Wednesday, November 04, 2015

In Defense of Bishop Blake


I have been a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ since 1987. I am a minister in training aspiring to move forward in my calling. I serve as the Recording Secretary for the West Angeles Community Development Corporation. Through my job as Marketing Director of KJLH Radio, a station that has served the African American Community of Southern California for 50 years, I have a birds eye, frontline view of the issues of our community and at many times am the catalyst for communication and solutions in our community.

I have been following the story of Elder Earl Carter since last year’s “I’m not Gay No Mo’” situation. And as I thought the issue had run its course, I see it has taken an unfortunate and ugly turn. I see some incredible allegations, vicious insinuations and some straight up lies. Please allow me the liberty to offer some observations:

Bishop Blake: I am blessed to interact with a plethora of Bishops, ministers, elders, politicians and community leaders from every aspect of the community. Accordingly I bear witness that Bishop Charles Edward Blake is a leader among leaders. There is none like him. Not in this City. The work he has done in our community and indeed across the globe is unmatched. It is a living testament that he sees the ills of our community and has activated the Church to be a central and essential catalyst for solutions toward the betterment therein. The man exudes honesty, fairness, integrity, humility, and excellence. Without question. It is hard to fathom how people can launch an attack on Bishop Blake with such insidious and twisted accusations. 

 Bishop Blake on Homosexuality: I have NEVER heard Bishop Blake come anywhere near approving or endorsing homosexuality. In fact, in my years as a member of the church, he has always been quite serious about the preservation of the family. Marriage being a Godly union between a man and a woman. He has always been about the sanctity of marriage. He has always pushed the men to be men. He has always been against ANY type of sexual immorality. I would call Bishop Blake a man’s man. I have heard Bishop Blake strongly speak out against homosexuality again and again. I keep hearing these stories and with all due respect, this notion that Bishop Blake endorses homosexuality is patently ridiculous. Farcical. In fact, when he was the Jurisdictional Bishop ordaining the new elders, it always struck me that he made it a point to insist and encourage the new elders to rebuke and refrain from sexual immorality. As a man, I have always appreciated this message from the pastor. Even when folks criticized him for endorsing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that criticism fell short to me because the signing of that document had nothing to do with endorsing gay marriage. The gay community has manipulated the core concept of that historic document to fit their cause just as they have manipulated the message of the Civil Rights Movement to promote their agenda and we fall for it. Bishop’s signing of the document is to endorse world peace and justice. Now THAT’s honorable. 

Bishop Blake and Bishop Husband: Really? Come now... Cut it out right now.

 The Apology (after the I’m not Gay No’ Mo’ incident): I too was saddened and flabbergasted by the entire incident. And as a broadcaster, I still say, no microphone, no incident. While the young man answered the altar call to claim his deliverance from homosexuality, I still find myself questioning his credibility and sincerity. I see a book by the same name(I’m not Gay No More), I see a song that generated a healthy amount of downloads, the viral nature of his proclamation of deliverance fulfilled his lust for fame. A lust he has coveted publicly on interviews. The two weeks after the convocation gave that man an international platform that he exploited to the fullest. Even here at home, the air personalities at the radio station where I am employed had a field day with it. It was painful. Yet, the actions that the Church took to damage control the situation were effective. And in my opinion the apology issued by Bishop Blake was correct and proper at that instance. I do feel that Bishop’s magnanimous position was weakened by Andrews insistent presence in the media. Instead of the story dying, we saw Andrew resurfacing in ridiculous situations that are to me, an attempt to milk the last drops of fame from of his Internet stardom. He is making a mockery of the church and he should have just sat himself down somewhere and concentrated on his “deliverance”. 

Elder Earl Carter: So the man of God has taken on a vendetta against Bishop Blake. Certainly, one has to actually take note of his language and delivery in his sermon on that fateful night. I actually get what he was saying and admittedly I tend to agree with some of what he said. However; I definitely feel that he should have chosen a different verbal strategy to make his points. I understand the passion and disdain he has for these open displays of effeminacy and homosexuality at church events particularly the Holy Convocation. It is indeed shocking and completely adverse to who we are and what we represent not to mention the effect these sights have on those who have their children attending the event. But to what gain does abusive elocution achieve? So for me, Bishop Blake’s statement is accurate. He says the man of GOD’s choice of words were inappropriate. I agree. They were. Bishop also says his statement in no way compromises the Church’s stance on homosexuality. He was clear. We still believe homosexuality is wrong. Period. In these days and times, we need the men of GOD to be unified in our stance against homosexuality. They are forcing same sex marriage on the church. Instead of helping to create strategy on how to deal with this, we are hurling insidious and libelous accusations. Its OK to disagree about the method of delivery as we stand on Godly Principles, but now, more than ever we need to be on one accord as to how to deal with this. This argument strengthens the homosexual agenda. Why go so far to advance such evil lies about Bishop Blake??

