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

January 24, 2020

Methodist Church Gay Leader Became Closer To The Sect Against Gay Marriage

I have to be careful when I publish a story having to do with religion and LGBT rights. Raised in the church, studying for 5 yrs in a private Seminary and just as left I became rebellious to god and any church. I am not rebellious to god but I am to religion. I have been inside and knew that many people behave like the GOP Senators on Trump's impeachment trial. I learned the law and the gospels, so I feel like I know these people and their behavior 100% is against their bible because they never obey everything but its always a pick and match and hell to those that don't agree with. Whether I like it or not I will publish if I feel it is relevant to some in our community, it will get published. I will not say anything about this particular story below and let you make your own mind.

, Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING — Jay Makowski is a married gay man, but the Methodist Church's official stance opposing same-sex marriage and homosexual lifestyles didn’t push him away from the church. 
Instead, it drew him in. 
Makowski, 40, of Lansing, said he joined the denomination four years ago after emailing a bishop who was under fire for performing a same-sex wedding in an act of civil disobedience in North Carolina.
The message of acceptance and equality from retired Bishop Melvin Talbert appealed to Makowski, who had a deep faith in God but not much of a religious upbringing.

The bishop responded to Makowski's email and it led to a phone call.
Talbert, who has compared the struggle for gay rights to the fight to end racial discrimination, suggested that Makowski try attending the University United Methodist Church in East Lansing or another local church where members generally oppose the traditionalist view against same-sex marriage.
Makowski chose the East Lansing church as closest to his home. He's now a lay leader, serving as the chair of the Board of Trustees and two other committees.
“Pastor says he’s Kirk and I’m Spock,” Makowski jokes.
The bitter division in the Methodist church came to a head at an international conference in St. Louis last February. The international United Methodist General Conference voted to continue the church’s ban on gay clergy and oppose same-sex marriage.

As a result, some Methodist churches, including Makowski's, even discussed leaving the denomination altogether.
Makowski said he was disappointed, but not angry, at the decision last year.
“These folks that have those views, I almost or do owe them a thank you. It’s pushed me more toward exploring what’s God’s love represents,” he said.
A new plan unveiled earlier this month would split the denomination in two – allowing traditionalists who oppose same-sex marriage to leave the denomination along with $25 million from the church coffers. That will be discussed at a May conference in Minneapolis.
Makowski supports that plan but wants to keep a relationship with the traditionalists in the Methodist Church.
“If we need to part, we need to part so we don’t spiral into that irrecoverable animosity,” he said.
He acknowledges the irony that he’s joined a denomination that rejects his marriage, even as he volunteers his time.

“I think for me it’s a little slap in the face that I’m giving so much yet I can’t get married here. But that’s not to say it’s in vain. …I don’t think that our imperfections as humans should prevent me from honoring and worshipping God as I see fit through my work at the church,” he said.
Makowski grew up in Detroit, Southfield, Redford, and Cheboygan. His family was Catholic but he recalls going to church just twice a year — Christmas and Easter. He did attend a Christian academy in grade school.
He came out as gay at age 20 while attending Michigan State University, though he knew in middle school, and perhaps even as early as kindergarten, that he was drawn to males. He said he wrongly assumed he wouldn’t be welcome at any church as a gay person.
“I thought that anybody that was in a church was hellfire and damnation if you were gay,” he said.

Though he earned a degree in civil engineering, Makowski works in food service at MSU, managing the culinary kitchen.
Six years ago, he married his longtime partner, Britt Auer, in a civil ceremony in Washington D.C., which allowed same-sex marriages in 2009, ahead of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing such unions nationwide..
Though Auer doesn’t attend church with him, he’s supportive, Makowski said.
Rev. William Bills, a 32-year pastor, calls Makowski one of the “two best” lay leaders he’s known in his career. 
Bills said he believes a split in the church is inevitable but it will take time to work through.

“We need to have some kind of separation at this point or the whole thing is going to come tumbling down,” he said.
Though he supports the proposal to split, he said he’s “not enthusiastic” about it.
“I have some issues with paying people $25 million to leave when they’ve been, in my opinion, behaving badly but I don’t think we have a whole lot of choice now,” he said.
Bills turned over the pulpit to Makowski after last year’s conference where Makowski talked about his life as a gay man. He tried to answer questions others might have about his life.
"I did not choose to be gay. I did not program myself. I was not influenced. I was not spurned by women. I did not have a lack of authoritative male figures in my life," he said.
"I did not lack any part of an ideal childhood, in my opinion, because it was a childhood always filled with love.
"I did have many challenges, but I cannot for the life of me understand how being poor, white, intellectually gifted, compassionate, or anything else could have made me this way," he said.
Instead, he pointed out, it was God.
Judy Putnam is a columnist with the Lansing State Journal

June 26, 2019

Cathedral Catholic High School Succumbs To Pressure From Bishop and Fires Their Last Gay Teacher

Then-Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis June 13, 2017.
Then-Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis June 13, 2017.

