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Sexual Justice

Here you'll find items posted since mid-2008,
through 2009

Posts on this topic for 2010 >>

Items on sexual justice from past years are archived:

bullet 2008 >>
bullet 2007 >>
bullet 2006 >>
bullet 2005 >>
bullet 2003 and 2004 >>
bullet2000 through 2002 >>
Presbyterian leaders oppose Ugandan anti-gay act

Parsons, Reyes-Chow join Christian leaders to denounce proposed law  
[12-15-09]

Presbyterian News Service reports that two leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are the latest to sign a Christian statement denouncing the Ugandan “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009.”

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) and the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the GA, added their names to those of dozens of other leaders from Catholic, mainline and evangelical churches who also signed the statement.

The “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009” is under consideration by the Parliament of Uganda. If passed, the act would make homosexual behavior punishable by life imprisonment or death. It would also punish citizens for not reporting their gay or lesbian neighbors to the authorities.

“Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God’s children worthy of respect and love,” the statement reads. “Yet we are painfully aware that in our country gays and lesbians still face hostility and violence. We recognize that such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good and defies the teachings of our Lord — wherever it occurs.”

The full news report >>

To read the statement and see the full list of signatories, click here.

Ask Congress to protect ALL Americans from discrimination
[11-19-09]

This comes from Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance:

As I mentioned in my message to you upon the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, we celebrate that victory while continuing to move toward our next challenge: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This next step in the fight for equality is drawing near - the House of Representatives will likely bring ENDA to a vote within the next few weeks.

I ask you to join me in urging Congress to pass ENDA. Both the House and the Senate recently held hearings on ENDA but have left it in committee, where the bill sits in limbo, rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. Please take a few moments now to contact your representatives in Congress.

If you're unsure where you stand on this issue, consider this: in 30 states, it is legal to fire, refuse to hire, demote or deny a promotion to an individual simply because of his or her sexual orientation, and in 38 states it is legal to do so because of his or her gender identity. And the religious exemption for houses of worship and faith-based organization protects the religious freedom of the people who need it. ENDA will ensure that employees are judged solely on job performance - not on their compliance with the religious beliefs of their supervisors.

I know you share my conviction that a vibrant democracy has a responsibility to guarantee the protection of civil rights for everyone - with no exceptions. Passage of a fully inclusive ENDA, with appropriate religious exemptions, will be a victory for democracy and cause for celebration among all who value religious freedom.

So please, join Interfaith Alliance and other members of the interfaith community in contacting your members of Congress and asking them to uphold the civil rights and religious freedom of all Americans by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Welton Gaddy

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President
The Interfaith Alliance

Note: We are glad to see that the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church is among the signers of this letter.

Beyond the Hate Crimes Prevention Act ...
[10-29-09]

Sharon Groves of the Human Rights Campaign marked the signing into law of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by President Obama by posting thoughts from the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor of practical theology at Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas. He has been researching LGBT hate crimes for anthology of stories for his upcoming book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memory of LGBT Hate Crimes Murder Victims.

His concluding lines are worth posting here on our “front page.”

The LGBTQ community will be challenged to mature and take their place among communities of survivors, witnesses who understand that it takes hard work to make hope become real for everyone. At the stroke of a pen, the entire LGBTQ community will experience the greatest lift since the Stonewall Rebellion forty years ago. But that will not be all. The America I know and love will encounter change on the day the Shepard Act becomes law, too. Summoned by the angel of justice, the American people will face the challenge to make the promise of the Constitution come true for their transgender, gay, bi, and lesbian neighbors and friends.

Passage and signing the Matthew Shepard Act into law will not magically stop the killing. Record numbers of LGBTQ Americans, especially young transgender people of color, are dying violently all across the land. But the high water mark of hatred has been scotched with the stroke of a pen with President Obama’s signature on this historic bill. The end of the beginning of full equality for my people has come. And we who believe in the fullness of justice will not rest until it comes continue to preach, to pray, and to advocate until all of us our free to love without the threat of violence.

Click here for the full essay, posted by John Shuck on his blog, Shuck and Jive.