The Gomes situation: Ok. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Gomes came to West Angeles years ago. And now he’s dead. I am so sorry to all those that keep holding this up as evidence that Bishop Blake is supportive and endorses homosexual lifestyles. First of all I was there that Sunday. The firestorm that ensued after Gomes preached is unfortunate. As a member, in hindsight, I see how folk would object to him being in the pulpit at our church. From a pew-view, perhaps we should have done more research to see his background.. maybe we were blinded by the Harvard-ness. I don’t know. But all that being said, in all the years of this story, I have failed to see how this is powerful and convincing evidence that Bishop Blake is supporting the LGBT agenda. And to infer or straight accuse that Bishop Blake had some sort of inappropriate relationship with Gomes is utterly ridiculous. Libelous, disrespectful, ill informed and downright stupid. Shame on whomever is spreading that one. 

Magic Johnson: I bring him up because most name Earvin when advancing the notion of homosexual support at West Angeles. Yes, Magic Johnson and other celebrities are members of West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Don’t stars and celebrities need the LORD too? A lot of us entertainment industry executives attend also. Not because it’s some Hollywood event, but because we need to hear the Word of GOD. Now, trust and believe I am not financially blessed like Earvin and others but they aren’t going to get me to heaven. The notion that his membership somehow demonstrates Bishop Blake’s endorsement of homosexuality is ridiculous. Yes. we in the community were disappointed with Mr. Johnson’s stance against Proposition 8. I know I was.  Most disagreed with him. And I don’t know because I am not in the one on one conversations between Bishop Blake and Magic Johnson, but If I were to speculate, I am sure that made for healthy debate between the two because Bishop Blake is positively and vociferously against same sex marriage. My further speculation and this one is really deep – Magic’s life perspectives are complex in this area. He has had to interact with the Gay community because of his HIV status, that was, after all, the most affected population. But you must admit that the nation had to do something about this deadly disease. And so he lent his name and face to the fight against HIV/AIDS. We can disagree at this association if we want, but one must admit that said interactions have resulted in increased awareness and even better access to the necessary medicines and treatments needed to combat this deadly epidemic.  I think we can say that this man is saving lives!!! I don’t think we need to turn our backs on Earvin Magic Johnson. I don’t think we cast him out of the church. We can disagree. But we must continue to love and support this man who is mainly about the community development and uplift of our people. We can disagree with his position back then on Prop 8 and we can tell him so. He’s accessible! And so we did. And he is still in church. Praise God!

West Angeles Church – I want you to understand that West Angeles Church of God in Christ is a biblical ministry of excellence. Keyword: biblical. Folk across the nation seem to be critical of the church. The church doesn’t in anyway shape form or fashion endorse homosexuality. We are consistent with the Word of GOD and the doctrines of the Church of God in Christ. Sure, stars attend the church. As they should. They need salvation too. And it wasn’t just their money that built our beautiful cathedral. Us normal folks got some significant dollars on it too!!

 B. Slade(aka Tonex): Another example that folk use to say Bishop Blake endorses homosexuality.  I was at that John P Kee Concert. When Bishop Blake opens the door of the 5,000 seat Cathedral to the community for a gospel concert, it is always free and always features the top gospel artists of the day. It is a major event in the City. The community anticipates these events because as a major edifice and beacon of hope in the ‘hood, it is awesome that West A gives back to the community in this manner. The industry also comes out (LA is one of the strongest retail markets for gospel music and the gospel stars come out). In the gospel world it is the place to be. And so this is the context that the artist B. Slade was at the Cathedral that night. Those of us from the radio station were surprised actually because he is doing R&B now and he has had so much controversy in recent years. But as is the nature of a live gospel performance, John P. Kee called him up and others as an impromptu musical guest. It wasn’t planned or scripted. It was a “pass the mic” sort of thing. So to say Bishop Blake “allowed” this is inaccurate. It is something that happened in context of the concert. As to the assertion that nothing was said, you don’t know what was said. We don’t know. So to assume Bishop "allowed" this is again.. ridiculous.    

In the grand scheme of governance of the Church of God in Christ, my observations herewith are just comments from the peanut gallery. You may not even read this.  However, my words are true, wholly accurate.  I’m a humble man of GOD. I’m faithful to the Church of God in Christ. I’m faithful to West Angeles Church of God in Christ. I see what I see and I hear what I hear. And certainly, the accusations are evil, libelous, misdirected, ill-informed, crazy and utterly ridiculous lies.  

Bishop Charles Edward Blake is morally centered. Right thinking. And to suggest anything other than that is just wrong. And as a member of the Grand Old Church of God in Christ, I whole-heartedly object to the accusations made against the Presiding Bishop.



9 comments:

Carmen Davis said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Very well spoken.

horace burns said...

What flavor is the Kool-aid? Blake could have apologized to LGBT COMMUNITY without throwing one of his own faithful Elders and pastors under the bus. This is not the first time Dr. Carter preached a message like this. Yet he was selected to preach? Blake did not have to ridicule the man publicly. What happen to reconciliation of one of our own. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Dr Carter is our brother and we turned our back on him. Besides the entire church there that night including and all the Bishops and Pastors on the pulpit should have been rebuked also. When Dr. Carter was preaching all of the people were laughing, slapping high fives and cheering him on. Since Bishop was not there, who did he leave in charge? The Bishop in charge should have shut Carter down that night...The Bishops apology was to distance the COGIC from Carter because of the public outrage. I don't agree what Carter is doing now. He should have broke fellowship and moved on like so many other Pastors. Carter should have trusted God for his vindication. Besides if he his right God will fight his battle. However, he was our brother for a long time and was active in many of the convocations. So lets just throw him away. How dwelleth the Love of God in you?

china finch said...

Even tho I wholeheartedly disagree with how Carter is handling this....He will still be vindicated. Watch what I tell you!

china finch said...

Even tho I wholeheartedly disagree with how Carter is handling this....He will still be vindicated. Watch what I tell you!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you horace burns well said.

Mizz Hadassa said...

I believe the Koolaid is grape, Horace Burns. To be very honest, I think the biggest point missing in all of this, is that COGIC is a holiness church. They've moved so far away from the core teachings, that people are lumping us into the "black church" grouping.

As a result, there is an expectation of "black churches" to be "gay friendly" as a result of our historical oppression, which oddly, Gay people seem to think is equal to their plight. So in essence, to them, and their liberal supporters, we are our skin, and not our beliefs. This is problematic because when we are reduced to a color, there is no regard for our own personal beliefs and diversity.

As a body, the chief export of COGIC is our music, and our musicians who have a great influence worldwide. So I understand the draw of entertainers, musicians, stars, politicians, etc. It's great entertainment and we've sort of cleaned up house to make it comfortable for them. We've hidden the country cousins of cogic who are staunch holiness, because they may be offensive.

Bishop Carter is the country cousin. He was ok, when we thought it was just family but as soon as the educated elite, the rich, and the white people saw the video, we had to deal with him harshly to reassure their presence was welcomed.

Sadly, that's one of our "curses" as black Americans, we are still not comfortable in our own skin, whether spiritually or physically to the point where we can say, "I'm very sorry for the way it was said, but we're holiness and this is what we believe". There didn't appear to be any consideration of Bishop Carter, I guess because after all, he's just one of our country cousins and a lot less valuable.

As far as the allegations are concerned? I have seen way to many pedophiles in COGIC and not enough condemnation of these predators. Many homosexuals, were victimized in childhood and live in a state of subconscious revictimization through homosexual acts and relationships. When you have that many people in the music department, you have to wonder who was indeed born that way, via a generational curse, versus the victim of a predator or predators who need to be rooted out. Bishop Blake doesn't seem to take a hard line against it, because he's relatively silent and "safe" when it comes to speaking on these issues.

Greg J said...

+Mizz Hadassa, I respect your analysis. In the end, for me, kool aid or no, I stand with my pastor. However, In all of this I am reminded that we are to keep our minds on the Most High.. We are to live for righteousness.. After all these are just men...

My question in all of this is, as a minister, how does one minister to them in such a time as this? As we preach fiery rhetoric, how do we bring them into deliverance? My particular style is not like my "country cousin" Elder Carter. Even as I protest his criticism and accusations against Bishop Blake, I completely feel him as he talks about the homosexual in the church. So as we preach deliverance, how is this achieved....

And you're right, COGIC is a holiness church and we have gotten away from those precepts. We are not called to blend into the world we are called to be apart yet make a difference in the world...

And yes, it is problematic to broad stroke us to a color. your second paragraph is powerful word...

I see how folks feel that the apology marginalized Elder Carter. I'm not sure that was the intent....

I also see that people have felt that Bishop Blake has not spoken out strong enough against homosexuality and pedophilia. But I see a sermon where he says Get right or get out!! But that's not enough.

Does he sit the music department down publicly? What about the gospel industry? I mean when I go to the gospel music conventions as part of my job, it is like whoa... the whole of gospel is gay seems like. So do we just kill gospel music? I was just talking about a choir director today who is really popular, but his wife was offended because someone asked her if he was gay, not knowing that she was married to him. She was offended.. The thing is, on the outside, it is a very good question. The gay, born that way or no, are deeply entrenched into black gospel music.

This is a BIG issue. And in this week after Convocation, it's truly a mess. One that has me feeling some kind of way.... But What I am reminded is to keep prayerful. Seeking holiness, righteous living and keep my eyes on the LORD....

We may disagree on some points, but I truly respect your perspective... God Bless you....



Unknown said...

This was a well written reply. I think for me the B-Slade/Tonex thing is what upsets me the most. Don't talk about how we are a holiness church then bring people on stage who don't stand for it. Yes anyone is welcome in church but those who lead God's people are called to a high standard, that's the book.