 This was not a case of parents no liking this teacher or students or the fculty. A well respected teacher that happened to be gay. So you fix your dogma to be real Christian or you continue to get church laws adopted by bishops and popes (Men) that are now dead. Or you fix it for the ones thayt are live to day and tomorrrosw. You quote your god Jesus Christ and not passages that had nothing to do with Christianity and "going against these" is going againt me. Jchrist

Indianapolis, Indiana—The Indianapolis archbishop has forced a Catholic high school to fire a gay teacher, just days after another school in the city defied a similar order despite church officials saying they would no longer recognize it as Catholic. The contrasting responses by Cathedral High School and Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School to orders by the Indianapolis Archdiocese demonstrate they ways LGBT Catholics are experiencing workplace pressure without federal laws ensuring nationwide nondiscrimination protections. 

Cathedral High School announced Sunday that it's terminating the teacher's contract to avoid a split with the archdiocese. Leaders of Cathedral High School, a private school affiliated with the Brothers of the Holy Cross religious order, said in a letter on the school's website that disobeying Archbishop Charles Thompson would cost the school its nonprofit status and its ability to have Mass celebrated on campus.

"Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral's continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage," the school statement said.
This is the third Indianapolis Catholic high school that's faced pressure from Thompson over employees in same-sex marriages since he became archbishop in July 2017. CBS News reported earlier this month that Archdiocesan-operated Indianapolis Roncalli High School has fired or suspended two female guidance counselors in the past year because they're both in same-sex marriages. Both women have filed federal employment discrimination complaints. 
Then-Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis June 13, 2017.
On Friday, Thompson issued a decree against Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School because it employed a teacher in a same-sex marriage. Brebeuf leaders said the teacher was a "longtime valued employee" who didn't teach religion. The archdiocese maintained that it considers all teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators to be ministers who must follow church teaching.

CBS News reported earlier in June a statement from the Very Rev. Brian Paulson, who heads the Midwest Province of Jesuits, who said that "Brebeuf's administration and Board of Trustees have determined that following the Archdiocese's directive would not only violate their informed conscience on this particular matter, but also would set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school's operations and other matters."

Indiana is among about 30 states without state nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT people, according to the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign. A federal bill for such nationwide nondiscrimination protections passed the House of Representatives in May but appears doomed in the U.S. Senate because of Republican opposition.

New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, counts nearly 100 employees at Catholic institutions who've lost jobs because of sexual orientation issues across the country in the past decades.

Cathedral administrators said Sunday that its decision to dismiss a gay teacher was "agonizing" but one that was necessary for the 1,100-student school. Cathedral, like Brebeuf, had been in talks with the archdiocese about the teachers for nearly two years. Neither school has identified the teachers involved

The Cathedral letter doesn't defend Thompson's decision, saying it hopes the action does not "dishearten Cathedral's young people." The actions have sparked online petitions and social media debate.

The archdiocese said in a statement Monday that all Catholic schools have been directed to state in employment contracts that all employees must support church teachings.

"This issue is not about sexual orientation; rather, it is about our expectation that all personnel inside a Catholic school — who are ministers of the faith — abide by all Church teachings," the statement said. "If and when a minister of the faith is publicly not doing so, the Church calls us to help the individual strive to live a life in accordance with Catholic teaching."

Brebeuf is operated by the Midwest Province of Jesuits, independently of the archdiocese. Despite Thompson's decree, Brebeuf's principal says it will continue to call itself an "independent Jesuit Catholic school."

May 27, 2019

Priest in Newark Church Pressed NJ School To Cover Gay Mural Painted by LGBT Students

Mural painted over by school

Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, speaks about NJ’s conversion therapy ban, during an interview at her home in Ridgewood on April 18, 2019. She is the mother of Tyler 
Clementi, who died by suicide after being bullied because he was gay. North Jersey Record 
New Jersey's largest gay rights advocacy group is condemning a Bergen charter school for destroying part of a student's mural that supported the LGBT community.   

The Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack, which leases its building from Holy Trinity Church, a Catholic church in Hackensack, painted over part of the mural that a 16-year-old student created because the church found it offensive.  

The group Garden State Equality was enraged by that act, and is asking the Archdiocese of Newark to have the school restore the mural.  

“It is offensive, unconscionable, and flatly unconstitutional for this church acting as a for-profit landlord to restrict a public school’s curriculum or censor student speech within those walls. This type of hate-fueled bigotry is precisely why New Jersey needs LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to promote acceptance and understanding,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino in a statement. 

A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights.

A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights. (Photo: Student)
Garden State Equality also said that the church has restricted education at Bergen Arts and Science before, including by forcing a school psychologist to remove a poster supportive of LGBT students.

The student who did the mural, a high school junior, told and The Record that the school was forced to paint over part of a mural that included a rainbow heart.

