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INFO


Frequently
Asked Questions


Glossary of
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Showing Respect

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Famous
LGBT People


Origins of
Homosexuality


Symbols
of Pride


Pride
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LGBT
Quotations


LGBT History

Racial & Ethnic
Perspective

 

Native American
Two Spirit

 

On The
Downlow


What is
Homophobia?


Personal
Reflection

 


 



LINKS

ChristianGays
 

Gay Church

 

Created Gay:
Christian, Jewish
and Muslim Info


LGBT Struggles
And Religions


Whosoever
Ministry


HRC Report:
Living Openly in
Your Places of
Worship


Mel White and
SoulForce


Erratic Impact:
Queer Religion


Gay Religion


PFLAG Survey:
Is Homosexuality
a Sin?


Gay-Friendly
Churches


Religious
Tolerance


LGBT & Religious
Life in US


Homosexuality
And Religion


Christian & Gay

Homosexuality
And The Bible


The Bible And
Homosexuality


What the Bible
Really Says


Bible Facts And
Sexual Orientation


Bible Info From
Rainbow Baptists


Gay Lib:
Homosexuality &
The Bible


All Things Queer:
Responses to
Religious Arguments


MCC:
The Bible &
Homosexuality


Epistle by
Bruce Gerig


Metropolitan
Community Churches


Love In Action
LGBT Ministry


Wild Reed:
Gay Catholic
Perspective


 


 



LINKS
 

Christianity, Social
Tolerance, and
Homosexuality

by John Boswell
 

Good News for
Modern Gays
by Rev. Sylvia
Pennington
 

Sex Positive
by Larry J. Uhrig
 

Homosexuality and
Religion
Edited by
Richard Hasbany PhD
 

Living in Sin?
by Bishop John
Shelby Spong

 

What the Bible
Really Says About
Homosexuality
by Daniel Helminiak
 

Openly Gay
Openly Christian
by Rev. Samuel Kader
 

Steps To Recovery
From Bible Abuse
by Rembert Truluck

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBT RELIGIOUS COMMENTARY

Thoughts and Perspectives

 

LINKS:

 

Methodist Pastor Defrocked for Officiating Son's Same Sex Wedding

Bar Mitzvah Speech by Gay Teen

Jennifer Knapp: Lesbian Christian Musician

Best Anti-Homophobia Message on Church Sign

Presbyterian Minister: What To Do With This New Day

Interview with Bishop Gene Robinson

Is Homosexuality a Sin?

The Gay Debate: The Bible & Homosexuality

FAQ: God, Jesus, Bible, Gay People

How God Helped Me Accept My Gay Son

Anti-Gay Easter Message

Being Gay is a Gift From God

Living as an Openly Gay Christian

 


GAY-AFFIRMING CONGREGATIONS

Alabama Faith Groups Welcome LGBT People


LGBT people often encounter some frustration trying to find a faith community.  For LGBT people seeking a spiritual home (church, synagogue, temple, mosque), locating a gay-affirming or LGBT-welcoming congregation can prove to be difficult.  Listed here are resources that may be helpful for LGBT persons in Alabama who are in search of a faith community.

LINKS:

 

Equality Alabama's List of Welcoming Places of Worship in Alabama

List of Welcoming Gay Friendly Churches in Alabama
Gay in Alabama: LGBT Friendly Episcopal Churches
Gay in Alabama: LGBT Friendly MCC Churches
UAB GSSA: LGBT Friendly Churches in Birmingham
Birmingham Area LGBT Affirming Churches

 


OUT IN THE CHURCH

Lesbian Christian Songwriter

 

November 2013

 

Jennifer Knapp spoke recently at Birmingham's Southside Baptist Church.  She was interviewed by Bri Bruce of Birmingham Weld Magazine. The entire interview is worth reading.

 

"I never really planned on growing up and being a rock star," Jennifer explains. "I just started writing about my faith experience in music.  I was just writing as an expression of what I was going through at the time, and God ended up taking me from one church to another. I was paying my way through school, and before I knew it, I had a record deal and was hanging in and out of Nashville."

 

 

She continues: "20 years later I came out as a lesbian. That creates all kinds of controversy. Now I’m finding this second career as an advocate for LGBT faith issues. In Birmingham, I’m doing an Inside Out Faith event, which is me talking about my own story, my experience, what’s it like to actually be gay in the church, to actually have that coming out process. In a lot of church environments, particularly in the South, it’s not a side of the story most folks have heard much about. I think there’s an assumption that gay is something that happens to you when you lose your faith, when there’s something wrong with your faith. Really most people rely on their faith to get through the social difficulties of that."

 

"Churches wanted to show their support when I came out. So did people who had grown up listening to my music. It was really beautiful, all these people asking me to come play. I didn’t know if I was capable of walking into a room and having someone yell out, “Turn or burn,” but yet here are these churches were calling me. I started to realize that this was really important. These churches were asking me to tell me story. They were trying to say, “Not everybody’s like that.” There are communities that have been and will continue to invite everybody they possibly can into having whatever kind of faith experience they can."

 

Jennifer Knapp, a Grammy-nominated musician whose records have sold more than a million copies, once rocked the contemporary Christian music billboards. In 2010, she rocked the industry when she came out. Since then, she has released a mainstream music album and is touring the country with her Inside Out Faith series, advocating for LGBTQ issues in faith communities.

 

After walking away from stardom as a Christian singer-songwriter in 2002, Jennifer Knapp never expected to return to a musical career -- and certainly not as a Christian artist. And when she later came out as a lesbian, that prospect seemed especially remote.

 

"When I put my guitar in the case and said this is my last concert, I really didn't think I had anything to contribute to the religious conversation at all in music," recalled the folk-rock artist, whose five Christian albums sold more than 1.5 million copies between 1994 and 2001 and earned her a Grammy nomination and Dove Award.

 

So the 38-year-old Kansas native is as shocked as anyone with her newfound role -- as a gay Christian artist urging fellow Christians to affirm homosexuals. And she finds herself singing and making her case in the most unlikely venues -- churches.

 

Knapp doesn't call herself an activist for gay issues. In her music and interviews, she declines to offer a biblical defense for her own sexuality. "I'm just a human being that is going through the journey," she said.

When she first came out, she recalled, "every public conversation was trying to make me justify, on the one hand, my gayness or, on the other, my faith. Or both of them together."  As someone who dislikes conflict, she explained, "I felt for me not to respond was my answer."

 

But when a Nashville woman was fired by her Christian employer for acknowledging her own homosexuality, Knapp was moved to speak out, and has been ever since. Her appearances this year are being billed as a music-and-lecture series called "Inside Out Faith," which intends "to create a positive and constructive dialogue on behalf of LGBT people of faith."

 

LINKS:

 

Birmingham Weld Magazine: Out in the Church

Jennifer Knapp: Gay Christian & Unlikely Hero

Christianity Today: Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

Jennifer Knapp Home Page

YouTube: Jennifer Knapp on Larry King Show

 


POPE'S GENTLER VIEWPOINT

Church is Too Obsessed with Gays

 

September 2013

 

Pope Francis faulted the Roman Catholic church for focusing too much on gays, abortion and contraception, saying the church has become "obsessed" with those issues to the detriment of its larger mission to be "home for all."

