Showing posts with label Religion/homophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion/homophobia. Show all posts

March 14, 2017

Court Clarifies that Discrimination Against Gay Workers is Not Illegal








In a setback for gay rights advocates hoping for an expansion of workplace discrimination protections, a federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that employers aren’t prohibited from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, doesn’t protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The case was one of two that Lambda Legal had pending before federal appeals courts — along with an Indiana case at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago — that the LGBT rights group had hoped would mark a significant step forward for gay rights.

Jameka Evans in April 2015 sued her former employer, Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah, alleging that she was discriminated against and effectively forced from her job as a security guard because she is a lesbian and didn’t conform to gender norms.

Visiting Judge Jose E. Martinez wrote in the majority opinion that the court was bound by precedent set by a 1979 case that said Title VII doesn’t prohibit “discharge for homosexuality.” Other circuits have also found that sexual orientation is not a protected class under that law, Martinez wrote.

An 11th Circuit decision from 2011 said discrimination against a transgender employee because of gender non-conformity amounted to sex discrimination and was not allowed, and Evans’ attorneys argued it should also protect gays and lesbians who claimed discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a party to that opinion, argued in a concurring opinion that the transgender case, which involved a legislative aide who was fired after telling her boss she planned to undergo a gender transition, was based on behavior rather than status.

“A gay individual may establish with enough factual evidence that she experienced sex discrimination because her behavior deviated from a gender stereotype held by an employer, but our review of that claim would rest on behavior alone,” Pryor wrote.

Pryor also argued that it was up to Congress, not the courts, to declare sexual orientation a protected class.

Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote in a dissenting opinion that it is time for the court to recognize that the law prohibits workplace discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation because that is discrimination based on sex.

“Plain and simple, when a woman alleges, as Evans has, that she has been discriminated against because she is a lesbian, she necessarily alleges that she has been discriminated against because she failed to conform to the employer’s image of what women should be — specifically, that women should be sexually attracted to men only,” Rosenbaum wrote.

Evans’ lawsuit also included a claim that she was targeted because of gender-based behavior, notably dressing like a man and having a male haircut. The majority opinion said that could amount to a claim that’s not based on her sexual orientation and instructed the lower court to allow her to amend her initial lawsuit to try to bolster that claim.

In a similar case, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in July upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a 2014 lawsuit filed by Kimberly Hively of South Bend, Indiana, a former part-time instructor who said Ivy Tech Community College in her hometown didn’t hire her full time because she is a lesbian.

The full 7th Circuit vacated that panel’s decision, and all 11 of the court’s judges reheard the case in November. The ruling has not yet been announced, but several of the judges seemed to signal during oral arguments that they were ready to broaden the scope of the 53-year-old civil rights law.

Lambda Legal attorneys said they plan to ask the 11th Circuit to vacate the Evans ruling and have the full 11-judge court rehear the case, like the 7th Circuit did in the Hively case.

“This is not the end of the road for us and certainly not for Jameka,” attorney Greg Nevins said in an emailed statement. “There is no way to draw a line between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination based on gender nonconformity because not being straight is gender-nonconforming, period.”

AP

March 12, 2017

Planning a Trip? Here Are 77 Countries Were Being Gay is Illegal





 No.64 Jamaica. Here the laws and many of it’s citizens have gone after the LGBT Community in deadly ways even though it is close to the USA and has roots to a Gay friendly west.




By staying away from these countries not only impacts your amount of safety if you are LGBT but it also impacts the money they get to prosecute and persecute gays. In some of these countries it wont matter much but in others in which tourism is very important you could be sending a message, particularly if you go thru the process of letting your travel agent or their turism office know why you wont go there. But if you just avoid it they will feel a pinch and will figure out from where is coming from. Only you can make the choice and the information provided here is to help you make a good choice for you. 


