Episcopalians prepare for same-sex ceremonies
Church began ordaining openly 'gay' priests in '90s
Following the Episcopal Church’s likely approval of a liturgy blessing same-sex relationships at its summer convention, a Montrose congregation will be among the first to offer gay and lesbian couples this rite, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle announced this week.
Doyle, bishop of the Texas Diocese, named St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church as the first in Houston to be allowed to offer the proposed ceremonies for same-sex covenants.
The Episcopal Church has held an ongoing debate regarding gay clergy for decades and began ordaining openly gay priests in the ‘90s, a gay bishop in 2003 and a lesbian bishop in 2010, but the issue of homosexuality continues to elicit debate.
Pat Robertson says Christians shouldn’t bully LGBT students
On a recent episode of “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson told viewers that Christians shouldn’t bully gay students, but reach out to them in love.
The televangelist stated that such bullying is wrong, regardless of a person’s orientation.
“You may disagree, you may think these practices are an abomination, you can think all sorts of things, but you need to love and reach out to these kids in love,” he said.
Part of the Religious Right, Robertson has voiced strong opposition to homosexuality in the past, including saying God will punish America for accepting gays, so some are happy to see him come out against gay bullying.
Two-thirds of Americans believe that religious groups’ negative messages on homosexuality are contributing to suicide rates among LGBT youth, the Public Religion Research Institute found, and LGBT activists continue to find Robertson’s approach as a Christian troubling, especially the reference to homosexuality as “an abomination.”
“Pat Robertson refuses to connect the dots between the harms caused by bullying and his long history of anti-gay rhetoric. We agree that schools should never allow anti-LGBT bullying, but calling a young person ‘an abomination’ — even if you think you’re doing it out of love — contributes to an environment of hostility, and absolutely qualifies as bullying,” Aaron McQuade, GLAAD spokesman.
Chaplains already feel 'gay' pressure
Threat of retirement follows even discussion of issue
A coalition of military chaplains is urging Congress to protect the rights of chaplains and members of the military to express their biblically based views of homosexuality, because current law leaves them open to harassment and disciplinary actions.
Brig. Gen. David Lee, a former Army chaplain and the chief of the executive committee of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said there haven’t been direct assaults on chaplains for their views of homosexuality – yet.
But he said the pressure to conform to the military’s new policy of allowing homosexuals in the ranks is like guerrilla warfare.
His organization recently wrote Congress on the issue.
Among some of the cases cited by the alliance:
Missouri lawmaker admits being a Sodomite
A Missouri House member announced Wednesday that he is gay, urging GOP leaders to end the state’s so-called “don’t say gay” legislation that would limit discussion of sexual orientation in public schools.
“Today I ask you to stand with me as a proud Republican, a proud veteran, and a proud gay man who wants to protect all kids, addressing bullying in our schools,” said Rep. Zachary Wyatt, the Kirksville Daily Express in Kirksville, Mo., reported.
The 27-year-old cattle farmer from the rural northern Missouri town of Novinger said current legislation, HB 2051, prompted him to disclose his sexual orientation for the first time. Wyatt has publicly denounced the bill, which would ban teaching, extracurricular activities or materials that discuss sexual orientation unless they relate to the scientific facts about human reproduction.
You can't marry your same-sex partner in Rhode Island, but as of Monday if you marry him or her in another state, the Ocean State will fully recognize the marriage, The Associated Press reports.
It seems like an odd halfway measure between legalizing gay marriage and banning it, because making people cross the border from the nation's smallest state to tie the knot is really more of a slight inconvenience than anything else. But the gay marriage debate has been pretty divisive in Rhode Island, which enacted a bill legalizing civil unions last July, which Gov. Lincoln Chafee called imperfect but a "step forward," according to The AP via the Boston Herald. Chafee signed an executive order at the Rhode Island Statehouse Monday, recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. AP explains what that means for same-sex couples whose marriages will now be legitimate:
The executive order is expected to have many real-world implications. Same-sex spouses of state employees and anyone covered by an insurance company regulated in Rhode Island will be entitled to health and life insurance benefits, gay rights advocates say.
