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Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Bahamas Bishop Brands Clergy Who Attack Gays as Closet Cases

In Homophobia and bullying on December 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Bishop Simeon B Hall in Bahamas goes from saying gay sex is ‘deadly’ and ungodly to defending LGBT community in one year.

31 DECEMBER 2012 | BY TRIS REID-SMITH

A senior Christian in the Bahamas has slammed clerics those who ‘demonize’ homosexuality and said they may be closet gays.Bishop Simeon Hall admitted he ‘acted in ignorance’ in the past on LGBT issues – in November 2011 he referred to gay male sex as a ‘deadly’ practice.But now the former president of the Bahamas Christian Council BCC has accused other council members of focusing on homosexuality rather than dealing with other issues – like gambling.In a press statement Hall said the church should affirm the humanity of gay people and indicated that those attacked LGBT rights were often secretly gay themselves.He said: ‘The demonization of homosexuals by some pastors is the greatest hindrance to any positive dialogue or efforts the church might establish with them.‘The Bahamian public in general, as well as pastors in particular, must be careful of what we demonize and protest. Psychologists tell us that sometimes the things we strike out against, we do so because a bit of it lies within us on a subliminal level.‘I also believe that of the 133 sins listed in the Bible, if a pastor can only preach on one of them it could very well be that he has that problem – if not in practice then perhaps dormantly.’He added the BCC appears to be ‘populated by a group of men who are number one homophobic and that’s the only time that they come alive or they pick small things to speak out against’.

-more at Bahamas bishop brands clergy who attack gays as closet cases | Gay Star News.

Response to Benedict: Dutch Gay Catholics De-Baptize Themselves

In Sexual Orientation on December 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

Thousands of Dutch Catholics are researching how they can leave the church in protest at its opposition to gay marriage, according to the creator of a website aimed at helping them find the information.

Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on ontdopen.nl (i.e. “de-baptise.nl”) had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict’s latest denunciation of gay marriage this month.
“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics,” Roes told Reuters.

He said he did not know how many visitors to the site actually go ahead and leave the church.

– more at Huffington Post
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Calabrian Catholic bishop says gay couples ‘should have rights’

In Marriage and family on December 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Italian bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini from Locri-Gerace recognizes that gay couples ‘should claim some rights, but they can not ask for marriage’

cattedrale_Gerace

18 DECEMBER 2012 | BY DANIELE GUIDO GESSA

Photo by DaffyDuke

An Italian Catholic bishop said that ‘same-sex couples should have their civil rights recognized.’

Bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, who is in charge of the Locri-Gerace area in Calabria, recognized same-sex couples’ rights in a letter sent to the churches of his area.

Such a recognition by the Catholic hierarchy is uncommon, but bishop Morosini added: ‘However, same-sex couples are not families. We can not give them the right to a regular marriage.

‘We believe in God and we have to respect the Christian values and rules. I suggest you defend these ideas strongly.’

The Italian Church is analyzing the possibility of a new Italian government wanting to give same-sex couples some rights. The next general elections will be held in spring.

Morosini added: ‘A marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but every couple should have civil rights.’

His stance has been welcomed by Italian LGBT associations, even though the Italian gay movement has condemned his call for ‘traditional’ marriage.Calabria is one of the less gay-friendly regions in Italy. Only a few LGBT associations operate in this area.

via Gay Star News.

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Minnesota Catholics Still Split by Vote on Gay Marriage

In Marriage and family on December 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

More than a month after Minnesota became the first state to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, some Catholics say it’s time to acknowledge how divisive that effort was within the church.

Among them is Kathleen Nuccio, a cantor and choir member for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

Nuccio sings during Mass each Sunday, as she has done for half a century. But when it came to her opposition to the marriage amendment, she couldn’t make her voice heard.

“There was no dialogue,” she said. “The only way people had to express themselves … (was) by withdrawing donations, walking out of sermons — which happened — and leaving the church altogether. Many people still have not returned.”

Catholic bishops put significant financial and spiritual resources behind the amendment, which would have defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, reinforcing a provision against same-sex marriage in state law. The church’s official position alienated some parishioners and may have contributed to the amendment’s defeat in November.

There is no exit-poll data on how Catholics in Minnesota voted on the amendment. Although the Associated Press asked voters if they attended religious services and if they were evangelicals, it did not ask if they were Catholic. National polls find Catholics are among churchgoers most supportive of same-sex marriage.

-more at  Winona Daily News

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Jesus was gay, says NZ church billboard

In Sexual Orientation on December 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

St Matthew-in-the-City church says Jesus Christ’s sexuality is not know for sure but he would have backed gay marriage

Infant Jesus, gay

Jesus was gay according to a Christmas billboard at a New Zealand Anglican church.