Africa

1 Algeria
2 Angola
3 Botswana
4 Burundi
5 Cameroon
6 Comoros
7 Egypt
8 Eritrea
9 Ethiopia
10 Gambia
11 Ghana
12 Guinea
13 Kenya
14 Liberia
15 Libya
16 Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
17 Mauritania
18 Mauritius
19 Morocco
20 Namibia
21 Nigeria
22 Senegal
23 Sierra Leone
24 Somalia
25 South Sudan
26 Sudan
27 Swaziland
28 Tanzania
29 Togo
30 Tunisia
31 Uganda
32 Zambia
33 Zimbabwe

Asia, including the Middle East

34 Afghanistan
35 Bangladesh
36 Bhutan
37 Brunei
38 Daesh (or ISIS / ISIL)
39 India
40 Iran
41 Iraq
42 Kuwait
43 Lebanon (law ruled invalid in one court)
44 Malaysia
45 Maldives
46 Myanmar
47 Oman
48 Pakistan
49 Palestine/Gaza Strip
50 Qatar
51 Saudi Arabia
52 Singapore
53 Sri Lanka
54 Syria
55 Turkmenistan
56 United Arab Emirates
57 Uzbekistan
58 Yemen

Americas

59 Antigua & Barbuda
60 Barbados
61 Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law” )
62 Grenada
63 Guyana
64 Jamaica
65 St Kitts & Nevis
66 St Lucia
67 St Vincent & the Grenadines
68 Trinidad & Tobago

In the United States, anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, but they are still on the books in 13 states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,  Texas, Utah and Virginia. Conservative state legislators refuse to repeal the laws and, in some cases, police still enforce them.  In the past several years more than a dozen LGBT people were arrested for violating those laws, but the arrestees were freed because prosecutors won’t seek convictions based on defunct laws.

Oceania

69 Cook Islands
70 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra)
71 Kirbati
72 Papua New Guinea
73 Samoa
74 Solomon Islands
75 Tonga
76 Tuvalu

Europe

No country in Europe has a law against homosexuality. The last European location with such a law was Northern Cyprus (recognized as a country only by Turkey), which repealed its law in January 2014.

Also in Europe and worth mentioning but not on the list of countries with laws against homosexuality are:

Russia, which enacted an anti-“gay propaganda” law in 2013 prohibiting any positive mention of homosexuality in the presence of minors, including online;
Lithuania, which has a similar law; in 2015, it considered but has not yet adopted a further law that would impose fines for any public display that “defies traditional family values.”
Ukraine, which considered such a law in 2012 and 2013, did not adopt it and seems to have dropped the issue.
Moldova, which adopted and then repealed such a law in 2013.
Belarus, which was discussing such a law in early 2016.
In addition, in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan in October 2014 was on the verge of adopting an anti-“gay propaganda” law harsher than that in Russia. If that bill becomes law, any type of distribution of positive information on same-sex relations, not just discussions in the presence of a minor, would become a crime punishable by fines and a jail sentence.  In Kazakhstan, both house of parliament passed a bill “On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to their Health and Development,” but the Constitutional Council rejected it in May 2015, saying that the wording was too vague.

As noted above, Libya and Nigeria also have anti-“gay propaganda” laws in addition to their laws outlawing same-sex intimacy.

February 10, 2017

UK: “The Church is Driving Gay People to Suicide”





The Church is driving homosexual people to suicide because of its negative and discriminatory attitude towards same-sex relationships, a major Christian charity has concluded.
A report by Oasis warned that churches must take a ‘disproportionate share of the blame’ for the mental health issues of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The charity found that every denomination of the Christian church in Britain, except for the United Reformed Church, held positions which actively discriminate against people with same-sex partners. Rev Steve Chalke MBE , Founder of Oasis, said, “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely distressing impact on large numbers of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty.  
“Tragically, it is also common knowledge that the resultant anguish and distress often leads to spiritual, mental and physical harm, and in the worst of cases to people making the desperate decision to take their own life.
“We will take a long hard looking the mirror and see the consequences of what we have said and done staring back at us.”  




The report warned that the negative stance taken by the church had driven some to suicide  CREDIT: YURI_ARCURS
The report concluded that local churches are ‘one of the biggest organises discriminators’ of gay people.
The research was released in part to respond to the report from the House of Bishops which restated the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage and will be discussed at the General Synodmeeting next week.
The charity called for the Church of England to fund more research into the issue and also give more money to mental health charities.
It also said that liberal members of congregations must do more to ‘make their position heard.’  
                                            I Males                                                                                 
______________  76%I______________        _______24%_______I Females
  Data | Male suicide in the UK
Males Females
76%
24%


Suicide rates by age
Per 100,000 population
Men under 30
9.9
30-44
21.3
45-59
23.9
60-74
13.6
75 and over
14.4

