May 29, 2008

Report on American Family Outing Visit to Hope Christian Church

From the Washington Times:

It was a meeting of opposites: 30 conservative black Pentecostals from Hope Christian Church in Beltsville dining with 30 activists from Soulforce, a pro-gay religious group.

While there was no rancor or overt anger, there also was no meeting of minds. After nearly 90 minutes of debate Saturday night, no one on either side of the question of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality would admit to changing their minds.

"It was noncombative, nonpunitive dialogue," said the Rev. Troy Sanders, a gay black pastor from Atlanta who was one of the Soulforce speakers. Soulforce members queried after the dinner said they were pleased with their reception, and several said they would attend Hope Christian's Sunday service.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of the 3,000-member church, acknowledged the evening was "historic" but made no promises about any changes in teaching or policy. "We'll have to pray about discrimination issues in the gay community," he said.

The Times, a right-leaning newspaper, didn't show too much of that in this article, although the implication that there was any chance there would be any agreement come out of this meeting was, at best, silly.

The important thing is that Bishop Jackson, one of the more outspoken anti-gay right-wing ministers who appears to relish his recently found political influence, allowed this dialogue to happen is an important step. There did seem to be at least the hint of some common ground in regards to the impact of this divide on children.

Here is the Soulforce report on this event from their official website.

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