Both partners in a same-sex couple will be able to list their names as parents on a child’s birth certificate, and same-sex couples will be entitled to sales tax exemptions on the transfer of property including vehicles.
Since same-sex marriage is legal in every state that borders Rhode Island (that'd be Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York via Long Island Sound), and since the state is just about 40 miles long, that means you could simply go across the border and get married on your lunch break if you were so inclined.
Sodomite 'pastor' forced out of church softball league. GOOD!
May 17, 2012 Pastor's sexuality splits Missouri church softball league
The sexual orientation of a new pastor in a Missouri church softball league has put his team on the bench.
Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell, the 27-year-old pastor of St. John United Church of Christ in Saint Clair, told FoxNews.com that pastors of three other churches in a local church softball league said their teams would no longer take the field against St. John after hearing rumors questioning Darnell’s sexuality. Rather than force the issue, St. John pulled out of the league.
“Three teams had issue with that and no longer wanted to play against our team since I am an out bisexual person,” Darnell told FoxNews.com. “And it’s surprising because I don’t even play, I have no affiliation with the league.”
Darnell, who joined the church in October after completing seminary in Washington, D.C., said he anticipated his sexuality might lead to “some difficulty” in the town 45 miles west of St. Louis, but had no idea it would ultimately cause his church to quit the softball league.
“It’s very different than that nation’s capital, but I certainly didn’t expect this,” he said. “I don’t feel that anyone’s sexual orientation has anything to do with how they play softball or just to enjoy each other’s company during a game.”
Darnell said pastors at Bethel Baptist Church, Friendship Baptist Church and Liberty Baptist Church did not want their respective teams to compete against the team from Darnell’s church.
The Rev. Ben Kingston, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, could not be reached for comment, but he confirmed the news to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while behind the plate during a game on Tuesday.
“Three teams ... no longer wanted to play against our team since I am an out bisexual person."
- Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell
“We believe that God’s word speaks clearly about boundaries, and that lifestyle is outside of those boundaries,” Kingston told the newspaper.
Posted: Sat May 19, 2012 12:39 am Post subject: 'Gay' men OK'd to donate blood?
(WASHINGTON TIMES) — The federal government has one study in a planning stage and three studies under way that could eventually provide evidence to end the ban on blood donations from all gay men, a federal official said Wednesday.
The key question is, “Can blood safety be maintained or improved under a revised blood-donation screening criteria that would permit donations by lower-risk MSM [men who have sex with men] donors?” Health and Human Services official James Berger told a meeting of the Blood Products Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration.
Lesbian Couple Charged With Staging Hate Crime
A lesbian couple who claimed they were victims of a hate crime have been arrested after police determined they staged the incidents.
On Oct. 28, Aimee Whitchurch, 37, and Christel Conklin, 29, called police and reported the words "Kill the Gay" were scrawled in red spray paint on the garage door of their Parker, Colo., home.
The next day, the couple told deputies they found a noose hanging on the handle of their front door.
The women told officers they believed the incidents were retaliation from their neighbors and homeowner's association, who had complained the couple did not pick up after their dogs.
Due to the nature of the crimes, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office worked in tandem with the FBI to investigate. After reviewing witness statements, authorities determined Whitchurch and Conklin had staged the incidents.
Both women are charged with criminal mischief and false reporting. Whitchurch faces an additional charge of forgery.
She told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH-TV police were mistaken and vowed to fight the charges.
"This is a fight I started. This is a fight I'm going to finish. This is a fight I'm right on," she said. "I have every right to live where I want to live."
Strong Support for Gay Marriage Now Exceeds Strong Opposition
Strong public support for same-sex marriage exceeds strong opposition by a significant margin for the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polls, and African-Americans have moved more in favor, perhaps taking their lead from Barack Obama on the issue.
Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, steady the past year but up from 36 percent in just 2006. Thirty-nine percent "strongly" support it, while 32 percent are strongly opposed - the first time strong sentiment has tilted positive. Six years ago, by contrast, strong views on the issue were negative by a broad 27-point margin.
See PDF with full results here.
