Showing posts with label Gay and Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay and Religion. Show all posts

January 15, 2017

Anti Gay, Alleged Church Male Molester, Bishop Eddie Long Dies,63



 Eddie Long New Birth Missionary Mega Church

Bishop Eddie Long, the controversial (alleged young male sex molester) Georgia-based head of one of the nation’s largest mega churches, has died. He was 63.

Long died after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer, according to a statement by the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
  
At its peak New Birth Missionary Baptist Church had about 25,000 members going around the world preaching homophobia and change through prayer as they preached the gospel.

Long had a controversial past. In 2010, he and his church settled a lawsuit filed by four young men who accused him of pressuring them into sexual relationships while they were teenagers and members of his congregation. Long Settled and paid the young men to keep the case going to trial.

Long, who preached passionately against homosexuality for years, denied the allegations.
In 2011, Vanessa Long filed for divorce. Shortly afterward, Long told his followers he was taking some time off to work on his marriage.

“I do want you to know that this is, for me and my family, especially with me, one of the most difficult times and things I've had to face, and only because my strength, other than God, is in Miss Vanessa," he said at the time.

"And I want you to rest assured that I love her and she loves me. ... In all the things that I've ever had to deal with and being pastor, my rock has been to be able to come home to a virtuous woman who always had peace in my house... We’re going (to) work it out." he said.

In its statement the church called him "a family man and spiritual leader who was well respected and loved for his passion to unapologetically and courageously preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."
The couple later reconciled.

August 30, 2016

Gay Teens More Important than Religious Law


                                     


  
California’s ban on gay-conversion therapy for teens survived a free-speech challenge back in 2014. Now it’s survived another challenge claiming that the law targets religiously motivated conduct. The decision is legally correct -- but it’s a much closer case than the appeals court acknowledged. And it raises the extremely tricky question of how the state may regulate a psychiatric practice whose foundations are interwoven with religious beliefs.

The key to the free-speech decision from two years ago was that, California isn’t prohibiting speech per se. It’s outlawing a particular medical practice that happens to be accomplished in part through talking. Whether it’s a good idea or not, state legislatures have the legal authority to prohibit licensed providers from performing ineffective and potentially harmful medical treatments.

In other words, California almost certainly couldn’t ban an adult and a teen from sitting down together and talking to each other in a way that both believed would or could change the teen’s sexual orientation. Such a conversation would count as protected speech, outside the state’s authority to regulate. But when the conversation is instead treated as a medical therapy, it comes within the state’s authority to regulate the practice of medicine -- which is a course of conduct, even when it’s accomplished partly by the use of words.

Once they lost on free-speech grounds, the practitioners of gay-conversion therapy didn’t give up. They mounted a further challenge based on the establishment and free exercise clauses of the Constitution.

One advantage of the second challenge over the first is that it comes closer to capturing the subjective experience and motives of the practitioners of what they call “sexual orientation change efforts.” A 2009 report by the American Psychological Association said that “the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation.”

The same is probably true for the practitioners of such therapy. In an earlier era, the profession of psychiatry saw homosexuality as a curable disease. But now that the profession has largely abandoned this view, those medical professionals who maintain it are often not coincidentally deeply religious. They accept the biblical prohibition on homosexual conduct as morally binding. And they reason that a good God would not have imposed that prohibition unless it were possible for humans to adapt themselves so as to obey it.

It’s not an accident, therefore, that the religiously oriented Family Research Council, for example, advocates gay-conversion therapy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the practitioners’ religion-clause claims pretty summarily. The opinion first rejected the argument that the California ban violates the establishment clause by entangling the government with religion. It doesn’t, said the court, because it only targets clinical therapy. People remain free to pray with teens if they believe this may help them change their sexual orientation. This conclusion is certainly legally correct. The fact that some therapists might pray with patients in their sessions doesn’t mean the state can’t regulate the basic clinical course of conduct.

Then the court took on the more subtle question of whether it should matter that those who seek or perform conversion therapy are religiously motivated. The court admitted that there might be a constitutional problem if the law targeted only religiously motivated conduct. But it said that because the law includes all efforts to change sexual orientation, religiously motivated or otherwise, it doesn’t violate religious liberty. In other words, the court said, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that the primary effect of the law was to inhibit religion.

This issue is actually more complicated than the court made it sound. Suppose all or nearly all gay-conversion-therapy seekers and practitioners are religiously motivated -- an assumption that isn’t ridiculous. And suppose the state passed a law outlawing the practice on the ground that it was medically harmful -- while fully knowing that the practice is grounded in religious belief. Again, the assumption isn’t a heroic one. Would that violate the free exercise of religion?

The answer is controversial even among religious liberty scholars -- but it could well be yes. Compare a humanitarian ban on kosher or halal slaughter. In my hypothetical example, the legislature would know that believers practice such slaughter for religious reasons. The legislature’s own motives would be to make animal slaughter more humanitarian, say by requiring electrocution to kill the animal faster. Yet the overarching intended effect of the law would be to inhibit a religiously motivated practice. It’s possible that such a law might violate the free exercise clause, even if as written it applied to all slaughter, not just kosher or halal practices.

