Gay ministry group refuses to sign oath

Following a more than yearlong investigation into the group’s “adherence to the fullness of Catholic teaching,” the future of a national association of ministries to gay and lesbian Catholics is uncertain because its board members refused to sign an “oath of personal integrity” to Catholic teaching given to them by the local bishop.

Declining the oath could result in Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., declaring the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, or CALGM, as “not authentically Catholic,” a letter to its members from the association president warns.

“In good faith, we have done most everything required of us to maintain a legitimate space within the boundaries of the institutional Church,” president Sheila Nelson wrote to members April 5. “Yet, this has not seemed to be adequate or satisfactory to the office of the bishop. We have repeatedly, abundantly and humbly submitted that our work is pastoral in nature and not political or primarily doctrinal.”

Cordileone’s list of concerns with the association have included the omission of specific church documents on its website and publications; its use of the terms gay and lesbian; members’ statements deemed critical of the church; and the backgrounds, affiliations and public statements of both conference speakers and board members.

In an April 12 letter to the association’s board, Cordileone stated he would “take public action to clarify the status of CALGM with regard to authentic Catholic ministry” should they refuse to take an oath that requested that each member “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness” and “profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition.”

The board has twice rejected the bishop’s request.

“That you would require such an unprecedented and extensive manifestation of our consciences suggests to us that, irrespective of our pastoral effectiveness, you wish to force an end to these, admittedly difficult, conversations. You will not be receiving any signed oaths from the Board members,” Nelson wrote in a March 29 letter, the first informing the bishop of their decision.

– full report at National Catholic Reporter

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Christians and LGBTQ Equality: There Is No Middle Ground

In response to my post “‘It’s no sin to be gay.’ See how easy that is, Andrew Marin?” folks have made the point that Andrew’s work is valuable, because he is “building bridges” — because he is, as one reader put it, “creating stepping stones from one end of the spectrum to the other.” They appreciate Marin establishing a neutral, non-judgmental, values-free middle ground where parties on either side of the gay-Christian debate can meet to together discuss and explore the issue.

The problem, though, is that when it comes to the issue of LGBT equality, there is no such thing as a values-free middle ground. There can’t be, because that is a moral issue. And that means it’s about a very definite right and wrong.

And it’s a moral issue of no small consequence. There couldn’t possibly be more at stake. The people on one side of this debate — the majority, which wields all the power — are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.

No matter how strenuously he or she might deny it, the fact is that any Christian who does not forthrightly and unambiguously assert that there is nothing whatsoever inherently immoral about same-sex relationships has chosen a side in this conflict. To a starving man, the person who can’t decide if they want to share their food is no better than the person who refuses to (emphasis added).

– more at John Shore, Huffington Post

 

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Maine’s Catholic Parishes Won’t Raise Funds for Marriage Equality Opponents

On Father’s Day, June 17th, the Christian Civic League of Maine, a political action committee in Maine whose goal is to defeat marriage equality in that state’s upcoming referendum, will be collecting money in approximately 200 churches, according to a report from USNEWS.MSNBC.MSN.com.  Notably and thankfully absent from the fundraising effort will be Catholic churches.  The report states:

“The Catholic Church won’t be joining the alliance, but participants include Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of God, Wesleyan, Evangelical Free, Advent Christian and other denominations, the league stated.

“While churches and other nonprofits may not raise money for candidates to office, they may raise money for issues important to their members.

“Father’s Day, June 17, seemed appropriate for a special church collection because of the day’s focus on family, league Director Carroll Conley Jr told the AP. Additional collections are expected in the months ahead.”

– newwaysministryblog

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Catholic Nun Challenges Church’s Stance on Gay Marriage

On the heels of the Vatican’s dispute with American nuns, one sister is taking a defiant stand against the Catholic hierarchy’s opposition to gay marriage.

Jeannine Gramick is the main speaker for a Saturday program where Catholics supporting Maryland’s marriage equality law discuss ways to prevent the legislation from being repealed on referendum during the November elections. The gathering will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Goucher College’s Alumni Hall.

