Findings from this study are based on 21 semi-structured interviews with pastors and ethnographic in six Black Churches. Although pastors espoused messages of love and acceptance, they overwhelmingly believed homosexuality was a sin and had difficulty accepting YBMSM into their churches.
The Black Church has long been a focal point of the Black community and its reach often extends beyond a place of worship and spiritual guidance. Significantly, church-based health programs and interventions have been shown to positively affect health behaviors within the Black community Campbell et al. Religiosity has a number of significant health benefits including being protective against morbidity, mortality C.
Yet, as the racial disparities in HIV persist, Black churches have the potential to provide trusted, community-based culturally relevant HIV prevention programs.
The racial disparities in HIV are longstanding. These racial disparities Pastor faces lawsuit for preaching against homosexuality HIV are influenced by a number of behavioral, social, and structural factors, one of which is stigma. Introduced by sociologist Erving Goffman, stigma is the socially constructed persecution of a group of individuals perceived as being different from group norms, making them vulnerable to alienation and discrimination Goffman, Sexual stigma, or homonegativity, refers to the inferior status of sexual minorities and justifies social and political power differentials and discrimination G.
Although religiosity is associated with numerous positive mental and physical health outcomes, Chatters et al. Ellison, ; C. Homonegativity is often magnified within churches, where religious doctrine and beliefs condemn homosexuality, which can contribute to, or exacerbate, community-wide homonegativity Shulden et al.
Applied to this context, pastors may not necessarily be espousing direct insults or discrimination within their churches, but rather, are more likely to assert minor, unintentional verbal and nonverbal assaults.
These microaggressions can be internalized by LGBT individuals and become a significant source of stress G. We conducted 21 one-on-one interviews conducted between November and February with pastors of Black Churches in Milwaukee, WI and conducted ethnographic observation in six of those churches. Inclusion criteria for the pastor interviews were being 18 years of age or older, self-identifying as a Black or African American, and being a pastor or clergy member in a self-identified Black Church in Milwaukee.
Pastors were recruited using direct recruitment through partnerships with community organizations and participant referral strategies. Pastors were sampled for diversity based on congregation size, denomination, and whether or not the Church was currently involved in HIV prevention—to obtain a broad view of beliefs and experiences.
Written informed consent was obtained prior to each interview. Twenty of Pastor faces lawsuit for preaching against homosexuality 21 interviews were digitally recorded with the consent of the pastor. One pastor declined recording but wished to participate in the study. Detailed notes were taken during this interview. Interviews were based on a semi-structured interview guide that allowed for flexibility to ask follow up questions and explore certain areas in more depth Bernard, Pastors were asked about their views on homosexuality and HIV, including how often they discussed these topics within their sermons or other church activities and what kinds of messages they hoped to convey to their congregation and YBMSM specifically.
They were also asked about their views on adolescent sexual behavior, homosexuality among youth, and what role they believe the Church should play in addressing HIV. Ethnographic observation was conducted by the Principal Investigator to contextualize the data from semi-structured interviews and provide triangulation to ensure validation of interview data.
The church pastors had to have participated in an in-depth interview and agreed to allow participant observation in their church.
All pastors interviewed welcomed the observation and the six churches selected were sampled to obtain diversity on congregation size, pastor views on homosexuality, involvement in HIV prevention, and denomination. Over the course of nine months, there were 22 participant observation sessions, ranging from three to six observations per church.
Observation included attending Sunday services, Bible studies, and prayer groups, volunteering in church offices, observing a health clinic connected to a church. When appropriate, detailed field notes were taken during and after all observation sessions. Informed consent and research protocols were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at [Anonymous Institution]. A codebook was created to capture broad content areas and key analytical concepts.
Initial codes were established using open coding to identify broad content areas and key themes and categories. The codebook presented with 43 codes and 24 sub-codes, which included messages around homosexuality, views on HIV within their community, perceived barriers to HIV prevention engagement for churches, and the role of scripture and sermons to communicate messages. Analysis consisted of continual development and refining of schemes, allowing Pastor faces lawsuit for preaching against homosexuality exploration of emerging relationships between themes and patterns and the identification of new and unanticipated relationships.
Transcripts were analyzed for differences and similarities based on pastor denomination, age, and congregation size. Emergent themes, patterns, and meanings were uncovered using content analysis to understand the experiences and beliefs of pastors and identify broad themes. Pastor Pastor faces lawsuit for preaching against homosexuality are indicated in Table I. All pastors were Black males and ranged in age from 32 to 73 years old, with a median age of 53, and had been pastors anywhere from one to 34 years.
Pastors in eight of the 21 churches initially reported having HIV-related programs within their church, although upon further discussions only one church had an active HIV ministry. Pastors overwhelmingly held views of homosexuality that could be viewed as negative, hurtful, or stigmatizing to LGBT individuals, and the majority of pastors considered homosexuality to be a lifestyle or choice. But for homosexuality, I would say again clearly I believe it is a sin but the person who is homosexual or gay, they believe that is who they are.