   Related image

I would like to ask this priest what in the picture did he find inmoral, ungodly or brought him bad memories of his past? Which one of those?    None? why do this?  I guess he forgot The  name Tyler Clementi, the young man that killed hmself after being bully in the school......Iam starting to think that this so called priest or one like him had something to do with the athmosphere of bullying in school that killed Tyler. I never met tyler but I know about him. If these students are being taught that a rainbow heart is bad because gays painted it, then it most be ok to make fun of them.
BRING THAT MURAL BACK!!  MUral and Moral are so close but I see no morality in those that took part in this. Lets say enough is enough!! 

Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

The Archdiocese of Newark, in a statement released on Thursday, asserted that there was no order to cover the rainbow heart, and that school officials must have made the decision to do so. But the mural did include "some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building," which is used by church parishioners as well as the school, the statement said.  

Priest accused of abuse: Former Newark priest, accused of abuse, defended by his bishop in Brazil

Racial slur: Year-old video surfaces showing college students repeating racial slur; Peers now demand action

Pride flag: Petition calls for Rutherford to cancel raising of LGBTQ pride flag

Holy Trinity Church raised two concerns, according to the statement: "First that the school refrain from consistently painting on the building surfaces. Secondly that the school remove some content in a new painting, which included some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building, as the building is utilized by parishioners of the church as well as the school." 

The Rev. Paul Prevosto, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, told that parishioners brought the mural to his attention because of a depiction of male figures that looked "obscene." The mural included abstract figures with interlocking circle and arrow symbols that represent the male gender.

Prevosto also called the mural "offensive" and said he told the school to "take care of it."

The student, who did not want her name published, said her honors art class had painted murals inspired by great artists in the school cafeteria. She painted a piece featuring colorful silhouettes of people and a rainbow heart that was a replica of work by gay artist Keith Haring, whose colorful graffiti-style art gained popularity in the 1980s. 

Distraught by the incident, the student took to Twitter for support. 

"So school's owned by a Catholic Church and they want me to take down my Keith Harring mural that supports the LGBT community," she said. "They think it's inappropriate...I'm heartbroken and I really never thought this could actually happen. Please help." 

The Catholic Church prohibits sexual activity between people of the same gender and its Catechism calls homosexual acts "intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law." 

But the church has also emphasized that homosexual people are not inherently sinful and should be welcomed in the faith community. 

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese has called for the church to be more inclusive, and he has celebrated Mass for openly gay Catholics. 

The school's lease agreement with the school includes a stipulation about Catholic values and states that "anything contrary to our Catholic sensitivity should not be displayed or seen."  

New Jersey this year became the second state in the nation to adopt a law that requires schools to teach about LGBT history, including the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender. The law takes effect in the next school year.

Officials from Garden State Equality noted that charter schools like Bergen Arts and Science, which are public schools run by private organizations, will be required to comply with the law.

"Decades ago, the United State Supreme Court held that students ‘do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,’” said Garden State Equality board member and former state bar president Thomas Prol. “It is sadly ironic that an educational institution is now delivering a lesson in censorship to these students during their tender years."

Hannan Adely contributed to this story.
North Jersey

, North Jersey Record

May 16, 2019

Jerry Fallwell Jr. Anti Gay Crusader Like (His Daddy) But Jr. Likes Young Gay Poor Boy(s) Section }1{

Image result for jerry falwell jr poor boy

So Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen has reported beginning his three-year prison sentence for a series of offenses, some of them done in service to Trump.

In a press conference, apologized for his wrongs, and suggested that he had more to tell and that he looked forward to the day when he could reveal all he knows.

Yes, we can look forward to another tell-all book on just how horrendous and corrupt Donald Trump is.

In the meantime, he’s talking, and some of those tales told paint a vivid picture about the 2016 election. In one particular instance revealed on Tuesday, he’s talking about one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, Jerry Falwell, Jr, dean of Liberty University.

Reuters dropped an exclusive on Tuesday, regarding an account given by Cohen to actor Tom Arnold as to how he helped “fix” a particularly sticky problem for Falwell and his wife, just months before the son of televangelist Jerry Falwell threw his public support behind then-candidate Trump.

It wouldn’t be the first time Cohen has stepped in to help Falwell with a problem.

Back in 2012, Falwell and his wife befriended a 21 year old pool boy at a luxury hotel in Miami, by the name of Giancarlo Granda.

For some mystifying reason, the Falwells decided to loan this otherwise inexperienced young man $1.8 million to invest in a youth hostel, where he would serve as manager.

He had no known business experience. He has no background in the hospitality industry, other than working as a pool attendant, but they were prepared to invest heavily, in order to help him in this venture.

Not only that, but they were flying him around on private jets, bringing him out to be with them on the Liberty University campus.

The odd story came to light because of a lawsuit, brought by two other investors in the Alton Hostel, Jesus Fernandez Sr. and Jesus Fernandez Jr.

