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Sexual Justice

Here you'll find items posted in 2010

Items on sexual justice from past years are archived:

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The Religious Right stands up for bullies    [4-26-11]
This message (slightly edited here) comes from People for the American Way, on April 26, 2011

As states and school districts work to stem a tide of anti-gay bullying in American schools, believe it or not a powerful group is actually out to stop them. Many in the radical Religious Right have been leading a concerted effort to stop programs that seek to protect LGBT youth from bullying and to deny that the problem of anti-gay bullying exists.

Check out our new report, "Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids."

The report has already been promoted by influential blogs and news sites like Dan Savage's The Stranger, JoeMyGod, TruthOut and the Miami Herald's LGBT blog, to name just a few. Please take a moment to read it and share it with others using the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the top of the report and by forwarding this report.

The anti-anti-bullying movement sounds like a joke, but it's frighteningly real. The Religious Right is desperately trying to protect bullies and further marginalize gay and gay-perceived kids by stopping efforts to make schools safe for every child.

The Right's anti-anti-bullying effort relies on four central strategies, according to the report:

1. The Indoctrination Myth: Religious Right activists claim that anti-bullying policies will result in "homosexual indoctrination" in schools.

2. The "Special Rights" Smear: Opponents claim that recognizing and confronting the problem of anti-gay bullying amounts to granting "special rights" to LGBT kids.

3. Playing the Victim: The Religious Right has tried to turn the realities of school bullying on their head, claiming that anti-gay bullies are the real victims, and gay rights groups the real bullies.

4. Blaming the Victim: In the crudest part of the anti-anti-bullying effort, Religious Right activists are trying to blame the gay rights movement and gay kids themselves for anti-gay bullying.

It seems unimaginable that there could actually be a pro-bullying movement, but it just goes to show the depths to which the Religious Right is willing to sink to stop the recognition and acceptance of gay people at every level of society, and to paint themselves as the victims of the gay rights movement. In the end, the real bullies are the adults who are willing to hurt kids in order to push a political agenda of intolerance and exclusion.

Please check out this important report and help to spread it around.

– Michael Keegan, President, People for the American Way

Speak up for immigration reform that will be fair to same-sex couples!    [2-2-2011]

At this crucial time in the immigration reform debate, the group Immigration Equality is urging people of faith and others to join in contacting members of Congress and the President, asking them to support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

Here is more of their communication to us, slightly edited:

The UAFA has been endorsed at the national level by dozens of immigration, labor, civil rights, professional, business, and faith groups, including the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, More Light Presbyterians, Lutherans Concerned, Catholics for Equality, and many others.  [Your WebWeaver adds:  Presbyterian Voices for Justice has also joined in endorsing one of these letters.]

As you may be aware, if an American citizen (or legal permanent resident) falls in love with someone from another country, they may petition for an immigration benefit to bring that person to the US (green card).

If you happen to be gay or lesbian, you are denied this basic right.

Even if you get married, or enter into a civil union or domestic partnership in any of the States or other nations that allow this, you still cannot bring your partner to the US.

23 other nations (most of our closest allies, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Israel, Western Europe and South Africa) allow their gay and lesbian citizens to sponsor their foreign-born partners, and most of these nations do not have marriage equality.

There is a bill about to be introduced in this Congress called the Uniting American Families Act that would end this discrimination. It would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their partner (or spouse), in the same manner that straight couples can, along with the same penalties for fraud. This is one of the most popular immigration bills in the US House of Representatives in the last Congress, with 135 co-sponsors.

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For more from the Immigration Equality group >>

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To send messages to Congress >>

Senate Passes Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, sending bill to Obama for his signature    [12-18-10]

Truthout.org reports:  Moments ago [on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 18], by a 65-31 vote, the Senate acted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy banning gays from openly serving in the military. The same six GOP senators who broke with their party during the cloture vote earlier today also voted for repeal: Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, George Voinovich, and Mark Kirk. Two more Republicans — John Ensign and Richard Burr — joined with Democrats in final passage.

