The president of the Anne Arundel County NAACP is coming under fire for past comments about gay people and women, with some members calling for his ouster. The leader is denying the charges.
Members of the county chapter recently forwarded a petition to the organization’s national branch calling for the removal of President Rickey Nelson Jones over accusations of homophobia, sexism and other issues, said Marguerite Morris, who organized the petition drive.
Morris said there have been issues with Jones’ statements and opinions on same-sex relationships and women from the beginning.
“We understand that people have freedom of speech, but because of his position, we feel that he’s not been able to separate the two,” Morris said.
Jones is the founder and pastor of Living Exactly Like Jesus Baptist Church in Columbia. He became president of the Anne Arundel chapter this year.
The complaint lists nine accusations against Jones, including public and written rhetoric about the LGBTQ community and public references to women. These views conflict with the overall mission of the NAACP according to the complaint.
In a video clip included in the complaint, for example, Jones says, “Homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to God, and dying in that lifestyle leads to eternal damnation.”
The complaint states that Jones wrote in a 2005 book, “They discussed homosexuality so smoothly and approvingly that I thought, ‘What could this mean?‘ Isn’t it known that such behavior is an abomination to Almighty GOD, and HE was clear about that.”
In the same book, “Strictly From God’s Perspective: A Godly Man’s Guidance To His Family and Fellow Man, Volume 2,″ Jones also referred to same-sex relationships as an abomination to God, leading participants to hell, the complaint alleges.
The book was revised this year and still maintains those statements, according to the complaint.
Jones also said in his book that women shouldn’t serve as pastors. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence,” he wrote, according to the complaint.
Said Morris: “If you just handed it out or you’re selling it today as the president of the NAACP, that is not acceptable.”
Jones addressed concerns about the statements in an email to the media.
“I have relatives who entered the homosexual community, and I love them from head-to-toe. As a man who has been married to the same African-American Woman for 37 years (as of 2023) and a Pastor of a traditional Baptist Church, I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle,” Jones said. “That does not equate to hatred against homosexuals. Such would be hatred against my own relatives, an absurd idea.”
Jones also addressed the allegations of sexism. “To think that disagreeing with certain women is the same as sexism against all women is incorrect. The accusation is also defamatory, which my law office must now consider bringing to court against Ms. Morris and her followers.”
The complaint was first reported by The Capital Gazette.
Morris said that Jones held a chapter meeting Saturday and that church members “angrily insulted her.”
The national NAACP did not immediately respond to questions about whether it had received the complaint and how it might be reviewed.
Jones was born in New Orleans and grew up in public housing, according to the church’s website. He graduated from Loyola University with degrees in English and political science, and then graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1988.
In a message on the county NAACP website, he credits his mother with leading him and his siblings past drug addicts as they climbed 10 flights of stairs to get to their “ghetto apartment,” and with making sure they all walked three miles to church and were on time for 7 a.m. services.
Jones, who lives with his wife in Laurel and has a grown son, was elected president in January 2023. He described his ascent to the presidency as “100% GOD’s doing since my focus as a Pastor and Attorney for GOD’S People satisfied both my academic pursuits and strong desire for uprightness,” according to the message.
He ran unopposed, according to Morris, as a candidate set to run against Jones had let their membership lapse and no longer qualified to run.