The Fernandez family feel they were pushed out of the deal, as the hostel is listed as owned by Granada (the pool boy), Falwell’s wife, Cindy Falwell, and their son, Jerry (Trey) Falwell, III.

Granada was with the couple at a Liberty University convocation in 2012, and met Donald Trump and Michael Cohen at that event.

Just what kind of help Cohen provided in that incident is not immediately clear, but there was some discussion.

Tuesday’s news, however, is another level of “hhmmmm…”

According to Reuters, several months before Jerry Falwell, Jr became the first major evangelical voice to throw his support behind Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, Cohen was asked to bring his particularly greasy, mob lawyer tactics into play, on Falwell’s behalf.

In a recorded conversation, reviewed by Reuters, Cohen revealed how he stepped in to stop something deeply embarrassing and personal from seeing the light of day.

Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

Why do I get the feeling that we’re not just talking simply boudoir photos?

So this is where I recall some of the lessons learned from the sex counseling classes that were part of my Psychology major.

Sex between a married, devoted couple is not a bad thing. It’s not to be treated as dirty or wrong. There should be no shame in enjoying each other, as a married couple, because that is what God intended for us.

Touching, exploring, loving, and appreciating everything about our mates. Sex was not simply formed for the sake of procreation. Were that the case, it would be an instinctual process, just as it is for other animals. No one would derive pleasure from it.

In fact, humans are the only living creatures that have sex for pleasure.

As I have often said, however, sex was meant as a wedding gift, not a party favor.

So if Jerry Falwell, Jr and his wife felt like taking some spicy images, during the course of their marital playtime, is it wrong?

My first inclination is to say, no, not entirely.

With that in mind, however, if it’s a case of images that somehow disrespect the marriage bed, or show some otherwise unhealthy appetites, it could be troubling.

The husband is tasked with loving his wife as Christ loved the church, and part of that is protecting her from incidents like this.

The next question should be: Who had those images and how did they gain access to them?

That much we don’t know.

The Falwells enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, according to the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the year Trump announced his presidential candidacy. At the time, Cohen was Trump’s confidant and personal lawyer, and he worked for the Trump Organization.

The Falwells wanted to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen told Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”
So the individual who had the images destroyed them, but Cohen is saying he’s retained one of them?

And while there is no proof that this is the catalyst for Falwell’s subsequent endorsement of Trump, and his steadfast approval of Trump’s every move, it doesn’t seem particularly on the up-and-up.

During the campaign, Cohen worked closely with Liberty University to help promote Trump’s candidacy. It was around that time that Cohen heard from the Falwells about the photographs, said the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking.

The Falwells told Cohen that someone had obtained photographs that were embarrassing to them, and was demanding money, the source said. Reuters was unable to determine who made the demand. The source said Cohen flew to Florida and soon met with an attorney for the person with the photographs. Cohen spoke with the attorney, telling the lawyer that his client was committing a crime, and that law enforcement authorities would be called if the demands didn’t stop, the source said.
That part is actually correct, so kudos to Cohen for managing some legit lawyering.

With Cohen now behind bars for the next couple of years, we may not immediately get a follow-up to this story, but it’s unlikely to just go away.

And he still has one of the images, so there’s that

May 2, 2018

New Poll Shows Same Sex Marriage Support Among US Religious Groups

 Gay marriage is gaining support even among conservatives


 Most religious groups now support same-sex marriage being legal, according to a study released today from PRRI, the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey, which was based on more than 40,000 survey responses collected throughout 2017, finds that twice as many Americans now support same-sex marriage as opposing it, 61% to 30%.

Not surprisingly, support is strongest among members of religious groups that tend to be politically liberal, such as Jews (77%), the unaffiliated (80%), and Unitarians (an overwhelming 97%).

What is more surprising is how quickly support for same-sex marriage has grown among religious groups that are more politically diverse. Two-thirds of Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and white mainline Protestants now say they are in favor.

What's more, majority support now includes African Americans, whose support for same-sex marriage has increased from 41% in 2013 to 52% today. Hispanic Americans also saw double-digit increases, with support rising from 51% in 2013 to 61% today.

As support has grown, the outright opposition has declined, the study shows.

Majorities of Americans in most states support same-sex marriage, with the exceptions all located in the South. Even in the handful of states that do not have more than 50% support for same-sex marriage, they also don't have 50% opposition; Alabama is now the only state in the Union where a majority of residents say they oppose same-sex marriage. 

Support growing more slowly among Mormons and Evangelicals

While support is robust among most religious groups, white evangelicals and Mormons remain the only holdouts and do not express majority support for same-sex marriage. 40% of Mormons and just 34% of white evangelicals say they are in favor.

On the other hand, "there is evidence that even these groups are trending toward majority support," says PRRI.

