Gay Austell Pastor Speaks Out
Rev. Nadine Rawls started a group for gay Christians in Cobb, and now she's speaking out about being African-American and gay, that particular Leviticus scripture and Obama's recent announcement of support of same-sex marriage.
Rev. NaDine Rawls was ordained in 1999 in L.A. and has been ministering to the gay community ever since.
She recently began a gay Christian organization in Austell called Free to Be Me Ministries. Rawls, who has lived in Georgia for three years, said she is unconcerned about any backlash she may receive.
“I’ll deal with it when it happens,” she said.
The purpose of the organization is to provide an “open and safe space for GLBT Christians and those have yet to discover a relationship with Jesus the Christ without fear of being ridiculed, judged and damned to hell for who God has created them to be,” she said.
In 1986, two years after Rawls came out as a lesbian, she started in ministry at Metro Community Church in Shreveport, LA. She entered “mainstream denominations” in 2003 when she began ministering in a Disciples of Christ Church in Washington, DC because the denomination was “open and supportive of the lesbian and gay community,” she said.
Having churches that are open to gays is important, she explained.
“It’s important because there are churches that we were born and raised in that speak damnation to our souls and to our spirits.
“It is my desire for people to be totally faithful to the person God has designed them to be. God did not design us to hate ourselves.”
What about that particular scripture in Leviticus?
Many Christians ask Rawls how she justifies being gay with the biblical scripture Leviticus 18:22, which reads "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
“It doesn’t apply. The book of Leviticus is written for Levitical priests. I’m not studying to be a priest.
Rawls replied, “We found it ironic that conservative Christians pick that one law to concentrate on when there are 599 more…The trouble is you take one law literally, but the other they ignore.”
What do you think about Obama's announcement of support for same-sex marriage?
About a month ago, President Barack Obama announced that he supports same-sex marriage.
Rawls said she was surprised and delighted about his announcement.
“He is not the president of the Heterosexual United States. He is not the president of the Homosexual United States. It’s just the United States. That means all the people. He has come to understand that people have a right to marriage.”
What do you think about the reaction to Obama's announcement from several African-American pastors?
Being gay is still somewhat taboo in the African-American community, especially in the South, Rawls explained.
She has seen the backlash from African-American pastors in the Metro Atlanta area and feels that it is a smack in the face of all the fighting done by African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement.
“We have ancestors probably doing tornadoes in their brains. They marched in Atlanta and marched in Selma…Now they’re going to tell people not to vote because of one issue. How stupid can you be? I pray that people in these conversations will think for themselves and go vote. Marriage equality is not on the ballot.”
What advice do you have to parents of gay children?
“Parents, it is not your choice as to how your children will come into this world…Your job is to love them and to do anything less than that, you’re not being totally faithful.”
What do you tell people who say you can’t be gay and a Christian?
What do you think about Cobb's newest group for gay Christians? Will Obama's recent announcement change how you vote in the presidential election? Tell us below in the comments.