Category Archives: News

The Miracle that Created a Southern Baptist Straight Ally

If the coming out process can be difficult, and coming out in church even more so, those difficulties can be even more so deeply religious parents of lesbian or gay people.  Lance Bass was raised in Mississippi by a committed Southern Baptist family – not the easiest environment for any religious family to discover that their son is gay – and very publicly so, on the cover of tabloid magazines. At Huffington Post, Lance Bass describes what happened after he came out, how his mother prayed for a miracle – and how the miracle granted was not the one she expected.

Lance Bass
Lance Bass

The bulk of the post is in his mom’s own words, the text of a speech she delivered to a local church congregation. These are the central paragraphs of that speech  (read the full text at Huffington Post Gay Voices).

The First Thing My Mom Did When She Learned I Was Gay… and the ‘Miracle’ That Occurred After

Seven years ago, we found out that Lance is gay. We were totally blindsided and devastated because never in a million years would we have guessed it. Also, because it was such a public thing, the situation was so much worse on the family. I do not want to go into the personal details of that revelation, but I will tell you that the first thing I did was fall to my knees and ask, “What would Jesus do?” I almost immediately knew the answer… love my son. And that is what I have done. Never once did I ever think about turning my back on him. Never once was I ashamed or embarrassed. My feelings were more of sadness and just sheer disappointment in life.

If you believe that being gay is a choice, then the rest of what I say will not matter. I do not know why, but even as a staunch Christian, I personally never believed that being gay was a choice. I never knew a lot of gay people, but the ones I did meet I felt compassion for because I could feel their pain of being rejected and my heart always went out to them. Even though I never did believe Lance chose to be gay, I did not accept it as quickly as my husband did. His attitude was “It is what it is.” My attitude was “Yes, it is what it is but my God can perform miracles so I’m going to beg for a miracle to zap Lance and change him to straight!” And I did just that. I continued to love my son, stand beside him, and defend him, but for several years I continued to pray relentlessly for a miracle.

Well, Lance is still gay. However, I did get a miracle. It is just not the miracle I prayed for. You are looking at the miracle tonight. The miracle is that I learned to have unconditional love and compassion for my son and others in the gay community. I haven’t marched in parades or spoken at conventions, but I do feel that God has led me to speak out concerning the church’s role. My son is a Christian and wants to be able to worship, but he does not feel that the church cares about him and has pretty much disowned him as a fellow believer. There is something terribly wrong with that and I have to speak up on behalf of my son and others who find themselves in the same situation. When I was a little girl, I went to a celebration with my grandparents on the courthouse lawn in Laurel. I was thirsty and ran to drink some water from one of the water fountains. My grandmother screamed at me to stop. When I looked at the fountain it had the word “Colored” on it and she told me I had to drink out of another one. I was only 6 years old but I knew something was just not right about that. Just as my heart told me something was wrong that day on the courthouse lawn, my heart is telling me that something is wrong with the way the church treats those who are gay.

I could tell you many stories that gay young people have told me about how so-called Christian people have treated them but I will only share one. One of the young men told me that he was searching for God and visited a large church one Easter Sunday. He was enjoying the beautiful service and feeling so drawn to what he was experiencing.

Everyone was standing singing a hymn and when he sat down there was a note in his chair. It said, “You know you are going to hell.” He told me that he never went to church again. I don’t blame him, but to my knowledge, he has not accepted Christ and is lost.

via Huffington Post –  Lance Bass.

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Indian Christians unite for LGBTI rights as others demand gay 'sinners' remain against law

Indian Christians have protested demanding the law making gay sex criminal in the country is kept – but other Christians have come out to fight for LGBTI rights. Sunday saw an alliance unite under the name of Christians Against Homophobia to condemn the anti-gay protest.

The founding members of Christians Against Homophobia announce their stand.
The founding members of Christians Against Homophobia announce their stand.

The alliance, comprised of pro-LGBTI activists, released a statement saying ‘we register our opposition to those who use our religion to spread bigotry and prejudice against those of different sexual orientations and gender identities.’

Vikranth Prasanna, a founding member of the alliance, told GSN: ‘We request our fellow Christians to support our friends who are lesbians and homosexuals and to not support this bigotry but to spread peace and love which is the basic principle of Christianity.’

– Gay Star News

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Rev. Chellew-Hodge's New Year Advice: Keep Pressing "Play"

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge has some sound New Year’s advice for LGBT Christians, taken from two principles stated by the instructor on an exercise workout CD: persevere, and do not be discouraged by setbacks.

The first of these is “keep hitting `play`”:

When we keep pressing play, we approach each new day as a brand new start, a clean slate. We can put yesterday’s failures, yesterday’s disappointments, yesterday’s disasters behind us and look forward. When we keep pressing play, we keep giving ourselves permission to hope, permission to look forward to what the new year — and every new day — holds. When we keep pressing play, we open ourselves to the Holy mystery that constantly occurs in, through and around us. Continue reading Rev. Chellew-Hodge's New Year Advice: Keep Pressing "Play"

"The Times" Names Pope Francis Person of the Year

Pope Francis has been declared The Times’ Person of the Year.  In the nine months since the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope the newspaper said he has “changed the nature of the debate on religion and modernity”.