The point is that, when a social practice like medical therapy or animal slaughter is profoundly intertwined with religious motivation, the government can’t necessarily prohibit it just by saying that its own motives are secular -- even assuming they really are.

Yet the reason the court’s decision was nonetheless correct is that religious liberty isn’t absolute. Provided the state has a compelling interest in prohibiting a harmful practice, it’s allowed to prohibit it. The state could, for example, prohibit religiously motivated child sacrifice or widow-burning. Those practices could be entirely religious in nature -- but the state may still ban them because it has a compelling reason to combat the harm.

There’s a strong reason to believe that gay-conversion therapy for teens who can’t themselves fully consent is harmful. The state has a strong interest in prohibiting a potentially dangerous and unproven medical practice on that ground alone. It’s not that religious liberty isn’t implicated. It’s that it is overcome by other, stronger interests.

Noah Feldman

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners; But it does represents the view of adamfoxie Blog

August 29, 2016

A Pastor’s Son More Important than Empty Words About Love



Drew and Danny Cortez, on a recent visit with StoryCorps in Cypress, Calif.
StoryCorps
The Rev. Danny Cortez is a pastor. He also has a son who recently came out as gay. And when his teenage son came out to him in 2014, he did something more than express his support: He decided to talk to his Southern Baptist congregation about it — even though doing so likely meant getting kicked out of the church.
"That morning I came to church, my blood pressure was super high. I felt so much stress, and everyone was wondering what's going on," Cortez recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "But I remember as I was speaking, I felt empowered like I hadn't felt in such a long time. I knew that what I was sharing that Sunday was important."
What's more, his son Drew was there in the pews to listen.
"I felt vulnerable," Drew says. "I just remember thinking what was going to happen after this. This is our life now."
At the time, Danny told his congregation about the moment his son came out:
"I was driving my son Drew to school, and he turned over to me and he says, 'Dad, I'm gay.' I remember I just turned around and I hugged him so hard. And I said, 'I love you so much, son.' ...
"And so when I was asked a question recently, 'How does it feel to know that you might be terminated in a few weeks?' I said, 'I'm at peace. I'm at peace because I know my heart has been enlarged.' "
"When I sat down," Danny says in his StoryCorps conversation, "I felt like this weight had just been lifted out of me, and people knew where we stood."

At the same time, he says he kept in mind the fact that his son's struggle has been more difficult than this own. Drew, for his part, says he often felt regarded as a problem — even hearing his name paired with the word "abomination" in the same sentence.
"As a father it was so difficult to hear that, because we felt like they didn't know our son," Danny says.
"There's part of me that says, yes, I want to love people that disagree with me, who disagree with us. But the other part of me now is asking, 'But how can I do it in way that honors you?' "
As a result of Danny's sermon, the congregation split. Danny and other members went on to form an LGBT-inclusive, nondenominational church, separate from the Southern Baptist Conference.
Audio produced for Weekend Edition by John White.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

August 20, 2016

A Gay Corrupt Archbishop Still Corrupt



    John Nienstedt
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis/David Hrbacek 
Former Archbishop John Nienstedt 
      
 
When allegations of a sex-abuse coverup began to leak out of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis a couple years ago, they were always accompanied by another, seemingly unrelated set of accusations: the bumbling attempts of Archbishop John Nienstedt, then the leader of the archdiocese, to have sex with men. 

“The archbishop has been known to go ‘cruising’ (and I am not referring to the type of cruising one does on a ship in the Caribbean) and, on one occasion, purchased ‘poppers’ (and not the exploding candy preferred by elementary school students) and followed another gentleman to his car for, well, the type of activity that men purchase ‘poppers’ for…,” wrote Jennifer Haselberger, the whistleblower whose allegations prompted Nienstedt’s resignation last summer. On her website, Haselberger helpfully links to Wikipedia’s entry on poppers: basically disco-era sex drugs.

In late July, more stories of Nienstedt’s “promiscuous gay lifestyle,” as a fellow priest put it, were released by prosecutors. Most relate to his time in Detroit, where he moved up the clerical ladder in the late 1970s and ’80s. He’s said to have frequented a gay bar just across the border in Canada, whimsically called the Happy Tap.


But even if the allegations are true, it doesn't mean that Nienstedt is sympathetic to sexual abuse — a link between homosexuality and priestly pederasty is as unproven as it is enduring. Nor does it mark Nienstedt as unusual. Catholic researchers estimate that as many as 58 percent of priests are homosexuals. To confirm that he desired men would be like discovering that the pope is Catholic.

But Nienstedt is not just any priest, of course. He staked his tenure in Minnesota fighting marriage equality — and using church money to do so. No other archbishop in the country has gone so far as to condemn the families and friends of gays and lesbians for abetting “a grave evil.” 

Nienstedt, who now lives in California, writing and editing for a Catholic institute, has publicly denied that he is gay. He recently declared, as no straight guy ever has: “I am a heterosexual man who has been celibate my entire life.”

For gay Catholics, if Nienstedt does share their desires, the deceit would be heartbreaking, “a sickening level of hypocrisy,” as one described it. It may also help explain why Nienstedt not only neglected the sins of priests, but covered them up, a pattern of denial that would be hard to fathom if it were not so deeply personal.  

