Category Archives: News

Religious Support for Marriage Equality – in Oklahoma

In North Carolina, the United Church of Christ has launched a legal challenge to the state ban on gay marriage, because it limits their religious freedom to decide which couples it may bless in marriage.

Also in the South,  United Church clergy have joined with Methodist and other religious leaders in a coalition to support gay marriage – because they are Christians, not in spite of it.

Oklahoma faith leaders form coalition supporting marriage equality

More than 50 Oklahoma faith leaders have formed a coalition in support of marriage rights for all couples, whether gay or straight.The Oklahoma Faith Leaders for Marriage group includes leaders of congregations of Mennonites, United Methodists, Unitarians, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ and at least one Baptist minister and two rabbis.

Standing in the sanctuary of Church of the Open Arms, Kenny Wright and Bo Bass are an Oklahoma City gay couple who say they will get married in Oklahoma if the state’s same-sex marriage ban is overturned. Photo by Jim Beckel, The OklahomanThe United Methodist and United Church of Christ denominations have the most coalition representation, with at least eight United Methodist clergy and at least eight United Church of Christ ministers among the faith network’s members.“Expanding marriage equality will finally remove a long-standing obstacle to our pastoral care — and allow us to minister equally to all families in our community,” the coalition said in a statement released after its April launch.

-More at  News OK.

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Preaching the Gospel, in Belfast – in Drag.

From the Belfast Telegraph:

A gay cleric who preaches in drag wants to bring his message of love to Belfast.

 Ron Eberly - Mz Rhonda

Belfast born Ron Eberly, who describes himself as “Christ Drag Queen”, left for Canada in 1975, but now he wants to return home to speak in churches as his glamorous alter ego — Mz Rhonda.

The son of a baptist preacher, Ron emigrated from Penrose Street off the Ormeau Road with his family and later attended bible college in Canada.

He met his wife with whom he had two children during a missionary trip to Belize — but they divorced eight years later when Ron realised he “had to live an honest life”.

Ron’s family disowned him for 20 years after he came out, but he reconciled with them shortly before his parents’ deaths in 2012.

He still uses his late mother’s hats to perform as Mz Rhonda because he says they make him look like “a little church lady”.

Ron found love and married again 14 years ago, but this time to a man.

 – full report at BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

German Gay Clergy Win Right to Live with Partners

News from Germany:

Protestant churches in northern Germany have voted to allow gay pastors to live in church residences with their same-sex partners for the first time.

The rule change from the two-year-old Northern Church – a union of Protestant churches –  was voted in almost unanimously by a summit in Lübeck on Friday by 156 votes to two.

  It states that as long as a prospective pastor and his or her same-sex partner are in a “recognized life partnership” (the equivalent of a UK civil partnership), the pair are to be treated the same as heterosexual couples when being considered for entering a parish residence.

  The right to live in the clergy’s residence is a “symbol” according to Pastor Mathias Benckert, a spokesman for the Northern Church.

  Benckert told The Local: “The principles of trust, care, reliability and commitment, all the things that would need to be part of a pastor’s marriage – these things also go for a registered life partnership,” he said.

  The rules guaranteed that clergy, whether gay or straight, would only be chosen if the parish council and the regional supervisor, whose job it is to nominate them, agreed.

  The model allows conservative and liberal elements of the church to form a consensus, Benckert said, as if the congregation is not happy with a prospective clergyman or woman, they will not be selected.

– full report at The Local

Marriage teaching ‘disconnected’, say Dublin Catholics

I think we already knew this – but it’s good to have it acknowledged by a respected Archbishop.

Catholic teaching on contraception, cohabitation, same sex relationships, the divorced and remarried is “disconnected from real life experience of families – and not by just younger people”, said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin last night.

In general, church teaching in those areas was found to be “poorly understood . . . poorly accepted” by Catholics in Dublin, he said at a meeting in Holy Cross College, Clonliffe. He was commenting on findings of a consultation in the diocese.

Similar consultations took place all over Ireland at the urging of Pope Francis, in advance of the Synod of Bishops on the family in Rome next October.

Archbishop Martin is the only Irish bishop to disclose findings in his diocese.

viaThe Irish Times, Fri, Feb 28, 2014.

 

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Majority in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriages: survey

Attitudes towards same-sex relationships are softening in Northern Irelandwith over half of us now in favour of gay marriage.

