Earlier this month President Barack Obama publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage and now a local pastor’s support of those comments has cost his congregation its weekly television broadcast.
Kenneth Samuel, pastor of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, said local television station WATC-TV would no longer broadcast the church’s services because the channel wanted “to hear biblical teachings.”
“I also believe in the Bible and I believe the heart of the gospel is love of for all of God’s people,” Samuel said. “I think it was very hurtful that the station would not allow a diversity of views.”
WATC-TV General Manager Greg West said in a statement, “While we respect Dr. Samuel’s right to have his view on same sex marriage, WATC follows the belief of the traditional Biblical teaching on marriage. The decision to cease broadcasting the ministry’s program was based on the station’s statement of faith.”
Samuel said over the past six years, he has shown his support for all of God’s people including members of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community, which has caused his congregation to lose thousands of members. He said many Blacks choose not to follow a “literal” interpretation of the Bible because some of its pages “endorse slavery, women keeping silent in church, beating children and forbidding pork.”
“For me it is a stance of principle and integrity and being true to the gospel of Christ. The president used the term evolution of thinking,” Samuel said. “In order to take the Bible seriously you can’t take it literally—there are too many things in the biblical text that we know better about today.”
Samuel said Obama is the president of all people, not just Bible believers, so it was morally compelling for him to emphasize equality for all. Danny Ingram, the president of American Veterans for Equal Rights, considers himself a close friend of Samuel. Ingram, who is also the treasurer of the DeKalb Democratic Party, said Samuel “gets it.”
“He realizes when we’re talking about people’s rights, we’re all Americans and everybody under the Constitution is guaranteed the same rights,” Ingram said.
Ingram said Obama is simply reinforcing the 14th amendment but he did see how it could pose problems for people who aren’t ready for same-sex marriage from a religious perspective. However, Ingram offered a solution for those not ready to accept same-sex marriage from a religious standpoint.
“They should take marriage and make it a purely religious institution and everybody who wants the legal rights gets a civil union. That’s by far the best way to do it and I don’t know why they haven’t done that yet—many countries in Europe do it,” Ingram said.
“We don’t see the world as black and white, and we struggle and debate and challenge each other with these issues and that’s part of what being a Democrat is all about. The bottom line is, of course gay and lesbian people are very happy and we’ll certainly be motivated to go vote and give money to the campaign.”