 

The church can share its views on homosexuality, abortion and other issues, but should not "interfere spiritually" with the lives of gays and lesbians, the pope added in a recent interview.

 

“We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel," Francis said in the interview.

 

In the interview, Francis does not come out in support of gay marriage, abortion rights or contraception, saying that church positions on those issues are "clear," but he added that the "the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”

 

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he said. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

 

LINK:

 

Pope Francis: Church Too Obsessed With Gays

 


POPE FRANCIS ON GAYS

Who Am I To Judge Them?

 

July 2013

 

Striking a breathtakingly conciliatory approach to a hot-button issue that has divided Catholics, Pope Francis said that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation.  His comments seem to be signalizing a shift in tone if not a change in church policy regarding gay issues.

 

While in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for World Youth Day, he said, "Who am I to judge a gay person?"  As the pontiff was taking questions from reporters during an 80-minutes press conference, he spoke about gays and the reported "gay lobby."  The pope's comments about gay issues came in the context of a question about gay priests.

In making these remarks, Pope Francis broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active.  For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a "disorder," and Pope Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed "deep-seated" homosexuality from entering the priesthood.


"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. "You can't marginalize these people."

 

Francis' remarks were significant because they mark the first time a pope had spoken so openly about the topic.

 

LINKS:

 

Huffington Post: Pope Francis Speaks About Gay People

New York Times: Pope Says of Gays: Who Am I To Judge?

USA Today: Pope Francis Won't Judge Gay Priests

Blaze: Pope Francis Comments on Gay Priests

 


DESMOND TUTU
My God is Not Homophobic


July 2012

 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, famous for his role in ending Apartheid in South Africa, has said that he would rather go to Hell if he discovered that God was homophobic.

 

“I would refuse to go to a homophobic Heaven,” Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of a new LGBT global public education campaign by the United Nations Human Rights Office.

 

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about Apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”

 

 

“Can you imagine me having said it’s unjust to penalise something they cannot do anything about, their race or gender, and then to keep quiet when people are hounded, people are killed, because of their sexual orientation?” Archbishop Tutu, a Nobel Prize winner pondered. “I think it’s as utterly unjust as racism ever was.”

Archbishop Tutu said LGBT people were often described as being a “particular breed”. “They are not a peculiar breed. That is precisely what we are saying, that they are human beings. I don’t know why we are so surprised. They have gifts, they can become judges. They can become all sorts of wonderful things.”

 

LINKS:

 

Pink News: Desmond Tutu Would Rather Go to Hell

 


LGBT RELIGIOUS COMMENTARY

Thoughts and Perspectives

 

LINKS:

 

Queer Theology

How the Religious Left is Changing America's Future

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

Mel White: Praying While Gay

New Conversation About Homosexuality & the Bible

Pope Slams Gays in World-Day-of-Peace Speech

Do Gays Need Their Own Church?

Gays and the Myth of the Christian Minority

Services for Gay Muslims

 


REACTION TO SAME SEX MARRIAGE

What To Do With This New Day

 

June 2013

 

What a moment! Let us rejoice that the Supreme Court has astounded many and affirmed equal protection under the law. With this week's decision, federal benefits will be granted to legally married same-sex couples. Not only that, but same-sex marriage was also upheld in our most populous state, California. For this, we rejoice with a resounding "hazzah!"

I confess that I've struggled for words to speak to this moment. It is unusual for the lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) community to have a time like this of pure joy. It's unusual for my rather dour, Presbyterian soul. I want to pause to truly relish our gladness right now.

I also want to remember that this day has been a long time coming. In this season of swift change in public opinion, it is good to remember that the LGBT community is certainly no stranger to disappointment. Before so many states passed freedom to marry laws through votes or legislation, and before this week's SCOTUS rulings, there were decades of disappointment. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), opening ordination to LGBT members in 2010 took over 30 years.

A conservative colleague observed last year that the LGBT community in the Presbyterian Church loses, loses, loses, loses, loses ... and then it wins. This is true of the LGBT community across the country as well.

Loss does not stop us. Setbacks do not stop us. Our feelings of disappointment and rejection, however painful, cannot stop us. In faith work for LGBT inclusion, we simply cannot stop singing the old, old story of Jesus and His love for everyone. How can we keep from singing this song of God's love? We cannot.

Even in this moment of excitement, I have started to reflect on what LGBT Christians might offer to those who disagree with us and who must be feeling some disappointment in this moment. What can we share with them? How have we stayed strong?

On my journey -- with its many toils and snares -- daily reading of the Bible has sustained my hope and strength. Although we know that not everyone shares our joy at these rulings, I trust we all return to God's loving-kindness in Scripture for consolation and refueling. We can remember together that we are united in proclaiming the healing, transforming Gospel of love in Jesus Christ.

Even as we celebrate our new day through these Supreme Court decisions, we would do well in the church, to reach out to our conservative brothers and sisters on the common ground we share.

We can be honest about our disappointments, sharing them with one another the way a family does--here the family created by our faith in Christ. We can ground ourselves together in the Gospel again, and open ourselves to the energizing power of knowing that the death of our desired outcomes cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

I believe that now is the perfect moment to revisit our message to the world, reminding ourselves and others that the Gospel is our common ground. And the Gospel always remains. We all -- regardless of our perspective on any one concern -- trust that Jesus Christ wins in the end.

Can LGBT Christians add to our rejoicing some compassion for our brothers and sisters who are disappointed today, remembering the disappointment we have experienced along the way? Can we be one with those who oppose us on the common ground of our shared singing of God's loving-kindness in Christ? Surely this would be a win for us all in these days.

Perhaps showing compassion for those who disagree with us can help take us closer to that day when all of us will rejoice at these SCOTUS rulings and the confirmation of every American's inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

 

(From Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards / Presbyterian Minister / Article on Huffington Post)

 

LINK:

 

Presbyterian Minister: What To Do With This New Day

 


EPISCOPAL CHURCH BACKS GAY UNIONS
Biggest US Church to Bless Same Sex Unions


July 2012

 

The US Episcopal Church became the biggest church in the United States to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions after its House of Deputies gave its final approval.

 

Speaking in favor of the blessings, Deputy Jenna Guy from Iowa said the resolution is important to the younger generation of Episcopalians, adding that passing the resolution would bring more people into the Church. "It’s always with great pride that I tell people of the inclusive nature of this Church,” Guy said.

 

A deputy from Alaska added, "There is never anything wrong with celebrating love.”

 

The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy is called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant."

 

In the proposed rite, each person would make a vow to the other, exchange rings and be declared "bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live." The liturgy is expected to go into effect for provisional use in December.

 

In states that currently allow same-sex civil marriage, such as Massachusetts and New York, Episcopalians may already bless same-sex marriages, but there is no formal church-wide liturgy. Commitment ceremonies for gay couples are allowed elsewhere in the church at the discretion of the local bishop.

