Legalization of marriages between two people of the same sex is the law of the land.The establishment of this milestone in American history has the support of a majority of Americans. Acceptance and affirmation of gay people in same sex romantic relationships is especially strong among younger Americans.Resistance to acceptance remains very strong among Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians. Their resistance is almost always based on particular interpretations of six passages in the Bible. Christians of this particular persuasion are very difficult to convince that a new look needs to be taken at the homosexual phenomenon and a new look needs to be taken at the six “hammer” passages in their infallible Bibles.
Despite recent civil rights advances, religion remains challenging territory for LGBT Americans. In fact, a 2013 Pew Research poll indicated that 48% of LGBT adults are religiously unaffiliated, compared to 20% of the general population. Being religiously unaffiliated, however, doesn’t mean not being spiritual. In my practice as a spiritual guide, many LGBT adults have told me how they want to reconnect with spirituality, but they’re uncertain about how they can do so.I understand that feeling, because I’ve been there. I spent 26 years as part of a demanding, fundamentalist, anti-LGBT religious community. When I finally had the courage to come out as gay at the age of 39, I resigned my membership in that church and began to rebuild my life. I had strong feelings about how my religious tradition had impacted me. I wasn’t sure anymore what I thought about God. Was I an atheist? An agnostic? Something else? I tried to explore other religious traditions, but I couldn’t connect with them. It took me about four years before I could begin to pay serious attention to my spirituality again.
For some years now, Uganda has been held up (and with good reason), as a prime example of African homophobia, based on a proposed law that would have permitted the death penalty for gay sex. Slowly though, that extreme threat has shrunk. First, the original bill was withdrawn, and replaced with another which removed the death penalty, but applied instead lengthy terms of imprisonment. That law was passed by parliament – but in stunning news, the President has refused to sign it.
Catholics should note that in this instance, for once, the Catholic Church has intervened against discrimination, as New Ways recently reported in a blog post at Bondings 2.0.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has refused to approve a controversial bill to toughen punishments for homosexuals.
He has written to the parliamentary speaker criticising her for passing it in December without a quorum.
It’s not all good news: in explaining his action, the president spouted the nonsense, widely discredited by both the medical establishment and the Catholic Church, that homosexuals are “sick” – but this is Uganda, and this is still a long way from the death penalty, which was previously demanded.
Homosexuals were “abnormal” or were so for “mercenary reasons” and could be “rescued”, a local paper quotes his letter as saying.
The bill provides for life imprisonment for homosexual acts and also makes it a crime not to report gay people.
The promotion of homosexuality – even talking about it without condemning the lifestyle – would also be punishable by a prison term.
The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in the capital, Kampala, says the president is aware that if he signs the bill there will be an international outcry, which could see some countries suspend aid to the country.
Continue reading the main story at BBC News
- Papal Nuncio Responds to American’s Concern About Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill (Bondings 2.0/New Ways)
- Pope Francis’ Peace Message Demands Our Action for LGBT Human Rights (Bondings 2.0/New Ways)
- An Appeal from New Ways Ministry: Write Pope Francis and Ask Him to Stand with LGBTI People in Uganda (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- Giles Fraser speaks about homophobia and religion (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- In India, and Indiana: Bishops’ More Supportive Tone on Gay Issues. (queeringthechurch.com)
As the movement to marriage equality steams ahead globally, obvious exceptions are Africa and the Caribbean, where far more pressing issues are securing simple tolerance, freedom from violence, and even decriminalization.
But even here, there are signs of progress. In Jamaica, where homosexual acts can lead to a criminal conviction, an Anglican priest and a government minister both agree that change has already begun (and by implication, decriminalization will follow).
ANTI-GAY HYPOCRISY: Jamaica destined to become tolerant of homosexuality, says clergyman
Tolerance for homosexuality will eventually become a reality for Jamaica, according to one Anglican priest who says it already exists in many circles, including the Church.The Reverend Father Sean Major-Campbell believes, however, that hypocrisy on the matter has been the preferred route of Jamaican society for centuries.”I do not believe there was any Jamaican who would believe 30 – or even 20 – years ago that it would become the norm for so many Jamaican men to expose their underwear and posterior,” he said. “However, you are in style and good company if your boxers are fully on show in a conveniently homophobic society.”Major-Campbells comments have come on the heels of statements made by Pope Francis during a recent press conference on the issue of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Some commentators say that the pontiffs comments struck a conciliatory chord on the attitude towards gays.