Earlier this week, the House had passed the same legislation by 250-175 vote. More than 14,000 servicemembers have been dismissed because of the DADT policy.

For many Democrats, including President Obama, today’s final passage (and the signing of the bill, which will occur in the near future) marks the fulfillment of a promise that they made repeatedly. In a speech to the Human Rights Campaign in October, Obama said, “I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That’s my commitment to you.” ...

Update: In a statement released this evening, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "Once this legislation is signed into law by the President, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully. ... It is therefore important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today's historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect."    More on Truthout.org >>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A comment from Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Today, America lived up to its highest ideals of freedom and equality. Today, our federal government recognized that ALL men and women have the right to openly serve the country they believe in. That it doesn't matter who you are, or who you love – you are not a second-class citizen.

Think of the kids out there tonight, watching this on the news – kids who are bullied for being different, who live in fear daily that their parents will hate them if they find out the truth... Think of the relief, the empowerment, the sense of possibility they'll feel, knowing that the U.S. military has said: if you're lesbian or gay, you are worthy. We want you to join us, side by side, as equals.

Think of the people across the globe – some in countries where it is literally a life-or-death decision to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – who will hear this news and know we're one step closer toward a world where no one needs to live in fear because of who they are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But religious conservatives have launched strong opposition to this change. The conservative ChritianPost website reports that “minety-four organizations, representing 40 million people, have signed a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate, opposing the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that prohibits open homosexuality in the military.”  More >>

Bullying: ‘a national disaster’

Rash of teen suicides prompts call for church to take action   [12-16-10]

Special to Presbyterian News Service, by Bob Sloan

HARTSVILLE, S.C., December 14, 2010 – A reverent silence filled the room as Presbyterian Elder Michael Adee, barely containing his emotions, stood at the podium and solemnly read the names of six young people who in recent months have taken their own lives.

“There are people that didn’t understand that Tyler Clementi, age 18, Asher Brown, age 13, Raymond Chase, age 19, Billy Lucas, age 15, and Seth Walsh, age 13, were children of God,” said Adee, addressing the hundreds in attendance at the Believe Out Loud Power Summit in Orlando, FL, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Each of the five young people named by Adee was a victim of bullying because they were gay or perceived to be. In 2010, there have been more than two dozen publicized reports in the United States of gay or lesbian young people taking their own lives as a direct or indirect result of bullying.

An openly gay elder at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, N.M., Adee is the executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a national organization that supports and promotes the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). He sees bullying and the deaths of these young people as nothing short of a national disaster.

More >>

A Presbyterian pastor speaks out on the “It Gets Better” YouTube project    [10-18-10]

The Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, an openly gay Presbyterian minister, has added his thoughtful voice to the long list of contributors to the It Gets Better project, in which people are urging young LGBT people not to give in to the pressures of harassment and bullying. We’ve already pointed you to the much-viewed video by Joel Burns, a member of the City Council in Fort Worth. Now we also encourage you to listen to the words of one who has struggled with the prejudices and condemnation the can come from within the Presbyterian Church – and has come through them into a strong and vibrant ministry.   Click here for Ray’s video >>

'It Gets Better': Joel Burns' City Council address urges gay teens not to give up.     [10-15-10]

You’ve probably seen this little speech of hope already, or least heard or seen bits of it. But here’s the whole thing, and it’s worth every one of the 12-plus minutes that it will take. It is a call to hope for GLBT teens as they face the bullying and harassment that driven so many to suicide over the past few days.

Click here for the AOL News report, and scroll down just a bit for the YouTube video itself.

Reacting to a rash of suicides committed by gay teenagers in America who have been bullied, Joel Burns, a Fort Worth, Texas, city councilman, delivered his speech Tuesday to a City Council meeting. He told of the pain he experienced as an adolescent at the hands of anti-gay bullies – and he urged gay teens not to give in, not to give up, with the promise that “it gets better.”

If you haven’t seen this yet, please do. And share it.

