“This is a cultural war, a cultural shift, and those who are in rebellion have decided to portray us as bigots and prejudiced,” says [Nathaniel] Thomas, pastor of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, a trim, pale-brick building across from a storage facility on a dead-end road just inside the Beltway near Pennsylvania Avenue.
He knows that some gay activists are incredulous that black ministers could oppose a civil rights initiative. “ ‘How dare a black preacher take this position,’ they say, ‘because you’ve felt this pain,’ and I have,” he says. Over the decades, he has marched for voting and housing rights and fought for equal protection for blacks.
But Thomas and the 77 other Baptist ministers in the association do not see same-sex marriage as a civil rights matter. Rather, they say, it is a question of Scripture, of whether a country based on Judeo-Christian principles will honor what’s written in Romans or decide to make secular decisions about what’s right.
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