This week, kudos go to Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz of Intersections Consulting for her important Bilerico post where she drew upon her family’s Jewish and Muslim heritage to urge LGBTQ people to stand against rising Islamophobia.
And kudos to the Rev. Jane Spahr who was simultaneously praised and convicted by a Presbyterian court for performing marriages for gay couples. On the other extreme, Newt Gingrich and anti-gay “zealot” Lou Engle are teaming up on Labor Day weekend for a “revival” to muster Republican votes for the mid-term election in November and will broadcast live in Sacramento this Labor Day weekend on God TV to kick off their nationwide campaign.
Glenn Beck held a revival of his own of sorts at the Lincoln Memorial last week, and commentators question whether Beck is setting himself up as a new leader of the Religious Right. Sarah Palin spoke to an anti-gay group in Pennsylvania. Focus on the Family claimed that anti-bullying efforts are actually part of the “gay agenda.” Westboro Baptist Church protestors were sprayed with pepper spray at a Marine’s funeral in Omaha, and Lauri Lebo traveled to their controversial church compound to examine their First Amendment rights.
Meanwhile, breakaway Lutherans formed a new denomination after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted for more LGBT inclusive policies last year. In a letter to the editor, Jennifer Leiser reminded readers of the Salt Lake Tribune that most people are staying even if they disagree; the ELCA is far from breaking apart.
The Washington Post looked at rising GOP support for marriage equality and fact-checked a political flyer that accuses New York and San Francisco “gay activists” of funneling money into Washington D.C. campaigns. Ironically, the flyer is funded by NOM, a national organization outside of D.C. Jonathan Merritt asked whether Prop 8 is the culture war’s last stand, and Candace Chellew-Hodge wondered if the Religious Right is weakening on marriage equality.
It might be weakening, but it is not gone. Maia Spots investigated how states are embracing or evading marriage equality and found that getting married to your same-sex partner is a criminal offense in Wisconsin with a $10,000 fine or 9-month jail sentence! A conservative Christian legal group is now in court trying to compel Governor Schwarzenegger and other officials to defend Proposition 8. A Texas court decided that gay couples can’t divorce in Texas. Florida governor and senate hopeful Charlie Crist said he supports a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples but later said he meant that to apply just to Florida.
Internationally, Religion in the News reported on Uganda’s Anglicans, and Jeff Sharlet continued his important investigative work on the proposed “anti-homosexuality” legislation in Uganda with a stirring piece in Harper’s. In England, gay advocate Peter Tatchell received a standing ovation at a Christian festival where an attempted boycott by the religious right actually fueled ticket sales. Friends and family of victims of the Tel Aviv gay center shootings were invited to Germany to speak against homophobia. In Mexico, the BBC examined how the Catholic Church has fanned the flames of a dispute over gay rights. Australia’s most populous state voted to allow gay people to adopt. In New Zealand, Exodus Ministries, an “ex-gay” program based in the USA was denied charity status since it performs “no public benefit.” In the U.K., a Catholic archbishop’s aide called Britain a “hedonistic wasteland” due to its embrace of LGBT people. Gay Catholics in England debated strategies over the Pope’s upcoming visit.
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