Christian Utah Republican: Ensuring LGBT rights has helped me ‘live my religion’

A Christian state lawmaker from Utah said in an interview with NPR that his faith has not been compromised by protecting LGBT rights — in fact, it has been strengthened.

“I actually believe I’m living my religion now, as I look out and try to do good to those that maybe don’t agree with me,” state Sen. Stuart Adams (R) said on Wednesday’s episode ofMorning Edition. “Like loving my neighbor or trying to be respectful of other people. I believe those are good Christian religious principles that we ought to not just talk about, that we ought to actually live and act on.”

Earlier this year, Adams and his fellow legislators approved a law expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while also allowing exceptions for religious institutions.

“We did not deal with public accommodations. We bookended this at housing and employment,” Adams explained. “And yet, I think if you walk down the streets of most cities in Utah and ask people whether there was protections for the gay and lesbian community, they would say yes. Most people don’t differentiate between housing and employment protections and public accommodations.”

Source: Raw Story

Africa’s most and least homophobic countries | 76 CRIMES

Most tolerant countries

The Afrobarometer network, which conducts public opinion surveys in Africa, recently listed the continent’s most and least homophobic countries.

In these four African countries, the majority of residents say they would welcome or would not be bothered having a homosexual neighbor:

  • Cape Verde, 74%.
  • South Africa, 69%.
  • Mozambique, 56%.
  • Namibia, 55%.

Least tolerant countries

These five are the countries where the smallest percentage said they would welcome or would not be bothered having a homosexual neighbor:

  • Senegal, 3%.
  • Guinea, 4%.
  • Uganda, 5%.
  • Burkina Faso, 5%.
  • Niger, 5%.

Source: Africa’s most and least homophobic countries | 76 CRIMES

Church must take bold choices on new realities – Fr Rene Camilleri

When our sister daily newspaper carried a story earlier this week that Fr Mark Montebello had blessed the rings of a gay couple during their engagement ceremony, he was summarily summoned by the Archbishop who told the outspoken priest to continue his pastoral work with gay people but instructed him to no longer go against the Church’s guidelines on this sensitive subject.The Malta Independent on Sunday spoke to two other outspoken members of the clergy – Fr Rene Camilleri and Fr Colin Apap – about the controversy over whether priests should bless the rings of gay couples or couples who opt for civil instead of Church marriages.

Source: Church must take bold choices on new realities – Fr Rene Camilleri – The Malta Independent

Caribbean Priest Urges Constitutional Protection for Lesbians, Gays

The Caribbean is not noted for its tolerance of LGBT rights, but as Trinidad debates a proposed new constitution, a Catholic priest has caught national attention for speaking up in favour of building LGBT protections into its Chapter on Human Rights:




‘They should have rights as other people have’

A Catholic priest has come out in support of the gay community, saying their rights, including the right to love whomever they want, should be included in the Constitution.

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Dr Fr Stephen Geofroy captured the attention of the audience with his comments during consultation on the draft Constitution at the University of the West Indies Sport and Physical Education Centre, St Augustine, on Monday evening.

Geofroy said the matter should not be debated further and instead Government should be embracing of all its people.

“Now on the issue of sexual orientation being subject to further national discussion…discussion about what? Aren’t LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), aren’t they not humans still, yes or no?” said Geofroy.

“Yes? Then they should have rights as other people have,” he continued as he received loud applause from the packed hall.

Geofroy said there was no debate on whether gays are people or not as they have expressed themselves clearly that they are part and parcel of this country’s culture.

“We’ve come over a long history of slavery and indentureship and now it is time to break the many things that denigrate the person,” said Geofroy.

“This is certainly one of the things we have to do and we have to be very decisive of it.”

Geofroy said there has been discrimination on the basis of race, colour and class in this country.

“…I don’t see the difference with sexual orientation. We are citizens of a country and people have the right to love who they want irrespective,” said Geofroy .

He said to continue discussing the issue at a national level without taking a decision was to go the way of other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda as part of a political agenda.