Celebrating the life of Virginia “Ginny” Davidson

[10-20-09]

Virginia Davidson, who gave much of her life to helping the Presbyterian Church become the joyful, loving, and inclusive community that God intends it to be, died on Monday afternoon, October 19.

The pastor of Downtown Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y., the Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, sent this early notice to her wide, wide circle of friends:

Dear Friends,

Our treasured friend and companion in faith, Virginia Davidson, passed peacefully into the light of God's eternal love early on this beautiful October afternoon. She spent the last few days at home, surrounded by loved ones.

A memorial service in witness to the resurrection and in loving celebration of Virginia's life will be held in the Downtown Presbyterian Church sanctuary at 2pm this coming Saturday, October 24th, with a reception to follow in the Hallock Lounge.

In these sacred days of sorrow, remembrance, and thanksgiving, may we be especially alert to the movement of God's Spirit among us to comfort and inspire.

May the grace and peace of God be with us all,

Pat

The Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, Ph.D., Pastor
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Rochester, New York

 

TAMFS – That All May Freely Serve – of which Ginny Davidson was a co-founder, has posted this note:

Virginia West "Ginny" Davidson

Our beloved friend and co-founder of TAMFS, Virginia West Davidson died today, October 19th.

We cannot begin to describe all the ways in which she touched our lives:

•          her leadership in the Presbyterian Church;

•          her tireless advocacy for all persons, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons;

•          her depth of wisdom;

•          her contributions to scholarship, especially to feminist theology;

•          her deep friendship;

•          and her boundless kindness, which was unfailing to the end.

All these things were Ginny, but can't even begin to sum up all of who she was and is to us. We will be posting a more detailed account of her life, along with information about services of worship to honor her life. Please check back here, and also at the website of the Downtown United Presbyterian Church at http://www.downtownpresbyterian.org/ .

We are also on Facebook. If you have a Ginny Davidson story that you would like to tell, there is a place to do so there.

Please watch for further posts for more opportunities to remember and celebrate Virginia's life.


And from More Light Presbyterians:


Remembering Virginia Davidson 

The National Board of Directors and Staff of More Light Presbyterians give thanks to God for the life, ministry and witness of Virginia Davidson who died peacefully today at her home surrounded by loved ones.  

We are so grateful for the pastoral care provided so faithfully by her pastor, Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl and Virginia's beloved church family, Downtown United Presbyterian Church, Rochester. Downtown United Presbyterian Church was one of the pioneering congregations to minister and witness as a welcoming and affirming More Light Church, making that decision and affiliation in 1979. Like her beloved Downtown church, Virginia blazed many a trail for peacemaking, justice for women, racial reconciliation and equality for LGBT people and their families. ...

"Virginia passionately and faithfully served the Presbyterian Church (USA) at every level including Vice-Moderator of the General Assembly, as an Elder at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, on the Board of the More Light Churches Network, and as traveling companion with her beloved friend, Rev. Janie Spahr, through the ministry of That All May Freely Serve. Many of us had the privilege of hearing Ginny and Janie speak. I still remember the weekend they came to Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati. Ginny and Janie inspired all of us to dare to live into and share God's wildly inclusive love for all," remembers Michael J. Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer.  

"Ginny and Janie touched my life in profound ways and I give thanks to God for them. Oklahoma and our church was never quite the same after one of their visits. They were quite a dynamic duo! The Presbyterian Church is more loving, just and open because of Ginny and Janie's ministry," said Vikki Dearing, Co-Moderator. 

We invite all of you to join us in thanksgiving for Ginny's life, ministry and witness. We also encourage you to keep her family, her Downtown Presbyterian Church family, and her many beloved friends including Janie Spahr and Lisa Larges in your thoughts and prayers. 

With gratitude and hope,

Michael 

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians

National Equality March expresses LGBT witness for equality

Obama's speech offers support   [10-12-09]

A report from Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians.

Washington, DC. (October 11, 2009) Today thousands of people marched on Washington for LGBT equality. More Light Presbyterians supported this historic moment of national grassroots organizing by: serving as one of the national pro-LGBT faith organizations to support the March by officially endorsing it; by having a group of More Light Presbyterians march; and through the witness of Rev. Ruth Hamilton, co-pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., a welcoming and affirming More Light church, and Michael J. Adee, standing with two dozen faith leaders on the stage in front of the Capitol with Rev. Troy Perry as he offered the invocation at the rally.

