A Queer New Year
As we noted on New Year’s Eve, GLAAD posted a great year-end roundup of five big advances on LGBT issues among religious communities in 2012, all of which were part of RD’s coverage this past year: religious voices in marriage equality battles, greater visibility for pro-equality Catholics and Mormons, a further embrace of LGBT equality in the Episcopal church, and the emergence of LGBT voices on campus at religious colleges.
US: First openly gay Anglican bishop, Gene Robinson, retires after 10 years
The US Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, retired from his post on Saturday, after almost ten years.
Survey: Big drop in Americans who say being gay is a sin
Americans who believe being gay is a sin are now a minority, according to research released yesterday, which links the trend to President Obama’s 2012 decision to support equal marriage.
Anglican Nigerian church threatens to split from Church of England over gay bishops row
The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion has threatened to break away from the Church of England over a recent announcement that the latter has dropped its opposition to gay clergy becoming bishops.
Rescuing the Gospel from gays-vs.-Christians debate
Torn offers candid, even-handed analysis of devisive issue
by the Rev. Heath Bradley on January 11, 2013
Justin Lee has a voice and a story that everyone needs to listen to. He is the leader of The Gay Christian Network, a regular blogger, and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.
In this, his first book, Lee offers his readers a wide-ranging discussion of the gay debate in the church today, including very even-handed and brief overviews of the biblical and scientific debates surrounding homosexuality.
Anti-gay Christian group: It is ‘dangerous’ to say the bible is inclusive of gay people
The leader of the Evangelical Alliance has responded to an article which claimed the bible could be inclusive of gay people, to say that suggestions of a new biblical interpretation are “dangerous”.
Vatican Criticizes European Religious Freedom Ruling
Religion News Service | By Alessandro Speciale Posted: 01/17/2013 12:22 pm EST
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican on Wednesday (Jan. 16) criticized a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that affirms employers' right to limit the expression of religious beliefs in the workplace when it conflicts with equality laws.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, said that on "morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality," people have the right to defend their freedom of conscience.
January 17, 2013 11:23AM
Leading UK Evangelical Comes Out for Gay Acceptance
Post by Candace Chellew-Hodge
Steve Chalke, the pastor of Oasis Church Waterloo, a Baptist church in London, is making waves in the evangelical community after coming out to affirm “loving, stable” gay and lesbian relationships. The Independent quotes Chalke as writing:
“When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneness, secrecy and fear. It’s one thing to be critical of a promiscuous lifestyle—but shouldn’t the Church consider nurturing positive models for permanent and monogamous homosexual relationships?”
Reaction from fellow evangelicals, like Greg Downes at Christian Today was swift, and negative: “Since the scriptures are crystal clear on the issue, my fear is that any shift to embrace this new interpretation is nothing short of a denial of the authority of the Bible itself,” Downs said.
Anti-gay evangelist Scott Lively: ‘Gays will crush religion and persecute Christians’
An anti-gay preacher from the US has attacked the gay rights movement, accusing it of attempting to “crush” religious liberty, and that it seeks to “persecute” Christians.
Comment: The boundaries of tolerance
Don’t be fooled by the victim narrative of religious lobby groups, writes Adrian Tippetts for PinkNews. In a society of competing ideas, cultures and aspirations, individual liberty is sacrosanct.
Evangelical Churches Refine Message on Gay Issues
by Travis Loller
Thursday Jan 31, 2013
The Rev. Robert Jeffress has changed the way he talks about homosexuality from the pulpit.
The pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Dallas hasn’t stopped preaching that homosexual sex is sinful, but he no longer singles it out for special condemnation. Now, Jeffress says he usually talks about homosexuality within "a bigger context of God’s plan for sex between one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship called marriage."
Megachurch Pastor: We’re “American Al Qaeda” for Opposing Homosexuality
By Tom Bartlett
Tom Bartlett is a science reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Utne Reader, Slate, and others.
