A top cardinal’s words during an HIV/AIDS fundraiser reveals the power of personal encounter to break down barriers and grow in mutual understanding–a good lesson for many bishops when it comes to LGBT people.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna appeared last week at the “Red Ribbon Celebration,” a Viennese charity concert which supports people living with HIV/AIDS. To the surprise of many, he appeared onstage alongside Gary Keszler, a gay man who founded “Life Ball,” Europe’s largest HIV/AIDS charity. Global Pulsereported that cardinal spoke about “our shared humanity”:
“[Schönborn] underlined how important it was to discard prejudices, avoid thinking in categories and dialogue with people as people. . .
Source: Bondings 2.0
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
I write today to Christian parents of LGBTQ children who are worried about their kids. Struggling with this whole thing. From a Mom’s heart to yours.
Easter. The day Christians celebrate new life in a risen Savior. It’s a day to think about crucifixion and resurrection. What God is calling us to do versus what we want. It’s a day of new beginnings.
My favorite memories of Easter as a child are the Easter baskets (of course!), the matching dresses with my older sister (a tradition the younger one loves and the older one dreads!), and the patent leather shoes and white gloves (not kidding!).
Every bit as fun as the actual baskets on Easter morning is the search to find the baskets because Easter bunny hid them! I don’t remember personally finding them (I was the youngest of six until my brother came along) but the hunt was always a thrill.
If the coming out process can be difficult, and coming out in church even more so, those difficulties can be even more so deeply religious parents of lesbian or gay people. Lance Bass was raised in Mississippi by a committed Southern Baptist family – not the easiest environment for any religious family to discover that their son is gay – and very publicly so, on the cover of tabloid magazines. At Huffington Post, Lance Bass describes what happened after he came out, how his mother prayed for a miracle – and how the miracle granted was not the one she expected.
The bulk of the post is in his mom’s own words, the text of a speech she delivered to a local church congregation. These are the central paragraphs of that speech (read the full text at Huffington Post Gay Voices).
The First Thing My Mom Did When She Learned I Was Gay… and the ‘Miracle’ That Occurred After
Seven years ago, we found out that Lance is gay. We were totally blindsided and devastated because never in a million years would we have guessed it. Also, because it was such a public thing, the situation was so much worse on the family. I do not want to go into the personal details of that revelation, but I will tell you that the ﬁrst thing I did was fall to my knees and ask, “What would Jesus do?” I almost immediately knew the answer… love my son. And that is what I have done. Never once did I ever think about turning my back on him. Never once was I ashamed or embarrassed. My feelings were more of sadness and just sheer disappointment in life.
If you believe that being gay is a choice, then the rest of what I say will not matter. I do not know why, but even as a staunch Christian, I personally never believed that being gay was a choice. I never knew a lot of gay people, but the ones I did meet I felt compassion for because I could feel their pain of being rejected and my heart always went out to them. Even though I never did believe Lance chose to be gay, I did not accept it as quickly as my husband did. His attitude was “It is what it is.” My attitude was “Yes, it is what it is but my God can perform miracles so I’m going to beg for a miracle to zap Lance and change him to straight!” And I did just that. I continued to love my son, stand beside him, and defend him, but for several years I continued to pray relentlessly for a miracle.
Well, Lance is still gay. However, I did get a miracle. It is just not the miracle I prayed for. You are looking at the miracle tonight. The miracle is that I learned to have unconditional love and compassion for my son and others in the gay community. I haven’t marched in parades or spoken at conventions, but I do feel that God has led me to speak out concerning the church’s role. My son is a Christian and wants to be able to worship, but he does not feel that the church cares about him and has pretty much disowned him as a fellow believer. There is something terribly wrong with that and I have to speak up on behalf of my son and others who ﬁnd themselves in the same situation. When I was a little girl, I went to a celebration with my grandparents on the courthouse lawn in Laurel. I was thirsty and ran to drink some water from one of the water fountains. My grandmother screamed at me to stop. When I looked at the fountain it had the word “Colored” on it and she told me I had to drink out of another one. I was only 6 years old but I knew something was just not right about that. Just as my heart told me something was wrong that day on the courthouse lawn, my heart is telling me that something is wrong with the way the church treats those who are gay.
I could tell you many stories that gay young people have told me about how so-called Christian people have treated them but I will only share one. One of the young men told me that he was searching for God and visited a large church one Easter Sunday. He was enjoying the beautiful service and feeling so drawn to what he was experiencing.
Everyone was standing singing a hymn and when he sat down there was a note in his chair. It said, “You know you are going to hell.” He told me that he never went to church again. I don’t blame him, but to my knowledge, he has not accepted Christ and is lost.
- Bass’ mum tells church to love gays (news.optuszoo.com.au)
- Shame on you, Lance Bass (aslongaswebothshalllove.wordpress.com)
- Lance Bass’ Mom Inspires With Her Words Of Acceptance And Unconditional Love (popwrapped.wordpress.com)
Last year, as a sitting Mormon bishop, I came out publicly as an ally to my LGBT sisters and brothers in and outside the church.
In the aftermath of my talk in Salt Lake City apologizing to the LGBT community and LGBT Mormons for the pain that they have gone through and recognizing that all too often that pain has been inflicted in the “house of their friends,” their families, their religious institutions, and their communities, people have asked how I made my journey from an adversary to fence sitter and finally to becoming an ally and advocate.
One of the turning points was when I first began developing personal relationships and friendships with LGBT individuals. For me this came about first in a surprising way. I began watching a television show called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. As is sometimes typical for Mormons on a variety of issues, I was late. I didn’t see it until a year or two ago, when it went into syndication.
What seemed to be a unique twist on the typical makeover show became for me my first significant introduction to the LGBT community. I had never had contact that I knew of or built a friendship with an LGBT person outside of work. The show spoke to me from the start. It had a catchy synth intro that reminded me of the dance grooves we used to club to in the late ’80s when I was at Brigham Young University, where I met my wife for the first time.
For me it was much more than watching five gay men help get straight guys’ act together in grooming, home decor, fashion, culture, and cuisine. It began to create a bond for me to these men. They had a certain synergy that kept me wanting to watch more. I liked them as people. I saw them as individuals expressing their God-given talents and trying to make people’s lives and the world a little bit better. As Carson Kressley, the show’s fashion guru, would often say, it’s not a makeover show, it’s a “make better” show.
-full commentary at Advocate.com
Mormons Building Bridges came out in their Sunday best and celebrated the LGBT community
Over 300 Mormon allies dropped their bibles and marched in Utah’s Gay Pride parade on Sunday (3 June).
The group Mormons Building Bridges said they wanted to send a message of love to the LGBT community, saying it was compatible with their faith.
-full report: Gay Star News
- Mormon group preaches message of acceptance in Pride Parade (fox13now.com)
- Straight Mormons to March in Salt Lake City Gay Pride Parade in Act of Reconciliation: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Devout LDS to march in gay pride parade (abc4.com)
- Straight Mormons Say It Gets Better: VIDEO (towleroad.com)