The rest of the report >>

Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
[8-8-09]

The AP reports:

The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

In a resolution adopted by the APA's governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of "reparative therapy" — a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can change.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

The rest of the report >>

For the APA press release on the report >>

For the full text of the Task Force report (138 pages, in PDF format) >>

Passing the Hate Crimes Bill in 90 Seconds

[From Human Rights Campaign, posted here 7-15-09]

July 14, 2009 9:14AM
Michael Cole

Fight Hate NowDo you have a minute and a half today?  You must if you’re reading this.

The Matthew Shepard Act is coming to a vote on the Senate Floor THIS WEEK and we need you to make two calls… one to each Senator that will take no more than 45 seconds.

Call 202-224-3121 and tell each senator of your Senators to vote YES on the hate crimes bill.

Our allies on the Hill are reporting an avalanche of 300,000 letters and calls from right-wing groups trying to stop it. Anti-LGBT leaders like Focus on the Family’s James Dobson are now calling the bill “utter evil.” They’re even referring to it as the “Pedophile Protection Act.”

If you’ve never called Congress, it’s incredibly easy:

1.  Before 5 p.m. ET, call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the operator you’d like to speak to the Senators from your state.  (You can also look up your Senator’s direct number here)

2.  Most likely, one of your senator’s interns will answer and ask where you’re calling from and why. You’re calling to urge the Senator to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (S. 909). Most calls-end right there. But if you like, you can add:

bulletHate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise.
bulletOne out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim’s sexual orientation.
bulletHate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.

3.  Dial the switchboard again at 202-224-3121 and tell ask to speak to the other Senator from your state and repeat step two.

4.  IMPORTANT: After you hang up, click here to let us know that you made the call. Don’t skip this step! It helps us track our progress.

House passes Hate Crimes Prevention Act
[4-30-09]

Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy on the passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act:

Washington, DC - Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement praising the passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913) by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hate is neither a religious nor an American value, and that is why Interfaith Alliance praises the House for passing this hate crimes bill. The sacred scriptures of many different faith traditions speak with dramatic unanimity in vehemently condemning hate. If we aspire to be true to the prophetic core of our religions and our American values, we cannot condemn hate and then sit idly by while it destroys the lives of a group of our fellow citizens.

To be sure, legislation alone cannot remove hatred from our midst, but passage of comprehensive hate crimes legislation will send a clear message about America's common values - that we utterly reject hate violence and embrace an America in which diverse people are safe as well as free. Interfaith Alliance calls on the Senate to follow the House's lead and send this bill to the president without delay.

And from the Human Rights Campaign

April 29, 2009

We just got the news: the U.S. House has passed the fully inclusive Matthew Shepard Act.

This was not an easy victory. But we WON in the House – thanks in part to the tireless, fearless Judy Shepard, who joined me in critical last-minute meetings on Capitol Hill today.

Now the battle moves to the Senate.

We need every Senator to know we want quick action on the inclusive hate crimes bill. You've emailed, you've called, you've donated – and I thank you deeply – but I hope you understand that this fight is far from over.

President Obama has pledged to sign the bill, but to get it to his desk we'll need to pass it through the Senate first. And with the lies from right-wing groups ALREADY intensifying – one group went so far as to say the bill makes "pedophiles a protected class" and is "pro-child molester" – it's not going to be easy.

Send Judy's powerful video to ten friends and ask them to write to the Senate.

The scare tactics continue. Anti-LGBT groups sent lawmakers a note linking to a poster of Jesus that says "WANTED For Violation of the Proposed Hate Crimes Law In His Teachings."

Our only defense is the truth: in the ten years since Matthew Shepard's death, tens of thousands more people have been violently attacked for being who they are. It took ten years of lobbying and educating to get to this point – our long wait for hate crimes protections must end now.

To see Judy Shepard’s video, and to send this message to ten friends – and to your Senators in Washington – click here.

US endorses UN gay rights text
[3-18-09]

The Associated Press reports that earlier today (Wednesday, March 18) the Obama administration formally endorsed a U.N. statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to sign.