Further, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that support for gay marriage has reached a new high among African-Americans in ABC/Post polls, up from four in 10 in recent surveys to 59 percent now.
Another result shows increasing exposure: Seventy-one percent of Americans now say they have a friend, family member or acquaintance who's gay, up from 59 percent in 1998. People who know someone who's gay are 20 points more likely than others to support gay marriage.
Regardless of that shift, Obama's May 9 announcement of his support for gay marriage shows no measurable impact on political preferences. While more support than oppose his position, 51-41 percent, Americans divide on whether it's a political plus or minus, with most saying it's not a major factor in their vote choice.
SUPPORT - Support for gay marriage reached a majority for the first time in an ABC/Post poll in March 2011 and has held there since, at 51 to 53 percent. Strong support has been essentially at parity with strong opposition across that time, a shift from previous years.
In this poll, though, strong opposition to gay marriage is at a new low in polls since 2004, while strong support is at a numerical high, producing a 7-point positive gap.
Notably among groups, 59 percent of African-Americans in this survey express support for gay marriage - up from 41 percent in combined ABC/Post polls this spring and last summer. Likewise, 65 percent support Obama's new position on the issue. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced its support for gay marriage last weekend.
Fewer whites, 46 percent, approve of Obama's announcement, and 50 percent support gay marriage - numerically (albeit not statistically significantly) the fewest since 2010.
VOTE and GROUPS - While 20 percent see the issue as a major reason to support Obama, about as many, 23 percent, call it a major reason to oppose him, both among groups that look likely to have supported or opposed him anyway. Fifty-five percent say it's not a major factor.
Even among those who approve of the president's support for the issue, nearly six in 10 say it's not an important factor in their vote; 38 percent call it a major reason to support him. More of those who disapprove of his position, half, call it a major reason to oppose him in the election.
Sharp differences among groups persist. Republicans and conservatives oppose gay marriage by more than 2-1, evangelical white Protestants by more than 3-1. While Democrats support it by more than 2-1, the balance is tipped, as is often the case, by independents: Fifty-eight percent support legalizing gay marriage; 43 percent do so strongly.
Among other groups, support for gay marriage reaches 69 percent among adults under age 30 (with 51 percent "strong" support), compared with just 38 percent of seniors. (Half of seniors are strongly opposed). [size=14pt]Support is also 14 points higher among college graduates than among non-graduates, 63 to 49 percent[/size]. But it's the same, 53 percent, among men and women alike.
FRIEND/FAMILY - As noted, seven in 10 Americans report having a friend, family member or acquaintance who is gay or lesbian. They're much more apt to support gay marriage (59 percent, vs. 39 percent of those who don't know someone who is gay) and also to approve of the president's position on the issue (56 percent, vs. 39 percent of others).
As with support for gay marriage, knowing someone who's gay is notably high among young adults and people with college degrees, 80 percent in each group. It's higher among women than men, 76 vs. 66 percent. Broad majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents (65, 71 and 76 percent, respectively) also report having a friend, family member or acquaintance who is gay. It's 56 percent each, by contrast, among blacks and seniors.
STATE vs. FED - Obama said he supports gay marriage personally but believes the states should decide on its legality; on that the public splits about evenly, with 49 percent favoring state control vs. 46 percent who'd prefer to have the federal government make the rules.
Support for federal legislation is higher (57 percent) among proponents of gay marriage; among those who oppose gay marriage, the same share, 57 percent, prefer state rule. Thirty states have constitutionally banned gay marriage; eight (plus Washington, D.C.) have legalized it (including two in which those laws are yet to take effect).
Political divisions follow, with Republicans 23 points more apt to back state rather than federal rule, Democrats 14 points more likely to favor a single federal law - and independents roughly divided, 50-45 percent, state-federal.
METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone May 17-20, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points for the full sample. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.
A pro-family organization is drawing attention to Target for donating its sales in support of "gay marriage" laws.
Target issued a statement on its website this week, saying it will donate 100 percent of proceeds from "pride" T-shirts bought online in June to Family Equality Council. That drew the attention of Randy Sharp, special projects director at the American Family Association (AFA).