Data: ONS

  The report said: “Churches that are inclusive to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, need to find effective ways of presenting this to local communities. We would encourage people in every church group and denomination to be as courageous as possible in championing the position that they believe in.”
Rev Chalke added: “Any doctrine, any policy, that causes destructive hurt and alienation cannot be born of a theology that reflects the God of the Bible."
telegraph.co.uk

January 5, 2017

Ellen Discusses with Pharrell Williams Kim Burrell’s Anti Gay Statements




Thursday's episode of The Ellen Show is a bit different than originally planned. 
Gospel singer Kim Burrell was originally scheduled to perform a song from the Hidden Figures soundtrack with Pharrell Williams on the talk show, but her appearance was canceled after a video of Burrell making anti-gay statements at Houston's Love & Liberty Fellowship Church went viral. In the video Burrell calls homosexuality "perverted." On Tuesday, DeGeneres announced to fans on Twitter that Burrell would not be performing on the show, and Pharrell posted to Instagram denouncing “hate speech of any kind."
In a clip released from the episode, Pharrell and DeGeneres discuss Burrell and her comments directly. "(Burrell) made a statement, and she said some very not nice things about homosexuals, so I didn't feel that was good of me to have her on the show to give her a platform after she's saying things about me," the host explained, before turning to Pharrell.
“There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017 and moving on. There’s no room,” the artist said.
He added that Burrell is a "fantastic singer," and "I love her, just like I love everybody else and we all got to get used to that. We all have to get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way."
“Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you feel like it doesn’t pertain to you because you may not have anything to do with that, all you got to do is put the word black in that sentence, or put gay in that sentence, or put transgender in that sentence, or put white in that sentence and all of the sudden it starts to make sense to you,” he continued. “I’m telling you, the world is a beautiful place but it does not work without empathy and inclusion. God is love. This Universe is love and that’s the only way it will function."
And while he acknowledged hate can be powerful, he concluded with a further championing of inclusion.
"And I get it, sometimes the divisive stuff works in life. We learned that lesson last year that sometimes divisiveness works," he said. "But you have to choose what side you’re on. I’m choosing empathy. I’m choosing inclusion. I’m choosing love for everybody just trying to lift everyone. Even when I disagree with someone, I’m wishing them the best and hoping for the best because we can’t win the other way.”
, USA TODAY

January 4, 2017

Anti Gay, Homophobic Kim Burrell Disinvited from Ellen Show



Image: Kim Burrell performs on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 9 in New York.

Kim Burrell performs on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 9 in New York. Charles Sykes / Invision/AP



The Evangelist who is said "That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women, and it's caused a strain on the body of Christ," Burrell, a pastor at Love and Liberty Fellowship Church, in Houston, Texas, said in the sermon, which surfaced on YouTube Friday. "You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man's penis in your face, you are perverted ... You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman's breast, you are perverted." 
Burrell had been scheduled to sing a duet on “Ellen" with rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams, with whom she recorded a song for the soundtrack of "Hidden Figures" — the new movie about a black woman's role in the early days of the U.S. space program.

I find it funny that  she was invited to the Ellen show which indicates to me those producers who book celebrities to be talking heads in the shows only care about the theme of the shows and the rating that would bring. There have been exceptions to that when they bring someone who is made great accomplishments or in the way to. Again exceptions. When they booked this woman they figured black, good income, important to many, talk your ear off and people always say amen, bingo!
That she will sing on a sound track? You judge that one.

No one thought, particularly in a show in which the host herself is openly gay that they were bringing (and she had agree to come) a major anti gay homophobe who thinks not being anti gay is to not condemn them to hell. Call them dirt but don’t say hell and you can hold your head high among them. She at lest recognizes is not her call but calls them the meanest, dirtiest things anywhere which will make people assume, those that believe in some type of hell that they are going there if not nobody is (closer to the truth) and I better not get too close or the winds of hell might as well engulf them too.

I for myself would have let her come in and tell me in my face all those dirty things and have the “lets go into the video tape” in case she lied. I will also ask for proof for anything disquieting bad Im being called.

I would let her see me and then judge me like she does., I might even tell her where she gets it wrong in the ‘penis in the mouth’ I think she was talking about straight men with no experience.

I do understand that Ellen is not there to do great things but to have a show even if th President is given her a medal, which was very nice of him. 


Burrell maintained in a second Facebook Live broadcast that she was not targeting gay and lesbian individuals. 