The Christmas billboard at St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland is frequently controversial – previously it has joked about Joseph’s sexual prowess and shown the Virgin Mary with a pregnancy test.

This year it depicts Jesus in his manger with a rainbow halo and the words: ‘It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out.’

St Matthew’s Reverend Clay Nelson said: ‘Some scholars have tried to make the case that he might have been gay. But it is all conjecture. Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?’

While his colleague at the church, Reverend Glynn Cardy implied Jesus would have backed same-sex marriage, which is currently being debated in New Zealand.

He said: ‘There is almost nothing in the record of his teachings about sexuality while there is plenty about the perils of being rich. Certainly he always supported the marginalized in society.’

And he wanted to raise the question of sexuality among the faithful.

‘Would it make a difference if he was gay? Would that change the picture for you? Would it mean what we revere about him changes?’

Last year’s Virgin Mary pregnancy test billboard spread around the world, reaching 21 million people on Facebook. But it was condemned as ‘blasphemous’ by some Catholics and vandalized.

via  Gay Star News.

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Colombian couple spark outrage at ‘gay’ Christmas scene

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Gay activist couple have caused controversy after they displayed a ‘gay’ nativity scene, featuring two Josephs and no Mary

A gay couple in Colombia have sparked the outrage of Conservative Christians after displaying a ‘gay’ Christmas scene outside their home.

Andrés Vásquez, a political analyst, and Felipe Cárdenas, an entrepreneur, decorated their Bogóta home with a nativity scene featuring two Josephs but no Virgin Mary surrounding the baby Jesus.

Neighbors were apparently not ready to embrace the inclusive Christmas, as they took to social media to disparage the display and berate the couple.

The national Catholic Church has even issued a statement condemning the display as ‘sacrilege’.

Vasquez said: ‘We did it because we believe in Colombia. We live in different cities of the world and prefer to return to our country. We are starting to build through this new union.’

Colombia Reports describe the two men as ‘gay rights activists’ who are hoping that displaying the alternative nativity scene would help move the country forward on marriage equality.

Four years ago, Vasquez and Cárdenas celebrated their union, the closest gay couples can get to marriage in Colombia.

Last year, the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled Colombia must extend marriage rights to same-sex couples within two years.

Under the ruling, Congress must create an equivalent of marriage for gay couples by 20 June 2013, or else couples will automatically gain the right to go to any judge or notary public to formalize their union.

Currently, the same-sex marriage bill is in the first stage of making its way through government with the hopes it will be legalized early 2013.

via  Gay Star News.

Gay Catholics Speak Out for Marriage Equality in Illinois

In Marriage and family on December 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

The Rainbow Sash Movement (Lesbian/Gay Catholics) challenges the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Illinois when that Conference makes the claim that it represents nearly 4 million Catholics in the State of Illinois on the issue of Gay Marriage; such a claim is not based in reality.

 

Rainbow_Sash_Movement_Logo

The Illinois Catholic Conference also states that marriage is unique because it’s a union between two genders and “same-sex marriage goes against nature.” This is another example of hierarchal bias of basic human rights and fairness for LGBT people. It is not reasonable to deny the evolution of marriage over the centuries with divorce and remarriage being the most obvious example of such evolution.

The Rainbow Sash Movement finds it difficult understand why the Illinois Catholic Conference would align itself with an organization which is part of the ex-gay movement to promote their anti-gay agenda. Courage was founded by Fr. John Harveybased on the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and understands sexual orientation of the LGBT Community as a disease to be cured. The attempt to promote such bigotry under their conference is in our opinion not only offensive to the LGBT Community and most reasonable people, but is also lacking in any significant pastoral intent.

The promotion of such ideas by the Illinois Catholic Conference that love is an abomination when Lesbian and Gay couples practice it in Gay Marriage has its origins in ancient taboos, not nature. This only highlights how out of touch Catholic leaders are with the views of pew-sitting Catholics when it comes to Gay Marriage.

At issue is how to balance competing rights—to freedom of religious expression and freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We believe it would be unfortunate to replace legal oppression of one community (LGBT couples) with legal oppression of another (Illinois Catholic Conference), and current Gay Marriage legislation to be introduced in January 2013 has built in protections to make sure this does not happen.