For one thing, the opposition has decreased by double digits in both groups since 2013 and is now at 58% among white evangelicals and 53% among Mormons. A few years ago, the opposition had broad support among both groups – 71% of evangelicals and 68% of Mormons said no to same-sex marriage.

For another, the trend lines are clear that younger evangelicals and Mormons are significantly more supportive than their elders. Among evangelicals, for example, twice as many young adults favor same-sex marriage (53%) as those over 65 (25%). Mormon Millennials also showed majority support (52%) compared to Mormons over age 65 (32%).

The study also points out that white evangelical Protestants and Mormons represent a declining "market share" in the American religious landscape today, as their numbers are dwindling or remaining stagnant in comparison to the rapid growth of secularism. While they may hold "outsized political influence," combined they represent fewer than one in five Americans today, says Robert Jones, PRRI's CEO.

Most Americans oppose the "baker exception"

The study also showed that six in ten Americans oppose the idea of religiously based service refusals, which is the issue at the center of a major Supreme Court case this year. The court is considering whether a Colorado cake baker should have the right to refuse service to LGBT couples who are getting married if doing so would violate his religious beliefs. 

Members of most religious groups said business owners should not get to choose which clients to serve. This was particularly true among black Protestants, 65% of whom say that business owners should not have the option of denying service to LGBT customers.

Again, Mormons and evangelicals are the outliers. In both groups, 53% say that business owners should have the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples.

On a separate question, every religious group had majority consensus on nondiscrimination measures that provide equal legal protections to LGBT people. The lowest was among white evangelical Protestants, with just 54% support, and the highest among Unitarians, at 95%.

Mormons, the study pointed out, are unique in the large gap that exists between their views on different, but related issues.

"Only 40% of Mormons favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, yet nearly seven in ten (69%) support laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment—a 29-point gap," said the report. "Among no other major religious group is the gap on these two issues larger."

The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 1.2 percentage points.

National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2018

Tim Farron (UK) Regrets Saying 'Gay is No Sin'

Tim Farron has said he regrets stating he did not believe gay sex was a sin during last year's general election 
He also said late last year: "People who are devout Christians are seen as "dangerous" and "offensive" in modern Britain." He went one way but reversed 180*
after the general election(he stepped down).
It has been said that politicians will say anything to get elected. It would seem this might be a good sample. In the US we have a genius politician that changes his position from one interview or tweeter to the next, on the same day. The interesting part here is that he is making his change of mind about gays and Christians very public by giving interviews in the subject. Why? It could be that in the Christian community if you have sinned you need to repent and part of the process is to make it public. particularly if your sinning was public. In the old days it was called... shaming.


After Tim Farron, it is tempting to agree with the former Liberal Democrat leader’s conclusion, that being an evangelical Christian is not compatible with political leadership. And yet it’s not clear whether this is the case or whether it is Farron’s own lack of political skills that resulted in his being one of the shortest serving party leaders of recent times. 

The ex-Lib Dem leader told Christian Radio he had been "foolish and wrong" and had spoken partly to try and get the issue of his faith "off the table".
The committed Christian said the focus on his beliefs stopped him getting his message across during the campaign. 
"It was a little bit like having your main advertising hoarding permanently damaged and vandalized," he said. 
Mr. Farron also said he had been right to step down immediately after the election, in which the party did not make as much ground as it had hoped, saying he found himself in a situation where "either I let the party down or I compromised my faith". 
During the six-week-long campaign, he was asked repeatedly about his religious beliefs and, specifically, about whether he believed gay sex was a sin.
After initially appearing not to answer the question directly, he said he did not want people getting the "wrong impression" about his views, telling the BBC "I don't believe that gay sex is a sin".

Election opportunity

In an interview with Premier Christian Radio, Mr. Farron - who is now the party's environment spokesman as well as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale - said he now regretted not being honest with himself at the time and admitted his answers had been motivated, partly, by political expediency.
Asked whether he had felt under pressure to deal with the issue while touring the country, he replied: "The bottom line is, of course, I did."
"There are things - including that - that I said that I regret. There was a sense I felt I had to get this off my table: here's a general election, a great opportunity for the Liberal Democrats... and all they wanted to do was talk about my Christian beliefs and what it meant." "I would say foolishly and wrongly, [I] attempted to push it away by giving an answer that, frankly, was not right."
Part of the difficulty he said he found himself wrestling with was the different understanding of what sin constitutes for Christians and non-Christians. 
"In the end, if you are a Christian you have a very clear idea of what sin is. It is us falling short of the glory of God, and that is something all of us equally share.
"So to be asked that question is essential to persecute one group of human beings because sin is something, Jesus excepted, we are all guilty of. But if you are not a Christian, what does sin mean? It is to be accused of something, to be condemnatory, and so we are talking different languages.
While he said he could have tried to explain the Bible's teaching on sex and sexuality, he said it would have been "naive in the extreme" to expect journalists to give him a hearing on the theological details.
Reflecting on his experience, he said that while he did not believe there was "a wicked agenda" to marginalize or ridicule Christians, he said there was a risk of society becoming "tolerant of everything apart from the things we don't like".
He added: "There are some who just can't comprehend that somebody can have really strong convictions and be a Bible-believing Christian on the one hand and at the same time really passionately believing in people's rights to make their own choices, which essentially is what liberalism is."
Sir Vince Cable, who succeeded Mr. Farron as a leader, was quick to stress that his colleague's views did not represent party policy.