 

LINKS:
 

NBC News: Episcopal Church Blesses Gay Unions
NBC News: Episcopal Bishops Approve Resolution to Bless Gay Unions

 


RESPONSE TO HATE TALK

Birmingham Pastor Responds to Charles Worley


June 2012

 

Among the many voices of opposition to Pastor Charles Worley's anti-gay sermon was Rev Sarah Jackson Shelton, pastor of Baptist Church of the Covenant.  BCOC is an LGBT-affirming church in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her sermon, with love as its theme, was presented on June 3 and came in the aftermath of hateful remarks made by the North Carolina pastor in which he said that gays and lesbians should be put in an electrified pen and killed off.

 

You can read Pastor Shelton's sermon or listen to the audio track of it by visiting the BCOC website.

 

LINKS:

 

Rev Sarah Jackson Shelton Sermon: The Love of God

Read Sermon and Listen to Audio: The Love of God

More Info About Pastor Worley's Hateful Remarks

 


LGBT YOUTH MINISTRY

Advocacy and Youth Services in Huntsville

 

"Some people find that hard to swallow," said James Robinson. "But I grew up in a conservative, Bible-teaching church. That's why I have the strong foundation I do as a Christian. And, fortunately for me, I never had a question about God loving me."

 

Not all who realize they are gay or lesbian have that foundation, Robinson said. A lot of homosexuals are driven out of the church by feeling like outcasts. And, Robinson added, not all can find a message of God's love in a religious community.

 

"I felt like I was a disease," says one teen who is featured on a recent documentary, Through My Eyes. "I couldn't talk to my pastor about it."

 

That feeling is common among teens who begin to realize their sexual orientation is homosexual, Robinson said. The ensuing isolation, loneliness and, frequently, bullying are part of the mix that helps keep the suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens three times that of heterosexual kids. The gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender teenager is also more prone to drop out of school, turn to drugs or run away from home.

 

"One 15-year-old was put out of his house by his parents!" Robinson said. "I'm alive for a purpose. I have a voice. I'm going to use that voice to help these kids."

 

 

That's why Robinson founded GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services two years ago. The non-profit organization, the first of its kind in Alabama, as far as he knows, seeks to support local organizations in offering resources to gay and lesbian teens.

 

GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services offers a weekly support group for teens and friends of teens who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, questioning and queer, Mondays, 6-8 PM, at The Studio, 1001 Oakwood Avenue, Huntsville, Alabama. Free.
 

More Info: James Robinson, Executive Director, GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, 256-425-7804, James@glbtays.org

 

LINKS:

 

LGBT Advocate in Huntsville Honored at Montgomery Vigil

Christian LGBT Youth Ministry in Huntsville

Documentary: Through My Eyes

GLBTAYS Website

 


MESSAGE TO LGBT COMMUNITY: I'M SORRY

Apologies & Support From Church Groups

 

A new billboard has been raised in Charlotte apologizing to gay people for North's Carolina's vote in support of Amendment One. The billboard was funded by a California church and went up on Billy Graham Parkway on Wednesday.  The billboard reads, "Mission Gathering Christian Church is sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who denied rights and equality to so many in the Name of God."

 



The message has received a lot of responses from people on both sides of Amendment One.  The Charlotte Diocese said it doesn’t like the billboard, because it doesn't think the California-based church should get involved.

 

If that in deed is the case, then somebody needs to tell Pastor Worley to quit sending his NC folks to Birmingham AL to protest at gay rights parades.

 

Ralph Belk with the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party supports the billboard.  "We were very much against the amendment and felt like it was an attack on civil rights," said Belk. "Anyone who's willing to help us continue that conversation and show that there is support still for civil rights I'm in favor of that."

 

 

Have you heard about the Marin Foundation?  Have you heard about their "I'm Sorry" Campaign?  The Marin Foundation is a single (and small) organization with a focus of building bridges between the church and the gay community.  As such they navigate the difficult role of building alliances from various perspectives around these issues.  They believe that "I'm Sorry" is a good beginning and hopefully much reconciliation will follow. 

 

They attend Gay Pride Parades to apologize for the way the church has treated homosexuals and carry signs that say...  "I'm sorry how the church has treated you"...  "I'm sorry Christians have shunned you"...  "I'm sorry Christians have judged you."

 

Members of the Marin Foundation say that their intention, through their actions, is to "apologize for the collective sins of the church and to let people know that God loves them."

 

There was a moment from a Chicago Gay Pride Parade when a gay man in the parade, wearing only his underwear, went to curb to hug a member of the Marin Foundation group.  He hugged the man and said, "Thank you!"  Observers said, "That was reconciliation personified!  It’s nice to see people of faith have common sense enough to know that hate and prejudice is wrong. A step in the right direction towards equality and something everyone should learn from. THIS is the kind of compassion that religion teaches, but far too often doesn’t follow."  The man who was hugged by the gay parade marcher said, "I hugged a man in his underwear. I think Jesus would have too."
 

LINKS:

 

Marin Foundation at Chicago Gay Pride Parade: I'm Sorry

Charlotte NC Billboard: I'm Sorry
NY Times: Signs Says I'm Sorry to NC Gays
Christian Group Holding Up Apologetic Signs at Gay Pride Parade
Marin Foundation Website

 


MARIN FOUNDATION

Reconciliation Between Church & LGBT Community

 

The Marin Foundation is the very first organization that works to build a bridge between the religious and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in a non-threatening, research and biblically oriented fashion. Their unique approach is one that strategically reaches out and partners with both religious and LGBT organizations; working closely with each to make a sustainable, structural difference for religious people in today’s socially driven secular and religious cultures. The vision of the Marin Foundation is to theologically, socially and politically see divided communities reconciled with each other through a faith in God and each other.

 

In their posted statement, the Marin Foundation explains:  "Over the last decade we have seen an ever growing difference between a cultural version of reconciliation and an actual reconciliation. Cultural reconciliation is when the conservative world or the LGBT community only sees reconciliation as ‘the other’ dropping their personal worldview and picking up a full set of prescribed correct beliefs that brings everyone to only one side. That scenario resembles more of a mob mentality than an actual reconciliation—which seeks to connect and dignify two different groups of people on a human to human level whether in agreement or not.  To us the outcome is secondary to the fidelity of being a reconciliatory agent that, in relation to and relationship with those not like yourself, are the constant pursuers of that which is disconnected.  We model this type of reconciliation everyday within our own organization, on staff and in volunteers, which consist of hetero and LGBT people: single, partnered, celibate; liberal and conservative.  Such an effort is a countercultural place to be, especially in light of the divisive culture war that continues to surround faith, sexuality and politics in our society today. There are some out there who call us too idealistic. Too unrealistic. Tell us we’re wasting our time. But that’s the point of living a faith worth living."

 

LINKS:

 

Marin Foundation Website

Marin Foundation at Chicago Gay Pride Parade

 


LGBT RELIGIOUS CONCERNS

LGBT and Spiritual Issues


"My sexual orientation is not a sickness to be healed or a sin to be forgiven.  My sexual orientation is a gift from my Creator to be accepted, celebrated, and lived with integrity."

-ChristianGay.Com

 

"It is never legitimate to use the words of scripture to promote a loveless agenda."
-Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short / Moderator of United Church of Canada

 

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision."    
-Lynn Lavner

 

"It took the Catholic Church 359 years to admit that they were wrong when they accused Galileo of heresy and condemned him to death, unless he recanted that the earth rotates around the sun. Since he wanted to live, he was forced to deny the truth and agree with the Church that the sun rotates around the earth, but he was still placed under house arrest until his death.