"Have i ever discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them 'I don't love you and you going to hell?' Why would I?" she asked. "Who gives me the right to say that I'm telling someone that they're going to hell? I don’t get that call?"

She doesn’t get that call, she did get some other calls, as well as Ellen which together kept social media particularly tweeter hot and buzzing. Hope someone gets enlightened. I however felt better from the Flu.


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December 3, 2016

HGTV On The Air Homophobes with a Pastor and Church of Also Homophobes




The HGTV "Fixer Upper" couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, made headlines this week, after Buzzfeed published an article about the couple's church. The article accused Pastor Jimmy Seibert's church and possibly the HGTV personalities that attend it of being anti-gay. USA TODAY 
                                                                                            After the furor over HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines' membership in a church whose pastor who says that anyone who defines marriage as something other than one man and woman is wrong, the home-improvement network issued a statement in which it stands firm on its commitment to inclusive programming.
“We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows,” the network said.  “HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.”
On Wednesday, Buzzfeed published a story headlined, "Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage." It expanded on an October piece from Curbed.com on the couple's hit show, Fixer Upper, in which Christian author Kate Henderson pondered what would happen if a gay couple applied to be on the program.
"My hope would be, if they are given that situation, they will just love on [the gay couple], but I would imagine that very conservative Christians in their audience might have a problem with that," she said. (USA TODAY searched the episode descriptions for the first three seasons and the Nov. 29 Season 4 premiere of Fixer Upper and found none that featured LGBT clients.)
The Gaineses, who reside in Waco, Texas, attend Antioch Community Church and are claimed as "dear friends" by their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, who, after the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, told his congregation that homosexuality is a sin.
"Why is it so important that we're clear on marriage — one man, one woman in a covenant — why is that such a big deal? Because it mirrors Christ and the church ... Paul said, 'When you defame marriage, you defame Jesus. You defame the picture of the glory of God on the Earth. Why is our marriage so important? Because when we do it well, it shows a picture of Jesus and his bride to the whole world. This is a clear biblical admonition. So if someone were to say marriage is defined in a different way, let me just say it this way, they are wrong." 
Seibert has also spoken in defense of the controversial practice of conversion therapy.
Although they have written about their faith in their memoir The Magnolia Story, neither of the Gaines nor their representatives have made it exactly clear what their own beliefs are on homosexuality or gay marriage.

The Gaines controversy comes two years after HGTV abandoned Flip It Forward, a series it was developing with brothers David and Jason Benham, following a Right Wing Watch report that David had protested at LGBT events and same-sex weddings, mosques and abortion clinics.
The brothers are the sons of Flip Benham, the leader of Operation Save America, the militant anti-abortion group formerly known as Operation Rescue. In 2011, a North Carolina jury found the elder Benham guilty of stalking an abortion doctor in the Charlotte area.
The largely hypothetical Buzzfeed story on the Gainses was criticized by several other outlets — Fox News's Dana Perino called it "activist journalism," and writing in the Washington PostBrandon Ambrosino, a married gay man, labeled it a "dangerous hit piece" whose "entire case is made by speculation and suggestion."
Ambrosino says the Buzzfeed piece essentially boils down to this: "Two popular celebrities might oppose same-sex marriage because the pastor of the church they go to opposes same-sex marriage, but I haven’t heard one way or the other." He adds, "I can’t imagine pitching that story to an editor and getting a green light, by the way.
Ambrosino cited another concern in the story: "It validates everything that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying about the media: that some journalists — specifically younger ones at popular digital publications — will tell stories in certain deceitful, manipulative ways to take down conservatives."
“Stories such as this,” he warns, "will serve only to reinforce the growing chasm between the media and Trump, which means we are in for four agonizing, tedious years of 'gotcha” non-stories like this one."



USA Today

October 19, 2016

Church Reorientation Prog Could Not Change Me,Ultimately Throwing Me Out




 I began attending Watermark Community Church around five years ago, after a girl I was dating invited me to a young adults ministry. The pastor on stage was open and authentic about his life and "struggles with sin." This instilled a sense of comfort within me because of all of the things I was hiding about myself,
I began attending weekly services and volunteering as much as I could. I attended training sessions and read through my Bible.