The move was the administration's latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.

"The United States supports the U.N.'s statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of the statement," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

"The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world," Wood told reporters. "As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora."

More >>

Thanks to Paul Capetz for this welcome bit of news.

Gay but Equal? 

Mary Frances Berry calls for a new way to justice and equality

Mary Frances Berry's opinion piece in the New York Times, "Gay But Equal?" offers a new way for us to think about and work for justice and equality for all persons. She suggests: “To help resolve the issue of gay rights, President-elect Obama should abolish the now moribund Commission on Civil Rights and replace it with a new commission that would address the rights of many groups, including gays.”

 

Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004, is the author of And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to non-discrimination in civil society for LGBT people. The 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) called for the end to discrimination against LGBT persons in our Church through Ordination Amendment 08-B. This article offers a wider context for our own Presbyterian struggles, and reminds us of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."  

May this be so in our Church, our country, and all of God's world.

The full article >>

Thanks to Michael Adee, of More Light Presbyterians

Epiphany:  Celebrating the wonder & mystery of light, life, faith and grace
[1-6-09]
 
Today is Epiphany in Christian tradition.  We mark and celebrate the mystery and wonder of Epiphany on January 6.  As you know, this tradition is often referred to as the Epiphany of the Lord.  It is associated with the visit of the Wise Men from the East, or the Three Kings as often displayed in church Christmas pageants.  Isaiah 60: 1- 6 and Matthew 2: 1- 12 are the Biblical texts that give us the story behind this celebration.  The text in the Gospel of Matthew speaks of the Wise Men as traveling or "going by another road."

Epiphany.... a sudden realization, a comprehension of the essence or meaning of something.  Epiphany, an understanding, a revelation with an ancient root in the word "phos" or "Light."   For those of us within the national network of More Light Presbyterians the expression of "more light" is close to our hearts, lives, calls to ministry and being part of the Church, the Body of Christ. 

Epiphany calls us to celebrate the wonder and mystery of light, life, faith and grace.  The Biblical texts describe the wise men, three kings or maji being guided by a star, by light, in their search for Jesus, the Christ child.  Their journey was guided by light, as is ours. 

The image and reality of journey of faith reminds us that we will stay people on the way, we do not arrive.  There is always more to learn, to understand, to become as people of faith.  In the midst of our Church seeking ways to end discrimination and remove barriers to God's call to serve for God's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender daughters and sons, the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) called us on a journey to prayerfully, thoughtfully and faithfully consider Ordination Amendment 08-B. 

We are reminded at Epiphany that it is God who calls, who gives light to our world, to our journey.  It is God who gives the gifts of life, faith and grace.  It is God who calls us to ministry.

Barbara Brown Taylor describes our vocation as people of faith as "a call, a summons, and participating in the work of God."  She goes on to say that our vocation is "doing what one is meant to do." Since an epiphany is "the perception of the essential nature or meaning" it also seems that the discovery or affirmation of one's call includes the embrace of one's essential nature, one's creation by the hand and heart of God.  God's creation includes who we are, who we fall in love with, and how we create family. 

Supporting Ordination Amendment 08-B creates the path for everyone in our Church to be whom God intends for them to be and to follow their vocation: "doing what one is meant to do" as Taylor says.  What is God saying to our Church, to each of us, in the call to ratify Amendment 08-B? 

As the Wise Men traveled "by going another road" so can we.  The Presbyterian Church (USA) can leave the path of 30-plus years of prejudice and discrimination against its own LGBT daughters and sons. The evidence is clear that this path has done nothing but hurt us by preventing called and qualified people from serving God and serving within our Church, and distracting us from doing the mission of the Church.

May all of us take some time today to reflect upon God's gifts of light and life, faith and love, hope and grace.   And, imagine and dream with me of a world where everyone understands and is able to receive those gifts from the heart and hand of God.  May all us become "bridges" to that understanding and not "barriers" to those God sends our way, and for the whole world.  Blessed be.

with hope and grace,
Michael
 
PS -- for more information & resources about Amendment 08-B go to www.mlp.org
 
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians,
369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA

 

John Knox Presbytery enrolls Scott Anderson as candidate     [11-20-08]

On Tuesday, November 18, John Knox Presbytery voted 77 to 23 (or maybe 71 to 23 – accounts vary) that Scott Anderson’s “affirmation of conscience” as an out gay man, does not violate any essential tenet of the Reformed faith. The Presbytery then voted to enroll Anderson as a candidate for ordination.