A different era
When gay Catholics in the Twin Cities first came together, in the late 1970s, they asked to meet with then-Archbishop John Roach. They were looking for compassion and understanding, if not acceptance — and to a remarkable degree they got it. 

With Roach’s blessing, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) — an independent group of local Catholics based in St. Paul — introduced a sort of sensitivity training in parishes and in nine of the 11 local Catholic high schools. It was intended to help priests, teachers, and administrators better serve gays and lesbians, and it lasted for nearly 20 years. 

“During the peak of our work,” one of the group’s co-founders told me several years ago, “we became almost mainstream.” In 1989, the archdiocese awarded its Archbishop John Ireland Award to another CPCSM co-founder for his social-justice activism on behalf of gays and lesbians. 

The efforts paid off: “If it was okay to bash someone in the past, it isn’t now,” reported the director of Catholic Education and Formation Ministries in 1998. “We’re trying to teach kids what’s right.” When conservative activists objected that same year, the archdiocese defended the Safe Schools initiative. 

Michael Bayly, a gay Catholic who until last year headed up the CPCSM, began compiling this history in 2009, shortly after Nienstedt became archbishop. He worried at the time that “there are some who would like to downplay or even deny such a relationship.”

But the church’s openness wasn’t limited to the Twin Cities. Bayly recalls that in 1994, when he moved to Minnesota, a bishop from Detroit came to talk with gay and lesbian Catholics on how — to quote the advertisement for the dialogue — a “wholeness in sexual expression” can be “deeply human and truly spiritual.”

In fact, Detroit was known as one of the most open-minded districts of the church. And as Nienstedt was starting out there, he was imbued with its liberal spirit. 

Promoted and protected 
In 1977, as the era of disco and poppers was in full swing, Nienstedt was 30, a newly minted priest in Detroit, and he became the secretary to Cardinal John Dearden, characterized by the New York Times as a “leading liberal voice in the Church.” Nienstedt himself described his mentor’s views to the Times as aligned “with the mind of the Church.” 

But something changed after Dearden’s retirement in 1980, when Nienstedt went to work and study in the Vatican, which was shifting toward the neo-conservatism of the new Pope John Paul II. As a leading critic of Nienstedt has noted, the ambitious young priest saw first-hand “the changes John Paul II sought in the church and the kind of bishops whom he wanted.” When he returned to Detroit in 1985, Nienstedt’s new boss was a favorite of the pope, and, sure enough, in time Nienstedt adopted his views. 

For pushing back on gays in the church, among other issues, Nienstedt would be promoted and promoted and promoted again. He would also be protected: Among the revelations in the documents unsealed last month is that the Vatican envoy to the United States quashed an investigation into Nienstedt’s homosexual activity and ordered evidence destroyed.

The evidence that exists, in the form of corroborated witness accounts, suggests that Nienstedt spent his time in Minnesota, from 2001 to 2015, living a precarious double life: indulging his homosexual tendencies, even as he railed against them.

Haselberger, who worked closely with Nienstedt in the archdiocese office as an adviser on church law, believes his proclivities help explain why he coddled abusive priests — he may have been attracted to them. And the so-called Delegate for Safe Environment, a priest overseeing child-abuse prevention in the archdiocese, came to the same conclusion about Nienstedt two years ago: being gay “affected his judgment.” 

But Nienstedt’s silence protected far more priests than he could have known or been attracted to — dozens across Minnesota. And aside from suspicions of a relationship with one of the most notorious, Curtis Wehmeyer, his intervention — or lack of it — appears less about personal favor and more about institutional preservation. He saw sin, and looked the other way. 

Instead, the deal that Nienstedt long ago made for the benefit of his career — to follow the church into conservatism — now seems a kind of ecclesiastical quid pro quo: if he covered for the sins of the church, the church would cover for his. The internal investigation of him, reportedly quashed by the Vatican, had been his idea — he was that confident that his name would be cleared. 

But the deal may also have been a trap. By closing the door to homosexuality, marking its expression as the work of Satan and the most aberrant of sins, Nienstedt had nowhere to go with his own desires. He left himself no way out.  

At the end, as multiple investigations closed in, Nienstedt still stuck to the pattern, claiming both that he was unaware of abusers under his watch and that any accusations of homosexuality were merely retaliation for his anti-gay policies. He had no choice but to double down on denial. 


July 6, 2016

Christians Dress as Zombies Preach to Homosexuals Warn about Eternal Hell



Featured Image
 Christians hiding in Zombie costumes to preach the Truth of god and evil of homosexuals. By the way Zombie is something I personally have always called them, so Iam delighted that they agreed with me without even knowing it. Adam(If you have to hide to tell the truth something is wrong with the truth)



(LifeSiteNews) -- Toronto Gay-Pride revelers who thought they were receiving free condoms and sex tips from gay zombies in green skintight suits during the parade on Sunday afternoon were actually receiving info packets about the physical and spiritual dangers of homosexual practices from a group of concerned Christians. 
Half-a-dozen Christians led by activist Bill Whatcott paid the $100 fee to parade organizers to register "Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association" so that they could move more easily along the parade route to deliver their message. 
The group said their goal in participating in the event was twofold: First, to be a prophetic and unambiguous witness against the unfettered celebration of homosexuality, and second, to offer people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a way out through a call to repent and to turn to Jesus Christ to be saved. 
“Our delivery was a bit creative,” said Whatcott to LifeSiteNews, “but, we wanted to give people this message because it is truthful.”