November 14, 2017

This is Why Religious Exceptions Brings Gay Marriage and Gay Civil Rights Backwards

All states have anti-discrimination legislation that prevents businesses discriminating against people based on their sexuality, among other things. 
Religious exemptions would allow people — and private businesses — to refuse services for same-sex weddings by objecting to such weddings on religious grounds. 
I have written elsewhere about why religious exemptions for same-sex marriage are economically foolhardy. 
They are also bad policy: they undermine the very purpose of the anti-discrimination legislation. 

Equality vs. freedom 

The anti-discrimination legislation aims to balance competing "rights". On the one hand, it promotes the right to equality. It also tries to avoid impinging the right to freedom of religion. It is premised on the idea that vulnerable groups require legal protection from persecution. 
The most recent example of state anti-discrimination laws is the Victorian Equal Opportunities Act of 2010. Its purpose is to encourage "positive action to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation". This enhances prior laws by encouraging pro-active action by goods and services providers to eliminate discrimination. 
The legislation attempts to balance equality with religious freedom by providing exceptions where discrimination is deemed 'reasonable'. For example, in Victoria, the law allows people to discriminate if it is "reasonably necessary ... to comply with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of their religion". The act also exists alongside Constitutional provisions that prohibit the Commonwealth from either mandating or forbidding, religious observance.
The anti-discrimination legislation thus demonstrates a clear policy goal to eliminate discrimination except in the case of narrowly drawn exceptions. The question is whether religious exemptions for same-sex marriage undermine that policy goal. 

Where to draw the line

Religious exemptions for same-sex marriage could apply to three different activities: 
  • services provided by religious organizations and offered only to adherents of that religion 
  • non-religious services offered to the world at large by religiously owned or operated entities 
  • services provided by private organizations and offered to the world at large 
Religious groups offering religious services 
It is generally accepted that religious entities should be exempt from same-sex marriage laws when performing religious activities. For example, a church minister need not marry a same-sex couple. This is not a live issue in the debate. 
Religious groups offering non-religious services to the world at large
Religious groups provide many services to the general public. They might include schools that are open to people of all faiths, properties that are open for rent, or religiously affiliated businesses that provide general services. Superficially, one might argue that providing services for same-sex couples could be at odds with the religious group's beliefs. However, two factors count against that. 
First, the religious group has actively decided to offer its services to the world at large. In so doing, it has signaled that it is willing to serve people who do not agree with its religious tenets.
Picking and choosing which people to serve is arbitrary and exclusionary and this is precisely the type of discrimination that anti-discrimination law aims to avoid. 
Second, the services being offered are non-religious. For example, leasing a property, baking a cake, and providing flowers are all non-religious services. Thus, providing these services to same-sex weddings does not violate the religious group's beliefs. Thus, it cannot impinge religious freedom. 
Private businesses offering services to the world at large 
Religious exemptions for private business offering services to the world at large are problematic. 
First, the most recent legislation explicitly states that motive is irrelevant when determining whether actions are discriminatory. However, religious exemptions imply that discriminatory conduct is acceptable if the motive was a personal objection to same-sex weddings. This directly contradicts existing legislative language. 
Second, the legislation's stated purpose is to eliminate discrimination in areas where discrimination has historically been prevalent. This involves a situation where a powerful group has used that power to harm the victimized group. In part, this is premised on the inherent unfairness in discrimination. In part, it is premised on the real world harm that such discrimination causes. 
In this context, LGBTI individuals have historically faced discrimination. This manifests in higher rates of depression and anxiety, according to Beyond Blue. Such discrimination has historically been religiously based. 
Thus, religious exemptions would entrench discrimination against a historically victimized group, and propagate real world harms.
Third, services are not magically different merely because they are for a same-sex wedding. Thus, religious exemptions are not necessary to prevent discrimination against religious groups. Indeed, this, in and of itself, suggests that the only purpose for religious exemptions can be to facilitate discrimination under the artificial shroud of religious observance. 

A balancing act

An anti-discrimination law exists to prevent prejudiced and exclusionary actions. In this context, the laws balance the need for equality with the need to preserve religious freedom. 
There is an argument for exempting religious groups from anti-discrimination laws when they perform religious actions. 
However, there is no such argument for exempting businesses, or religiously affiliated organizations, when they offer services to the public at large. Such exemptions would undermine the very purpose of an anti-discrimination law. 
Mark Humphery-Jenner is associate professor of finance at UNSW Business School.
ABC Australia

August 23, 2017

(Here is The Tape) Bishop Takes Care of student's woody and Vice versa

This is a Follow up on the story in which the Romanian Bishop is fired after this tape was made public. The tape only shows the shades of the action(occurrence). The Bishop was having sex with a student on his Seminary. These are hard times for religion and not being able to be honest about what a human being needs instead of describing bodily, psychological and even spiritual needs as sins or worse demonic. 

