Next, it’s time that the Black Church and the African American community begin engaging in an open and frank conversation over the issue of homophobia. For far too long, we have dodged the bullet on this reality, and the end result has been catastrophic for all of us. Because of a massive stigma and fears of castigation, many live dual realities – on the one end pretending they are fathers and husbands, and on the other, living on ‘the down-low’. Not only has such an existence denied people the opportunity to live openly and freely as they choose, but it has greatly contributed to the skyrocketing number of HIV/AIDS cases among African American women who may be unaware of the activities of their husbands/boyfriends. As we continue discussing Pastor Long’s alleged crimes, we must ask ourselves, would this have been such a big issue if it were a heterosexual allegation?
—The Rev. Al Sharpton, taking a giant step forward in untangling the mess that is the black and religious communities and homophobia, using Eddie Long as the sacrificial lamb