"[Family Equality Council] advances homosexual marriage in the United States and pushes for federal law to recognize same-sex marriage," he explains. "Target has basically decided that they're going to endorse this organization, that they're going to endorse gay marriage laws in the United States, and they're going to back it up with $120,000 cash."
Sharp recognizes that a few corporations in America are backing same-sex marriage, but notes this is the first time that AFA has seen Target get involved. But the retailer's promise to homosexuals is blatantly posted on its webpage.
"We know for a fact that Target is a very gay-friendly company. You may remember a couple of years ago, when Target came under heat from homosexual activists for donating to a pro-family candidate for United States Congress," the special projects director recalls. "And I think what Target has done is they've folded that tent and they've completely caved in to the homosexual agenda."
NH Man Draws Support for Petition Calling for Redefinition of 'Marriage'
A New Hampshire man has attracted support for his online petition to have the word "marriage" changed from its traditional definition of a union between one man and one woman to also include same-sex couples, which he says would strengthen legal arguments for gay marriage.
Mike Raven posted his argument directly challenging Dictionary.com, entitled "Dictionary.com: Correct the definition of marriage," on the petition website Change.org. So far, Raven's petition has received 7,630; his goal is to attract 10,000 signatures.
Raven writes that he posted the petition after seeing his lesbian twin sister's reaction to the North Carolina amendment, passed in May, which continues to make same-sex marriage illegal in the state.
"I define marriage as two consenting adults, entering into a life-long relationship as husband and wife, husband and husband, or wife and wife, based on love and commitment," Raven wrote on the petition's information page.
SBC Committee Decides against Expelling Members of Pro-Gay Baptist Alliance
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee decided earlier this week that a church’s membership in a pro-gay Baptist group does not automatically disqualify it from being part of the conservative Baptist denomination.
A membership condition for the SBC, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, states that a church is disqualified from being a member if it “[acts] to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.”
Based on this condition, Oklahoma messenger to the SBC annual meeting last June, Wes Kenney, asked the Executive Committee “to consider any church’s affiliation with the Alliance of Baptist to constitute an action which affirms, approves or endorses homosexual behavior.”
The Alliance of Baptists affirms gay marriage and permits members of any sexuality.
But the Executive Committee members decided against banning all churches that are members of the Alliance from also being members of the SBC, according to the Associated Baptist Press. Instead, it decided that each church’s qualification should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Southern Baptist Convention is well known for its firm stance against same-sex marriage and for its position that homosexual relationships and acts are sinful.
In 2009, the SBC voted to oust Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas when it discovered that the church allowed openly gay members to hold leadership positions. Broadway Baptist Church last fall ended its 125-year-old affiliation with the General Baptist Convention of Texas. Click here to continue reading.
NEWTON, MA – They’re on opposite sides of the “gay marriage” issue, but the executive director of the Family Equality Council and her female partner have invited the president of the Family Research Council and his wife to dinner.
The Family Equality Council’s Jennifer Chrisler says she mailed the invitation to Tony Perkins, whose Family Research Council has led campaigns to define marriage as only the union of a man and a woman.
Chrisler says she and her wife have 10-year-old twins whom they take to church and Sunday school and try to teach Christian values, so she hopes getting together over dinner will show Perkins that their families have a lot in common.
Family Research Council spokesman J.P. Duffy says Perkins has told CNN that once the invitation arrives “he and his wife will find a time that works.” Click here for source.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. (Romans 1:26-2
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
Eagle Scout Challenges Boy Scouts' Anti-Gay Policy With Petition
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls challenged the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy today when he delivered three boxes of petitions demanding change, signed by more than 275,000 people.
Wahls, 20, presented the petitions during the Boy Scouts' National Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mom who was removed as the den leader of her 7-year-old son's Cub Scout troop in April because of her sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts are the parent organization of the Cub Scouts.
Wahls is the author of "My Two Moms" and a video of his three-minute speech before Iowa legislators urging them not to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions went viral in February.
The Change.org petition called for Tyrrell's reinstatement and a change in policy for the organization.
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