“I think we should avoid that like the plague,” he said.

Geofroy said the rights of a minority should not be suffered because of the majority as the bill of rights speaks to upholding the dignity of all.

“We do not belong to a theocracy, neither are we in a religious oligarchy where people impose their beliefs on others,” said Geofroy.

He said if it was this way then moves would be made to criminalise adultery, masturbation and the use of condoms.

“Then all of these things should be looked at and in my tradition I would say first, they are all sins so I think we have to be very careful on human rights and our rights to our own belief but not the right to impose it on the rest of the population,” he said.

via  Trinidad Express Newspaper 

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The Idol of Heteronormativity (Daniel 3:16-18)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to Nebuchadnezzar, “Great Ruler, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to overcome the blaze and rescue us from your hand. But even if God does not rescue us, we want you to know, Great Ruler, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you set up.”
Daniel 3:16-18


“Captian Moroni”
illustration from the Book of Mormon

My image of the Sacred does not fear sex and sensuality. The Holy does not consider it shameful to express a love that cries out to be celebrated. This sense of God and what God is about in creation, needless to say, gets me in trouble.

I consider myself steeped in the long and rich spiritual traditions of judeo-christianity. Yet, I freely admit that the god concepts that inform my relationship to the Sacred are different. Straight god images have only served to block access to the Holy as they are often used as instruments of spiritual bullying.

In one incident it was suggested that I should be immediately fired – not because I’m gay, but because I publicly joked about being a gay man married to a straight woman. On another occasion I was vehemently told that I was setting “the cause” back because a retreat team I was a part of named our event “QueerSpirit.”
– read the full reflection at “The Bible in Drag

Studio Can’t Turn Down Gay Weddings

A photo studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony violates the New Mexico Human Rights Act, the Court of Appeals has ruled, rejecting the Albuquerque studio’s argument that doing so would cause it to disobey God and Biblical teachings.

It was the third loss for the studio, and victory for Vanessa Willock.

Willock first contacted photographer Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography in fall 2006 about taking pictures of a “same-gender ceremony” and was informed the studio only handled “traditional weddings.” When her partner contacted the studio without revealing her sexual orientation, the studio responded with a price list and sent a follow-up email.

The opinion follows a national trend, according to the Pennsylvania law professor who represented Willock on the appeal.

Albuquerque Journal

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Gay marriage advocates gain corporate support

Gay marriage advocates have a new and powerful ally in corporate America.

One by one, national corporations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Google are wading into the once-risky business of taking a position supporting gay marriage in states across the country.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which a federal appeals court called unconstitutional on Thursday. Forty-eight companies, including Nike, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, Exelon Corp., and Xerox had signed a brief arguing that the law negatively affected their businesses.

Read more- Politico

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Why the Church Should Fight Anti-Gay Bigotry

Last week, I called attention to, but did not write about, an important article by former Ambassador Thomas Melady and the Reverend Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical leader. The two men wrote about the need for Christians to oppose efforts in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality, including life-time prison sentences and even death as penalties in certain cases. I think Melady’s and Cizik’s article is very important.

Many gay men and women see the Christian Church as unjust and bigoted towards them. For purposes of this article, I will only consider the situation of the Catholic Church. Just today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in publishing its notice about Sr. Margaret Farley’s book on sexual ethics, reaffirmed the teaching that: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” It is not difficult to see how gay men and women could find these words hurtful and even demeaning, even though the CDF precedes this bit about “intrinsically disordered” by affirming the fact that the Church also teaches gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

I should like to see the Catholic Church, and the broader Christian community, do more to focus on the teaching about “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and think Melady’s and Cizik’s article does this. It does not ask the Church’s leaders to do something they do not think they could, i.e., change the Church’s teaching. It does not ask the Church to reverse its views on marriage. Instead, the call to oppose unjust discrimination against gays in Uganda asks the Church to do what it can.

Michael Sean Winters

-full post at National Catholic Reporter

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