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding says there has been an evolution in Jamaicans’ attitudes towards homosexuality over the years.
“Polls show that a fairly substantial portion of the population believes that we should be tolerant towards persons, regardless of sexual orientation. Certainly, the position taken by me and the Government is one which rejects totally any acts of violence against any of our citizens based on them being a member of some minority group.”
Golding added: “Some people really feel that homosexuality and a homosexual lifestyle are intrinsically immoral. My own view on the matter is that what people do as adults in the privacy of their home is really a matter for them and shouldn’t really be subject to any kind of state interference.”
The pope’s statements about gays have opened up wide – ranging commentary and debate. One of the most intriguing consequences will be more open discussion on gay priests, and on the core teaching itself on same – sex relationships. This story from Vatican Insiders combines both of these: an openly gay former priest from Argentina has responded by writing directly to Pope Francis, requesting that the teaching be revised:
The Pope’s remarks about gays to reporters on the plane from Rio has triggered discussion worldwide, and led a former gay priest to write to him
Pope Francis’ remarks on gays, when he spoke to reporters on the plane returning from Rio, have sparked considerable discussion worldwide, and have been welcomed by many in the homosexual and lesbian community.
One member of that community, a former gay-priest from Mendoza, Argentina, Andres Gioeni, has written a letter to the pontiff urging him to “deepen the opening and renew the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality”.
He did so after hearing Pope Francis say, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they are our brothers.”
Gioeni told La Nacion, the Argentinean daily paper that Francis reads: “I wrote to him because I believe there is a ray of hope in the response that he gave about not judging gays. I see humility and an opening in him”.
He revealed that he had left the priesthood to become an actor and author after discovering his homosexuality, and was now celebrating “the fresh air” that has come with Pope Francis.
In the letter, published on his Facebook account, he says he dares to present himself as “a spokesman for a great many of the people who belong to the homosexual community”, and asks Pope Francis, “simply, with humility” that he “encourage, stimulate and promote a deepening of the theology of sexual morality about (regarding) the place and experience of the homosexual person”.
-complete report at Vatican Insider.
- A “Revolutionary” Statement on Gay Priests from Pope Francis (slog.thestranger.com)
- Pope Francis On Gay Priests: ‘Who Am I To Judge?’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Ken Briggs on Pope Francis’s Statements about Gay Priests: “Is There a Degree of Willful Deception in a Larger Plan to Give the Church an Upbeat, Loving Face?” (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- Why I Take Hope in Pope Francis’ Statement on Gay Priests (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he will not judge priests for their sexual orientation, in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returns from Brazil.
In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil, the Pope also said the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests was definitive, although he would like them to have more leadership roles in administration and pastoral activities.
The Pope defended gays from discrimination in what was his first news conference since being elected pontiff in March, but also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which says that while homosexual orientation is not sinful homosexual acts are.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” the pope said.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society,” he said, speaking in Italian.
- Pope Francis: ‘Integrate gays into society’ (scotsman.com)
- Pope Francis says he won’t judge gays (cbc.ca)
- Pope Francis says he won’t judge gay priests (foxnews.com)
- What Would Jesus Do: Pope Francis On Gay Priests In The Catholic Church “Who Am I To Judge?” (bossip.com)
Recently, I was perusing over at The Atlantic, and I came across an article called “The Gay Guide to Married Bliss” by Liz Mundy. In the article, she argues that heterosexual couples could stand to learn a few things from homosexual couples in relation to marital roles.
Mundy lists three “rules” that she thinks are present and praised in homosexual couples. Continue reading
The “man-on-street” interview is rarely an insightful exercise in news gathering, but sometimes it can be a revealing window into American culture — like in the video above, where residents of a small Colorado town are asked, “When did you choose to be straight?”
The video features advertising executive and amateur photographer Travis Nuckolls and Buzzfeed Labs’ Chris Baker asking a bunch of straight people about homosexuality. Many of those interviewed say they think being gay “depends on upbringing” and “has a lot to do with development.” But when the question gets flipped and the subjects are asked when they decided to be straight, they struggle to find an answer.