More Light responds to anti-gay bullying and teen suicides – as a challenge for change in our church 
[10-15-10]   

Presbyterians Caring & Responding to a Hurting World

Grace and peace to you. Our hearts are broken with the epidemic of anti-gay bullying resulting in teen suicides. Our country is not a safe place for its LGBT or questioning children, youth and adults and their families. Sadly, neither is our Church. We give thanks to God for the many exceptions of welcoming and affirming Presbyterian churches, of course. As long as the Presbyterian Church (USA) is not yet a safe place for LGBT persons, younger or older, it continues to be a contributing factor to this failure of safety. Since 1978, our Church has been studying and debating homosexuality and whether or not LGBT persons are part of God's good creation, too, along with their heterosexual sisters and brothers. We could be offering life-giving, life-saving messages to LGBT youth and their families instead.

The 219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A offers our Church a clear path to ending the discrimination against LGBT persons and the resulting sanction of anti-LGBT prejudice and violence in our society and across the world. 10-A offers one ordination standard for all. 10-A returns our Church to what matters most in our life and service together as Presbyterians: faith, character and a call to serve. 10-A will end categorical discrimination based upon marital status, gender or sexual orientation.

You can be part of this change. May all of us offer life-giving, life-saving messages now in our church and presbytery. Contact Rev. Debra Peevey, our Campaign Outreach Director, today to connect in with the Amendment 10-A work in your presbytery at debra@mlp.org

We thank you for being part of the change in our Church, nation and world. Together we are creating a Church that reflects God's heart.

This is the lead item in the latest on-line newsletter of More Light Presbyterians >>

Stop the suicides: Help put an end to bullying in schools!   [10-4-10]

All of us have been appalled by the suicides occurring over the past few weeks among young gay men, in response to the harassment they experience for more often -- and more intensely -- than most of us have realized.  But how can we respond in some way to this horror?

This call for action has come from the Human Rights Campaign, “America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.”

In just the last few weeks since school started again, too many teenagers have taken their own lives following bullying and harassment because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

How many more young lives will be lost before schools act?

Ask Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: Include gender identity and sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs.

Dear Secretary Duncan:

I know you are as shocked and saddened as I am about the recent rash of teen suicides following bullying and harassment based on anti-LGBT bias.

We are counting on you to speak out immediately before more lives are lost.

Every school in America should include sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-bullying programs. It will save lives – and saving lives shouldn’t be up for political debate.

You must act to end this tragedy.

To send this letter >>

More from HRC on this concern >>

More help for becoming an AIDS Competent church
[9-9-10]

Yesterday we posted a brief note about a new resource for churches that are following the urging of our General Assembly to become “AIDS Competent.” Ann Hayman immediately responded by recommending another very helpful resource – this one from the World Council of Churches. Its title is Beacons of Hope – HIV Competent Churches: A Framework for Action, and it too is available online, in PDF format.

Thanks to Ann Hayman!

New tool available for developing an “AIDS Competent Church”
[9-8-10]

The 219th General Assembly acted to urge all of our churches to achieve critically important competency in dealing with AIDS awareness and prevention.

Churches United Against HIV & AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa has published a booklet that offers very helpful information for this purpose, called TOWARDS AN HIV AND AIDS COMPETENT CHURCH.

It’s a booklet, about 80 pages, and is posted here in PDF format.

Thanks to Ralph Clingan!

Gay student suicides – three in one school district

This comes from Change.org, on Sept. 7, 2010   [posted here 9-8-10]

One suicide is one too many.

But three suicides in one year, within one school district, all by students who are gay or lesbian? That's nothing short of an epidemic, and it's the problem currently facing Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin school district.

The most recent incident occurred in July, when a 15-year-old student took his own life. A concert cello player in his school's orchestra, the student was incessantly bullied because of his sexual orientation.

"I'm not asking you to accept this as a lifestyle for you," his grieving mother recently said in testimony before the Anoka-Hennepin school board. "I'm only asking that you please make the school safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students still alive and in this district today."

