Religion News Summary Highlights for April 4, 2012

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Last fall, Muslims for Progressive Values, an American reformist organization, gathered from around the country to celebrate the growth of membership.  In less than five years, the group had grown from a few friends to a thousand members and spawned a string of small mosques and spiritual groups that stretched from Atlanta to Los Angeles.  While far from accepted by mainstream clerics, these worshippers feel that the future of the religion lies not solely with tradition but with them. Women are leading congregations in prayer, gay imams are performing Islamic marriages, and men and women are praying side by side.  This week, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed (right) has made headlines by becoming the first French man to be married to another man in a Muslim religious ceremony. In his new book, he tells the tale of his unique journey of faith and love.

Mark Paredes offers a conservative Mormon argument for NOT joining the “Dump Starbucks Campaign,” organized by the National Organization for Marriage in attempts to detract customers from Starbucks because of Starbuck’s endorsement of marriage equality.  Paredes writes, “You don’t have to support gay marriage to believe that people with different theologies who act on their beliefs shouldn’t be punished for doing so.”  As of last week, the “Dump Starbucks” petition had gotten only 19,000 signatures, compared to the nearly 250,000 individuals who have signed SumOfUs’s retaliatory “Thank You, Starbucks” card.

In Oklahoma, a group of United Methodists are signing a statement in support of marriage equality ahead of an April global policy conference of the church, which prohibits gay marriage in official documents.