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The Cosmopolitan Review March 27- April 2, 2014

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/27/2014, 2 a.m.

I received an email from Dr. Ronald Lonesome, who stated in part, “I was born in Harlem, and I have lived here most of my adult life. I am a retired physician. I served as the director of the medical detox unit at St. Luke’s Hospital until I retired in 2008. As an openly gay man and as a Christian, I am involved in community work to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks. I am a member of the LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent. We are an advocacy group that is based here in Harlem and is focused on bringing education and accurate information to our community and especially to churches and to other faith communities.”

Lonesome and many others, regardless of their sexuality, are extremely disturbed by this recent incident and have taken steps to let it be known that such despicable behavior will not be tolerated. I think they should be commended for taking a stance by speaking out on an issue and against the person behind it. There are so many times when we become empathetic against wrongs committed against innocent individual in our society, just when we should speak out the loudest and the strongest. We must stand up and speak up in support of human kindness, dignity and respect.

While there is a strong argument in support of free speech, let’s take it one step beyond. Why do we have to hate someone just because they look differently, speak differently, act differently or are of another orientation than we are? I would think that if anyone is to teach how to “love thy neighbor,” it would be the church. This particular incident is stemming from a church in the Harlem community. Tsk, tsk. Aren’t you afraid, reverend, of being struck by lightning for disobeying one of the commandments, especially during the Lenten season?

If the church is uncomfortable being in Harlem, then maybe it should relocate to another neighborhood so it can preach amongst the other conservative “haters,” which the church has already been associated with, for the church is the one that is displaced.

Doesn’t the reverend know that Harlem has long been a haven for those of varied beliefs and practices? Many members of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Moms Mabley and James Baldwin, were part of the Harlem LGBT community and have made many significant contributions. Coretta Scott King directly linked gay rights with the Civil Rights Movement; I guess he doesn’t like her either. And if he doesn’t like Coretta Scott King, then he must not like Martin Luther King. I think we may have a church of hate instead of a church of God amongst us, and this is not good.

Concerned with the state we’re in? The Long Island Region NAACP Game Changers Leadership Summit will take place on March 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hofstra University. The event will host a town hall discussion on the state of the Black family led by Angelique Perrin from Cafe Mocha. Adults and children are welcomed, and the event includes breakfast and lunch. At last, a constructive approach.

Until next week … kisses