Influential Black Group Abandons Presbyterians Over Gay Marriage

Apr 06, 2015 at 2:03 PM ET

A Christian group that says it represents more than 17 million African-Americans in more than 34,000 churches across the U.S. is cutting ties with the Presbyterian Church to protest the church’s recent decision to recognize gay marriage.

Reverend Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, told Vocativ that the decision to disassociate from the Presbyterian Church has “nothing to do with gay marriage…it has everything to do with them arbitrarily changing the word of God.”

Last month, the Presbyterian Church in the United States approved a measure to amend its “Book of Order” to include language that is more accepting of same-sex marriages. Previously, the “Book of Order” defined marriage as “a civil contract between a woman and a man.”

“If [approval of same-sex marriage] were true, God would reveal it in a revelation,” Evans says. “God has not spoken to me on this issue.”

The National Black Church Initiative itself is not a church — its membership, which spans various Christian denominations, runs outreach campaigns to help the African-American community. Evans says that moving forward, members of the Presbyterian Church will no longer be welcome to take part in his group”s housing, literacy and arts programs. We reached out to the Presbyterian Church for its reaction, and will update the story if we hear back.

Evans says his decision to break ties with the Presbyterian Church has been met with no resistance from anyone in his organization. Despite his position on same-sex marriage, Evans says he “loves [his] gay brothers and sisters,” but that doesn’t mean he has to agree with their lifestyle, which, he says, is the first step on a “spiritually unauthorized journey to Hell.”