Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

(Australian) Gay Christians hope for church acceptance

In Sexual Orientation on June 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

LIKE four in ten same-sex couples, James Nevein, 49, and David Witte, 50, identify themselves as Christians.

They are part of a statistic that strikes at the heart of the debate around same-sex marriage, and one that many hope will validate them in the eyes of the church.

At the 2011 census, Christianity was the number one religion among gay and lesbian couples – with 40 per cent of couples practising the faith compared to 60 per cent of opposite-sex couples.

 Forty-eight per cent declared no religion, compared to 20 per cent of opposite-sex couples. Buddhism was the second most common among same-sex couples, at 4 per cent compared to 2.6 per cent of opposite-sex couples.

The census data was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday as part of a report into the lives of people living in gay and lesbian relationships.

Mr Nevein, who is on the board of Freedom2b, a support group for gay people from Christian backgrounds, said it was evidence that he and members of the same-sex Christian community were not in a minority. ”In every church, from the Pentecostal to the Quakers, there are gay and lesbian people there,” he said. ”Churches are going to have to consider this issue.”

He said churches needed to acknowledge their existence in order to prevent same-sex couples from feeling alienated.

”Why would you identify with an organisation that, for most of the last 2000 years has hated you, either openly or silently, unless you had a very deep sense of belonging?

”The church has a lot to answer for, but there is also a lot of hope.”

Read more at The Age

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Truth in Transgender: Will the Episcopal Church Amend Its Rules?

In Trans Issues on June 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Out of the Box documentary challenges the church on transgender inclusion

Why Add the “T” to “LGB”?

As the Episcopal Church prepares for its 77th triennial General Convention in Indianapolis next month, transgender Episcopalians and their allies are preparing to challenge the denomination’s commitment to the full inclusion of all God’s people—without consideration of “race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age”—in discernment for lay or ordained ministry in the Church. The italicized language is a proposed addition to the current canons of the Episcopal Church, which were previously amended to include sexual orientation as a characteristic that could not be considered as an impediment to ministry. The new language was proposed at the 2009 General Convention, and was passed by majorities of lay and ordained deputies. However, Episcopal bishops amended the proposed new canonical language to remove reference to gender identity specifically, preferring broader language that would ensure access to all the ministries of the Church by “all baptized persons.” Members of the trans community and their advocates persuaded deputies that the bishops’ revised language obscured the challenges faced by transgender Episcopalians, and the amendment was defeated.

“I think there was a tremendous amount of confusion the first time around,” says Louise Emerson Brooks, a media consultant and communications director for the Episcopal LGBT advocacy group Integrity USA, of the failure of the 2009 resolution. “There was a clear need for education among the bishops and the delegates in general on what it means to be transgender and why it matters that they are not prevented from serving the Church in any ministry, lay or ordained.”

“I have to confess,” continues Brooks,

“that I was one of those people who used to say, ‘Why do we have to put the Twith the LGB?’ I thought it was a different issue. I thought it was confusing. I thought it was polarizing. I thought we should just separate the issues, take on one battle at a time.”

A seminar by the advocacy group Trans Episcopal changed Brooks’ understanding of the issues, and Brooks channeled her own learning experience into Voices of Witness: Out of the Box, a documentary that tells the story of trans women and men now serving in ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

-full report at Religion Dispatches

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fired Minnesota Catholic School Teacher Calls for Dialogue on Marriage Equality

In Marriage and family on June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

A 46-year old Catholic school teacher in Moorehead, Minnesota, has lost her job because of her personal conviction in favor of marriage equality.

Trish Cameron

Trish Cameron, who taught at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, says she is now praying for a healthier dialogue in the church on the issue of marriage.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports:

“After 11 years teaching fifth graders at St. Joseph’s Catholic school in Moorhead, the same-sex marriage issue was on Cameron’s mind as she filled out her annual self-evaluation form this spring.

“Part of the evaluation asked teachers to rate how well they support the teachings of the church. In the comment box, Cameron wrote, ‘I do not agree with all church teachings on a personal level, but I do not bring my own opinions into religion classes.’

“That comment led to a meeting with her principal and superintendent where she explained her break with the church on the issue of same-sex marriage. One week later, they asked her to resign.

” ‘I don’t think there was any hiding my feelings, but along the way at the moments of dialogue was I thinking, “gee I’m jeopardizing my employment?” No,’ she said. ‘That never crossed my mind.’ “

-more at  Bondings/New Ways Ministry

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gay Pride Weekend Draws Mormon Allies and Equality Supporters

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

This weekend, organized contingents of Mormons marched in LGBT pride parades in 8 cities, from New York to Santiago de Chile, marking the high point in an historic season in LDS LGBT history that began with the Mormons Building Bridges Parade in Salt Lake City on June 3.

In Seattle, the Mormons for Marriage Equality contingent counted 55 marchers at the beginning of the Pride parade. As the group made its way down the parade path, an additional 20 Mormons left the sidelines to join, repeating scenes witnessed in Washington, DC, when the parade route became a site for reunions between active Mormons and gay Mormons long estranged from the faith community.

In New York City, 50 gay Mormons and allies marched behind the banner of Affirmation, the nation’s oldest Mormon LGBT group. Some held signs quoting a verse from the Book of Mormon: “All are alike unto God.” Nineteen LDS marchers held the Affirmation banner in Houston, as did an estimated 100 LDS LGBT and allied marchers in Santiago de Chile.

The largest contingent of the weekend gathered in San Francisco, where more than 100 LDS people gathered to march behind the Mormons for Marriage Equality banner, winning the parade’s award for “Absolutely Outrageous” contingent. Mitch Mayne, who is openly gay and holds a leadership position in his San Francisco LDS congregation, offered an opening prayer for the group. “I felt prompted to ask our Father to bless us with the capacity to be ambassadors of His unconditional love,” said Mayne.

-full report by Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches

Enhanced by Zemanta

Will the Catholic Church Split?

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

In the recent Vatican notification criticizing Margaret Farley’s book Just Love, under the heading “General Problems,” the reader is warned that:

The author does not present a correct understanding of the role of the Church’s Magisterium as the teaching authority of the Bishops united with the Successor of Peter, which guides the Church’s ever deeper understanding of the Word of God as found in Holy Scripture and handed on faithfully in the Church’s living tradition. In addressing various moral issues, Sr. Farley either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others.

“[T]reats it as one opinion among others.” That’s a separate issue, of course, from whether, inJust Love, Farley arrives at conclusions that contradict official Catholic teaching. But taking the notification at face value, surely we may ask: is there any coherent opinion of the world in which official Catholic teaching on sexual ethics is not precisely one opinion among others? By any honest reckoning, that is in fact the state of things, no? One could certainly argue that the teaching of the magisterium (i.e. the pope and bishops) ought to be taken as authoritative. But in making that case, such a one would need to begin by acknowledging a range of opinions, of which official Catholic teaching is precisely one?

Well, you might think so. Such would seem to cohere with the approach advocated by David Gibson, writing for dotCommonweal that he will “settle for that deeper, broader, more satisfying—if crowded and complex and maddening—Common Ground, thanks.” Catholic Common Ground, the organization to which he links, has this as their mission statement:

The Catholic Common Ground Initiative, inspired by the call to be one in Christ, invites Catholics with differing views about critical issues in the Church to engage in prayerful dialogue for the sake of building up the communion of the Church.

– full analysis by Sarah Morice – Brubaker, at Religion Dispatches

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pink Smoke marks Pittsburgh anniversary for Roman Catholic Womenpriests

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

July will mark the sixth anniversary of when eight women were ordained on a Pittsburgh riverboat by Roman Catholic WomenPriests, which claims they were were valid Catholic ordinations because the first women in the movement were secretly ordained by a male bishop in the line of apostolic succession.