Image
Bill Whatcott dressed as a 'Gay Zombie' handing out medical and Gospel information about same-sex activity. 

Whatcott said that as a street preacher in other Pride parades he seldom handed out more than a few dozen pamphlets. But this time, dressed as gay zombies, he and his crew managed to hand out thousands of pamphlets. 
“I asked them if they wanted ‘Zombie safe sex.’ Everyone loved it. But, if you try to give out a Gospel pamphlet, they swear at you and throw slushies on your forehead. But, give them some wackadoddle thing that looks like a condom, and they really can’t grab it fast enough. I had three thousand out in 20 minutes,” he said. 
Whatcott described the handout as “pretty direct hitting stuff” that was also “charitable” because it offers people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a “way out.”
[Links to pamphets can be found on Whatcott's blog. WARNING GRAPHIC]
The frontside of the pamphlet shows graphic images of diseases associated with same-sex behaviors, including anal warts and AIDS.
“Natural law is clear, homosexuality is incompatible with human nature. Disease, death and confusion are the sad and sordid realities of the homosexual lifestyle. The ‘Gay Zombies’ are concerned about the spiritual, psychological and physical welfare of all potential homosexual pride attendees, so we want to give you this accurate information and encourage you to abstain from the homosexuality,” states the pamphlet. 
On the backside, the pamphlet states: “The rejection of true marriage is also in direct opposition to God’s law and it is our duty to warn you that those who choose to rebel against the God who created them, do so to their eternal peril. For those reading this Gospel package we also want to let you know there is a God who loves you, and who is real, and who has made a way for you to come to Him.” 
Whatcott said that same-sex attracted people need to know the medical facts about the practices they engage in. 
“We don’t feel that this message should be closeted and that we should be bullied into silence,” he said. 
In 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada found Whatcott guilty of “hate speech” against homosexuals for pamphlets in which he warned that “children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgment if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong.”
Whatcott called his most recent pamphlets a statement against the Supreme Court ruling. 
This year’s parade was attended for the first time by a Prime Minster of Canada, Justin Trudeau.  
This year’s event was also unusual for the route being blocked by members of the pro-homosexual Black Lives Matter Toronto group, who refused to move until a Pride Toronto representative signed a document agreeing to the group's demands. Among the demands were that police should no longer be allowed to represent themselves in future Pride parades and that more Pride funding be made available for black gay groups. 

June 16, 2016

Pew Survey: In USA Muslims More Likely to Support Gay Marriage than Evangelicals



                                                                   






It may be mystifying to conservatives and libertarians that a good chunk of angry response from the left over the Orlando shooting is directed toward conservatives, not just about gun control but over the way they've historically treated gays and lesbians.

PollPew Research


















It is most obviously true that even to the extent that Christian social conservatism has been hostile to acceptance of gays and lesbians, it has certainly not risen to the horrifying levels of Sunday's attack by Omar Matteen, which he dedicated to the Islamic State. Certainly there have been radical Christians within the United States calling for violence against homosexuals. But their calls to arms have been ignored and are not institutionalized by authorities (with prison terms and even executions) as they frequently are in Muslim-dominated countries.
There has nevertheless been plenty of generalizations about the attitudes of Muslims toward homosexuality that has led some on the right to wonder why people are yelling at themover what happened on Saturday. I agree with conservatives that trying to deflect away from what actually happened to hobby-horse issues like gun control is an awful thing to do.



But a couple of Pew polls might help explain what's going on here. It is true that there is a tremendous amount of hostility to gays and lesbians in countries where Islam is a dominant religion. A Pew poll from 2013 had the vast majority of Muslims in 36 countries overseas declaring that homosexuality is immoral. When I say "vast majority," I mean numbers like 90 percent.
But a recent poll in 2015, also by Pew, shows that American Muslims are much less likely to share this attitude. By comparison, 45 percent of American Muslims approve of homosexuality, and 42 percent of Muslims support same-sex marriage recognition. In both cases, a greater number disapprove of acceptance than approve. But then, so do Evangelical Christians in numbers greater than American Muslims. Only 36 percent of Evangelical Christians approve of homosexuality and only 28 percent of Evangelical Christians support same-sex marriage recognition.
The good news is that support for acceptance of gays and lesbians in America has increased in all faiths between 2007 and 2014. And the point of this post is not necessarily to hold up social conservatives to criticism over an incident they had nothing to do with.
Rather, these numbers help demonstrate why exactly we cannot treat American Muslims as though they're inherently suspicious and prone to jump into extremism and jihads. American Muslims are not necessarily more conservative than many of our country's Christians. There are a whole host of different reasons for this (including the likelihood that Muslims immigrate to the United States in the first place to get away from extreme social conservatism within their own religion). Americans (including gay Americans) who interact regularly with Muslim citizens are probably less likely to see them as being profoundly different. Because they're not—in the United States.
Add to this mix information that Mateen apparently declared allegiance to different Islamist groups who are opposed to ISIS, like Hezbollah. In the end, Mateen may be a vicious garden-variety psychopath that we're treating exotically because he declared a connection to a terrorist group that hates the United States and has called for attacks against it. But in reality he may well be more reminiscent of serial killer Ted Bundy blaming his behavior on porn addiction.
The Islamic State is a violent, terrorist group (I realize that's the mother of all "to be sure" caveats), but it's important not to treat it like it's a virus that people of Muslim faith can just catch. American Muslims don't share the attitudes of the Islamic State, and so treating them with skepticism, generalizing about them, and also expecting some sort of collective responsibility that all Muslims must be held accountable for the policing those who share the faith, doesn't seem any more helpful than more gun control regulations. It's fear-based collectivist attitudes from the right and it reads like so many other historical fears about how various minorities will drag America down. Such generalizations feed a culture war (just like the gun control arguments) rather than examining the roots and potential solutions for the problem.