The number of people who believe that gay and lesbian relations are “always wrong” has also dropped by more than half over the past two decades, according to a new survey. In 1989, 76% believed such relationships were wrong. By 2012 it was down to 28%.

But more than a third expressed disapproval of gay adoption and of lesbians having equal access to fertility treatment.

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast interpreted the data from the 2012 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT), which uses a random sample of 1,200 people living across Northern Ireland.

via Majority in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriages: survey – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

Caribbean Priest Urges Constitutional Protection for Lesbians, Gays

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

Trinidad

 

PRIEST BATS FOR GAYS

‘They should have rights as other people have’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via  Trinidad Express Newspaper 

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Another Red State Nail in the Coffin for Gay Marriage Bans

This doesn’t challenge the Kentucky ban directly, but it clearly prepare the way. In striking down the Kentucky prohibition on recognizing same – sex marriages from other states, the reasons given by Judge Heyburn could be also be used to challenge the ban itself:

  • The ban violates the US Constitution guarantee of equal protection
  • Tradition does not justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties

Ky. ban on gay marriages from other states struck down

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

In a 23-page ruling, Heyburn said Kentucky’s sole justification for the the amendment was that was it was “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage.”

But Heyburn noted that over the past 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to allow mere tradition to justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties, such as the ban on interracial marriages that was once the law in Virginia, Kentucky and other states.

via USA Today

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Vatican cardinal challenges economists to develop ‘economy of inclusion’

Speaking at the London School of Economics, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace challenged his audience to “design an economy of inclusion.”

“It will require the full breadth of your many disciplines,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson. “It requires great reach and generous welcome to have quite different voices heard: banking, finance, business, politics, as well as workers, the unemployed and migrants, youth and the old.”

Cardinal Turkson summarized and defended his controversial 2011 document, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.” At the same time, he somewhat downplayed the document’s significance, referring to it as a “discussion document.”

“I call it a ‘Note’ to indicate the nature of the text,” he said. “It is a discussion document meant to stimulate international reflection and discussion about the financial markets still in the grip of the crisis which burst open in 2007.”

via Vatican cardinal challenges economists to develop ‘economy of inclusion’ : News Headlines – Catholic Culture.

Iglesia Descalza: The Catholic "Moral Disconnect"

Iglesia Descalza assessed the Univision global survey on Catholic beliefs on sexual ethics, which it describes (appropriately) as a “moral disconnect”.

Another survey (raw data spreadsheet available here), this time by Spanish language media giant Univision, shows that the moral disconnect between Catholics and their Church is not confined to the United States. Last week, Univision polled over 12,000 Catholics in 12 different countries about some of the most controversial issues facing the Church today. The countries included the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines.

While Pope Francis received an almost universal glowing endorsement from his global flock, with 87% rating his performance as good or excellent, the magisterium of the Church he heads up received substantially less unanimous support. Catholics, especially in Europe and the Americas, simply no longer believe many of the traditional teachings of the Church on many issues of sexual morality. There is more support in Africa and in the one Asian country surveyed. Eventually, the pope will receive all the results from the Vatican’s own survey on these issues administered through the dioceses but meanwhile, here is what Univision discovered:

– full analysis at  Iglesia Descalza

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Archbishop: Homophobia Amounts to "Godophobia"

anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people

– Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This is hardly revolutionary stuff – it’s embedded in the Catechism, and in all formal Church documents on the subject of homosexuality: we deserve to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, and any violence or malice, in words or actions, is to be deeply deplored.

Sadly, for too many Catholic bishops and some orthotoxic conservative Catholics, it’s a principle which is simply ignored, which is why it’s welcome whenever a leading cleric states what should be routine. What’s even more widely ignored, is that other principle clearly stated in the documents, that unjust discrimination must be avoided. When Catholic leaders routinely apply that principle, and avoid all unjust discrimination in employment and elsewhere within the Church’s own institutions – that really will be something to celebrate!

HOMOPHOBIA is “insulting to God”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.

In the wake of the so-called ‘Pantigate’ controversy over homophobia comments made on RTE and a defamation settlement, Dr Martin said: “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the senior cleric said this meant that “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”.

MOCKED

Referring to the revelations made last week by TD Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because he was gay, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed . . . that is not a Christian attitude. We have to have the courage to stand up and say that.”

He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.

“We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.”

via  – Independent.ie.

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