"The Church is powerful and has a history of pressuring society and individuals to say and believe what "the Church" thinks is right. They were wrong then and they are wrong now regarding homosexuality. Let's hope it doesn't take them that long this time to discover and admit their error."

-ChristianGay.Com

 

"The Scriptures have been misused to defend bloody crusades and inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to sanction the physical and emotional abuse of women and children; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support the holocaust of Hitler's Third Reich; to oppose medical science; to condemn inter-racial marriage; to execute women as witches; to excuse the violent racism of the Ku Klux Klan; to mobilize militias, white supremacy and neo-nazi movements; and to condone intolerance and discrimination against sexual minorities. "
-Mel White / Letter to Jerry Falwell

 


 

GAY EPISCOPAL BISHOP
Gene Robinson

One of the central figures in the movie For the Bible Tells Me So is Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first-ever openly gay man to be elected a Bishop of the Episcopalian Church. Robinson's consecration in 2003 (at which he had to wear a bullet-proof vest due to death threats) was a historical occasion that caused a rift in the Episcopal church.


On a more personal level, the consecration was the penultimate moment of the path on which Robinson had embarked some 20 years earlier when, with the support of his then-wife, Isabella, Robinson came out of the closet after years of attempting to live as a straight man and seeking counseling to rid himself of his "homosexual feelings."

 

LINKS:

 

Wikipedia Bio & Info
New Hampshire Episcopal Diocese
BBC Article
PBS Reportt

 


GAY & MUSLIM

Conflict of Faith and Sexuality


July 2012

 

Life can be particularly tough for an LGBT person living in a strict Muslim community.  Islamic teachings forbid homosexuality.  Many LGBT persons live in fear, hiding their sexual identity.

 

Can gays and lesbians be Muslim?  Can Muslims be gay and lesbian?  Of course.  Sexuality is who you are, it's not something you can change and it doesn't have anything to do with religion. You can't chose sexuality like you can with religion. Even if one was raised to believe homosexuality was something wrong or even disgusting, it wouldn't change your preference. This causes a lot of people to suppress their feelings and hide their true sexuality which can cause a lot of self-hatred. Some people believe that it is okay to have homosexual feelings an long as you do not act on them but this just doesn't work because you can't spend your whole life pretending to be something you're not. Unfortunately, in some places, people are still uneducated and traditional and therefore it can cause a lot of problems for homosexuals, especially if they live in Muslim countries. But recently, people have become a lot more open and more Muslims are becoming more open minded about these things. But what would happen to a gay or lesbian Muslim completely depends on where they live and what their family is like.

 

By the tenets of their faith, it's not possible for Muslim people to be gay or lesbian. Realistically, of course they can.  They should probably look for a liberal, reformed sect of Islam, if there is one, that accepts homosexuality, just as many Christian sects do.  But, depending on where they live they may be accepted or they may be put into prison and killed by their government and/or their family.

 

Typical blog comments from Muslim lesbians include the following:

 

I am a lesbian and a Muslim living in an Arabic country and I have a girlfriend.  We cannot be public about our relationship because the law prohibits same sex relationships.  If we are discovered, we can go to jail because of our relationship.  My family does not know anything nor my friends because it is shameful to us.  I must still follow the traditions because we are in a country where everything is forbidden.

 

It's hard being a lesbian Muslim.  The fear of rejection and being disowned by your loved ones and the Muslim community is a nightmare for me.  Some closed-minded Muslims think it's a choice to be gay, when it's not a choice.  I have prayed to Allah for couple of years to cure me but I realized that Allah made me this way.  But I refuse to hurt my mother’s feelings and blame herself, when she hasn’t done anything wrong.  People send me hate messages and call me a devil.  I am not a devil neither am I a bad Muslim. I pray five a day.  I also follow the five Islamic pillars .  My sexuality has nothing to do with being a lesbian. For those sisters out there who are out, I admire your honesty.  I don’t have the courage most of you have.

 

I have lived all my life in an Arab Muslim country and I know firsthand how oppressive, judgmental and simply uptight Muslims can be when it comes to homosexuality.

 

Being a lesbian and a Muslim is the the most scary nightmare ever! And I would never tell any one about it because I don't want to die so young!

 

There are a lot of Muslim lesbians like me and my girlfriend who are scared about their future but daydream about having a house and cat or dog but deep down inside we know this is will never come true.  So sad.  I pray 5 times a day.  I read Quraan and I'm a good person and I love my god.  I think being gay doesn't make me a bad Muslim.

I have been treated very badly because I stand up for gays or lesbians.  The Muslim community doesn't realize that there are many Muslim gays and lesbians who feel very scared and lonely and don't know where to turn for help.

 

BOOKS:

 

Allah, Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji

The Trouble with Islam Today by Irshad Manji

The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Unspeakable Love: Gay and lesbian life in the Middle East by Brian Whitaker

L’Armée du Salut (Salvation Army) by Abdellah Taia

Homosexuality in Islam by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle

Gay Travels in the Muslim World by Michael Luongo

 

LINKS:

 

Safra Project

To Be Gay and Muslim
Al Arabiya News

Al-Bab: Open Door to Arab World

Gay Lesbian Arab Society
Gay Middle East
Gay Moroc
Guardian: Being a Gay Muslim

Services for Gay Muslims

 


IRSHAD MANJI

Lesbian Muslim Activist


May 2012

 

Irshad Manji is a Canadian author, journalist and an advocate of a "reform and progressive" interpretation of Islam.  Manji is director of the Moral Courage Project at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, which aims to teach young leaders to "challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship."

 

She is also founder and president of Project Ijtihad, a charitable organization promoting a "tradition of critical thinking, debate and dissent" in Islam, among a "network of reform-minded Muslims and non-Muslim allies."

 

 

Manji is a well-known critic of traditional mainstream Islam and was described by The New York Times as "Osama bin Laden's worst nightmare".  Manji’s most recent book, Allah, Liberty and Love was released in June 2011 in the US, Canada and other countries.  Manji's previous book, The Trouble with Islam Today , has been published in more than 30 languages, including Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Malay and Indonesian.

LINKS:


Irshad Manji
Wikipedia: Irshad Manji

Huffington Post: Irshad Manji
You Tube: Irshad Manji
 


DON'T BLAME THE BIBLE
Scripture and Homosexuality


May 2012

 

Sometimes, people hide inside the Bible.

 

That is, they use the Christian holy book as authority and excuse for biases that have nothing to do with God. They did this when women sought to vote and when African Americans sought freedom.

They are doing it now, as gay men and lesbians seek the right to be married.

 

The latest battleground in that fight is North Carolina, where voters go to the polls Tuesday to render a verdict on Amendment One, which would add to the state constitution the following stipulation: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

 

Mind you, the Tarheel State already has a law on the books banning same-sex marriage. The would-be constitutional amendment is meant to double down on exclusion. And if you read the language carefully, you saw what many observers have seen — that it can also be interpreted as denying legal recognition to unmarried heterosexuals.