The day after it was announced that Louie Giglio, an Atlanta pastor, founder of the Passion movement and campaigner against human trafficking, had been chosen to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration, an old sermon of his surfaced. Okay, it didn’t “surface”—ThinkProgress, the well-known left-wing blog, dug up a sermon from the 1990s in which Giglio calls homosexuality a sin, worries that same-sex marriage will undermine society, and insists that only a sensitive guy with long hair named Jesus can turn gays straight. An outcry ensued and Giglio withdrew from the ceremony. As political debacles go, this was junior varsity stuff—“over in a flash,” as Sarah Posner put it here on RD.
Sin is Not a Crime: A Conversation with Patrick Cheng
A Christian theologian re-writes the seven deadly sins, invites everyone—LGBT, religious or not—to come out of the closet
Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008)
The next time a Christian prattles on about how gay sex is a sin, blame Augustine.
The Church Father who gave us the doctrine of original sin also had a very negative view of sexuality in general—and gave us the idea that the only appropriate sex is for procreation, within the bounds of marriage.
But, as Patrick Cheng reminds us in his latest book, From Sin to Amazing Grace, there are Christian traditions that pre-date Augustine’s prudish views.
Ghana: Anti-gay critics say new children’s minister will ‘promote homosexuality’
Ghana’s new children’s minister has been accused of supporting gay rights by her critics even though she denies stating that homosexuality should be legalised.
Book Review: ‘Torn’ offers balanced talk on church & homosexuality
January 17, 2013
by Heath Bradley, Special Contributor
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
Jericho Books, 2012
Hardcover, 272 pages
Justin Lee has a voice and a story that everyone needs to listen to. He is the leader of the Gay Christian Network (gaychristian.net), a regular blogger (gcnjustin.tumblr.com) and, now, the author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.
In this, his first book, Mr. Lee offers his readers a wide-ranging discussion of the gay debate in the church today, including very evenhanded and brief overviews of the biblical and scientific debates surrounding homosexuality.
Far and away the strongest aspect of this book, though, is the honest and candid nature in which Mr. Lee shares with us his own story.
Mormon Church Working With LGBT Leaders on Utah Anti-Discrimination Bill
by Jason St. Amand
Web Producer / Staff Writer
Tuesday Feb 12, 2013
Officials from the Mormon Church have apparently been working with Utah’s LGBT community in order to create a bill that would protect gays from housing and employment discrimination in Utah, Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, opened a bill file on Thursday, called "Housing and Employment Amendments" and will sponsor the measure if the two parties can reach an agreement. Although 16 cities in Utah have passed similar ordinances, this bill would ban anti-gay discrimination statewide.
Pope's Resignation An Opportunity For Africa's Cardinals
February 16, 2013 5:18 AM
The names of African cardinals are popping up as possible contenders to succeed Pope Benedict as head of the Roman Catholic Church when he steps down at the end of the month.
The Mary Mother of Good Council School is one of a number of respected Roman Catholic schools overseen by the archdiocese of Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana. The Metropolitan archbishop of Accra, Charles Palmer-Buckle, who trained as a priest at pontifical universities in Rome, is upbeat about the continent's contribution to the Catholic Church.
Diocese Won’t Reinstate Fired Gay Ohio Teacher
Wednesday Jun 12, 2013
The superintendent for a Roman Catholic Diocese has declined to reinstate a gay teacher who is challenging her firing by a Catholic school.
June 14, 2013 12:28PM
Nearly Half of LGBT People Claim No Religion
Post by Candace Chellew-Hodge
As someone who has been criticized by the LGBT community for remaining in a religion—namely, Christianity—that does not want me, it’s not shocking to me that a new Pew Research poll shows nearly half of all LGBT people claim no religious affiliation.
The survey showed 48% of the LGBT population claims no religious affiliation, compared to 20% of the general public. Even among LGBT people who do embrace religion many are closeted or hiding in congregations with 33% saying “there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Church of Scotland could lose £1 million a year in givings, over gay ordination row
Congregations have begun to resign from the Church of Scotland, with six having already quit, over a recent decision to allow gay ministers to be ordained.
Christians v. Gays: The Damage Done
By David Gushee
Dr. David P. Gushee, a Christian ethicist, teacher, activist, and churchman, serves as Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University.
Predictably, conservative Christian activists and commentators are already decrying the Supreme Court’s decisions today rejecting the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and permitting same-sex marriages to resume in California.