About six months in, I met a man who has become a dear friend. He shared with me that he was gay and trying to change his orientation to heterosexuality, and he encouraged me to open up to several others. I connected with programs designed to help gay church members, spent time with the gay success stories at Watermark, and read books about how to change my orientation.

It soon became very obvious that I would not be able to change my attraction to other men. I came to realize that, according to Watermark, God was expecting me to be single for the rest of my life, and I became comfortable with that idea. I was so sure of myself that when I moved in with one of my close guy friends, we shared a bunk bed. I felt that I was not alone even though I was single; I was happy to have a tight church group around me. I began sharing my story at church with others. (Start listening at 43:38).

Then, what seemed like all at once, more than half of my group started dating and quickly got married, my bunkmate included. I realized what it meant to face the prospect of being alone for the rest of my life. I couldn't expect my friends to avoid falling in love on the account of me.
Naturally, I rebelled a bit. I joined a gay volleyball league, met other gay people and even began to date a bit. These were not horrible, disgusting people, as I had been led to believe. These were some of the most caring and loving people I'd ever met, and finally, I was not alone. I discovered that many of my new friend, like me, had been wounded by the church.

Back at Watermark, my new community group urged me to quit hanging out with the gay volleyball crowd and urged me to attend Watermark's 12-step program to overcome homosexuality, or "struggles," as they put it. So I did.

Once again, I felt hopeful that God would come in and save the day and remove my "struggles." Then, I began to hate myself. I wanted so badly to change and yet, nothing came. I never felt so alone, sad and angry with God. Why wouldn’t he help me?

For my own safety, I quit the program halfway through. I started dating a guy shortly after. I experienced so many feelings that I had only heard about from straight friends. I remember waiting by the phone for him to text and looking forward to hearing how his day went. Even the most boring aspects of our relationship were exciting, and I realized these are the feelings they’d been talking about.

About six months into our relationship, my small group pushed hard for me to break up with him. I tried to convince myself I had other reasons to end the relationship; soon, I made these demands a reality. I became physically ill at the decision I made. I couldn't sleep, think, or do anything without crying. We decided to get back together a week later; I never should have done what I did and I knew it in my heart.


The group brought in church leadership due to my "rebellion." Nine of them sat in a half circle across the room from me. They interrupted me, talked down to me, and accused me of not giving effort. And they removed me out from official church membership.
After getting kicked out, I was picked up by a couple of gay friends that I met at Watermark who'd also left or been pushed out the door. We are now a growing group of people connected to the Gay Christian Network.

There are so many gay people who have been deeply hurt by the church. It is not uncommon to hear of suicide attempts from people who went through these similar experiences. We are people, we have feelings, desires, and morals just like everyone else. We desire to be loved just like everyone else. We deserve to be loved just like everyone else.

Watermark revoked my membership based on their reading of Matthew 18:15-18, where Jesus lays out a process for handling sin within a group. This passage begins: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault."
But translations of this passage vary. Some say say: "If your brother sins" and some say, "if your brother sins against you."
One of these gives you permission to hold anyone accountable to any sin. The other is talking about reconciliation. So, which one is correct? We don’t really know.
Watermark elders sent Jason Thomas a letter revoking his official membership with the church.
Later in the chapter, verse 21 provides some color: "Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 

Jason Thomas , Contributor[Twitter: @Jason1TM]

August 19, 2016

News on Pastor Who Praised Orlando Pulse Massacre


We will continue to follow the Karma of this man who has no conscience but still pukes the name of god out of his unclean mouth.




It's hard to imagine any actual human being who could celebrate a massacre, but there are, sadly, plenty of people who relish in the unjust murder of people, given that they're part of certain identity groups. Being or doing something someone doesn't agree with is really all it takes in this world for people to wish you were dead. Just let that sink in for a moment.

One such man (if he even deserves a human label at all) is a California-based, antigay pastor who I won't name but will link to in articles, like this one and this one. (I'm choosing not to name him because I don't want to make him a martyr to his backwards thinking followers — if they think at all — who would likely look at his criticism as an attack by "liberal, crooked, PC America." I’d rather not add any fuel to the fire but still think this story is worth telling because it delivers at least a smidgen of the karma owed to this despicable man.) 

You may be wondering what he's done that makes him so bad. After all, there are pastors who spew are antigay hate all the time. While that's true, this one takes the cake.

Speaking on Orlando's tragic Pulse massacre back in June, he said, "Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight." He ends, most shockingly, with this: "I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out."

