Homophobia in the Black Church
How Faith, Politics, and Fear Divide the Black Community
by Anthony Stanford
March 2013, 205pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39868-1
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39869-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Despite recent gains by the LGBT community, including affirmation of same-sex marriage by the President of the United States, homophobic attitudes in America continue to thrive, especially within the sanction of the Black Church. Faith-based initiatives have forced black Christian LGBTQ individuals to deny their sexuality, causing further breakdown of the black family structure and exacerbating AIDs and HIV in the black community. What are the reasons for rampant homophobia in the Black Church and its related communities?

This book explains how faith, politics, and fear contribute to the homophobic mindset within the Black Church and the African American community.

Homophobia in the Black Church: How Faith, Politics, and Fear Divide the Black Community explores the various reasons for the Black Church’s aversion—and the general black cultural inflexibility—toward homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and acceptance of the LGBT community. It connects black cultural resistance toward homosexuality to politics, faith, and fear; follows the trail of faith-based funding to the pulpit of black mega-churches; and spotlights how members of the black clergy have sacrificed black LGBTQ Christians for personal and political advancement.

The author systematically builds his case, linking the reasons blacks are intolerant of deviation from acceptable sexual behavior to the 1960s struggle for racial equality, and tying longstanding black sexual mores to present day politics, social conservatism, and the lure of federal funding to black churches and religious and social organizations. He also spotlights specific homophobic black ministers and draws back the curtain on their alliance with White social conservatives and religious and political extremists to reveal an improbable but powerful union.


  • Draws connections between the fanatical homophobia in contemporary black culture to sexual mores developed as a response to the racial discrimination carried out against blacks since the founding of the nation
  • Explains how the creation of the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership and funds funneled to black churches have encouraged some of the nation's most powerful black religious leaders to dispense hateful rhetoric and malice towards black homosexuals
  • Reveals how faith-based funding and the Black Church apply strong pressure on black LGBTs to keep their sexual identity a secret
Anthony Stanford is a freelance writer and journalist in the Chicago, IL area. His published works include cutting-edge perspectives on politics, race, and religion in the Chicago Tribune, such as "Race as a Burning Issue" and "On a Day of Rebirth, Grieving a Loss of Faith." Stanford was named the 2014 Outstanding African-American of the Year by the African-American Heritage Advisory Board of Aurora, IL.


"This book does an excellent job of providing readers with a window into how diverse groups, who share antigay attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, became unlikely bedfellows within the context of President George W. Bush’s faith-based funding initiatives and politics to collaborate and support one another in obtaining these funds. It can be used in political science, sociology, community clinical psychology, social psychology, and multicultural diversity courses at the graduate level (LGBT studies, ethnic studies) and in theology and/or divinity courses. Additionally, practitioners can use this book to gain valuable insights into the sociocultural and sociohistorical dynamics that are inherent within African American communities."—American Psychological Association, March 1, 2014

“In Homophobia in the Black Church, Stanford fearlessly takes a bold stand as he dares to confront the taboo topic of homosexuality in the African-American community, but specifically in the black church. With purpose and poise, he challenges and exposes the hypocrisy that exists within the community.”—Iya A. Bakare, Chicago Independent Journalist

"Physical or mental abuse against any individual or group is wrong. Stanford's Homophobia in the Black Church confronts an issue that has serious implications for the black community."—Tio Hardiman, Creator of The Violence Interrupters, featured in the documentary, The Interrupters, winner of the 2012 Independent Spirit Award

“In an era of divisiveness, Anthony Stanford’s work provides a thoughtful analysis of one of society's most compelling issues. Mr. Stanford boldly confronts attitudes about race, sexuality, and religion, opening the door for meaningful discussion and broader understanding.” —Marc H. Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League
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