seeds right now,’ Reynolds says of his Bible study
series on ‘The Black Church and Sexuality.’ During the weekly
classes, parishioners have been asked to respond to questionnaires
as if they were gay, challenge their traditional interpretations of
Scripture, even watch as a black, gay Christian man stomped on the
Bible in an effort to prove the book was not God.

The pews thinned out in the process, especially after Reynolds
invited a lesbian preacher to give a Sunday sermon. Reynolds
remains dedicated, however, and while many in the church may not be
sold on his ideas, they’re giving him the benefit of the doubt and
still showing up.

‘I see myself as someone who challenges sexual oppression,’ he
told the group during one class. ‘I could use your support. But if
you don’t agree with me and you don’t want to support me, say a
prayer for me.’
Hannah Lobel

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A House Divided

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