Imagine this scenario with me for a moment. The apostle Paul is alive today and living in New York City. He has just been appointed to the mayor's education policy panel when it is discovered that, in some of his writings, he has referred to homosexual practice as sin. As a result, within hours, he is fired by the mayor.
Does this sound impossible? Outrageous?
Well, it happened last week, not to Paul but to a female Black pastor. I kid you not.
To give the background, New York City mayor Eric Adams was already under fire for hiring "three people with histories of homophobic views and statements." (In other words, they were Christians who agreed with the Bible.) The three men were appointed by Adams to his Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, and despite pressure from LGBTQ activists, Adams held his ground.
They were political allies, and, in their words, their beliefs did not stop them from loving all people.
But when Adams learned that Rev. Kathlyn Barrett-Layne, who leads Staten Island's Reach Out and Touch Ministries and was appointed to serve on Adams's education policy panel, had expressed her disagreement with homosexual practice in writing (in other words, she was a Christian who agreed with the Bible), he dismissed her on the spot.
As reported in the New York Daily News, Barrett-Layne is a "Staten Island pastor who once equated homosexuality to pedophilia" with an "anti-gay track record," also referencing her "homophobic screeds."
As reported in The New York Times, she "had written a book that called homosexuality a sin.
"In the book, Ms. Barrett-Layne, a pastor from Staten Island, equated homosexuality to pedophilia, stealing and lying."
Somehow, Adams explained, his team had failed to discover her transgressions during the vetting process. But as soon as he learned about her writings, he immediately dismissed her.
What, exactly, did Barrett-Layne do? What did she write that was so terrible and ugly? What was the nature of her "homophobic screeds"?
In her book Challenging Your Disappointments As Appointments With Destiny, she wrote about the challenges facing young people in prison, stating, "They live in the grip of fornicating homosexual lifestyles with the risk of being infected with the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases."
This, of course, is true. There is much more homosexual activity, both consensual and nonconsensual, among males in prison then among males outside of prison. And, in such circumstances, the risk of being infected with AIDS or other STDs is very high.
These may be inconvenient truths, but they are truths nonetheless.
What about equating homosexuality with pedophilia?
Here's what she actually wrote in the same book: Christian leaders struggle with the "same temptations of drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, pornography, pedophilia, stealing, lying, envy, covetousness, and every other sin that the congregation struggle with."
In other words, whatever your average Christian struggles with—namely, every sin in the book—Christian leaders struggle with them too.
But was she equating homosexuality with pedophilia? Obviously not—that is, no more than she was equating lying with pedophilia, or envy with pedophilia or "every other sin" with pedophilia.
Her grave transgression was that she simply stated that homosexual practice was a sin. In other words, she agreed with the Bible. She affirmed what Christians have taught for two millennia. She wrote what Paul (and others) wrote in the pages of Scripture.
For this, she was promptly dismissed.
This type of anti-Christian discrimination has been taking place for well over a decade now.
"But," you might ask, "isn't there more to Barrett-Layne's story? After all, she's been called a 'hate pastor.' Surely there's something else she did."
Actually, you're right. There's one more instance I didn't share yet.
As reported by the Daily News and various LGBTQ websites, "In her 2004 book When your Mess Becomes the Message, Barrett-Layne said that her child told her 'she was a boy' when the kid was three-years-old after the child was in the same room as a lesbian. She wrote that she and her husband 'began to militantly and violently pray for, with and over our daughter.'
'We prayed against every spirit that was not of God, including the spirit of homosexuality,' she wrote. 'At the end of that prayer, my daughter asked me if she was a girl. When I told her yes, she happily began to sing and rejoice about being mommy and daddy's little girl. To tell you this was one of the most frightening experiences I had with my little girl is an understatement.'"
And for this, Barrett-Layne was fired? This was what makes her a "hate pastor"? Seriously?
When her child became confused about her sex after overhearing a counseling session Barrett-Layne had with a lesbian, the concerned parents began to pray fervently for her, coming against "every spirit that was not of God, including the spirit of homosexuality."
After this, the haze of confusion lifted off their daughter, and things went back to normal. Thank God!
The only thing that troubles me in this account is that the little girl overheard the counseling session. Other than that, these parents did what many other Christian parents would do if their child, barely older than a toddler, suddenly questioned her sex. They prayed with real passion and intensity.
All this, however, was too much for Adams and his team.
God forbid they should allow yet another Bible-believing Christian to darken the doors of their administration. This was a step too far.
For her part, Barrett-Layne stated that she feels bullied and that she is considering legal action.
Let's hope she decides to take a stand. This anti-Christian discrimination must be confronted head on, without compromise or capitulation.
Rev. Barrett-Layne, we're standing with you.
Dr. Michael Brown (askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
For more on this topic from Michael Brown, check out his new book, The Silencing of the Lambs, with a limited-time discount available at this link.
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Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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