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Shirley Caesar Defends Kim Burrell’s Anti-Gay Comments, Blames President Obama

Dr. Shirley Caesar-Williams prays for President-elect Barack Obama during her church server at Mt. Calvary Word of God Church in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

It looks like Pastor Shirley Caesar is doing more than just singing about beans, greens, potatoes, and tomatoes. The gospel legend who just set the web ablaze with the #UNameIt challenge, is once again blowing things up after she waded into the recent controversy surrounding fellow singer Kim Burrell.

After preaching what many called an anti-gay sermon in which she called LGBTQ people “perverted,” Burrell was condemned by many, including several of her friends and collaborators. Pharrell Williams, who has a duet with Burrell on the Hidden Figures soundtrack, issued a statement saying, “There is no room in this world for any king of prejudice,” and Janelle Monae took to Instagram to issue a fiery statement saying, “I will rejoice when folks stop thinking they ARE GOD, Jesus’ assistant, picking and choosing what ‘sins’ are acceptable in the Bible, and using the Bible as a whip!”

Apparently, Caesar wasn’t too keen on folks being critical of Burrell’s comments, so she decided to wade into the debate. During a recent sermon at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Baltimore, Pastor Caesar had a message for Burrell and her critics.

After telling the congregation that Burrell should have made sure folks weren’t filming her sermon before saying things like, “You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted … You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted,” Caesar then took a jab at President Obama, telling the crowd, “You should’ve said something four years ago when our president made that stuff all right.”

For those involved in the Black church, both Caesar’s and Burrell’s comments aren’t unique. Still, as we move toward a more inclusive society, it’s clear the church will continue to grapple with how to be inclusive of its LGBTQ members.

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