Partners of LGBT Church Workers in Michigan May Receive Healthcare Benefits

Catholic Church officials in Michigan may extend healthcare benefits to people living with church employees, including  same-gender  partners, through a new policy announced last week,, according to the Detroit Free Press:

“In a letter sent this week to pastors and employees of the Catholic Church in Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) said it is modifying its health care coverage to include legally domiciled adults (LDA), meaning those who are above 18, have lived with the employee for at least six months and are financially interdependent with the employee.”

An MCC official clarified that the benefit would be granted without consideration of the recipient adult’s gender or relationship to the church worker. The Free Press reported:

“The Michigan Catholic Conference indicated that it will not investigate the sexual activities or behaviors of those applying for the new LDA coverage to find out whether  someone is in a same-sex relationship.”

This change in policy allows the church’s healthcare offerings in the state “to be both legally compliant and consistent with Church teaching,” according to the notification letter. Other options towards compliance would have involved reducing health coverage for church workers. MCC Communications Director Dave Maluchnik added that even though the bishops’ teaching on marriage remains the same, the new policy is a reflection of changing circumstances because “This is the world in which we now live.”

Source  Bondings 2.0

When the governor called in Jesus to defend gay people from Christians 

Governor Nathan Deal, a reliably conservative Republican, cited Jesus last week to cast doubt on the wisdom of broadly worded “religious liberty” legislation that has passed Georgia’s legislature and awaits his action. His stunning words might signal that the anti-gay fever that has swept conservative Christian America, especially in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court gay marriage decision, could be about to break.

Let that sink in for a minute while I tell you about our sad plight here in the Southland.

Source:  Christians, Conflict and Change

Reconciliatory Path Opened for Catholic School that Banned Transgender Students | Bondings 2.0

The Rhode Island Catholic school whose ban on transgender students ignited controversy last week has released two statements which have potential for opening doors to reconciliation and to greater inclusion. Officials at Mount Saint Charles Academy responded to the intensifying criticism to their policy change which excluded transgender students from school  with an initial statement last Friday, saying the policy which explicitly bans transgender students: “. . .is not intended to be discriminatory towar

Source: Reconciliatory Path Opened for Catholic School that Banned Transgender Students | Bondings 2.0

Catholic Church in Michigan may expand health care to gay couples

In a move praised by LGBT advocates, the Catholic Church in Michigan is making changes to its health care plan that could allow gays to get health care for their partners or spouses.

In a letter sent this week to pastors and employees of the Catholic Church in Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference said it is modifying its health care coverage to include legally domiciled adults (LDA), meaning those who are above 18, have lived with the employee for at least six months and are financially interdependent with the employee.

Source: Detroit Free Press 

Malta Archbishop wants to build bridges with gay community

A year after his appointment to lead the Catholic Church in Malta, Archbishop Charles Scicluna gave a wide-ranging interview to the Times of Malta. The following excerpt, dealing with the Church’s response to government proposals on gay conversion therapy, are of particular importance for lesbian and gay Catholics.

Did the Church commit a faux pas when expressing reservations about the gay conversion therapy Bill?

If I had to go back I would not have simply released a position paper, on such an emotional issue, done by an extraordinary team of experts, without a statement that is less technical and more pastoral.

The experience has taught me it is not enough, when discussing a Bill, to contribute to the debate only with the help of experts. You also need to factor in the impact on people’s emotions and the perception the document may create.

Did you make the conversion therapy document yours?

I approved the document for publication but it is not my document. It is the document of the Church in Malta but it is the responsibility of the signatories. I approved publication because we need to contribute to the discussion. But I feel I have to build bridges with the gay community who felt our language was too technical, too cold and too distant.

I want to reassure them that we are dead set against conversion therapy because we believe, as they do, as government does, that it goes against human dignity.

We do not subscribe to beliefs that describe gay people as sick.

These are labels that demean them. And certainly we are not going to associate gay people with paedophilia.

What the Prime Minister said in a very emotional speech last Sunday finds me in total agreement with him. I agree with him when he says he will not accept anybody calling a gay person sick. I agree with the Prime Minister when he says he will not allow anybody to call gay people paedophiles. But I would not say the experts implied any of this or that they tried to drag the nation into the dark ages with their contribution.

Fundamental to the position paper is that conversion therapy might be OK if the person is a consenting adult. The argument should have been that conversion therapy, whether wanted or forced, is wrong.