 

Not that this holds any sway with those who hide inside the Bible. “God has defined marriage,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a Sunday sermon quoted in the Charlotte Observer. “It is not up to us to redefine it.” In a letter to the editor, an Observer reader put it thusly: “You either believe [the Bible] or not.”

 

One wishes those people could spend a little quality time with Matthew Vines.

 

Vines is a Christian, a 22-year-old Harvard undergrad raised in a conservative evangelical church in Kansas. He is also gay and says he grew up being taught that the Bible condemns his sexual orientation. He took two years off from school to research and study whether or not that assertion is true.

 

The result is "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality."  It’s a video.  And you can find it online on YouTube.  The video is of a speech he gave in March at a church in Wichita that has become a minor sensation. Small wonder. Vines’ speech is a masterwork of scriptural exegesis and a marvel of patient logic, slicing and dicing with surgical precision the claim that homophobia is God ordained. So effective is the video that after viewing it, Sandra Delemares a Christian blogger from the United Kingdom who had, for years, spoken in staunch opposition to same sex marriage, wrote that it “revolutionised” her thinking.

 

Vines points out, for instance, that the frequently quoted condemnation (homosexuality is an “abomination”) from the Old Testament lawbook of Leviticus has no application to Christians, who are bound by the teachings of the New Testament. He explains that St. Paul’s admonitions about the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” stem from modern mis-translations of ancient Greek terminology.

 

It is fascinating stuff, and there is not nearly enough space here to do it justice, but the salient point is this: Matthew Vines is not some godless heathen lobbing bombs at Christianity from outside its walls. No, he lives inside Christianity’s walls, still holds the faith in which he was raised. So this is not an outsider’s attack. It is an insider’s plea.

 

One hopes that plea is heeded. Vines’ speech is long — a little over an hour — but well worth the time, particularly for those seeking to reconcile first-century faith with 21st-century social concerns..

 

Many in North Carolina — many around the country — are swimming against the tide of human freedom and blaming God for it. Again, this is not a new thing. We saw it back when God was for segregation and against women’s suffrage.

 

How convenient it must be to lay your own narrowness and smallness off on God, to accept no responsibility for the niggardly nature of your own soul. Vines’ video is a welcome, overdue and eloquent rebuke of the moral and intellectual laziness of throwing rocks, then hiding inside Scripture. It is a reminder, too.

You don’t go to the Bible to hide. You go there to seek.

 

(From Leonard Pitts / Miami Herald) 

 

LINKS:

 

Leonard Pitts / Miami Herald: Don't Blame the Bible
Matthew Vines Video: The Gay Debate: The Bible & Homosexuality
Matthew Vines Tumblr Site

 


FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO
Film About Christian Families and LGBT Issues
 

FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO is a new movie about 5 Christian American families dealing with LGBT issues.

 

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

LINKS:

 

Visit Official Movie Website
View Trailer Of The Movie

Read the Sundance Review
 


BIBLE AND SCHOOL INCIDENT
High School Teacher's Anti-Gay Lesson
 

Selective Use of The Bible in This Campus Incident Shifts Focus Off Faith...  An Open Letter From Leonard Pitts to Donna Reddick, a Teacher at a High School in Miami

I'm writing this for Desiree.  She's a student at Miami Sunset Senior High, where you teach business technology.  She sent me an e-mail recounting an incident that happened on campus recently.

It seems on three successive days, the morning announcements, which are televised throughout the school, featured student-produced segments on the subject of gay rights.  On the first day came comments from students who took the pro position.  On the second day came remarks from a counselor who spoke of the need for students to respect one another.  On the third day came you.

You and a few students, actually.  One told classmates homosexuality was "unacceptable in the eyesight of God."  Another said gays were "unrighteous."  The coup de grace, though, was you, invoking Sodom and Gomorrah and telling students homosexuality was "wrong according to the Bible" because God ordered humanity to multiply, which gay couples cannot do.

Desiree was, to put it mildly, upset.  In the e-mail, she accused you of bigotry and wondered how a gay student could ever again feel assured of fair treatment in your class.  I tend to agree.  She also suggested that you crossed the line between church and state, an accusation about which I am more conflicted.  It seems to me there's a difference between proselytizing for a religion and explaining how one's faith has influenced one's opinion. You're entitled to think what you think, no matter how stupid it might be.

But I'll leave those questions for others to parse.  My biggest frustration lies elsewhere.  Put simply, I've had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists.

By which I mean people like you, who dress their homophobia up in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it's not homophobia at all, but just a pious determination to live according to what the Bible says.  And never mind the Bible also says it is "disgraceful" for a woman to speak out in church (I Corinthians 14:34-36) and that if she has any questions, she should wait till she gets home and ask her husband.  Never mind the Bible says the penalty for going to work on Sunday (Exodus 35:1-3) is death.  Never mind the Bible says the man who rapes a virgin should buy her from her father (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and marry her.

I'm going to speculate you don't observe or support those commands.  Which says to me yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you'd be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside.

You resemble many of your and my co-religionists, whose faith so often expresses itself in an obsessive focus on one or two hot-button issues -- and seemingly nowhere else.  They're so panicked at the thought that somebody might accidentally treat gay people like people.  Meantime, people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass murdered in Darfur.  Where is the Christian outrage about that?

Just once, I'd like to read a headline that said a Christian group was boycotting to feed the hungry.  Or marching to house the homeless.  Or pushing Congress to provide the poor with healthcare worthy of the name.

Instead, they fixate on keeping the gays in their place.  Which makes me question their priorities.  And their compassion.  And their faith.

If you love me, feed my sheep.  For the record, Ms. Reddick, the Bible says that, too.


(From Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, The Miami Herald)

 

 


RECOMMENDED READING
Christianity and LGBT Issues

 

Jack Rogers is the author of the book, "Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths,  Heal the Church."  The book provides a Presbyterian USA perspective.  Jack Rogers is a former PC USA General Assembly Moderator who changed his views on gay issues and is now a strong advocate for full inclusion in the life of the church

 

Rev. John Shelby Spong is an Episcopal Bishop who is also an LGBT ally.  He offers a fresh perspective on Christianity and homosexuality.  He has written several books of interest, including, "A New Christianity for a New World," and "Why Christianity Must Change or Die."

 

LINKS:

Jesus, The Bible and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church by Jack Rogers
Amazon Book Reviews
 

Whosoever Ministry

General Info: Retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark
BeliefNet Articles: Was St Paul Gay? And Other Ideas
Unofficial Fan Website
Revolutionary, Rational Anti-Religionist
Wikipedia Info
Amazon: Why Christianity Must Change or Die
BrainyQuote: JSSpong Quotes

 


RELIGION & HOMOSEXUALITY
Gay Friendly Churches, Temples, & Mosques
 

Most of the oppression against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people (such as same-sex marriage and sodomy laws) comes from the church or religious organizations. This is a very difficult situation for religious LGBTQ people who find themselves either continuing their spiritual life with churches that preach against their inclusion or having no home at all to nurture their spiritual needs.

Gays seeking fellowship with their higher power don't have to journey alone. There are several religious organizations and churches within major denominations that are dedicated to fostering a welcoming environment for all people, including queers. Find an organization that best fits your religious needs.

Baptist
Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Welcomes and affirms all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, and who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith.