June 1, 2016

Evangelical Rock Star Comes Out Gay


                                                                           
Trey Pearson (Facebook)
Usually a story of a Christian singer coming out would not make the pages of this blog but on this occasion you have someone who had a strong following for many years.  But that alone was not it. What swayed the decision was this was an important article with something to say besides a gay person finding out that they are gay which happens everyday in this country.  It was reading the comments to the letter from Trey announcing to his  followers that he published.  I expected the usual tearing down that we hear from these people and the politicians they elect.  l thought I would read about all he need is more prayer or to be baptized again or to wait for Jesus to talk to you and show you the way(in spanish it means and which Ive heard many times “Espera que Dios te hable”) Which actually means never. Just wait as you are and wait for god to talk…that’s what many kids go through  and are told by their religious parents if they don’t try to change them first, wait. Many spent their lives waiting to be change and it never happens and they end up living someone else’s wish of how their lives should be. Talk about a life wasted.

What I read was an array of educated, compassionate comments. One said  ‘his coming out means is not a matter of choice because he chose to be straight and couldn’t (that was my case), he prayed to god and was not changed, so it’s not a matter of prayer and god and waiting. Because he is a family man he and gays are not anti family.’ 
I thought that maybe this is an indication that things are changing for real in the Christian and Evangelical quarters. I keep reading about it but I have not seen any indications until now. 
                                                                         _*_

“I don’t mean to cry. It’s just been such a long time coming.”

Trey Pearson, 35, was overcome with emotion halfway into our first interview, and it is easy to understand why. For the past 15 years, he’s been the lead singer of the popular Christian rock band “Everyday Sunday.” But he decided to put his career on the line this week and admit to his faithful fans that he is gay.

“I finally decided to come out because I couldn’t keep trying to be something that I wasn’t,” he tells me.

Pearson’s announcement is no small story. Since 2001, “Everyday Sunday” has sold around a quarter of a million albums. His song “Wake Up! Wake Up!” was the most played Christian rock song of 2007, and his 2009 album, “Best Night of Our Lives,” broke onto the coveted Billboard 200 chart. Pearson has toured in all 50 states and 20 countries, playing with top Christian musicians such as Toby Mac, Switchfoot, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp and others. 

(614) Magazine, an entertainment and culture magazine in Columbus, Ohio, will tell Pearson’s story in a 12-page cover story for their upcoming June 2016 issue. His narrative will ring familiar to many who grew up in a religious community. Pearson raised in a conservative Christian home where he was taught that sexual orientation was a matter of choice. Though he knew from an early age that he was attracted to other males, he attempted to suppress his feelings and “be straight.”

“I never wanted to be gay,” he tells (614). “I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it was never an option for me.”

Nearly eight years ago, Pearson married a woman in hopes of achieving the kind of straight dream-life his community would support. Though he and his wife had two children, his hopes never materialized and Pearson realized he “was never going to be who my wife needed me to be.”

“I was not making it an option to be gay so I could be loyal to her and my children,” he told me. “But then I realized the only way I was ever going to be my best for them was to be healthy myself.”

As Pearson started accepting his sexual orientation, he sought guidance from other Christian leaders. The first person he told was pastor Jonathan Martin, author of “How to Survive a Shipwreck,” who helped him connect with a counselor. His mentor and friend Rob Bell, former pastor and author of “How to Be Here,” also helped him process.

While Pearson says he will no longer live a lie, he is not abandoning his faith. The rocker says he still prays regularly and reads the Bible. He even once memorized the entire epistle of James. His study of the Scriptures, he says, has led him to believe that the handful of Bible verses that directly address homosexuality do not prohibit the kind of loving, committed gay relationships known to the modern world.

“There is absolutely no conflict with accepting who I am and following Jesus,” he said. “God wants me to be healthy, authentic, whole, integrated and my truest self.”