“It’s a great shame that the leaders of my church—the bishops—are all out there campaigning against marriage equality,” she said. “I want to be proud of my church and that makes me very ashamed.”

-full report at  Reisterstown, MD Patch.

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Lay Catholics Leading Fight For LGBT Equality.

June is designated as pride month, a time when LGBT people across the world celebrate the gains made in society and continue fighting for equality. Lots of groups and companies get in on the action, some to show solidarity and some to make a buck or two. One group that has been at the helm of the fight for gay equality in the US is the Roman Catholic community.

Come again?

The Catholic Church’s official stance on same-sex marriage is widely known. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has elevated the defeat of same-sex marriage to high status; the Knights of Columbus ranked among the largest donors in overturning marriage equality in California; and Catholic bishops in Minnesota spent considerable resources producing and distributing anti-gay marriage DVDs throughout the state. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as Archbishop of New York and president of the USCCB, does not shy away in denouncing Catholics who stray from the party line. Despite all this, lay Catholics have been leaders in the fight for equal rights for gay Americans.

Michael O’Loughlin, Huffington Post 

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Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III of the Friendship-West Baptist Church blasted fellow pastors and members of his congregation for their outrage at President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality while the congregation stood up and shouted their disapproval at him.

Yelled Haynes:

“You should have seen preachers just scurrying and hurrying to call a conference call to call out the President for what he had declared as a personal opinion. He said it was a personal opinion. But whatever you like to ostracize other people it’s because there’s a fear that you have yourself, and the fear that you have finds itself rooted in an ignorance of other people. Or in a projection of your issues. Either there’s ignorance or there is a projection of your issues…It really blows my mind how outraged you are. You are so outraged over what the President said. First of all, take a chill pill. Take a deep breath, everything’s gonna be all right.”

Read more: .towleroad

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Why One Black Minister Is Risking His Church to Support Gay Marriage

Twenty-two years ago, Reverend Oliver White founded Grace Community United Church of Christ in a low-income black neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a strong congregation with 320 members — until 2005, when White stood up at a synod of the United Church of Christ and voiced his support of gay marriage. Then he came home and told his congregation what he had done.

“I thought they were with me,” he says, “but much to my chagrin, I immediately started losing members.” Over the next few weeks, two thirds of his members left the congregation.

This month, the church may close its doors altogether. White is currently struggling to raise $200,000 to pay back a loan on the church building by June 30. Even if the money comes through, there’s no guarantee that he will ever fill his pews again. But White, who once marched with the Civil Rights movement, remains adamant in his support of gay marriage. He spoke to me about his views on the subject and the deeper reasons the issue has met with so much resistance from the black church.

-more at Atlantic


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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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The Laity’s Pocketbook Expresses Solidarity with LGBT and Immigrant Rights

The power of the laity’s pocketbook to respond positively when the hierarchy reacts negatively was front and center this week in Colorado.

Regular readers of this blog may remember that back in April, Bondings 2.0 reported that Compañeros, an immigrant social service agency in Durango, Colorado, was denied $30,000 of funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development by the Diocese of Pueblo because they participate in a social justice coalition which includes a gay-rights advocacy group.

In response, lay people and foundations have raised more than $60,000–more than double the original amount–to support Compañeros.   The Denver Post reports:

” ‘A lady from Florida sent us $3. A man in England donated $1,000, and we’ve had everything in between,” [Compañeros’ Executive Director Nicole] Mosher said. ‘It was totally unexpected and amazing.’

‘The Gill Foundation, one of the largest funders of civil-rights activism for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, told Compañeros it would provide a matching grant of $30,000 if it could raise the first $30,000. Both have occurred.”

Equally significant is that money was raised by WithCharityforAll.org, a fund established with the help of the social justice group Catholics United.  (Bondings 2.0 encouraged readers to support WithChairtyforAll.org’s campaign).

Bondings 2.0

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