By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has been known as a fiery orator who supports Black liberation and denounces White supremacy and yet preaches traditional values regarding family and lifestyle.
However, it appears that Farrakhan has changed some of his views toward women and the LGBTQ community. Farrakhan expressed those views at the Union Temple Baptist Church’s Men’s Day program that took place on Sept. 16 before hundreds of people that filled the church.
“Men have messed ruler-ship for thousands of years,” he said in an address that lasted 70 minutes. “The base of mankind is the woman and her place is wherever her gifts will take her.”
Later, Farrakhan said “for too long men have taken advantage of women.”
“We have used them and corrupted them and that is wrong,” the minister said. When discussing political action, he said “women are the strongest force for change.”
While Farrakhan, 85, has never advocated for the subjugation and mistreatment for women, he has, like many Muslim men of his generation, said that the woman’s place is behind her husband and as the primary manager of the household while the man is the leader of the family.
However, in recent years Farrakhan has relied on women in the Nation of Islam and Black female leaders to support his agenda. The Million Man March that took place in the District of Columbia on Oct. 16, 1995 where over a million men participated in the event had the support of female leaders such as the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou and present Cora Masters Barry, then the first lady of the District as the wife of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.
Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad is known as a force in the Nation of Islam as Farrakhan’s chief of protocol and national community outreach director. In addition, Farrakhan has publicly praised his wife, Khadijah, for her guidance.
During the speech, Farrakhan indicated that he had a soft-spot for nationally-known Black evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes.
“I was talking to Bishop Jakes and complimented him on his work,” the minister said. “He told me it meant a lot to him for me to say that to him. I tapped him on his chest, hugged and kissed him on the cheek and told him I loved him.”
In the past, Farrakhan has denounced homosexuality as un-Godly and unmanly, but during the speech he acknowledged that he has family members that are gay. He admitted that at a recent event, backstage, he hugged a gay male entertainer and was unfazed about it.
“It didn’t take anything from me to do that,” the minister said. During the speech, he listed oppressed people in America and made a point to say that mistreating gays and transgender people is wrong.
The rest of Farrakhan’s speech dealt with Blacks worshiping a White Jesus and in a White-oriented Christian religion that has nothing for African Americans. He said America will pay for its crimes against people of color, singling out the genocide of Native Americans, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery and lynching of Blacks and hinted that the recent rash of hurricanes, blizzards, hail and earthquakes are a sign that God is unhappy with the country.
“Nobody in America will escape the judgement of God,” he said.