Buddhist
Gay Buddhist Fellowship
Supports Buddhist practices in the gay community and brings together the diverse Buddhist traditions to address the spiritual concerns of gay men.

Catholic
DignityUSA
Works for respect and justice for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy and support.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples Alliance
Organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and affirming members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a prophetic voice calling for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Church.

Episcopal
Integrity
Fostering the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church, using integrity as the leading grass roots voice.

Evangelical
Evangelicals Concerned
Encourages and affirms lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in their faith.

Jewish
World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga’avah
The worldwide voice of LGBT Jews seeking to support, inspire, and strengthen local groups; foster a sense of community among diverse individuals and organizations; and achieve equality and security for LGBT Jews worldwide.

Lutheran
Lutherans Concerned
embody, inspire, and support the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, their families, friends and allies, within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners.

Metropolitan Community Church
Metropolitan Community Church
Founded in and reaching beyond the gay and lesbian communities and seeking the integration of spirituality and sexuality.

Muslim
Al-Fatiha Foundation
Dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, those exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, and their allies, families and friends.

Presbyterian
More Light Presbyterians
Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Quaker (Religious Society of Friends)
Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns
A North American Quaker faith community that affirms God in all people; learning that radical inclusion and radical love bring further light to Quaker testimony and life.

Seventh-day Adventist
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship
Devoted to the spiritual, emotional, social and physical well-being of current and former Seventh-day Adventists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Unitarian
Unitarian Universalism
Office of the Unitarian Universalist Association dedicated to fighting oppression against bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people.

United Church of Christ
The UCC Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns
Provides support and sanctuary to all our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers, their families and friends; advocates for their full inclusion in church and society; and brings Christ's affirming message of love and justice for all people.

United Methodist
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Concerns
Pursues full inclusion in the Church through respect, love, justice and mercy for all.

Unity
Association of Unity Churches
Teaches the practical application in everyday life of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ, leading to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind.

(From About Gay Life by Ramon Johnson)

 


GAY AND JEWISH
Twice Blessed


In the book, Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish, the homosexual and Jewish populations and cultures are compared and contrasted. This is a very readable collection of twenty-five essays written by lesbian and gay Jews of vastly differing backgrounds, and experiences. It was collected and edited by Christie Balka and Andy Rose and published in 1989. This 260-page book is arranged into five sections, each taking a particular direction in understanding what it means to be both homosexual and Jewish, and why individuals can often feel estranged from both groups. There are introductions to each section written by the editors.
 


LINKS:
 

Amazon: Twice Blessed

World Congress of LGBT Jews
On Being Gay and Jewish
Jewish Mosaic
Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation
Keshet: Affirming LGBT People in Jewish Life
Hehirim: LGBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality
How Can You be Gay and Jewish?
List of LGBT Jewish Organizations
Jewish Community Federation, San Francisco
Links of Love: Being LGBT and Jewish
Strength Through Community: LGBT Jewish Response to Bullying
Wikipedia: LGBT Topics and Judaism
Wikipedia: List of LGBT Jews
Say Amen: Documentary About Gay Orthodox Jewish Man
Keep Not Silent: Documentary About Orthodox Lesbians
 


SOULFORCE
Mel White's LGBT Ministry

 

The Reverend Dr. Mel White is a former ghostwriter for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell.

He founded the LGBT activist organization, Soul Force.  Inspired by the nonviolence movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., White developed a program based on their principles to address the suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In 1997, he was awarded the ACLU's National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and King to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities.


He is the author of over 16 books, including Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America, published in 1994, and Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right, published in 2006.


LINKS:
 

Soul Force
Mel White Home Page
Wikipedia: Mel White

 


HORACE GRIFFIN
Gay Black Theologian

Horace L. Griffin teaches pastoral theology and is Director of Field Education at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church.  An ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, USA, Griffin also serves as an associate at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Glen Rock, N.J. 

 

In 1990, Griffin began his professional career as a college professor at the historical black Fisk University while completing his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt. At Fisk, he chaired the Department of Religious and Philosophical Studies from 1993-1996, becoming the first openly gay Department chair in the University's 127 year history.  In 1992, he received the "Professor of the Year Award" for the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.  During this period, he also co-chaired the Lesbian and Gay Coalition for Justice, a civil rights organization for gay citizens in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. 

 

Griffin has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.; a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Mass.; and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University Graduate Department of Religion in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

 

As a graduate student concentrating in gender and sexuality issues, he developed a slide presentation addressing black pastoral issues and the AIDS epidemic. Called "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray," the presentation became a teaching tool for black pastors at conferences and in black faith communities. As a result of his AIDS work, Griffin was invited to serve as a board member (1994-1996) of Nashville Cares, an AIDS agency for the Greater Nashville community. 

 

In 1996, Griffin joined the religious studies faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia as Assistant Professor of African-American Religions.  He taught courses on African-American religions, religion and human sexuality and religion and homosexuality.  In 1999, Griffin resigned, in part, because the university president and administrators refused to include sexual orientation in the university's non-discrimination policy. 

 

Later that year, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where he taught courses such as Pastoral Care and Congregations, Sexuality and Pastoral Care, and Cross Cultural Pastoral Care. He also directed the Chicago Collegiate Seminarians Program, a Lilly funded grant for college students considering ordained ministry.   

 

Griffin has published numerous articles and essays in peer journals and anthologies, including "Revisioning Christian Ethical Discourse on Homosexuality: A Challenge for the 21st Century" in the Journal of Pastoral Care, and "Toward a True Black Liberation Theology: Affirming Homoeroticism, Black Lesbian and Gay Christians and their Relationships" in Loving the Body: Black Religious Studies and the Erotic.  His most recent work, "Black Machoism and Its Discontents" will be published in 2008 in Face to Face: A Discussion of Critical Issues in Pastoral Theology. 

 

His first book, Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches (Pilgrim Press 2006) was awarded the 2006 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT studies in the spring of 2007.  This groundbreaking work also received a Stonewall Award nomination.  The LGBT African American Roundtable convened a panel of scholars and clergy offering a critical examination of the book at its 2007 annual meeting.  In its second printing, Their Own Receive Them Not is a useful text currently being studied and discussed in college and seminary classrooms and black faith communities.

 

LINKS:

National Black Justice Coalition: Profile of Horace Griffin
Living Out Loud: Horace Griffin, Racism, Homophobia & the Black Church
Bilerico Project: Horace Griffin

 


IS HOMOSEXUALITY A SIN?
Comments From Clergy

Question: In your opinion, does God regard homosexuality as a sin?


Baptist: Dr. Stayton - Absolutely not! There is nothing in the Bible or in my own theology that would lead me to believe that God regards homosexuality as sin. God is interested in our relationships with ourselves, others, the things in our lives, and with God. There is nothing in the mind of God that could be against a loving, sexual relationship, freely entered into, without coercion, among sincere adults whether gay, bisexual or straight.


Episcopalian: Bishop John Shelby Spong
- Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural," it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypic definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect the rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners into a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy natural, and affirming of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.
 

Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and 'behold it (is) very good'."(Gen.1:31) The work of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.