The Times’ leader of 26 December recalled that John XXIII, elected Pope in 1958, instituted the Second Vatican Council as a means of “opening the windows of the Church” whereas Pope Francis had done so by force of his personality. Quoting the Epistle of James’ observation that faith alone without good works is dead, The London-published newspaper went on: “Francis has exemplified concern for the poor and despised, not as a matter only of personal conduct but of theology. And in this respect, he gives every indication of making the Church a vital actor on the world stage.”

Alluding to Francis as the first Latin American Pope, the paper said that his emphasis on alleviating poverty had the weight of experience and concluded: “In making it the centrepiece of his papacy, Francis has placed the claims of faith at the heart of temporal affairs. The Catholic Church has been in need of an exceptional man and it appears to have found one”

Earlier this month, the American magazine, Time, named Pope Francis Person Of The Year. He recently won the same accolade from an American gay rights magazine, The Advocate, which quoted his remark to journalists on the papal plane in July: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”  The magazine said the Pope is the “single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people.”

via The Tablet – News.

Gay Marriage – UGANDA!

Let us never forget, that in Catholic (and other) theology, it is not the priest or minister that administers the sacrament of matrimony, but the two spouses, who administer it to each other, in the sight of God and the community. It is also not the state that makes a marriage, but the mutual commitment of the spouses: all that the state does, is recognize and register the marriage. Informal, unregistered marriages are common in many parts of Africa,

This lesbian wedding in Uganda is thus as valid as any other unregistered marriage – even if it will garner direct opposition and possible prosecution from the law, instead of the approval it deserves.

Lesbian wedding held in Uganda day after anti-gay bill passed

Kenyan activist reports a lesbian wedding the day after Ugandan parliament passes bill threatening life imprisonment for gay people

22 DECEMBER 2013 | BY ANNA LEACH

A brave lesbian couple in Uganda has held a wedding a day after parliament passed a bill that threatens gay people with life in prison if caught expressing their sexuality.

Kenya gay rights activist Denis Nzioka tweeted a photograph of a celebrant and two women in wedding garb and said that Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline had attended the marriage. ‘This is what I call guts,’ he said.

via Lesbian wedding held in Uganda day after anti-gay bill passed | Gay Star News.

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Pope Francis Named as #2 "Gay Rights Hero", 2013

Pope Francis has already been named as “Person of the Year” by Time magazine, and somewhat more surprisingly, by the gay magazine, The Advocate. Now he’s been named by another prestigious magazine, the New Yorker, in the number two position in their list of Gay Rights Heroes in 2013. (Number one position went to New York widow Edith Windsor, who was runner-up to Francis for the Advocate nomination).

 

The Top Ten Gay-Rights Heroes of 2013 : The New Yorker

1. Edith Windsor

2. Pope Francis Continue reading Pope Francis Named as #2 "Gay Rights Hero", 2013

LA Times: "Methodist minister won't surrender credentials in gay-marriage dispute"

A United Methodist minister who was suspended for officiating at his son’s gay marriage said on Monday he will not voluntarily surrender his religious credentials even though he cannot uphold his church’s doctrines on issues relating to same-sex marriage.

A man places a hand on the shoulder of The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding, as he enters a news conference, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A man places a hand on the shoulder of The Rev. Frank Schaefer, as he enters a news conference at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Continue reading LA Times: "Methodist minister won't surrender credentials in gay-marriage dispute"

Archbishop Nichols Joins Congregation for Bishops.

In what could be good news for LGBT Catholics, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has been appointed to the Congregation for Bishops, where he will be in a strong position to influence the appointments of future bishops of the Church.

(This is “good news”, because Nichols response to marriage equality in the UK has been notably more restrained than that of many other bishops, including a statement that there “could be value” in legal provision for civil unions).

Vincent-Nichols-Archbishop-of-Westminster_large

Continue reading Archbishop Nichols Joins Congregation for Bishops.

Cordileone: The Value of "Getting to Know Gay Catholics"

In an interview with KQED News Fix, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone discusses (among other things) the value of “getting to know” gay Catholics. The full interview also covers Catholics and the excesses of capitalism, immigration, and the San Francisco Giants. (The report notes that “While Cordileone seemed a bit uneasy discussing the pope’s comments about homosexuality , he warmed up when asked how a San Diego native could root for the San Francisco Giants over his hometown Padres”).That discomfort is clearly visible in his body language. Watch.

Below the fold are the extracts of the report, which refer specifically to LGBT issues.

Continue reading Cordileone: The Value of "Getting to Know Gay Catholics"