We want to remind our leaders the principles of our faith and church are based on: forgiveness, love, mercy and charity. Not the flawed opinions of men – even those in the church hierarchy. We are calling on our Bishops to refocus their attention on caring for the poor and vulnerable

The Rainbow Sash Movement believes that the Catholic Conference of Illinois has a right to create its own definition of the sacrament of marriage, but not to impose those beliefs on the people of Illinois who understand this as a question of basic fairness and social justice.

Perhaps it is time for the Church to remove itself from Civil Marriage if it cannot tolerate marriage equality which is defined by the state, and focus rather on sacramental marriage which is defined by the Church. The Catholic Conference of Illinois is stepping over the line when it tells non Catholic Churches who they can and cannot marry.

It is time to pass Gay Marriage in Illinois.

SOURCE Rainbow Sash Movement

PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1wZdx)

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Rest in Peace: Bishop Walter Sullivan

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

With a heavy heart, we report the passing of Bishop Walter Sullivan, retired Ordinary of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.   As a past president of Pax Christi USA, Bishop Sullivan is best known for his work on peace issues.  However, no less significant is Bishop Sullivan’s contributions to LGBT equality.

Here are  a few of his accomplishments:

  • Establishing the Sexual Minorities Commission, the first diocesan outreach to LGBT people, back in 1976
  • Writing the introduction to A Challenge to Love:  Gay and Lesbian Catholics in the Church (edited by New Ways Ministry co-founder, Father Robert Nugent, SDS).
  • Hosting the second national convention of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian/Gay Ministries in 1996.  (The organization is now called the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry.)

Also in 1976, Bishop Sullivan spoke out in support of lesbian/gay civil rights, stating in the Richmond News Leader:

“The issue before our community and the [human rights] commission, however, is not the morality of a person’s sexual orientation, but rather a person’s rights and protection under the law.  We believe that a person’s sexual orientation, whether it is one we approve or disapprove, is not a proper ground for depriving  that person of the basic rights and protections that belong to all human beings. “

From a statement such as this, we can see that Bishop Sullivan was one of the first Catholic bishops to apply the church’s social justice and human rights traditions to the LGBT community.

taken from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

more at  Bondings 2.0.

Scotland refuses to ban ‘any church’ from providing same-sex marriages

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

All religious institutions – including the Church of Scotland – will be free to decide for themselves if they would like to provide marriages for gay couples, under plans announced today.

Church-of-Scotland-logo-1

The move comes after the UK Government yesterday unveiled its formal plans to allow gay couples to marry in England and Wales from 2013.

However, the Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages – a decision that has already been criticised by equality campaigners along with the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan.

The Scottish Government has ruled out introducing similar conditions for the nation’s Presbyterian church, although SNP ministers insist that no churches would be forced to hold same-sex weddings.

Ministers have already decided they want to make the change, and now need to consult on proposed legislation to be put to the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation on its draft legislation – opposed by the Church of Scotland and the nation’s Catholic Church – will last until March.

 

– Pink News

 

 

Again and Again, Statistics Tell a Positive Story About Catholics

In Marriage and family on December 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Over the past month, several polls have confirmed what many previous polls have already shown:  the Catholic laity support LGBT equality, including marriage equality.

In the most recent survey, a Quinnipiac poll released last week, Catholics outpace average Americans when it comes to marriage equality.  According to Newsmax.com:

“While same sex unions are approved by 48 percent to 46 percent overall, Catholics give them the thumbs-up by 49 percent to 43 percent, the survey from Quinnipiac University found.

“ ‘It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,’ said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Connecticut university’s polling institute.

“ ‘While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years.’ . . .

“The biggest opposition among any group is with white Protestants who oppose it 63 percent to 32 percent.”

A Public Religion Research Institute report confirms that Catholics are ahead of the average American population on marriage equality:

“A slim majority (52%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and 44% oppose.

“Among religious groups, majorities of Catholics (59%), white mainline Protestants (56%), and the unaffiliated (77%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

A recent survey of Catholics in Illinois, conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, showed an overwhelming majority support some form of  legal relationship recognition for lesbian/gay couples.  According to LGBTQNation.com:

“. . . 81 percent of Catholics surveyed support either full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples or the right to a civil union. Specifically, 39.9 percent said they support marriage rights and 40.1 percent said their position is for same-sex couples to have civil unions. Only 15.7 percent said there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

“. . . the same poll found that 43.6 percent of Illinois residents approve of full marriage equality, 31.8 percent preferred civil unions and 20.2 percent said there should be no legal recognition. In 2010, the same poll reported 33.6 percent of people were in favor of marriage rights.”

The Illinois statistics are significant because that state, which already has a civil unions law, may well take up the discussion of a marriage equality law in 2013.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 Bondings 2.0.