Episcopalian: Bishop Wood
- No. Our sexual orientation is a given, something we discover about ourselves.  Some might say "a gift from God."  How one relates to others (caring or exploiting) is the source of sin.


Judaism: Rabbi Lazar
- First of all, I do not know what God thinks. In my opinion, homosexuality is not a sin, but an alternate lifestyle. In my opinion, homosexuality by itself is not immoral. When sex is used to corrupt, for prurient and/or exploitative purposes or selfish reasons or to hurt someone else, this is immoral.


Judaism: Rabbi Marder
- The God I worship endorses loving, committed, monogamous relationships, regardless of the gender of those involved.

 

Judaism: Rabbi Wilson - No, not so long as the behavior is not obsessive, responsible and safe, non-abusive, and the manifestation of a loving, respectful relationship.


Presbyterian: Dr. Edwards
- God does not regard homosexuality as a sin any more than heterosexuality. Sin is a lack of respect or love for God; it is a lack of love or respect for other persons. Whether gay or straight, therefore, one may sin against God or others. But God forgives us when we sin and strengthens us in resisting sin. We are led by God's forgiving love to become more respectful and loving toward God and others, even those we don't "like."
 

Presbyterian: Rev. Holfelder - No, I do not think that God regards homosexuality as a sin. I believe that one's sexual preference is first and foremost a matter of biology (creation) and only secondarily a matter of choice (responsibility). Since I also believe that all God creates is good, I conclude that human sexuality (no a matter of choice for anyone) is good, whether that sexual expression be heterosexual or homosexual.


Roman Catholic: Sister Ford
- Two truths are especially relevant in thinking this through. First we have a theological point. God, the one who has made all of creation, loves and cherishes all creatures without exception. Second, modern psychology shows us that homosexual orientation is set by age five or six. Most psychologists agree that it is not a matter of choice; whether orientation is inborn as some think, or acquired very early, as others say. How then could an all-loving God possibly violate Divine nature and regard homosexuals as "sinners?"

 

Unitarian Universalist: Dr. Schulz - I do not believe that God regards homosexuality as a sin. In the first place, of course, I do not believe in an anthropomorphic god who defines or delineates sinful behavior. But even if I did, I cannot believe that such a God would reject any of His/Her children on the basis of their affectional orientations. If He/She did, such a God would not be one to whom I would want to pay homage.


United Church of Christ: Dr. Lebacqz
- What god DOES regard as a sin is oppression, injustice, disrespect for persons. This sin, then, is homophobia, gay-bashing, discriminatory legislation toward lesbians and gays, refusal to include lesbian/gay/bisexual people into our churches and communities. To force ANY people, whether for reasons of race, age, or sexual orientation, into a "ghetto" - this is a sin.
 

United Church of Christ: Dr. Nelson - I am convinced that our sexuality and our sexual orientations, whatever they may be, are a gift from God. Sexual sin does not reside in our orientations, but rather in expressing our sexuality in ways that harm, oppress, or use others for our own selfish gratification. When we express ourselves sexually in ways that are loving and just, faithful and responsible, then I am convinced that God celebrates our sexuality, whatever our orientation may be.
 

United Methodist: Bishop Wheatley - Of course not! The preponderance of evidence now available identifies homosexuality to be as natural a sexual orientation for the majority of persons. Homosexuality is an authentic condition of being with which some persons are endowed (a gift of God, if you please), not an optional sexual life-style which they have willfully, whimsically or sinfully chosen. Certainly one's sexuality - heterosexual or homosexual - may be acted out in behaviors that are sinful: brutal, exploitative, selfish, superficial. But just as surely, one's homosexual orientation as well as another's heterosexual orientation may be acted out in ways that are beautiful: tender, considerate, mutual, responsible, loyal, profound.

 

 


MOST INSPIRING LEADERS

LGBT Religious Leaders

Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje  -  Provost of Starr King School for the Ministry, Professor of Cultural Studies and Islamic Studies, and Sufi. Taught the first divinity school class in the US on African-American faith communities and HIV prevention.

 

Irshad Manji  -  Muslim and founder and director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University's School of Public Service.

 

Bishop Gene Robinson  -  Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.

 

Rev. Ouyang Wen Feng  -  Founded a gay-friendly church outside Kuala Lumpur and is thought to be the country's only openly gay pastor. Although he now lives in the U.S., he frequently returns to Malaysia to call for gay rights, despite the country outlawing homosexuality.

 

Imam Daayiee Abdullah  -  Imam and religious director of Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslaah, and the co-director of Muslims for Progressive Values.

 

Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool  -  Serves as the Assistant Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

 

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum  -  Serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simshat Torah, the largest LGBT synagogue in the world.

 

Rev. Troy Perry  -  Founded the LGBT denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) in 1968.

 

Larry Yang  -  On the Spirit Rock Teachers' Council and a core teacher at the new East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA.

 

Pastor Manny Santiago  -  Pastor of University Baptist Church in Seattle, WA.

 

Rev. Scott Anderson  -  First openly gay PCUSA minister ordained after the church voted to allow individual presbyteries to set their own ordination guidelines around sexual orientation

 

Rev. John Shelby Spong  -  Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey.  Strong LGBT ally.

 

Rev. Pat Bumgardner  -  Currently the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York.

 

Rabbi Steven Greenberg  -  First openly gay Orthodox rabbi, is Director of Orthodox Programs for Nehirim, the organization for GLBT Jewish culture and spirituality.

 

Bishop Yvette Flunder  -  Founded the United Church of Christ Church, City of Refuge and presiding Bishop of The Fellowship.

 

Archbishop Carl Bean  -  Founded the Unity Fellowship Church Movement, a primarily African American and LGBT denomination.

 

Rev. Malcolm Boyd  -  Episcopalian Priest and author of "Are You Running With Me Jesus?"

 

Justin Lee  -  Founder and Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network.

 

 

William R. Johnson - First Openly Gay person ordained in a mainline denomination (United Church of Christ) and founder of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and Maranatha Riversiders for LGBT Concerns at the Riverside Church, NYC.

 

Rev. Robin Reiter - Founder and director of Sacred Abundance Ministries.

 

Rev. August Gold  -  Founder of the Spiritual Center (NYC), Author, speaker, life coach.

 

Jimmy Creech  -  Defrocked by the United Methodist Church and lost his ordination for performing same-sex commitment ceremonies. He is the author of Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy The Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays.

 

Minister Mychaeltodd  -  Executive Director of Fig Leaf.

 

Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson  -  Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX.

 

Bayard Rustin  -  Quaker activist who not only mentored Dr. King in the principles of non-violent, non cooperation, but also helped found the Southern Church Leadership Conference. Rustin was the chief organizer of the '63 March on Washington, as well as of the first Freedom Rides in 1947. Because Rustin was openly gay, he had to remain behind the scenes in the Civil Rights movement, as his sexuality was the target of attacks by anti Civil Rights antagonists.

 

Candace Chellew-Hodge  -  Founder of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for LGBT

Christians that was founded in 1996. The magazine was the first of its kind on the internet has continued to be a resource for the LGBT community since then at whosoever.org. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians published in 2008.

 

Rabbi Denise Eger  -  Serves at Congregation Kol Ami and long time LGBT activist.