These are actual quotes from a supposed human being who claims to speak for a god of some sort. There is little that can undo the unfiltered toxin, disrespect, and lowness of his words, but since his sentiments have hit the web, he's been met with beautiful resistance.

First, Spenser Fritz, an activist who had been protesting outside the church since June 19, is seeking to hold the pastor legally responsible for the inexcusable actions of his (brainless followers/cultists) parishioners. During Fritz's peaceful protest, he sought to engage the (Fox News loving) parishioners about the hate they're teaching. A parishioner named Johnny Cervantes III was, however, not having it and became verbally and physically aggressive with Fritz. 

"According to the Sacramento Bee, Fritz says he engaged with Cervantes’ family, encouraging the young man accompanying Cervantes and his wife to educate himself. “Why are you teaching your children violence?” the suit said he asked. It states that Fritz then said to a “young parishioner” that “Sometimes when we’re older we learn our parents are wrong. I don’t deserve to die. If they allow you internet access you should do your own research.”

Fritz claims that the woman told him to stop talking to the young man, after which Cervantes allegedly became aggressive, telling Fritz, “Don’t (expletive) talk to my wife.” The protestor goes on to say that Cervantes responded by lunging toward him and pushing him. He additionally alleges a group of other parishioners surrounded him and only let him pass after he threatened to call the police."
There are have been no updates since this story, but this pastor and his hateful crew received one additional, and well-deserved, piece of karmic comeuppance. Although they can't be legally evicted from their location, the landlord has publicly stated that they will not be renewing the lease with them in 2017. The landlord and property management company, Harsch Investment Properties, met with the pastor suggesting that he leave.

The company then issued a press release on the controversy:

"Just as we respect the right of individuals to speak their views, as distasteful as they may be, we also respect the right of others to protest as a reflection of their values,” the release states. “For decades, the owners and staff at Harsch Investment Properties have supported the LGBT community and many other organizations whose missions are to further respect, dignity and the ability for all individuals to live their lives as they wish.”

This isn't even close to what this pastor and his ill-informed, ignorant, hateful group deserve as a lesson for breeding hate and violence under the name of a god, but it's the best we can do for now. We can only hope that one day this pastor will understand what he's done wrong, and if not, that he loses every ounce of influence and power that he has today. For now, though, let's celebrate people taking stands against hate, and revel in the pettiness of the inconvenience that this pastor and his funky bunch now face. I pray that their new location—if they even find one--is unfortunate and out of the way.



July 2, 2016

A violent Preaching Against LGBT Leads to a Violent Outcome


                                                                          A view of damages in a church following a violent earthquake two days ago in the Abruzzo capital L'Aquila on April 8, 2009. Hopes faded Wednesday of finding more survivors from the worst earthquake in Italy in 30 years as the death toll climbed to 260 and the country prepared to bury the victims.
























Eliel Cruz wrote yesterday on his page {http://elielcruz.com/blog/} about the direct relationship between people talking real badly and sometimes violently about LGBT and people who hear this stuff either directly or indirectly through others and their acts of violence against the community.  

This is something I have always held as truth. Growing up in the church (Evangelical) and knowing how I felt due to those sermons and teachings against gay people at the time. I am able to determine how those feelings of seeing gays as less than 100% human and finding myself being one change from one extreme to the other. I had nothing against this people until I was told I should. I knew very little except what I was told. Had never seen a gay person until age of 12 or so in which the pastor took us in a ride around times square to see the big buildings and those men walking around with real tight pants and some walking the way women walk when trying to be cheap. That was my experience and it was not the same as new types of people I met like Chinese or Jews. Even studying in the seminary that was a subject that was only touched when we hit certain passages of the bible but in church it was a continuous harping particularly by the last pastor I had which at one point(years after I left the church)  left his wife for another man.
Adam Gonzalez

                                                                         _*_              
    


There is a direct correlation to the anti-LGBT theology shared by religious leaders to the violence LGBT people face. This theology -- which dehumanizes, ostracizes, and demonizes LGBT people -- does not happen in a vacuum.

Just over a week ago, forty-nine members of the LGBT community, overwhelmingly Latinx, were slaughtered at a gay nightclub. The shooter, as many speculated, had ties to ISIS and it was his radicalized religious ideology that led him to massacre dozens of LGBT people. This ISIS connection, which has been dismissed by the FBI, prompted others to condemn Islam as an inherently violent religion – especially to those in the LGBT community.