“That’s a good call,” says one man, laughing nervously. “I didn’t choose to be.”
Not all those interviewed say they think being gay is a choice, however. In perhaps the most profound comment in the video, one woman sums up her views about “choosing” to be gay: “If [gay people] were gonna choose a lifestyle, that’s not one they would have chosen. It’s too difficult.”
Disclaimer: This video was actually filmed back in 2008, but it recently came across our radar after Upworthy’s Rebecca Eisenberg posted it to the site’s LGBTQQ section. Props to Boing Boing for discovering this back in 2010.
Malta’s Auxiliary Bishop, Charles Scicluna, has stepped in to condemn a provocative letter written by zealous Catholic churchgoer Joe Zammit who claims there can only be lust and not love between gay people.
Bishop Scicluna told the Sunday Times of Malta: “Joe Zammit has managed to do a great disservice to the Catholic ethos by presenting a caricature of the Church’s teaching on gay relationships.”
Mr Zammit, a devoted Catholic from Paola in Malta, wrote a series of letters in the Times of Malta with offensive statements distinguishing between love and lust in same-sex relationships.
His most recent letter, published on Valentine’s Day stated: “On the spiritual level, homosexual acts are against God’s loving law for us. On the natural level, they go against nature’s intrinsic purpose of all its sexual organs.”
Bishop Scicluna felt compelled to step in and dismissed Mr Zammit’s comments saying his opinion “does not represent the teachings of the Church”.
Placing the emphasis on the word “chaste” he said: “The fact is that gay people are called to chaste love as any other person, whether married or single.”
Bishop Scicluna maintained that “Gay people are not called to marriage which is the permanent union between one man and one woman open to the gift of parenthood,” but then added, “they are indeed called to chaste friendship and chaste friendship is chaste love.”
“To say, as Mr Zammit keeps harping, that ‘there can never be love but only lust between homosexuals’ is to deny the truth of what the Church teaches.”
In August, the Malta Gay Rights Movement expressed disappointment at a bill to regulate cohabiting couples, which had just been launched in the country.
Earlier in 2012, the Maltese Parliament did extend its hate crime laws for the first time to protect citizens on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
via – PinkNews.co.uk.
Before the Rev. Bayani Rico could take the reins of Ascension Episcopal Church in Vallejo, he asked his interviewers a simple question.
“Where do you stand on the LGBT issue?” Rico said of the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people’s roles in American churches.
For Rico, the question wasn’t one of abstract theology or church doctrine — it was personal.
“I don’t want to pastor a church where my son will not be welcome,” Rico recalled telling the search committee for the 144-year-old congregation.
It turns out that neither Rico nor his son Andrew had anything to fear.
“It’s a safe haven,” said Andrew Rico, 27, of the church his father has headed since 2007.
Based on the acceptance he and other gay members of the congregation felt, Rico hopes to let other members of the LGBT community know how accepting Ascension is.
Like many young gays or lesbians, Rico feared what his father would say when he found out he was gay. Adding to that anxiety was the fact that his father was a Christian minister — a religion that has traditionally rejected homosexuality and homosexual acts as sinful.
“He told me, ‘You’re my son, first and foremost, and will not change. I love you as you are,’ ” the younger Rico said of the conversation he had with his father.
That was a decade ago, when the reverend was a pastor at a Daly City church. In 2007, Bayani Rico was chosen to lead Ascension Episcopal Church. His son is the church musician.
But the inclusiveness of the congregation predated Rico’s tenure, Thomas Huish said.
The Episcopal Church in the United States, part of the worldwide Anglican Church, has had a long history of accepting the LGBT community, including the ordination of openly gay priests beginning in the 1970s. Last year, the church’s general convention in Indianapolis voted to offer religious blessings to same-sex couples. Offering the blessing is the choice of individual priests and their dioceses.
Still, that acceptance has not been without controversy. The ordination of a gay bishop in 2003 caused a major rift within the larger Anglican community.
Huish was an openly gay member of the church who married his longtime partner John Mathewson in 2008, when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in California before being banned by the narrow passage of Proposition 8.
– continue reading at Vallejo Times Herald.