Corneliu Barladeanu 
The tape obtained through Gay Star News

July 7, 2017

Pope Francis Wants a Bridge Between Gay Catholics and The Church but The Bishops??May be Not

 Pope Francis Represents changed in an organization that fears it 

On a recent Sunday, a Catholic cardinal in New Jersey welcomed gay and lesbian Catholics to a special Mass at his cathedral in Newark. "I am your brother," Cardinal Joseph Tobin told the congregation, "as a disciple of Jesus."

Weeks later, a Catholic bishop in Illinois instructed priests not to offer Holy Communion or funeral rites to anyone engaged in a same-sex union, unless they had "given some sign of repentance" before their death. Bishop Thomas Paprocki said he has a duty to warn wayward Catholics, with charity, but also "without compromising the truth."

Many of this country's bishops -- who are free, more or less, to follow their own priorities -- linger somewhere between Tobin's welcome and Paprocki's warning. But if the bishops are divided on LGBT issues, there is a greater gulf between church leaders and gay and lesbian Catholics themselves, church experts say. 

 Into that breach steps the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and popular author with a large following on social media. In a new book, called "Building a Bridge," Martin calls on LGBT Catholics and their bishops to begin conversations rooted in mutual respect, compassion and sensitivity.

Those conversations can be difficult in a church that calls homosexual acts "intrinsically disordered," and, in some dioceses, fires employees who have same-sex partners or advocate for LGBT rights. One conservative website called Martin "a wolf in sheep's clothing (or a Roman collar)."

But Martin's book has won endorsements from high places. Three bishops contributed favorable blurbs, including the head of the Vatican's office of Laity, Family and Life, who called it "welcome and much-needed." Martin himself was recently named a consultor to the Vatican's communications team.

Martin spoke to CNN recently about homophobia, why gay priests stay in the closet and what he tells LGBT Catholics who want to leave the church. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What prompted you to write this book?

After the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando last year, only a few Catholic bishops expressed their sympathy or reached out to the LGBT community, and even fewer used the words "LGBT" or "gay" in their statements. That was revelatory to me. Even in death, LGBT people are largely invisible in the church.

Why do think so few bishops explicitly mentioned LGBT people after Orlando?

That is a great question. I'm hoping it's not homophobia. I assume it's because for some of them acknowledging the LGBT community is a kind of tacit approval of everything the community says and does, which is certainly not true. And I think there may be a certain amount of fear of the unknown. In my experience, not many bishops know, as friends, LGBT people who are public about their identity or sexuality. That unfamiliarity may lead to a certain amount of fear and suspicion.
One bishop, Robert Lynch in Florida, said that religion is partly to blame for attacks on LGBT people.

He is absolutely right. That doesn't mean that church teaching caused the shooting, but the ways in which religious leaders speak about the LGBT community influences the way the culture at large talks about them. Oftentimes it can give people cover for simply being homophobic, and they can use church teaching as a mask for their homophobia.

Your book doesn't mention much about the church's strong opposition to same-sex marriage, including several bishops' dire responses to the Supreme Court decision legalizing it. Why is that?
For two reasons. First, I'd rather not focus on areas where the LGBT community and the institutional church are still miles apart; I'd prefer to focus on possible areas of common ground. And second, I really didn't want to single out any individual bishops for criticism. But it was mainly the first issue, because they are so far apart on that issue.

You call the firings of gay Catholics by church officials unjust. But aren't they causing "scandal," as the church defines it, by flouting Catholic teaching?

You could make the "scandal" case about a whole raft of people: people who are divorced; people who are divorced and remarried without an annulment; women who have given birth to, or men who have fathered, a child out of wedlock; an unmarried couple who are living together. All these things are very public and we chose not to thunder over them. That, to me, is classic discrimination. Either you require everyone to adhere to church teaching -- on everything, not just sexual morality -- or not. But you don't put one person's life under a moral microscope simply because they are LGBT.
A bishop in Illinois recently said that Catholics in same-sex unions should be denied Holy 

Communion and funeral rites. Is that new?

That is relatively new. And, again, if the church wants to discriminate against LGBT people, it also has to focus on the moral and sexual behavior of straight people. And we should remember that burying the dead is one of the traditional "corporal works of mercy." It's not a punishment. I find statements like that [from the Illinois bishop] to be needlessly cruel.