Statistics underscore the danger to LGBT students. Nationwide, gay youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual classmates, in large part because of toxic environments where anti-gay bullying can thrive. Nearly 90% of gay students have experienced harassment in school, and almost two-thirds say they feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Yet in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, a "neutrality" policy has tied the hands of school administrators and teachers to combat homophobia. This policy was put in place due to the influence of anti-gay groups such as the Parents Action League, which believes homosexuality is a behavior that can be cured, and it requires teachers and school officials to remain silent about subjects pertaining to sexual orientation.

Because of this anti-gay influence, the school board turned down a request by Minnesota's largest gay rights organization to conduct a district-wide anti-bullying program. And it prevented the district from taking action against two teachers who harassed a student believed to be gay until an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights intervened and punished the teachers.

Stopping the harassment of people based on their sexual orientation shouldn't be a liberal or conservative issue. It's a humanitarian issue, and can literally be a matter of life and death.

The only way to fight the suicide trend in the Anoka-Hennepin school district is by changing the climate in the district. Call on the Anoka-Hennepin school board to stop ignoring the problem and end the policy that prevents school officials from effectively dealing with anti-gay bullying.

Suicide doesn't occur in a vacuum. As we commemorate National Suicide Prevention Week this week, let us remember that we all have influence over the environment in which harassment thrives. If we sit idly by and do nothing, we're part of the problem.     More >>

Human Rights Campaign urges boycott of Target and Best Buy for their support of gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota who bitterly opposes same-sex marriage    [8-5-10]

Target and Best Buy have donated over $250,000 to a political committee supporting a rabidly anti-equality candidate for Governor of Minnesota, where both are headquartered – a man with ties to a Christian rock band that advocates violence and death to gays.

The news is all the more shocking because both of these companies have long records of providing fair and equitable workplaces for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.

The Human Rights Campaign has drafted an open letter calling on Target and Best Buy to make it right by donating an equal amount to support fair-minded candidates who will fight for equality. They have published it in a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. And they ask others to add to the pressure by adding their name.

Click here to read the full text of the letter, and to add your name.

Click here for a report from AOL’s “Politics Daily”

Target CEO issues apology for anti-gay ads

Human Rights Campaign responds

Washington – 8/5/2010 -- Today HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Target has been a champion for workplace equality for many years. That’s why their recent donation to MN Forward was so at odds with their sterling reputation as a great employer for LGBT people. The fact that their political contribution was used to advance an anti-equality candidate was extremely hurtful to all fair-minded Americans.

We appreciate Mr. Steinhafel’s statement to company employees this afternoon but it doesn’t go quite far enough. Target's apology is welcomed but without tangible action behind it, the LGBT community and our allies will continue to question the company's commitment to equality.

The promise to evaluate political contributions in the future, while a step in the right direction, is provided without details and does not mitigate their $150,000 supporting an outspoken opponent of equality for LGBT people. Target can still make it right by making equivalent contributions to equality-minded organizations and by making clear the procedure by which they will evaluate potential contributions in the future to include issues of LGBT-equality.”

Presbyterian Welcome announces ... 
retreat 2010

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning Presbyterian Inquirers and Candidates for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament

We gather to:

• Laugh and cry in the presence of God
• Develop a network of support
• Greet old friends and meet new ones
• Worship with one another
• Claim our call in the changing church!

All those pursuing ordination are invited to join us in retreat.

Dates: July 15–18, 2010
Location:
Rural Indiana

Cost: $350 plus travel expenses. In order to gather all of us together, very substantial scholarships are available to all in need. We gratefully thank supportive organizations and congregations for their commitment to the participants and their financial support in helping us gather.

Application Deadline: June 14, 2010

If you are an inquirer or candidate and feel this retreat would be helpful, or if you know someone who is in “the process” please call Mieke’s confidential voicemail at 917-441-8638 or email pastormieke@presbyvoicesforjustice.org .

Call or email for an application:

917.441.8638
pastormieke@presbyvoicesforjustice.org

www.presbyterianwelcome.org

Supportive Organizations:

Covenant Network of Presbyterians
More Light Presbyterians
That All May Freely Serve—Michigan
That All May Freely Serve—National
Presbyterian Promise
Presbyterian Rainbow
Presbyterian Welcome

 

Presbyterian Welcome’s mission is to build up and repair the Body of Christ by working for the full inclusion of all disciples without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

[This notice has been received from Presbyterian Welcome, and is posted here on 5-13-10].]

