E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Travelers Rest) in Decatur, Georgia, has become somewhat of a hero among gay rights advocates after a clip from one of his recent sermons on the hypocritical treatment of gays by some black churches went viral during the weekend. On Monday, however, he declared that his message should not be taken as support for LGBT advocacy.
"In the African-American church … you are guilty of condemning the Supreme Court system and preaching against something. But if you look at half of our choirs and a great number of our artists that we call abominations, we call demons, we demonize and dehumanize the same people that we use. We don't say nothing about the gay choir director because he's good for business," said Smith in the 5-minute clip from the controversial message that has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube since it was posted last Thursday.
"As long as the choir sound good, I ain't saying nothing about his sexuality. We have done what the slave master did to us. Dehumanize us, degrade us, demonize us, but then use them for our advantage," he added.
Dewey's comments from the clip have sparked a frenzy of headlines and an ongoing discussion about his views on same-sex marriage.
In response to concerns that Dewey's comments in the clip might be signaling some advocacy for the gay community, Dewey's church released a response shared in an email with The Christian Post on Monday.
"That clip was posted without our knowledge by someone who was in attendance and gives absolutely no context concerning the overall message. Since that time enumerable media outlets have posted the clip with captions best suited for their journalistic and editorial priorities. It's important to know that the descriptions of the posted sermon clip are not the opinions of E. Dewey Smith Jr.," noted the statement from Tigia Finn, executive assistant to Smith.
"By no means is Smith now, nor has he ever been a proponent of same-sex marriage. Smith has always believed and taught that marriage is only designed for a man and a woman. This reality was clearly stated during the sermon but not included for some reason by the person who posted the clip. Smith believes that same-sex marriage isn't the Will of God," the statement continued.
"Many publications have tried to present the message as affirmation of equal rights for the LGBT community. Regardless of how the clip is 'bent' that was not the content nor intent of the message. The message was taken from Acts 8:1-8 and presented the responsibility of the 'church leaving Jerusalem and going to evangelize in Samaria.' The clip that you heard referenced a pastor who was born as a hermaphrodite. It also dealt with the historical challenges associated with the Jews ministering to the Samaritans. The message spoke of the hindrances and hypocrisy associated with ministering to people considered as 'outcasts,'" the statement explained.
"The aim of the message was simply for believers to learn how Philip preached and walked out the message of Christ. As a result of Philip's ministry, many 'unclean' Samaritans were healed, delivered and set free. The message was designed to encourage the church, not to omit self-examination, while also examining our 21st century context. The goal of ministry should be deliverance," the statement ended.
YOU CAN WATCH THE CLIP BELOW: