Black Detroit Minister Comes Out as an Ally

After the court ruling striking down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage came out two weeks ago, a group of black ministers in the state put out a vile and inane statement against it. Now a very prominent black minister from Detroit is coming out as an ally of LGBT rights.

Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors has come out. The highly respected African American pastor and scholar was so appalled by a group of black pastors’ recent demonstration against same-sex marriage in Detroit that he could not stay silent any more.

“I am coming out of the closet as a heterosexual, male pastor, with all the privileges this has afforded me in more than 30 years of ministry, to say that I do believe in gay rights. I also believe that if gays love each other in the way I love my wife, in the way that any man-husband loves his woman-wife, it is perfectly fine for them to be married,” Nabors wrote in an open letter Mar. 4. (see Dr. Nabor’s complete letter on

On Mar. 28, Nabors met with Rev. Darlene Franklin, former pastor of Full Truth Fellowship Church in Detroit, and Rev. Roland Stringfellow, the newly-appointed senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church in Ferndale, to discuss the theology and politics behind his decision to come out as an ally to the LGBT community.

“It was seeing about 50 African American preachers in Detroit that got national attention for stating that they were unalterably opposed to same-sex marriage,” said Nabors, referring to a Feb. 24 press conference at the First Baptist World Changers Church in Detroit. “It was the aftermath. It garnered tremendous local press, and then I’m seeing it on television and reading about it in USA Today, The New York Times, and I said, ‘Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I’m a pastor in Detroit and I don’t feel that way about it.’ And that compelled me to sit down and try to write something.”

You can read the full letter here. This could be a very big development in Michigan’s predominately black churches. Dr. Nabors has shown great humanity and it may well inspire others to do the same.

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  • DonDueed

    Surprise, surprise!


    It’s good to see this. To be honest, though, my first thought when I read the original story was, “What? There are more than fifty black ministers just in Detroit?”

    I guess I’m a little naive about just how high the clergy-to-lay ratio is in this country. I shouldn’t be, being a preacher’s kid myself, but I’ve been out of that world for a long time now.

  • uncephalized

    @DonDueed there are about 600,000 black people in Detroit, from what I can gather on Wikipedia. Given that most black Americans are Christians and many (most?) black Christians belong to black-centric denominations and churches, call it around half a million black parishioners, give or take ~100K. One minister for every 10,000 congregants is unrealistically low, so I’m not sure why you’re surprised?