Indeed, ISIS promotes anti-LGBT ideologies and have targeted the queer community in beheadings and other obscene forms of murder. These acts are extreme representations of what it looks like to take the words in the Quran to the letter of the law. Even those who are not radicalized in their Islamic beliefs perpetuate beliefs against the LGBT community that are harmful. Still Islam is not the only religion that encourages violence against LGBT bodies. Christianity, in its most traditionalist understanding of sexuality, where sexuality is only holy between a man and a woman, can be just as violent.

Its sermons preached from our pulpits that allow parents to throw their LGBT kids on the streets and their counselors that encourage us to unsuccessfully pray our queerness away. Christians may not be throwing us off buildings but it’s their theology that leads us to the bridge. It’s their voices on our backs that encourage us it’s better to jump than to live life as a proud queer person.

In Belgium, a gay man has requested to be euthanized for his sexuality. After 17 years of therapy, and unable to change his sexual orientation, this Belgium gay man is unable to reconcile his sexuality and traditional catholic faith. The messaged he has received from his church has made him believe it is better he die than be a gay man.

It’s internalizing this anti-LGBT theology that has many LGBT people depressed and suicidal. The harm is not only self-inflicted but also by those around us. This traditional theology creates an environment fertile for violence. The dehumanization of LGBT persons from the pulpit create the very environment in which 17 Trans women, primarily women of color, have been murdered this year alone. LGBT people are most likely to face hate crimes than any other minority group and our chances for violence doubles if we’re people of color.

Not only is the evangelical right’s theology influencing harm on LGBT people in the United States but also abroad. The Christian right’s anti-LGBT theology has extended far past our boarders influencing legislation in multiple countries in Africa as well as Russia. These laws, which are motivated by the same evangelical theology here, require hard labor, anal exams, decades in prison, or are sometimes carried out in street justice.

Recognizing the long reaching effects of this anti-LGBT theology makes the Christian right’s response to the Orlando massacre incredibly hypocritical. The statements and tweets, which erased the LGBT community, claiming to grieve with the LGBT community are reprehensible when those same individuals work tirelessly to limit LGBT civil rights. Politician Pam Bondi claimed to be a supporter of the LGBT community only to have Anderson Cooper remind her of her anti-LGBT record. Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed to grieve for Orlando, without mentioning the LGBT community, and with a history of anti-LGBT statements.

The Evangelical right has political capital in the United States that is unparalleled. When those who heavily influence our policies and culture espouse the very rhetoric that causes LGBT people violence, they must be held accountable. They cannot encourage this traditional theology and wash their hands of the harmful, and even deadly, effects.

As a bisexual Christian living in the United States, I’m far more concerned with anti-LGBT animus from the evangelical right here at home. That is not to say that I do not mourn with my LGBT siblings abroad whose lives are being taken by ISIS in the most heinous ways. It is atrocious and ISIS must be stopped. But we must also call upon those here at home who do damage to LGBT persons to stop. 

The Christian right cannot point to ISIS as the murderous homophobes without reflecting on the way their own theology has cause LGBT deaths.

Eliel Cruz 

June 9, 2016

Gay Muslim Cleric Forced to Flee Iran in Fear for Life




BBC journalist Ali Hamedani visited Istanbul, Turkey where Taha—an Iranian mullah, or cleric—has fled after performing same-sex wedding ceremonies in one of the most dangerous nations on the earth for LGBT people. 
Homosexuality is illegal in 73 countries, nine of which prescribe the death penalty, including Iran. Mullahs are highly powerful and respected in the Islamic nation, advising people on religious matters, which also means enforcing homophobia. So for Taha, life became very difficult when his fellow mullahs became suspicious of him and the gay men with whom he was associating.   
Taha is one of the over 1,000 Iranian LGBT refugees the UN estimates is in Turkey waiting to be resettled abroad—his final stop, much like many Americans should Trump win this year's election, will be Canada. Istanbul is one of the few places in the Muslim world that's tolerant of homosexuality, and Taha takes Hamedani out on the gay town—but not before applying a nighttime face (same).
Get 'em, daddy.
Though life in Istanbul isn't easy by any means, Taha's presence is comforting to fellow queer refugees, who seek out his services to wed them. For two such refugees, Ramtin Zigorat and his partner, a gay mullah is a big fucking deal. 
Ugh, get into all these feelings in the BBC's investigative report below: 