Pearson’s shift places him in the center of a growing movement of popular Christian musicians who are coming out as gay and are advocating for a more open and accepting posture in the church. Ray Boltz, whose songs were staples in evangelical churches throughout the 1990s, came out as gay in 2004. Grammy-nominated Anthony Williams  became the first openly-gay gospel artist in 2009. Jennifer Knapp, another Grammy-nominated Christian artist admitted she was a lesbian one year later. And in 2014, popular worship music artist Vicky Beeching told The Independent that she too was a lesbian.

These musicians paid a hefty price. Since Christian music fans tend to be conservative and believe that homosexual acts are sinful, you won’t hear their music played in most churches or on Christian radio these days.

Pearson accepts that his announcement could mark the end of his music career too, but he hopes it will signal a fresh start instead. He plans to continue making music and will release a new single later this year. He will perform at Wild Goose, the Christian festival in July, and hopes to become a voice within the burgeoning “gay Christian” movement.

“I definitely know how hard it was on my journey to be able to accept myself, and how other people’s voices and stories helped me. So I absolutely want to be a voice for other people,” Pearson says. “I know there are more and more Christians that realize how important this is, and I hope I can join with them in seeing this change.”

Pearson’s journey begins today with a single step and the following letter written to those who’ve supported his music over the years.

To my fans and friends:
Religion News Service

Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are.

These last several months have been the hardest–but have also ended up being the most freeing months—of my life.

To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.

I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that. I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence.  I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.

I had always romanticized the idea of falling in love with a woman; and having a family had always been my dream. In many ways, that dream has come true. But I have also come to realize a lot of time has passed in my life pushing away, blocking out and not dealing with real feelings going on inside of me. I have tried not to be gay for more than 20 years of my life. I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David. I thought and hoped that such male intimacy could fulfill that void I felt in my desire for male companionship. I always thought if I could find these intimate friendships, then that would be enough.

Then I thought everything would come naturally on my wedding night. I honestly had never even made out with a girl before I got married. Of course, it felt anything but natural for me. Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. Still, I tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted and that this would work. I thought all of those other feelings would stay away if I could just do this right.

When Lauren and I got married, I committed to loving her to the best of my ability, and I had the full intention of spending the rest of my life with her. Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.

I have intensely mixed feelings about the changes that have resulted in my life. While I regret the way I was taught to handle this growing up, how much it has hurt me and the unintentional pain I have brought Lauren, I wouldn’t have the friendship I now have with her, and we wouldn’t have our two amazing, beautiful children. But if I keep trying to push this down it will end up hurting her even more.

I am never going to be able to change how I am, and no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it’s never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay. Lauren has been the most supportive, understanding, loving and gracious person I could ever ask for, as I have come to face this. And now I am trying to figure out how to co-parent while being her friend, and how to raise our children.

I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.

In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.

I hope people will hear my heart, and that I will still be loved. I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have. This is a part of me I have come to be able to accept, and now it is a part of me that you know as well. I trust God to help love do the rest.

– Trey

This story was published on Religion News by Jonathan Merritt
Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

May 15, 2016

Anti Gay Priest Caught on Sex Application Looking for Guys


rory coyle
‘The one in black'


A priest in Northern Ireland known for his anti-gay sermons has taken a leave of absence after being caught with a Grindr profile.
The church learned about the indiscretions of Father Rory Coyle of Armagh, about 40 miles from Belfast, when an unnamed man contacted a local Catholic newspaper and revealed he’d sexted with the priest more than once. “He spoke to me on Grindr a few times and kept wanting to come to my mum’s house for sex with me while she was at work,” the whistleblower later told Thinking Catholicism. “He sent me lots of naked pics of himself, too. When I realized who he was I sent them to a journalist along with the screenshots of his sex chat.”
Coyle admitted in his texts that he had participated in orgies, gone to gay beaches and rented rooms by the hour for trysts. His profile included identifiable photos and even his cell-phone number, but he didn’t mention he was a priest, merely a “lecturer.”
The man stated that, though he was an adult now, he had been a student at Saint Catherine’s College, where Coyle is a chaplain.
“He’s just a hypocrite. Denouncing gay people from the pulpit and then shagging guys when no one is looking.”
Soon after the screenshots were sent to the paper, Coyle’s Grindr account and his Facebook page were deactivated. His photo was also briefly removed from the Armagh Parish’s website.
“Father Rory Coyle asked Archbishop Eamon Martin for time off to obtain personal and spiritual support,” a spokesman for the Archdiocese said in a statement. “Following this, on March 22, he asked the Archbishop to extend his leave so that he could ’engage in a period of personal discernment and receive further help.’ He is currently on leave of absence”.

December 17, 2015

How Can a Gay Catholic Couple Live with Faith and Church



                                                                        


Because their Catholic faith is against same-sex marriage, Bryan Victor and Thomas Molina-Duarte made their wedding vows this summer before a Protestant minister in a Detroit Episcopal church.

Those in attendance included many family members, including Victor’s uncle, who is a Catholic priest and Macomb County pastor. The Rev. Ronald Victor did not officiate but was there because, he told his nephew, the Catholic Church “needs more examples of gay holiness.”

When Victor and Molina-Duarte attend mass every Sunday, the couple go to an east side Detroit Catholic church, where Bryan Victor’s mom and dad join them in the pew. In their shared Catholic faith,  Victor and Molina-Duarte find spiritual sustenance. And at their parish, they’ve also found acceptance.

