Over the weekend, Al Sharpton spit some hot fire at the organized faiths that worked to pass California's anti-gay initiative, Proposition 8, castigating them for going to the mat to overturn gay marriage in the Golden State while turning a blind eye to the needs of their communities. "There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people's bedrooms and claim that God sent you," Sharpton said bluntly. He made the remarks as the keynote speaker of the Human Rights Ecumenical Service, which took place Sunday at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta.
"It amazes me," he said, "when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners."
"I am tired," he went on, "of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they're preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade...We know you're not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California--when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [accused Ponzi scammer] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren't there you had nothing to say.
The remarks strike a contrast to Sharpton's reaction, back in December, at the news that President-elect Barack Obama has selected Saddleback Church pastor and Prop 8 proponent Rick Warren to participate in this coming week's inaugural. At the time, Sharpton said that the decision was "gracious and courageous."