Mayor refuses to award ‘Key to City’ to pastor who compared gays to drug addicts
A decision to honour a pastor who compared gay people to drug addicts has been rejected by the Mayor of Baltimore.
Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant, pastor of the Baltimore Empowerment Temple mega-church, has compared homosexuality to drug addiction and gambling in previous sermons, labelling it a “rebellion” against God.
The Mayor of Baltimore, Rick Kriseman, had been asked to present a Key to the City to Bryant for his work in the black community at at an event marking Martin Luther King’s birthday.
However, Mayor Kriseman told the Tampa Bay Times he would not do so after LGBT groups raised objections – though he will still attend the annual event.
He told the newspaper: “I think it’s an opportunity for me to state what our values are and to educate him to what our values are as a community.
“I clearly don’t agree with what he has to say. Whether he takes to heart what I say or not will be for him to decide, but I want our community to know who we are and I want to reinforce that very loud and clear.”
Bryant said in 2012: “We’ve got gay people in the pulpit, in the music department, in the dance ministry… but that doesn’t mean we stop preaching the gospel.
“We also got fornicators, also got gamblers, also got drug addicts, but you don’t see us doing a support group for them. Our responsibility is to make you uncomfortable in your sin.
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“Homosexuality is not the only sin, but it is a sin. It is not an alternative lifestyle. It is an alternative rebellion.
“I’m scared of all these civil rights leaders and all these preachers kissing up to the president just because he’s black. He’s black and wrong. He’s black and out of order.”
However, a local NAACP chapter hit out at LGBT rights group’s attacks on Bryant in a statement.
The statement said: “We must all learn to love and embrace those that have views that diametrically oppose our own, particularly when those beliefs are grounded in one’s faith and religion.
“Instead of attempting to dictate who (event organizers) should invite or not invite… they could have taken the opportunity to request an audience with Pastor Bryant.”
Watch Bryant’s full anti-gay sermon below: