FashionSex & Gender

op-ed: hold kim burrell accountable, but hold christianity accountable as well

January 5, 2017

Gospel singer Kim Burrell has been on the receiving end of a proper dragging the last few days, and I’m here for it!! Late last week, a video of one of her sermons surfaced on social media. The video features Kim preaching to her Love and Liberty Fellowship Church congregation in Houston, Texas.

In the video, Burrell makes several disparaging remarks about homosexuality that included, but was not limited to, “You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted”…“The perverted homosexual spirit” and “The spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women”, said Burrell.

And as if the holy waters were not murky enough, Kim thought it would be a good idea to go live on Facebook to…uh…ahem, clear the air amidst the controversy. Exactly where her public relations team was when this video was recorded is beyond me. But I imagine they were all somewhere hanging their heads and face palming in unison.

I too hung my head and face palmed in disbelief. Typically when a public figure makes an unsavory comment that is not well received, the public figure will at the very least, attempt to muster a half apology for the sake of branding and damage control. But not Kim — she is saved, sanctified, and unbothered.

By Terrance Thomas*, AFROPUNK contributor

This of course has led to more negative press for Burrell. Even her brothers and sisters in Christ are distancing themselves. This will undoubtedly leave a stain on her storied career.

Now I said earlier I was here for the dragging of Kim Burrell, nothing has changed since then. But I can’t say that I’m not seeing the hypocrisy in the grand scheme of things. At some point, we’re going to have to have a candid discussion about religion.

One that is not glossed over and guised. Spaces are going to get tight and toes will be stepped on. You may even verbally condemn me to Hell, but I believe that time is upon us.

We must first deal with an uncomfortable truth: The church is not always a safe and inclusive space for everyone. If we’re going to acknowledge the glories and wonders of religion, we must also acknowledge the historical and contemporary separation, torment, and bigotry that has plagued the lives of countless individuals.

Kim should be reprimanded and held accountable for her words. That is fair. Hate has no place in this world, let alone a pulpit. But allowing Kim to fall on the sword without objectively examining the teachings of the Bible and Christianity is not only unfair, it is downright despicable.

What I am seeing is Christianity trying to save face. What I am seeing is Christians treating Kim’s transgressions as an isolated event. And if there was ever a proverbial scapegoat, Kim Burrell fits the mold.

The Bible has a clear stance on homosexuality. I mean like, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination” clear. The Christian Church has also historically opposed LBGTQ rights and freedoms. That’s not speculation. That’s not an exaggeration. That’s a fact.

But to be fair, a 2,000 year old religious text may not be the best reference in terms of inclusiveness, acceptance and humanity by today’s standards. Surely not, right?

I don’t believe Kim Burrell is misinterpreting the word. I vehemently disagree with what she said, but I can’t say she’s saying anything that I haven’t heard before from Christians. I can’t say I’m surprised that an ideology that suggests that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their teachings is destined for Hell struggles with intersectionality. I honestly can’t. Now I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking to themselves: “Not my Jesus” “Not my church”. And hell, maybe it’s not. But the problem with that argument is that it is often used as an eraser to minimize experiences and concerns. While it may be true and passive in nature. It is still a violent microaggression.

There is something inherently and fundamentally flawed in the teachings of Christianity that has historically bred Christians like Kim Burrell.

Exactly what that is? Well, I’m really not sure.

I understand the complexities of having to critically examine an ideology that has been ingrained and reinforced in every aspect of your life. I get it. I was there too. So please don’t mistake my brash comments as unemphatic.

But we cannot separate that message from the messenger. And if you truly believe that the message was lost in translation, well maybe it’s time that we make it plain. Kim’s career as we know it could end today, but that won’t change the problematic teachings and scriptures of the Bible.

I’m not saying throw the baby out with the bathwater. That is your call. But maybe it’s time we throw out the bathwater for the sake of the baby.

Kim Burrell’s message may be anti-gay, but it is also pro-biblical.

This piece was original published on

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