 

Rev. Peter J. Gomes  -  Longtime pastor of The Memorial Church at Harvard. He came out in 1991, saying "I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay. Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God."

 

Pastor Dennis A. Meredith  -  Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA.

 

Pastor Darlene C. A. Franklin  -  Pastor of Agape Spirit Life Ministries in Detroit. She is a leader in social justice and a pioneer in spiritual equality for the LGBT Community.

 

Rev. Roger E. Hayes  -  Senior Pastor of Church Of The Holy Spirit Fellowship located in Winston Salem, NC.

 

Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski  -  Pastor of MCC New York City, came to MCC San Francisco. Under Jim's leadership for 15 years, the church entered a period of sustained growth during the devastating years of the AIDS epidemic and shifted from being a place to meet on Sundays into an integrated part of the San Francisco queer community.

 

Dr. Herukhuti  -  Founder of Black Funk: The Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; and practitioner of traditional African and African Diasporic spirituality.

 

Archbishop Michael Seneco  -  Presiding bishop of the North American Old Catholic Church- a progressive Catholic denomination with ministries in 23 states.

 

Rev. Dr. Katrina D. Foster  -  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor. In 2007 she came out of the floor of her denomination's national assembly, after which the bishops put forth a resolution allowing them to abstain from disciplining lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pastors with families and not face disciplinary action themselves for not bringing charges against these pastors.

 

Rabbi Andrea Myers  -  Author of the book, "The Choosing-A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days", an activist and mother.

 

Jay Michaelson  -  Author, writer, scholar, and actvist whose work focuses on the intersections of religion, spirituality, sexuality, and law. His newest book, "God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality" shows that the Bible supports equal rights.

 

Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas  -  Currently the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.

 

Rev. Cannon Susan Russell  -  Associate Pastor at All Saints Pasadena, CA, past president of Integrity, HRC Religion and Faith Council.

 

Rev. Bradley Schmeling  -  Pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, ELCA, Atlanta GA. Led the way for full inclusion of LGBT clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

 

Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson  -  Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches.

 

Rev. Michael S. Piazza  -  Senior Pastor of Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta, President of Hope for Peace & Justice, Co-Executive Director, Center for Progressive Renewal.

 

Rev. Michael Hydes  -  Pastor of New Light Metropolitan Community Church in Hagerstown, MD.

 

Rev. Jeff R. Johnson  -  One of the first openly gay seminarians in the Lutheran church (ELCA) and a founder of a Lutheran movement to extraordinarily ordain publicly identified LGBT people. Ordained in 1990, Pastor Johnson currently serves University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley, CA.

 

Bishop George R. Lucey, FCM  -  Presiding Bishop of the American National Catholic Church. The denomination has parishes and ministries across the U.S.

 

Rabbi Tracee Rosen  -  Joined Temple Gan Elohim in September 2010. Before coming to Phoenix, she was the senior rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, a Reform and Conservative congregation in Utah, from 2003-2010. Prior to that, she served as one of the rabbis at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California with Rabbis Harold Schulweis and Ed Feinstein. She was ordained in the second graduating class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA, where she received numerous awards for academic excellence. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to rabbinical school, she was a banker, working for one of the top banking corporations in the country. Rabbi Tracee, along wuith her life partner, and their daughter, recently relocated from Salt Lake City to be closer to family.

 

Christopher Senjonyo  -  Bishop in Uganda.

 

Rev Mervyn Kingston  -  Minister in Ireland

 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu  -  From South Africa. Strong LGBT ally.

 

Cantor Shira Nafshi  -  Serves as the Cantor for Temple Beth Jacob in Concord, NH. Her partner, Rabbi Robin Nafshi, serves as the Rabbi for the same congregation.

 

Bishop Jeffrey Montoya  -  Openly gay bishop in the Universal Anglican Church. He is a past board member of DignityUSA and the Religious Activities Director of Milwaukee PrideFest.

 

 

Rev. Gene Dyszlewski  -  Acting head of Marriage Equality RI and a UCC minister in the state of Rhode Island. As a straight ally, he is a strong political force in the state.

 

Rev. Shari K. Brink  -  Throughout her career, religious and not-for-profit leader Reverend Shari K. Brink has been committed to bringing people together from diverse racial, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. As a founding co-president of Room for All, a small not-for-profit organization that educates and advocates for the full inclusion of LGBT people within the church, she challenges the church to rise above issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. Reverend Brink was appointed as Executive Minister of historic Marble Collegiate Church last summer, where she provides strategic leadership to one of New York City's most diverse congregations. “Nothing brings me more joy than a congregation in which everyone knows they belong and has an opportunity to use their gifts and skills, strengths and experiences for the greater good,” said Reverend Brink. She also leads the LGBT people in Faith, Tradition & Service (GIFTS) fellowship, which is celebrating its 20-year history and finding new vitality in the continuing movement toward LGBT equality.

 

 


WHY THE POPE HATES GAYS

Is Homosexuality a Sin?

Lord knows why the Pope truly hates gays! The debate over homosexuality and religion has been a heated discussion for some time now. The issue of homosexuality has split churches like the Episcopal Church while at the same time uniting others such as the Metropolitan Community Church, with a predominantly gay membership.

Does God condemn gays? Is homosexuality a sin? Or is being gay truly "insidious" in the eyes of God, as the late Pope John Paul II described in his book "Memory and Identity"?

Homosexuality Is a Sin!

The late John Paul II and therefore the Vatican's stance on gays is clear: homosexuality is a sin and gay marriage "attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man." In the late Pope's philosophical work on the nature of good and evil, "Memory and Identity," gay marriages are considered an integral part of "a new ideology of evil" plaguing our world today.

After all, the Bible itself sites passages condemning homosexual activity:

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman: it is an abomination" (Lev 18:22).

"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall be put to death: their blood is upon them" (Lev 20:13).

"God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (Rom 1:26-27).

"Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers - none of these will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10).

The condemnation of the law applies for those "who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers" ( 1 Tim 1:9-10).

God Loves Gays Too!

Many religious supporters disagree that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God, including those that fought for the inauguration of the Episcopal Church's first Openly Gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson, a decision that divided the church but promoted a more progressive religious community.

Some religious scholars believe that the intent of references to homosexuality in the Bible may not relate to same-sex relations at all. Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary describes in his presentation on Homosexuality and the Bible:

"Some passages that have been advanced as pertinent to the issue of homosexuality are, in fact, irrelevant. One is the attempted gang rape in Sodom (Gen. 19:1-29), since that was a case of ostensibly heterosexual males intent on humiliating strangers by treating them "like women," thus demasculinizing them. (This is also the case in a similar account in Judges 19-21.) Their brutal behavior has nothing to do with the problem of whether genuine love expressed between consenting adults of the same sex is legitimate or not. Likewise Deut. 23:17-18 must be pruned from the list, since it most likely refers to a heterosexual prostitute involved in Canaanite fertility rites that have infiltrated Jewish worship; the King James Version inaccurately labeled him a 'sodomite.'"

The Verdict!

In the end only the Lord can tell us which side the scale should tip. Until then the controversy over gays and religion will continue.

(From About Gay Life by Ramon Johnson)

 

 

 

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ALGBTICAL   n Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama