December 25, 7:11 AMAtlanta 11th Circuit Court Examiner
S. Renee Greene
Last November, more than 100 gay members of one of Washington, DC's largest African-American churches were “outed” by a female member of the church's choir who couldn't bear any more of what she perceived as hypocrisy on the part of the church.
The woman writes in an email: “ I will be leaving the choir at the top of the year because 80-percent of the tenors are homosexuals and act more like a female in choir rehearsal than I do.” The emails were forwarded to the church's bishop, Alfred Owens Jr. The bishop and pastor was publicly criticized as recently as April of 2006 for using the word “fagg” in one of his sermons.
There comes a day and time when “changing gays from their wicked and sinful ways” is no longer the point. There also comes a time when refusal to be hypocritical of the Bible and the scriptures is no longer the point. There comes a tertiary time when whether or not gays should be accepted in the church is no longer the point.
When a mass or even a solitary “outing ceremony” such as this happens, it becomes a matter of civil law and justice.
Whatever our religious and spiritual beliefs are, the bottom line is that gay people are United States citizens; and discrimination against certain citizens for nearly any reason whatsoever, including sexual orientation, is against the law.
But why is the church often the unwritten exception to the ruling? Answer: Because what is termed “homophobia” for the rest of society is often the rule of sacred law in most churches....
....In two 1982 precedent-setting United States Supreme Court cases styled “Bob Jones University v. United States” and “Goldsboro Christian Schools Inc. v. United States,” a landmark decision was made. It was decided that the tax-exempt status of these types of institutions could be revoked solely by decision of the Internal Revenue Service (without an Act of Congress) if their policies are contrary to common law public policy.
It would appear that the “outed” gays have grounds for a lawsuit against the woman who sent, not only non-redacted lists of all the names of the transgressing choir members to the pastor (in two separate emails), but also sent it to a Yahoo message group consisting of about 300 of the same and/or other members of the church.....
....But where does that leave them with Uncle Sam? And how much perceived punishment can a church that relies on tax exemptions to keep it financially solvent stand?
There are too many questions left on the table; but because of the Supreme Court's earlier IRS decision, a lawsuit against Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church could be an open-shut case in favor of the 100-plus outed members, and all of the other gays in the 7,000-member church. Or not.....ORIGINAL ARTICLE