 In honor of the event, there will be showing of the documentary Pink Smoke Over The Vatican on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.in the Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. There is no admission charge, but donations will be sought.
One of those ordained was Joan Houk of McCandless, a former pastoral associate at two Catholic parishes, who has a master of divinity degree (the basic one required for a Catholic priest) from the University of Notre Dame. The Post-Gazette doesn’t use “the Rev.” and “Bishop” as courtesy titles for clerics and prelates in this movement since they claim to be part of a church that doesn’t recognize them — a standard that we would use for any other company or religious body with a similar dispute over employment. But Ms. Houk was elected by her fellow clerics in 2009 to become bishop of the Great Waters Region for Roman Catholic WomenPriests.
With her educational background and personal qualities she could easily have been ordained for the Episcopal Church (or several other Protestant bodies), where there would be no dispute over her credentials. She chose the RomanCatholic Womenpriests route because she believes it’s a form of civil (canonical) disobedience similar to that practiced by the Rev. Martin Luther King in an effort to abolish unjust laws. In a recent statement she cited examples of people who were once condemned by the church who are now held up as role models, and even as saints.
– full report at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monsignor Fernando Maria Bargallo Quits, Argentinian Bishop Seen Frolicking With Woman

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

The pope has accepted the resignation of an Argentine bishop photographed frolicking on a Mexican beach with a woman, one of several personnel changes announced Tuesday by the Vatican before the pontiff heads off for summer vacation.

Monsignor Fernando Maria Bargallo, bishop of Merlo-Moreno outside Buenos Aires, initially denied having had any improper relationship with the woman, whom he described as a childhood friend. But the 57-year-old Bargallo later decided to step down under the church rule that lets bishops retire before age 75 if they’re found to be unfit for office.

Photographs of the encounter were broadcast on television last week and have been circulating on the Internet.

via  Huffington Post

Enhanced by Zemanta

Telling Trans-Faith Stories

In Trans Issues on June 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Despite the recent rise of murders motivated by a bias against LGBT people along side increasing anti-gay measures in states such as North Carolina, the growing body of anti-discrimination laws focusing on sexual orientation afford many gay and lesbian individuals the opportunity to live their lives authentically. The same cannot be said for transgender individuals. Few laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity protect this community and allow them to express who they are in public. Because of this, trying to estimate the exact number of people who self-identify as trans-sexual remains a challenge for researchers, health providers and others working with this community.

At the 11th annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, the largest trans specific health conference in the world, 2,400 participants converged to explore in a safe environment the health and well-being of transgender people, communities and allies. This year there was a strong interest in spiritual health, with over 50 spiritual activities available including interfaith workshops, film screenings, worship services, meditation/yoga and exhibition booths.

T Forward, a new initiative announced as a component of TransFaith Online‘s Interfaith Working Group, will serve as a hub for religious leaders working with transgender people and communities to share stories and to advocate for “secular” legislation. Those religious leaders present T Forward’s launching session reflected on the disconnect between national church policy that affirms those who are gender nonconforming and how local congregations implement–or ignore–these nonbinding resolutions.

-full report at The Revealer.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Christians must confront their own ‘disgust’ over homosexuality, says Archbishop

In Homophobia and bullying, Sexual Orientation on June 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Dr Rowan Williams acknowledged that the Church was still “scratching its head” about where it stands on issues like same-sex marriage despite its vocal public opposition to the Government’s plan to legalise it.

In his most frank public comments to date on the subject, the Archbishop accepted that the Church was in a “tangle” over homosexuality.

On one hand many Christians may themselves be “wrestling” with their own sexuality while others appeared to display only strong feelings of revulsion, he said.

The issue of women bishops – due to come to a head at the Church of England’s General Synod in York next week – was another matter which helped give the impression that sex was “the only thing the Church is interested in”, he remarked.

His comments came during a discussion day for a group of Christian teenagers at Lambeth Palace.

 – full report at Daily Telegraph.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gospels give Baptists a moral basis for gay-rights support

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Mark S Caldwell

As a Southern Baptist pastor for over 30 years, I have a continuing concern about the unwillingness of many Southern Baptists to recognize the moral example of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels.

A recent resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans as reported by The Tennessean states that gays and lesbians lack the “distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.” The resolution goes on to regret that “homosexual rights activists … have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.”

While civil rights should be everybody’s concern in a civil society of laws, Southern Baptists and other Christians should be morally motivated primarily not by the rhetoric of the civil rights movement, but by the language of the Gospels. Frankly, the fundamental moral question for Christians should be, “What would Jesus do?” For Southern Baptists, questions of law, utility, reasonable duty, social contract or any other theoretical concern should not trump the example of how Jesus lived and related to others.

-full report at  The Tennessean