Fire destroys More Light church in Houston

Community of The Servant-Savior Presbyterian Church Destroyed by arson
[4-10-10]

A huge fire destroyed a southeast Houston church on Thursday night, KPRC TV reported. Investigators said the two-alarm fire started on the west side of the church, sparked by incendiary devices – meaning it was an act of arson. Church members said this church was the only open and affirming church in the area, and has received hate mail in the past.      More >>

Myth of the 'gay lifestyle' used to justify bias
[4-10-10]

LZ Granderson, a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, writes about his own life as a gay man whose life with his partner is largely occupied with “grocery shopping and getting my son off to school.”

He offers a nice, realistic response to the marriage advocates who opposed marriage for some, and the pro-family groups who are concerned to find homes for abandoned children, but only certain kinds of homes.     Click here for his article >>

Querying Queer Sexuality: Leading a Course to Broaden Awareness

by Sylvia Thorson-Smith
[3-16-10]

This article has been published originally in our newsletter, Network News, the Winter 2010 issue, pages 28-30.  It is here online in PDF format >>

I have the very good fortune of belonging to a More Light Church in Tucson, Arizona (St. Mark’s Presbyterian). Since I chair the More Light Ministry Team and regularly teach adult ed courses, I think it’s important to provide regular opportunities for our members to study issues of human sexuality, especially as they pertain to our work for LGBT justice.

In January and February, I coordinated a 6-week course called “Querying Queer Sexuality.” The reason I used the term “Queer” is to familiarize our congregation with the changing meaning and context of this term. For many, it still feels like a negative label (weird, odd, abnormal), while within the LGBT and academic communities, it’s been recast as a broadly inclusive term and one that reflects new scholarly thinking (as in queer theory). There is much to discuss about this new terminology, as well as other changing attitudes toward the politics of sexual and gender identity.

I’ve been asked to give an overview of this series in Network News, with the hope that others may be encouraged to do something similar. Following is an outline of the course with comments about the content and process of each session.

Session 1: Body and Soul

This lesson was primarily instructional, providing an overview of recent debates on human sexuality in church and society. It included an introduction to the complex language of sex, gender, and sexual orientation; an analysis of the paradigm shift around sexuality issues that’s occurring in contemporary Christianity; a historical summary of attitudes toward homosexuality, along with the emerging gay rights movement and self-definitions of LGBT persons; and an overview of more than three decades of policy debates on homosexuality in the PCUSA.

Session 2: Male, Female, and Sexual

We were most fortunate to have Dr. James B. Nelson, author of many books on sexual ethics, speak to this class, since he’s retired and living in Tucson. However, there are other ways to address the content of his presentation: connections between traditional gender roles, homophobia, and heterosexism (heterosexual privilege and normativity). The point is to examine how society enforces gender roles (men and women are fundamentally different, men dominate women, only male-female sex is normal), and to see how any variation is met with fear and scorn (homophobia) and efforts to reinforce heterosexual norms (marriage and other privileges for heterosexuals only while insisting that non-heterosexuals remain invisible and outcast).

Session 3: LGBTQIA=Queer

To demonstrate the diversity of views on sexual identity and changing issues of language, three guests spoke to the class: a lesbian, her bisexual partner, and a gay man. They helped the class discuss meanings of and attitudes toward QUEER terminology and shared their diverse perspectives on identity politics, labeling, and the increasing discomfort of fitting into fixed categories of difference.

Session 4: Queer Theology

I taught this class, beginning with small group discussion of two biblical texts (Esther and Luke). Participants were asked to “read these texts through queer eyes” and identify how the texts might be interpreted from the experience of LGBT persons. I then introduced brief highlights of books by leading queer writers: Carter Heyward, Chris Glaser, Robert Goss, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Gary Comstock, and Marvin Ellison.