When two ministers called on Anderson to speak about his “sexual practice,” another presbyter objected that this line of questioning was inappropriate, and the matter was not pursued.

A personal note: Your WebWeaver thinks “affirmation of conscience” is a much better term than “scruple” (sounding a bit medieval) or “departure” (sounding a bit like what is so often delayed at airports).

The full text of Anderson’s Affirmation of Conscience, in PDF format >>

Presbyterian Outlook provides a good report on the meeting >>

Here's the Presbyterian News Service report >>

Marriage equality outlawed again by California vote for "Prop 8"  [11-10-08]

Blame for Prop 8

A memo from Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the America Way and herself "a mother who has raised two children in a 30-year relationship with another woman," rejects charges by some gay activists who are blaming black Californians for Prop 8's passage.

She says that responsibility for passage of the renewed denial of same-sex marriage rests not with African American voters, but with the Religious Right – and she calls for a forward-looking strategy.

Read her memo here >>

Here is one summary of exit poll reports on the Prop 8 vote, from CNN >>

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

PFLAG promises:

"[T]he broad coalition of Americans who support fundamental rights for everyone will continue to work towards a day when the dignity of every American is respected."

This is a note from Jody Huckaby of PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) National:

November 6, 2008

Dear PFLAG Family & Friends,

Earlier today our allies in California confirmed that they believe voters have approved Proposition 8, a measure that rolls back marriage equality in the nation's most populous state.

While our families have encountered a heartbreaking obstacle on the road to full equality in California, the broad coalition of Americans who support fundamental rights for everyone will continue to work towards a day when the dignity of every American is respected. Families are defined by a love, and a commitment, that is beyond the barriers of a ballot. No struggle for equality is won easily, and great strides do not come without great strife. They also, however, require the great strength necessary to push forward in the wake of disappointment and persevere in the face of pain.

On Tuesday, millions of Californians stood with our families and valiantly tried to beat back a mean-spirited, un-American attack on LGBT people. While we fell short of the majority we needed to prevail, each time the public has addressed this issue, those who stand with us grow in number. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable that so many people would have endorsed marriage equality at the ballot box. If we continue the critical work we began this year, it will be unthinkable, a decade from now, that anyone would not.

All of us at PFLAG remain committed to securing the rights our families and loved ones deserve. With a new Administration and new Congress in Washington, there are many reasons to believe that we will soon prevail. As Dr. King to eloquently reminded us, "[T]he arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." On Tuesday, millions of Californians tilted that arc a little bit closer to liberty, and we must now commit ourselves to finding the strength we need to finish the work they have begun.

Sincerely,

Jody M. Huckaby
PFLAG National Executive Director

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

A new legal wrinkle: Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged     [11-12-08]

Ashley Surdin reports in The Washington Post: "The future of same-sex marriage in the Golden State will rest, once again, in the hands of its highest court. But this time, its fate will hinge on a different question: Can a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage go before voters? Or must it go before the legislature first?"   The full story >>

 

California Presbyterians urged to witness for Marriage Equality

Two Presbyterian witness events for marriage equality – and against the discriminatory California Proposition 8 – will be held in Los Angeles and San Francisco on October 28

From More Light Presbyterians:

Please join the Presbyterian Witness Event for Marriage Equality and to Say No to Prop 8 near you, either in Los Angeles or California on Tuesday, October 28 at noon. These events are being organized by California Faith for Equality and Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and supported by PEP, the Presbyterian Equality Project of More Light Presbyterians.

October 28 at Noon

Immanuel Presbyterian Church
3300 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles
, CA 90010
(213) 389-3191 phone
October 28 at Noon

Calvary Presbyterian Church
2515 Fillmore Street at Jackson
San Francisco
, CA 94115
(415) 346-3832 phone

Clergy are encouraged to wear ministerial collars or stoles; elders, deacons and other church leaders are encouraged to wear identifiable religious symbols such as stoles or crosses.