Gay, Evangelical and Seeking Acceptance in Church
by Rachel Zoll
Sunday Jun 30, 2013
Evangelicals are being challenged to change their views of gays and lesbians, and the pressure isn’t coming from the gay rights movement or watershed court rulings: Once silent for fear of being shunned, more gay and lesbian evangelicals are speaking out about how they’ve struggled to reconcile their beliefs and sexual orientation.
June 28, 2013 1:31PM
Message to Anti-Gay Pastors: Double Down
Post by Candace Chellew-Hodge
Double down and be very afraid. That was the message to pastors during a conference call today by an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom, the right-wing outfit of attorneys that represented Protect Marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court over California's Proposition 8.
The conference call, held by Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a program created by Jim Garlow's Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif., featured ADF attorney Joe La Rue outlining the impact of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and returning the Prop 8 case to California.
[Called Out Editors’ Note – In the “straw men” picture that accompanies the article, the figures appear to be made out of a combination of hay (round bales) and straw (rectangular bales.) We’ll leave it to you to look up the difference between hay and straw.]
An Evangelical Intellectual Takes On Same-Sex Marriage, Grasps at Straw Men
Following Christian philosopher William Lane Craig through a corn maze
Eric C. Miller is a lecturer in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the rhetoric of the religious right.
Of all the terms used to describe the recent shift in public opinion toward same-sex marriage, “seismic” is one of the most common. Given the centrality of California to this discussion, headline writers have found “Seismic Shift” difficult to resist. And it makes sense—the earth seems to have moved, structures shifted or collapsed.
In recent weeks the metaphor has found fresh resonance. Opponents of same-sex marriage are frantically rushing to raise and brace their beams.
LGBT Group Finds Acceptance at Evangelical College
by Sarah Parvini
Saturday Jul 13, 2013
PASADENA, Calif. -- Nick Palacios struggled to get his conservative Pentecostal parents to accept him as a gay evangelical Christian for nearly a decade before his family found a common ground through faith.
Now, as an openly gay seminarian, the 29-year-old hopes to carve out a similar acceptance for other gays in the broader evangelical community through his role as president of the nation’s first LGBT student club sanctioned by a major evangelical seminary. The group, called OneTable, formed last fall at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, one of the world’s largest multi-denominational seminaries, and has attracted about three dozen students.
Dean of Chichester: Being gay is ‘not a choice but a given’
Update: An original draft of this article published on 13 July included a misquotation which made it appear as though the Dean of Chichester suggested that being gay is a choice. The talk held at Chichester Cathedral titled ‘Gay Marriage- Sacrament or Scandal’, included an impassioned debate during which the Dean stood up for gay rights and equal marriage and said he was “horrified” by homophobic behaviour. The correct quote from the Dean read that being gay is “not a choice but a given”.
The Dean of Chichcester held a public talk at Chichester Cathedral last week, which focussed on equal marriage, during which he reflected on the idea that “homosexuality is not a choice but a given”, but also that there was no easy solution to religious opposition to equal marriage.
July 19, 2013 6:33PM
FRC's Perkins Selling Straight Hot Sex
Post by Candace Chellew-Hodge
Faced with a growing acceptance of gay and lesbian people in both society and the church, the religious right is rolling out its new sales pitch for heterosexuality: "Married heterosexuals have the best sex!"
After failing to sell the younger generation on the intrinsic value of marriage as the best way to raise children, they've decided to back up a few steps and instead pitch the great baby-making sex that straight married couples apparently have.
"Those who worship God weekly have the best sex," asserted Patrick F. Fagan, Senior Fellow and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at the Family Research Council.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: I would rather go to Hell than worship a homophobic�God
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, famous for his role in ending�Apartheid, has said that he would rather go to Hell if he discovered that God was homophobic.
Pope Says He Won�t Judge Gay Priests
by Nicole Winfield
Monday Jul 29, 2013
Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn�t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis asked.
Archbishop of Canterbury: �Popular opinion on equal marriage is not a case for changing obedience to�God�
Speaking at a Christian conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that popular opinion on equal marriage is �not a case for changing obedience to God�.
Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay�people?
In a significant development Pope Francis has said that gay people should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society.
July 29, 2013
Will Francis� Statements on Women and Gays �Make a Mess� Inside the Church?