Session 5:The T in LGBT

On this day, guest speakers – a female-to-male transsexual and the mother of a transsexual daughter, now son -- helped us better understand the range of transgender experiences and issues. This was an immensely informative, truth-telling session, one that stretched our minds far beyond our limited perspectives about sexual and gender variance.

Session 6: (Valentine’s Day) All We Need is Love…and Justice

For the conclusion of the series, we talked about the importance of connecting justice work to our feelings of love and compassion for all of those who are marginalized, excluded, ignorantly misunderstood, and judged through the lens of our own privileged experience. Lastly, the class worked in small groups to discuss a “To Do” list for More Light churches, prepared by More Light Presbyterians, and a list of steps that the session of St. Mark’s adopted on becoming a More Light church. We evaluated how we were doing and what more we need to be doing to live into our mission as a welcoming, activist congregation.

 

Being a member of a More Light church is empowering, liberating, and challenging. It is delightfully freeing, in the sense that the congregation’s commitment has been proclaimed with a boldness that invites public advocacy without hesitation. St. Mark’s advertises in LGBT event programs, staffs a booth at the annual OUToberfest, invites the gay men’s and LGBTA(ally) choruses to sing in our More Light Sunday services, celebrates Coming Out Day with cake and rainbow sherbet, routinely announces church activities in publications and emails of LGBT groups, and is looking to find other ways to strengthen our witness and our welcome. I offer this educational model with the hope that it will stimulate Network News readers to shed More Light in your congregations and communities. Much help is available on the MLP website (www.mlp.org), and you can email me for more information about this course at sylviats@cox.net.

We’ve probably all heard the chant “we’re here, we’re queer.” May we who are all kinds of queer – LGBTI(intersex)Q(questioning)A(ally) – pray and work tirelessly for the full measure of justice in the Presbyterian church and throughout society!

The author:

Sylvia Thorson-Smith is a member of the Voices for Justice board, and was a founding member of Voices of Sophia. She is retired from teaching sociology, religious studies, and gender/women's studies at Grinnell College and lives in Tucson, AZ.

Help protect LGBT Ugandans from radical new bill    [1-12-10]

From Human Rights Campaign

We have reported earlier on the efforts of PC(USA) leaders to speak out against Uganda's moves to declare homosexuality a crime, as well as the role of U.S. evangelicals in stimulating the anti-gay mood there.  Now here's an invitation for you to speak out, too.

A new law has been proposed in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death. With Uganda's Parliament about to return, we need the U.S. government to strongly condemn the Ugandan government's murderous campaign to jail and execute LGBT citizens.

To take action >>

Ex-Gay? Ex-loving
[1-12-10]

Ray Bagnuolo offers an insightful look at the ways anti-LGBT Christian crusaders clothe their efforts in talk of love for the LGBT community – while working for their “change” and their exclusion from ordination and from marriage. He begins:

Chances are that if you are a person who is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender - and you have struggled within the church - chances are, somewhere along the way you heard these words: "We love you but hate your sin." Nothing directed toward people who identify as LGBT could be more disingenuous, more filled with hubris than combining love for another with hatred of some part of their being.

Hamartia or ἁμαρτία, the Greek word for sin frequently used in the Second or New Testament has the meaning of "missing the mark." The idea that distance from God is what needs to be shortened in our faith and personal journeys removes the dialectical premise that Love either replaces sin or leaves one in the throes of sin, pitied and "loved" from a distance.

His full essay >>

American evangelicals’ role seen in Uganda anti-gay push
[1-6-2010]

We recently reported on a call by PC(USA) leaders for Uganda to reject a proposed law which would impose the death penalty on gays.

Now the New York Times has carried a report from Kampala, Uganda, that three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks on “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, heard the Americans discussing “how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how ‘the gay movement is an evil institution’ whose goal is ]to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.’ ”

Now the three Americans are trying to argue that they had no intention of stoking the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

One month after the conference, a previously unknown Ugandan politician, who boasts of having evangelical friends in the American government, introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which threatens to hang homosexuals, and, as a result, has put Uganda on a collision course with Western nations.

The full report >>

 

Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.

 

John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.

 

Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!

 

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