Proposition 8 seeks to eliminate equal rights for same-gender loving couples to marry in the State of California. Proposition 8 strikes down the historic decision for civil marriage equality by the California State Supreme Court in June, 2008. Proposition 8 would relegate LGBT persons and same gender loving couples to second class citizens in the State of California once again.

The failure of Prop 8 will not change the religious definition of marriage nor compel any person or church to act against their conscience. The 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted in June 78% in favor of an overture that reaffirmed support of "the right of same-gender persons to . . . all the benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of civil union."

Special thanks to California Faith for Equality, Covenant Network and GLAAD for planning these Presbyterian Witness Events. More >>

More Light Presbyterians name Toby Rogers as Associate Director for Marketing and Development
 

Toby Rogers

The National Board of Directors of More Light Presbyterians is pleased to announce that it has named Toby Rogers as its Associate Director for Marketing and Development.  This is a new position created through the generosity of The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, San Francisco, CA and donations from More Light Presbyterian churches, chapters and supporters.    More >>
$1.2 million grant bolsters collaboration among faith-based LGBT organizations to increase the number of welcoming and affirming churches     [8-29-08]

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation’s Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) and five partner organizations have been awarded a total of $1.2 million from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to work jointly to expand the number of churches that are welcoming and affirming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to strengthen their internal capacities. This funding is significant not only because of its dollar amount, but also because it marks a breakthrough in secular foundation support for LGBT faith organizing efforts.

The recipients are the Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources, which works with the welcoming church movement in 30 Christian denominations; Integrity, which works within the Episcopal Church; Lutherans Concerned/North America, which works within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; More Light Presbyterians, which works within the Presbyterian Church (USA); Reconciling Ministries Network, which works within the United Methodist Church; and the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns.

The grant, which will be paid out over two years, will support a strategic, collaborative effort to expand pro-LGBT faith-based organizing efforts and allow the groups to fortify their respective infrastructures. Through the welcoming church movement, congregations decide — through a formal vote — to offer an unconditional welcome to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. To date, more than 3,100 congregations across the Christian spectrum have explicitly welcomed LGBT people to full inclusion in the life and ministry of their congregations.     The full story >>

Religious leaders speak out for marriage equality
[7-23-08]

This invitation for action has come to us from the Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Associate Field Director for Religious Outreach, Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

I am sharing with you an opportunity to express your support for Marriage Equality at this highly politicized moment. As each of you know there are several ballot initiatives under consideration that would invalidate existing and/or prohibit future marriages between persons of the same gender. The Religious Institute for Sexual Morality Justice and Healing (on whose Board I serve) is seeking to demonstrate that there is significant support for Marriage Equality among ordained clergy. If you are so inclined; please add your name to the attached endorsement statement and share this with your peers.

The goal is to collect a substantial list of signers by August 15, 2008. The Religious Institute will publicize the level of religious support through media outlets and print media in advance of this fall’s election. I appreciate any assistance you can offer in this effort to present an honest assessment of communities of faith on this issue.

The full text of the letter, which offers a strong, concise statement of the reasons for “ending the exclusion of samesex couples from the legal institution of marriage,” is posted in PDF format

The Culture War Disarmed

Observations on the legalization of gay marriage in California    [6-2-08]

Many progressive Presbyterians are heartened by the action of the California Supreme Court on May, legalizing same-sex marriages. An article in The Nation puts this action in the wider context of U.S. politics and culture, while also pointing out that for Californians, it’s not such a big change, after all.

Richard Kim writes: 

The California gay marriage debate illustrates important national trends . . . Growing numbers of Americans favor gay rights, including some form of partnership recognition for same-sex couples, especially when framed as economic and legal rights. This is particularly true of young voters . . . [b]ut this trend also holds true for voters of all ages . . .

Read the full article >>

Items on sexual justice from past years are archived:
bullet2008 >>
bullet 2007 >>
bullet 2006 >>
bullet 2005 >>
bullet 2003 and 2004 >>
bullet2000 through 2002 >>
 
 

GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We're providing resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest are:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which would remove the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.
 

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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.

 

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.

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, 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.

 

John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

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

 

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