Is there any theological justification for denying burial rights to a person in a gay marriage?
Any person prepares himself or herself to enter into the sacraments. So before we go to Mass, for example, we are hopefully in a "state of grace" and have gone to Confession. But to single a group out and target them with statements like this is discriminatory. No other group have their lives put under a microscope like this. None. It's like giving a homily at Mass and, rather than talking to all of us, singling out one person in the pew. And this is a group that has already felt marginalized enough. The place where they should feel most at home is often the place where they feel most excluded. And that is not the way that Jesus operated. When Jesus met people who were seen as on the outskirts of society, he welcomed them. The welcome comes first, and we're not doing that if we call people sinners before we even shake their hands.

OK, but what happens after the church welcomes LGBT people? Is there a Part II, when you have honest conversations about church teaching on homosexuality?

I'm just inviting people to take the first steps, and for many LGBT people those conversations can't even happen, because they don't feel like they are even welcome to step foot in a church.
Catholic church changing tone on gays?
I'll give you an example. I've been getting a torrent of messages and requests for help through my public Facebook page recently. Probably 50 a day. And I had one from a woman who asked me if I knew a priest in her city, because she worked in a hospice and the priest assigned to the hospice was refusing to anoint a man who was dying — because he was gay. That's the kind of stuff that LGBT people face every day in the church. Another man told me that he decided to go back to church, and it was Easter, and the homily was on same-sex marriage. We tend to speak about the LGBT community only as problems, rather than people.

A number of surveys show that many, if not most Catholics support gay rights, especially young Catholics. 
Do you get the sense that this is a generational thing, and that in 20 or 30 years the church hierarchy won't be talking about or treating LGBT people in the same way?

I don't think the church will ever change its position on same-sex marriage, but there is a sea change happening in their approach to LGBT Catholics in general. You have someone like Cardinal Joseph Tobin of New Jersey who is not advocating changing church teaching but is welcoming LGBT people, listening to them and trying to inculcate what Pope Francis calls a "culture of encounter."
There are two reasons for this shift. One is Pope Francis. His saying "Who am I to judge?" about gay people; his public meeting with Yayo Grassi, his former student who is gay, during his papal visit to the United States; his comments in Amoris Laetitia [a papal document in which he opposes gay marriage but says that gay Catholics should receive "respectful pastoral guidance."] And the bishops who Pope Francis is appointing in the United States are much more LGBT friendly.

The second thing is the increased number of LGBT Catholics who are coming out and making LGBT issues much more important for the church as a whole. At St. Cecilia's Church in Boston recently we had 700 people at a talk, and I stayed afterward signing books for two hours. LGBT people are so hungry for a place in what is, after all, their own church, and they are grateful that someone in a collar would bring this up.

You write that there are hundreds, if not thousands of gay and lesbian Catholic clergy. Why aren't they "out"?

Several reasons. One, their bishops or religious superiors ask them not to come out. Two, they fear reprisals from parishioners. Three, they fear it would be divisive. Four, they are private people. Five, they are not fully aware of their sexuality. And lastly, people have mistakenly conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and so priests don't want to come out because they fear they'll be labeled a pedophile.

Would it make a difference if more clergy came out?

Of course it would. It would help to show Catholics in the pews what a gay person is like and, incidentally, how gay people can live chastely. The great irony is that these men and women are living out exactly what the church asks of LGBT people -- chastity and celibacy -- and they are not allowed to talk about it. They are doing great work under a strange cloud that should not exist.
It seems the "T" in LGBT raises such different and complex questions for the church. Transgender advocates have taken issue with the Pope, particularly his comments comparing the danger of gender theory to nuclear war.

This phenomenon is the leading edge of reflection on human sexuality, even in our American culture. So it is not surprising that the church is still grappling with this. It is something that people have only been grappling with publicly for about 10 years.

The other night in Boston, a couple came up to me. The husband was transgender, and had become a woman, and the woman had stayed with her spouse. That is, she married someone who was a man and who was now a woman. I was amazed and had a hard time even processing it. I said to the wife, "How are you able to do this?" And she said, "Love is love." I thought, here is a new kind of love, a new kind of fidelity, to consider and ponder, as some sort of expression of God's love for us. The church needs to reflect on that.

What do you say when someone asks, "Father Jim, why should I stay in a church that doesn't welcome me?"

I say: Jesus Christ called you into this church at your baptism, and it is just as much your church as it is the Pope's, the local bishop's and mine. You have just as much right to be in the church as anyone else. Don't let anyone ever push you out of your church.
I'm very clear on that.

Are people surprised to hear that from a priest?

They're sometimes surprised but on reflection they understand it. The other day I was at a baptism in New York and at the end of the baptism the priest lifted the child up and the organ boomed out "Alleluia," and it sent chills down my spine. I thought: This is the most sacred moment in a person's life. This is entrance into the Christian community and it should never be forgotten. That child is in the church now and forever. Straight. Lesbian. Gay. Transgender. Bisexual. And no one should ever seek to kick that person out of the church.


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