May 20, 2016

A Catholic Burial Ground Will Not Accept Set of Men Wed Bands on Hd.Stone




Gov. Matt Bevin stated he wanted to protect the ‘sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians.'
Among headstone images at St. Michael's Cemetery in Germantown that depict golfing, fishing, playing basketball and baseball, riding motorcycles, #BBN (Big Blue Nation), race cars and numerous interlocking wedding rings, Michael De Leon and Greg Bourke didn't expect their design for a headstone showing rings and the Supreme Court building to stand out.

Then there's also the twin spires at Churchill Downs.
"You see all kinds of things...that are totally unrelated to any church teaching or any church symbolism," Bourke said.
The gay couple, who were married in Canada in 2004 and live in St. Matthews, were among the petitioners in the legal case that resulted in the historic June 26 ruling in which the Supreme Court said states must allow gays and lesbians to marry and that states much recognize those marriages.
So to them, the high court building -- "one of the great icons of American democracy," Bourke said -- seemed like a natural symbol to include on their headstone, along with the ubiquitous wedding rings.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville didn't see it that way, and a politely worded letter to De Leon and Bourke from Catholic Cemeteries executive director Javier Fajardo thanks them for their patience but said, "We cannot approve the depiction of the Supreme Court building and the use of wedding rings."
Otherwise, their request to be buried side by side and the rest of the design with their names, a cross and other standard information was deemed acceptable. They were asked to let Fajardo know if they wanted to submit a new design for review.
A Catholic cemetery is a "sacred place" where "the signs and symbols of our Catholic faith are displayed with pride and reverence," the letter said. "Inscriptions on grave markers are permitted so long as they do not conflict with any teaching of the Church. Your proposed markings are not in keeping with this requirement."

De Leon and Bourke, both 58, belong to a group called Catholics for Fairness that held a news conference with the theme "Freedom to Bury" along with the Fairness Campaign Wednesday outside St. Michael, 1153 Charles St., to call attention to what they consider to be an unjust situation.  State Rep. Jim Wayne, a supporter of the group, also was present. The Huffington Post posted a story Tuesdayabout the headstone controversy.

"We feel like we've been dealt with unfairly," Bourke said.  Their design is "not any more outrageous than other things," he said.  "It's very modest, not over-sized and not in a well-trafficked part of the cemetery."
At the same time, Bourke said the Archdiocese is exempt from the local Fairness Ordinance that prohibits discrimination against members of the LGBT community, and the "Archdiocese has every legal right to do what they're doing," Bourke said.  "We have no protection whatsoever in a situation like this."

They hope to set up a meeting with Archdiocese officials to try to reach a compromise but haven't taken action yet.  They had submitted their design in October, after consulting with an Archdiocese employee, not realizing that it would be subject to review by a higher authority.  They thought it was "like picking out countertops," Bourke said.

But "bells and whistles went off" when months went by before they received a response, in the form of the March 30 letter.  The "appropriateness" of any inscription or symbol is determined by the cemeteries director in consultation with the "proper Church authority," the letter said.

De Leon said he and Bourke are "planners and look ahead" and wanted to spare their two children any extra expense and trouble later.  Bourke's parents already have their memorial headstones in place three rows from where he and De Leon bought a plot last year, Bourke said.

"We just want to show support for Greg and Michael in their efforts," Chris Hartman, the Fairness Campaign's executive director, said in an interview.  Hartman said they all have been involved in an "ongoing public battle" for years with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz over the issues of LGBT rights, and he cited the decision not to allow Greg Bourke to continue to be a Boy Scout leader because he is openly gay as another example.
Bourke and De Leon "might have a more receptive audience with the Vatican than with the Archdiocese."

Bourke and De Leon are longtime members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in St. Matthews and they were named 2015 "Persons of the Year" by the National Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly newspaper based in Kansas City, Mo. De Leon works in information technology at General Electric, and Bourke is a consultant for Humana.

Bourke said the treatment they received with regard to the headstone design is not consistent with "the moderating tone we Catholics have enjoyed lately from Pope Francis."  At the press conference, he said it felt like “deliberate retaliation against my family” and asked,  "Is that what Jesus would do?"
, @MarthaElson_cj

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