“We remain in the church rather than leaving,” said Bryan Victor, 30, a Wayne State University doctoral student in social work. “The reason is that it’s my faith. It’s one of my guides. It’s how I treat people. It gives me a deep sense of community.” 

The practice of his Catholic faith, said Molina-Duarte, 29,  a leadership coordinator for the Highland Park Ruth Ellis Center, which serves many LGBT youth, "is right and life-affirming for me.

"If it challenges things," said Molina-Duarte, "that’s more of an afterthought.”

But the Catholic Church is being universally challenged from the pews to the pulpit, by the evolving ways society and many everyday Catholics include and welcome LGBT people.

It was a year of triumph for the LGBT community because the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal throughout the country. Yet gay Catholics still wrestle with their church’s condemnation of homosexuality as “disordered” and the church’s prohibition against same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis has signaled a more inclusive tone toward LGBT people, through his words and actions, even as his open-arms position draws fire from some conservative Catholics. But doors continue to open.

In 2012, Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn overruled an Austrian priest who wanted to ban a gay Catholic man, in a civil registered domestic partnership with another man, from taking his seat on the parish council after other parishioners elected him.

Retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a longtime advocate for liberal Catholic causes, often describes how he came to be an outspoken supporter of gay rights in the years after his brother came out as a gay man.  When Gumbleton’s elderly mother asked him if her gay son, in a committed relationship with another man the family had come to know and love,  was “going to hell,” Gumbleton assured her otherwise.

“That’s how God wanted him to be. That’s who he is,” Gumbleton said he told her, as he spoke Saturday at a meeting of the Fortunate Families support group for Catholic families with gay family members. The group is not officially recognized by the Catholic Church.

Gumbleton said Catholic teaching has long allowed Catholics to let their consciences, in part, be their guide in participating in the church's rituals and sacraments, even when they may be at odds with church teachings. Gumbleton predicted Catholic teaching against same-sex unions eventually will change, as he noted did its onetime support of slavery and capital punishment.

“It’s clear the movement is there," said Gumbleton, "but it takes a long time for the teaching to permeate the whole church, and people will fight it."

Society’s changing norms, however, will not change church teaching that sex is for a man and a woman united in marriage, said Catholic moral theologian Janet Smith, a professor at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary and an adviser to the Vatican's Pontifical Council on the Family.

Jesus encountered many who “were misusing their sexuality,” said Smith, noting that refers to  "cohabitors, adulterers, fornicators, you name it."
 

“He treated them very lovingly, and he wants them under his roof," said Smith, "but his words to them were that they should repent and sin no more.”

To receive the Catholic sacrament of communion at mass, said Smith, Catholics should be in a state of “sanctifying grace.”  That means, said Smith, that “you don’t have on your soul any of what we call sins that involve serious rejections of God’s plan for the world, including the church's teachings on sexuality."

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said through a spokesman that he couldn't comment for this story without knowing more specifics about the men. Officially, the archdiocese offers the ministry program Courage, to urge gay Catholics to abstain from sex; and another program, EnCourage, to counsel Catholic families with gay members. 

                                                                         

 
A card that Tom Molina-Duarte, 28 and husband Bryan Victor 30 received from friend after their marriage. They have the card on display on the mantle above the fireplace in their Detroit, Michigan home on Saturday, October 3 2015. The couple married two months ago but had been dating four years prior. They say that their Catholic faith is very important to them, "we were driven to our marriage by our faith and not by the marriage equality law," said Molina-Duarte.  (Photo: Eric Seals,Detroit Free Press)
At the men's wedding ceremony, family was in force.

“They are two very holy guys,” Catholic priest Ronald (Ron) Victor said of his nephew and nephew-in-law. “I do see their union as being sacred and sacramental, in the sense that it reflects God’s love.”

“I do see their union as being sacred and sacramental, in the sense that it reflects God’s love.”
Ronald Victor, Catholic priest
To officiate at their wedding could have led to discipline by his superiors.  But Ron Victor, the pastor of St. Isidore Catholic parish in Macomb, said he had considered blessing their union privately, although his nephew told him the couple didn’t want anything clandestine or controversial.

The priest and his nephew became close when Ron Victor was assigned to a St. Clair Shores parish, where Bryan attended elementary school.  After the school day, instead of going to latchkey to wait for his working parents to pick him up, Bryan went to the rectory.

“It’s been one of those things when somebody you know and love a lot comes out, it kind of changes your perspective,” said Ron Victor.

Ron Victor said he was moved by the wedding ceremony, and at the same time, “a little angry and a little disappointed that we couldn’t do it in a church where I could have officiated.”

He  said he believes many priests would be open to blessing same-sex unions, although “they can’t be real public with that.”

Ron Victor said he’s comfortable being public with it now. Through his priesthood, he said he has tried to practice what Pope Francis so poignantly and pointedly captured with his famous observation about gay Catholics.

The priest said he doesn’t know the transgressions or every sin of all who present themselves for Communion. “As long as they’re seeking God, who am I to judge,” said the priest, citing the pope's memorable expression.

