VIDEO: Texas Baptist Pastor Defends Obama’s Gay Marriage Position, Suggests Anti-Gays “Take A Chill Pill”

Pastor Frederick Haynes III of Friendship West Church knew his congregants would be coming to church on Sunday eager to hear Haynes’ take on Obama’s recently-stated support of same-sex marriage. He’d been fielding multiple requests for “conference calls” with other religious leaders on the topic and was growing increasingly stunned by how many people in his community were freaking out about it, too.

Friendship West is a Baptist congregation, a population which many write off as inherently anti-gay. Their website describes the Church as “a caring community of Christians committed to developing a personal relationship with our Lord that eventuates into a ministry of evangelization, edification, and emancipation, in the Church and the community.”

Haynes was undoubtedly brave to take what he knew could possibly be an unpopular stance with his some of followers (you can hear occasional jeering during his speech) and he is also undoubtedly correct in what he says. I could quote him all day, but you really need to experience it for yourself.

You have to see this. Really, you do:

[via queerty]

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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47 Comments

  1. I’ve never really listened to a sermon like this, it was neat to hear! It sounded like poetry, the focus on syllables and repeating phrases and where the beat lands.

    • this definitely reformed my views on baptists—i don’t know why i’ve only managed to be in the kinds of baptist churches where people spoke in tongues then later translated it into anti-gay sentiments and apocalypse predictions over donuts, but i guess that’s not all of them! phew.

      • There are subdenominations of Baptists…

        You are probably thinking mostly of Southern Baptists, who are very common and have become very politically conservative in recent years. Or maybe the Independent Baptists, a small but very frothy group (I think most of the atrocious headlines lately have come from Independent Baptists).

        The Southern Baptists split from the American Baptists over abolition. American Baptist churches also tend to be more involved in issues of poverty, urban problems, etc. Not surprisingly, every mostly-black Baptist congregation I’ve ever heard of was American Baptist. Friendship West’s website doesn’t explicitly say, but I’ll be amazed if they’re not American Baptist.

        Anyway, big blessings on Pastor Hayes!

  2. This was amazing! This guy has such good stage presence!
    It really feels like he is speaking from a place of complete comfort with himself and his religious identity. So, so cool.

  3. This is fantastic! And it goes against that whole idea that a lot of people have that black people and other racial minorities are inherently intolerant of homosexuality, you know? And that’s kind of a harmful stereotype for those of us who fall under both of those categories. I love that he’s using his position to support equality and the separation of church and state…I feel like there are probably a lot of religious people who support equality, but we always focus on the assholes who don’t. Kudos to him. Maybe he’s helped to change the minds of a few of the members of his congregation :)

  4. “You want to major in what Jesus minored in, well maybe we need to talk about what issues you may have. Because evidently you have some major issues, or there is an ignorance rooted in fear.” Preach it!

  5. I’m excited about this and I think he does a really fine job of calling out Christians for their anger and hypocrisy, asking them to calm down and look in the mirror… But I’m just wondering, with the points he makes about state’s rights, how he would react to Obama supporting a national policy for gay marriage rights instead of leaving things up to the states. He seemed to stress it being a personal issue and not a policy issue for Obama as a reason for pastors and church-goers to not worry–more so than, let’s say, Gay just being okay.

    • From the words he used when he was talking about people worried that the church would lose their tax exempt status if they didn’t marry gay couples (if/when there is a federal mandate), it sounded to me like he said he didn’t care. As long as the sovereignty of churches to marry who they please remained untouched, then it was not the church’s issue to take offense. (Which is the exact issue that every single one of my conservative Texas friends is worried about. No matter how much I try to say that the goal is absolutely not to force churches to marry people they don’t want to. The goal is the option!)

    • His point was definitely about losing 501(C)3 status, not arguing for state’s rights. Civil marriage as a “state” issue meaning governmental issue rather than a church one.
      With the origin of the term “state’s rights” with slavery and all, I’d be more than shocked to ever hear a Black leader use the term in such a context.

  6. After both my father and brother went and signed the “Protect the Sanctity of Marriage” petition at church for Washington, I am so glad to see somebody in a position of power at a church standing up for our president and his position on equality and doing it logically. It gives me hope.

  7. Sooooo true! Obama is the President of the United States, not the Pastor of the United States. I think a lot of people want the President to also be the Pastor. I’m a strong Christian, but I want the government far away from religion and vice versa.

  8. it’s great that he continued preaching despite boos, it’s sad that so many members of his congregation were so upset and stopped listening.

    his point that our society’s lack of healthy, positive relationships with just the IDEA of sexuality is a huge barrier is so spot on. So many people are uncomfortable (to varying degrees) with mention of puberty, nakedness, masturbation, sex, etc., straight or gay. The backdrop of our society, our cultural inheritance, is a clusterfuck of misplaced shame and disgust over being a human—with a human body and human parts and human thoughts. like lol we’re human, why can’t we get over it. this is all probably because of the patriarchy, actually. they have always known that making everyone hate themselves would make everyone hate each other, thus ensuring white guys could be rich and in power forever. that was a huge procrastangent, sorry.

  9. If it’s possible, I think watching this video gave me even MORE hope than seeing Obama publicly support gay marriage. I’ve always been guilty of putting religious (ok, Christian, evangelical) people in a box and writing them off completely. Seeing Fred Haynes, a Baptist pastor in TEXAS of all places deliver that kind of message really got me. Honestly, I think Obama has been pro-marriage equality all along, he’s just been playing coy politics and waiting for most opportune and least politically risky moment to say it. This, on the other hand, was something special altogether.

    • Also I mean, religious leaders are in a unique position because they really do actually tell people how they should think and act in a way that politicians can’t or don’t. If religion is why you oppose gay marriage, and your religious leader doesn’t oppose gay marriage, it kinda sets you up to be in favor of gay marriage. Yannow?

      • That’s what I was thinking too. Whenever I see videos of pastors preaching against gays like the guy who said you should beat your effeminate son or the ‘put all gays and lesbians behind an electric fence” guy I always think of the congregation and what can we really ask of people who are being told to hate by their most respected community leader who is also their direct line to God…
        I’d be really curious to know what people in this congregation thought after the sermon. Will it start to change their minds somewhere inside or are they going to go elsewhere? I imagine probably both…

        Either way, this video was truly amazing.

  10. I think everyone needs to know, this man Dr. Freddie Haynes III, is amazing. Also, this may be an even bigger shocker, but his mentor/G-d father is the same man that was/is the Chicago pastor of Obama (Jeremiah Wright). Basically, I’m three types of shocked by his stance, but Pastor Haynes is an amazing speaker and I now feel bad for not going to church in years…especially since I grew up in this mans church.

  11. Usually when I read about gay rights in Texas, my response is “REALLY, TEXAS!?” This guy totally makes me feel better about living in this conservative state and being queer, like not every religious person here is super closed-minded or hateful.

  12. Holy moly! That was a great speech to hear from someone we would be likely to automatically consider anti-gay rights.

    But whoa. Does he know what a period is? I think I was holding my breath the whole time waiting for the sentence to end. IT TOOK SIX MINUTES. But it was worth it.

  13. Wow. I just had to comment.
    Cheers to Pastor Haynes for his breathtaking honesty, his unpolitical correctness and his undeniable sense of rhythm. This is one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard any type of religious leader give. As an atheist, it brings you faith in religion.

  14. It’s refreshing to hear someone from Texas speak with intelligence and compassion! Equal rights do not exist until we ALL have equal rights. The people who are so outraged over gay marriage are the same people who were against mixed marriages.

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