Rev. Kim Burrell was all set to speak at a state legislative minority caucus church service in Albany, NY on Sunday, until organizers began getting calls about engaging with a preacher who has denounced homosexuality as “perverted.”
According to the New York Daily News, the gospel singer’s appearance at the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus weekend was abruptly canceled Thursday after the media outlet began seeking comment about her involvement.
In a statement, the group’s executive director, M. Diana Campbell, claimed to have been unaware of Burrell’s history.
“Once her previous statements came to our attention, we decided to go in a different direction and the engagement was cancelled,” Campbell said.
As previously reported, Burrell made headlines in 2017 after her sermon on homosexuality went viral.
“That perverted homosexual spirit is the spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women,” she said from the pulpit. “And it has caused a stain on the body of Christ. …Anybody in this room who’s filled with the homosexual spirit, beg God to free you. You play with it in 2017, you’ll die from it.”
City Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), who is gay and planning to attend the caucus weekend, hadn’t heard of Burrell but was critical of conference leaders for scheduling her to speak.
“Assigning a homophobe a prominent speaking role legitimizes bigotry and I find that unacceptable,” Torres said before Burrell’s appearance was canceled.
Told of the cancellation, he said Burrell should never have been invited in the first place.
“It shows we have a distance to travel before achieving full LGBT equality,” Torres said. “It should have been clear from the beginning that she was self-evidently ill-equipped to speak given her history of homophobia.”