Gospel singer Kirk Franklin apologized to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people Friday for any homophobia they've experienced in the black church. In an interview with theGrio.com, the seven-time Grammy Award winner said the Bible is not "an attack on gay people."
“I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the church that have been talented and gifted and musical that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed … and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” Franklin told the video news site. “We have not treated them like people. We’re talking about human beings -- men and women that God has created.”
Franklin was referring to the resistance some historically African-American Christian churches, organizations and followers have put up against the LGBT rights movement. For example, after President Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality in 2012, the president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors issued a statement saying, "The man holding the most powerful position in the world is stooping to lead the country down an immoral path." Pew Research Center data from this year showed that only 41 percent of black Americans supported same-sex marriage, compared with 56 percent of Hispanics and 59 percent of white people.
Franklin, who was promoting his new album "Losing My Religion," said he wanted to cut through issues keeping people from embracing God. He seemed to suggest to theGrio.com that the Bible has been misinterpreted.
“It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual,” Franklin said. “That’s not what the Bible is. I mean, you want to talk about things that God gets at … pride and jealousy and envy and arrogance. But what we also see is God sending his son to save us all, because we were all … straight, gay or whatever, lost and in need of a savior, and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”
Franklin's position isn't new, despite the criticism he received in 2013 for reportedly encouraging people to "abandon the homosexual lifestyle." In his 2010 book "The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life's Storms," Franklin wrote: "Although we can never compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality, it's very important to bring a measure of love and caring to anyone engaged in that lifestyle."