Claire Axiak [a psychiatrist who wrote that conversion therapy was wrong and harmed people irrespective if an adult asked for it] writing in the Times of Malta [last Friday] made a very strong argument that conversion therapy harms a person. This is something experts have to tell me. I entrusted the study to the experts. What I would ask the government is that human dignity be respected and if experts say conversion therapy is totally harmful then we should avoid it.

I have asked what the meaning of sexual orientation is because anthropologist Ranier Fsadni [writing in the Times of Malta last Thursday] made the point whether sexual orientation also included paraphilias – conditions like paedophilia. Experts have told me sexual orientation does not include paraphilias and so any talk of illness makes no sense. My appeal to the community at large is that this is an important law and the issues must be debated with an open mind.

Was it a mistake not to have somebody from the gay community on the expert panel?

It would have helped immensely to include people from Drachma in the preparation of the position paper because they have contributed in other papers and their contribution has been precious. When I asked Professor [Emanuel] Agius [who formed part of the panel of experts], he said that was something we could have done and we should have done, as was the case with another position paper we presented recently.


South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion

South Africa’s Anglican bishops have taken an initial step toward including LGBT people as full members of their congregations with the passage of a resolution at a meeting in the Grahamstown Diocese.The resolution now goes to the Provincial Synod, the church’s top decision-making body, which meets later this year, said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town. Show captionAnglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba leaves a Pretoria hospital where Nelson Mandela was being treated on June 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko *Editors: This photo may only be republished wtih RNS-SAFRICA-ANGLICAN, originally transmitted on Feb. 23, 2016. This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.“I believe its adoption by Provincial Synod would be an important first step signaling to the LGBT community that we … see them as welcome members,” Makgoba said in a pastoral letter dated Monday (Feb. 22).

Source: South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion – Religion News Service

For LGBT Rights, Is Pope Francis a Partisan or Not? 

Should the pope be political and/or partisan or not? Pope Francis’ trip to Mexico raised these questions after he challenged whether Donald Trump could be considered Christian. The question also bears on LGBT issues, particularly in Italy where legislators are debating the legalization of civil unions.

Pope Francis gave an in-flight interview returning from Mexico, as he regularly does when apostolic journeys conclude. When asked about the civil unions issue in Italy by Il Sole 24’s Carlo Marroni, the pope

Source: For LGBT Rights, Is Pope Francis a Partisan or Not? | Bondings 2.0

Cardinal Nichols: Why the Synod Did Not Address Homosexuality

From a more wide-ranging interview at America magazine, this sentiment echoes that of Archbishop Koch – Church discussion of homosexuality must continue.

The synod, in its final document, said very little about homosexuals or homosexuality.

That’s true, and I think it’s because a kind of logic emerged that this synod must be about the family, and I think the struggles, the upsets and the challenges that a person faces with the same-sex orientation don’t strictly fall within the parameters of the family, except in as much as they are a member of a family into which they were born. But I’m afraid that it didn’t get the attention that I would have hoped but I understand why.

I understand that some speeches and some group discussions suggested that there is need for a more mature discussion on this whole question.

Yes, that’s true. And I think it is quite difficult because, as was also pointed out, this is more than a pastoral issue, this has become a highly politicized issue and it’s difficult actually to respond purely to the pastoral situation without then getting used in what has become a kind of a very political issue. So it is difficult.

Source:  America Magazine

Warrington “Open Table” LGBTI Welcome, November 8th

Ever felt excluded in a Church. If so, and you live near Warrington, we would love to see you on Sunday at our Open Table service. We are welcoming to LGBTI and other excluded people e.g. all disabilities. It can be really really tough if you are gay and have faith, we aim to provide a safe space for people to come along. We are not aiming to throw religion at folk, merely to offer the chance to meet like minded people to have some time for a service, refreshments and time of sharing. Please share this with your friends, even if your not a person of faith yourself, you never know who might want to hear about this group. Doors open at 6 p.m. for cuppa, service at 6.30. St Johns, Wilderspool Causeway, we would love to meet you.



English Bishop’s Apology to LGBT community. | Queer Church News & Opinion

In a joint press conference on the Family Synod with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton issued an apology to the LGBT community, that this important issue had not been properly addressed. A report at Christian Today includes this:

He (Bishop Doyle) also apologised that the Synod had not had time to deal with the issue of homosexuality. “I’m very sorry for the LGBT good people who were looking to the synod for something. It was really hard for people of same sex attraction. It wasn’t blocked. There was just so much to deal with.”

Source:  Queering the Church