Religious institutions of all stripes are asking this big question: Could the church have gotten it wrong in using a few verses of scripture to condemn homosexual people, just as it got it wrong about using isolated verses to justify slavery and the denigration/subjugation of women? More and more religious people and institutions are moving toward a “yes” in response to that question. The church has misunderstood God’s will before, but over time, we get it right. I believe that this is one of those moments.
Take action to help support a candidate for ministry in the United Methodist Church. In breaking news, Mary Ann Kaiser was removed from the ordination process by the Southwest Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for her sexual orientation.
A slideshow study released this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that “Americans’ opinions on same-sex marriage have changed markedly since 2001,” when 57% of the overall U.S. population said they opposed the practice. Now, the tide has shifted so that half of Americans favor the practice and only 43% do not.
Two months ago, Franklin County Commissioner in Ohio, John O'Grady, was given the honor of delivering the commencement speech at Bishop Ready High School. Just prior to the graduation ceremony, O'Grady was contacted by school officials to tell him he would no longer be needed for the commencement speech because of O'Grady's position as co-chairman of the Freedom to Marry initiative supporting marriage equality in the state of Ohio.
On Sunday, members of Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Maple Grove, Minnesota were met with eggs splattered on the windows of the church and Bible passages that are often used to condemn LGBT people scrawled across the exterior walls.
In suburban Atlanta, northern Idaho and a number of other places, churches have moved swiftly to sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America in protest over the vote last month to let openly gay boys participate in Scouting. In all, about 70 percent of the 116,000 Scout units in the United States are sponsored by religious organizations. Many are liberal denominations that welcomed the change of policy on gay youths and want the Boy Scouts to go further by lifting the still-intact ban on gays serving as adult leaders.
Queer atheist writer Chris Stedman writes about his experiences in Utah while visiting to speak at “Intersecting Convictions,” an interfaith conference. The conference was held in early March at Utah Valley University, a publicly funded university in Orem, Utah, about one hour south of Salt Lake City. Audience participants and sponsors from both BYU and UVU helped bring the event into being.
The Catholic Diocese of Rockford is calling for its churches to continue working with the Boy Scouts of America despite the group's new acceptance of gay members — a change that led one Crystal Lake church to announce plans to sever ties with a troop it sponsors.
In a statement on the diocese's website, Bishop David Malloy said the Scouts' new policy "does not seem to provide an obstacle to our continued sponsorship of those troops or of Scouting, as long as Catholic principles of morality are followed."