The church calls gay sex "intrinsically disordered" because it cannot result in procreation. Yet Ron Victor said the caring, monogamous relationship between his nephew and Molina-Duarte "reflects God's love."

"While it’s not necessarily life-giving in a biological way," said the priest, "it’s life-giving in other ways.”

Other members of the couple's families agree.

Lennie Victor, Bryan’s father and Ron’s sibling, said he’s never heard his brother the priest “tell people how they should behave or what they should believe.”

“If the church makes you choose between your family and your faith,” said Lennie Victor, of him and his wife Maureen,  “I guess we voted for family.”

“I’m very proud of them,” said Nancy Kiely, Molina-Duarte’s mother. She’s a nurse whose Catholic volunteer work was recently honored by the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn. “Hopefully, things will change. I don’t know whether it will be in my lifetime. Honestly, it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to.”

Pope Francis, said Molina-Duarte, “completely flips the script” when it comes to ministering to gay Catholics.

Pope Francis, while not changing church teaching against gay unions, has made outreach to LGBT people a hallmark of his papacy. When the pope visited the U.S. in September, he met privately with a former student, who is gay, and the man’s partner.  But that came after another revelation that confused and contradicted previous papal images of the pope's outreach to gays —  when Francis also privately met with the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses.
 
Still, said Bryan Victor, the pope "doesn’t operate out of fear … and has a gospel of encounter with those on the margins.”

Although Catholic teaching says their union and their love are sins, both men say they are at home, and even at peace, in a Catholic church. They have not encountered condemnation or cruelty. Only one relative refused the invitation to their wedding because of opposition to homosexuality.

Both men are Catholic school graduates, and both stopped going to church as young men wrestling with coming out.

“I think for my own mental health, I stepped away,” said Molina-Duarte.

Said Victor: “I came out because I was suffocating and clinically depressed. Living in the closet is a health hazard.”

The two met in late 2010 through a mutual friend in Chicago, where Molina-Duarte was living at the time. Together they found a mutual commitment to social justice issues. They had a long-distance relationship as Victor studied for a master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan. Victor found himself missing the ritual and inspiration he found at Catholic mass, and Molina-Duarte began to join him at services in Ann Arbor.

“I felt too unattached from regular church life,” said Victor. “I wanted to embed myself in the life of the church.”

And because of Victor’s faith, Molina-Duarte said he could imagine a spiritual home for himself.

“I hadn’t met someone my age who was gay and had a deep and respectful reverence for the church,” said Molina-Duarte.  “Bryan was able to have both.”

“I hadn’t met someone my age who was gay and had a deep and respectful reverence for the church. Bryan was able to have both.”
Thomas Molina-Duarte
Victor and Molina-Duarte moved to Detroit in 2012.  They attended masses at a few parishes, but felt most engaged and most welcomed at St. Charles Borromeo near Van Dyke and Kercheval in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood.   Bryan’s paternal grandparents grew up in the parish and were married there.

The congregation is integrated and active, with outreach to group homes for  disabled and elderly people on East Grand Blvd.  At St. Charles, at the point in the mass where Catholics exchange the Sign of Peace handshake, there’s a five-minute interlude where folks leave the pews to hug familiar faces and strangers alike.

In this light-filled sanctuary, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Victor said he finds a welcoming place for  “the real-lived experience of people” — and people from society's margins and the poor.

That they present themselves to regularly receive Communion is not a sin, both men say.

"We examine our consciences and we know that our love for each other does not take us out of a relationship with God," said Victor. "It takes us into a closer relationship with God.  And for that reason,we feel comfortable presenting ourselves for Communion."

Their sexuality is God-given, said Molina-Duarte. “You’re called to be in community and seek justice and how can you do that in a closet?”

“I carry that Gospel message out to the secular world, and my work is reflective of the church,” said Victor.  “I am sustained and nourished by the church. I’m sharing my gifts and talents within the church.”

On a recent Sunday, Molina-Duarte celebrated his 29th birthday with morning mass.  The week before, his dad had visited from Connecticut and joined him and Victor at St. Charles.  To mark Molina-Duarte's birthday, Bryan Victor, and Bryan’s parents Lennie and Maureen, were in attendance before a birthday breakfast.

It’s practice at the end of Sunday mass at St. Charles for the pastor, Capuchin priest Rev. Ray Stadmeyer, to ask if any mass-goers are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. Molina-Duarte jumped up from the pew and bounded down the aisle.  Bryan Victor whispered: “I don’t know anybody who loves birthdays more.”

At the front of the church, Brother Ray as he’s called, extended his hand out.   Stadmeyer did not want to comment for this article, but this is what he told his congregation, before they sang "Happy Birthday" to Molina-Duarte.

“Bless our brother Thomas. Bless him in his relationship,” said Stadmeyer. “. .. We thank him and Bryan for all the goodness they bring to us. May they know God’s tender graces.” 

To find out more about the Archdiocese of Detroit's Courage and EnCourage programs to urge gay Catholics to abstain from sex, visit aod.org. To find out about the Fortunate Families group, which urges the Catholic church to change its teachings, visit fortunatefamiliesdetroit.com.

, Detroit Free Press

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