By Mary E. Hunt
Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues.
Pope Francis made his first foray abroad since becoming pope and by all accounts his stock is up. In the case of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, however, the encore will be more important than the performance itself. Will his comments on the plane ride home regarding the role of women and��the�gay lobby� translate into changes inside the institutional church? One can only hope, though it remains too early to tell.�
I wasn�t there, but I watched enough live coverage to get a feel for the scene at Copacabana Beach. Whether I wanted it or not, I probably earned the plenary indulgence promised to his Twitter followers! These Vatican people think of everything from age to age.�
[Called Out Editors� Note:� We thought this was interesting and needed to go in both the Religion and Marriage posts.� We�ve known about this book almost since it was published.� One of us has a friend that does go on about this book.]
Christian church performed same-sex marriages almost 2,000 years�ago
A book by historian John Boswell around the origins of equal marriage is being released in digital edition for the first time in August, and discusses that almost 2,000 years ago, the Christian church performed same-sex weddings.
July 30, 2013 3:45PM
U.S. [Catholic] Bishops Have No Trouble Judging Gays
Post by Peter Montgomery
Pope Francis�s informal comments about gay people � �Who am I to judge them if they�re seeking the Lord in good faith?� � have drawn a lot of attention, including a valuable context-providing analysis�from Mary Hunt here on RD.
The remarks stood out because their gracious tone toward gay people is a striking departure from the rhetoric of this pope�s immediate predecessor -- so striking, in fact, that Thomas Reese, a priest and former editor of the Jesuit-published America magazine, wrote, "The pope made it clear that there is no room for homophobia either in the church or society. But if I had said what he said 24 hours before he said it, I would have been reported to the archbishop."
Analysis: Pope�s Revolution; Not All are Pleased
by Nicole Winfield
Wednesday Jul 31, 2013
The Francis Revolution is underway. Not everyone is pleased.
Four months into his papacy, Francis has called on young Catholics in the trenches to take up spiritual arms to shake up a dusty, doctrinaire church that is losing faithful and relevance. He has said women must have a greater role - not as priests, but a place in the church that recognizes that Mary is more important than any of the apostles. And he has turned the Vatican upside down, quite possibly knocking the wind out of a poisonously homophobic culture by merely uttering the word "gay" and saying: so what?
Pope�s Comments Push LGBTQ Equality Issues Forward
by David �Perry
Thursday Aug 1, 2013
Pope Francis stunned Catholics and several other denominations when he declared, "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?"
The Pontiff, speaking in Italian, was fielding questions from reporters during his return to Rome after a successful tour in Brazil when the question of gays in the priesthood, and the rumor of the "gay lobby" that supposedly forced his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI into retirement.
[Called Out Editors� Note:� We include this only to demonstrate the level of invective some so-called religious leaders will stoop to.]
Anti-gay evangelist accuses US Supreme Court judge of being a��homosexualist�
An anti-gay evangelist has written a column which accuses one of the US Supreme Court justices of being a �homosexualist� for ruling in favour of �gay rights in the past.
Archbishop of Detroit: Pope�s comments on gay people represent �no�change�
The Archbishop of Detroit has spoken out over excitement about Pope Francis� seemingly progressive comments on homosexuality, arguing that the pontiff �didn�t say anything different� to established Catholic teaching.
Openly gay minister ordained in Minneapolis
9:26 PM, Aug 25, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - A church in Minneapolis made history on Saturday by ordaining an openly gay minister for the first time.
Daniel Vigilante is now the minister of outreach at Trinity Community Church at 28th and Humboldt Avenue.
Church sign goes viral: ‘Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine’
The picture of the sign was viewed over a million times after it was posted on Reddit
An inclusive church in Canada has joined others using its sign to advertise a message of inclusion, and has found viral internet fame as a result.
The St John’s Anglican Church, erected the sign saying: “Jesus had two dads, and he turned out just fine!”.
Comment: Canada is embracing gay Muslims
Journalist Barry Dennison explores how a group of gay Muslims practice their faith during Ramadan in Canada.
After seeing numerous internet pictures of gay men being hung by the neck in Iran, it raised questions: How is Islam practiced in western society? Does the Canadian Government truly give everyone equal opportunity to believe as they choose?