Religion News Summary for August 29, 2012

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International marriage equality efforts have faced roadblocks from a variety of religious sources. The Catholic Church in Scotland, led by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been at the forefront of anti-marriage equality efforts in that country. The Catholic Church in France has launched a similar effort against both marriage equality and adoption by gay and lesbian couples in response to Socialist President Francois Hollande efforts to enact marriage equality by 2013. While the Catholic hierarchy and a conservative group within the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand have voiced opposition to a marriage equality bill in that country, 57 clergy from Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches co-signed a letter rejecting the Catholic Church’s position. Other encouraging news comes from Nepal, where a recently passed law granting full equality to LGBT people has garnered no reaction from religious leaders.

On August 15, Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project, sat down to dinner with Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, to debate the (Christian) Bible and LGBT equality. Both men are Catholic; Savage was born into an Irish Catholic family and attended parochial school but is now lapsed, while Brown was raised Quaker and converted in College. In the end, both Savage and Brown felt the hour-long debate, which can be seen on Youtube, was pointless. Neither changed his position nor acknowledged any of the other’s points.

Many people seem to be asking whether or not Christianity really is opposed to LGBT people and marriage. Jamie McGonnigal argues in the Huffington Post that, while most anti-LGBT equality groups claim to be fighting for something (so-called traditional marriage, family values, etc.) they are actually fighting equality under the guise of Christianity. Rev. J. McRee Elrod, a retired Unitarian Universalist minister agrees, noting that two of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible are between people of the same gender: David and Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi. In a letter to other Christians encouraging dialogue and listening with an open mind, Richmond Schmidt says: “God tears down walls where we would form lines. […] act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Preserving values is great. Valuing love is better still.”

Transgender DNC delegate delivers sermon at local church
Charlotte Observer, August 26, 2012

Catholic Church in Scotland steps up campaign against gay marriage
The Guardian, August 26, 2012
Anti-LGBT Archbishop tapped to give closing prayer at Democratic Convention
LGBTQ Nation, August 28, 2012
Newly-Appointed SF Archbishop, 'Father of Prop 8', Arrested in San Diego DUI
Towleroad, August 28, 2012

Biblical idea of marriage cherry-picks passages
Vic News, August 17, 2012
Arsonist Destroys Ohio Church
Box Turtle Bulletin, August 21, 2012
Is It Christian to Be Anti-Gay?
Huffington Post, August 21, 2012
After Dinner, the Fireworks
New York Times, August 22, 2012
A Call for Conversation From a Gay Christian: To My Fellow Christians
Huffington Post, August 23, 2012
Right-wing Groups Seek to Ban Wayne Besen From Fox
The Advocate, August 23, 2012
The deciding LGBT issue that Christians cannot ignore
John Shore, August 23, 2012
An Open Letter to LGBT or Same-Sex Attracted Freshmen at Christian Colleges and Universities
Odd Man Out, August 24, 2012
Leave religious agenda out of anti-bullying efforts
Times-Republican, August 26, 2012

Episcopal Bishop Champions Gay Marriage: PW Talks with Gene Robinson
Publishers Weekly, August 24, 2012

After Gay Son’s Suicide, Mother Finds Blame in Herself and in Her Church
New York Times, August 24, 2012
LGBT group cancels protest because church is 'too nice'
Examiner, August 28, 2012

Hindus in Nepal shun homophobia
Asia Times, August 28, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Chick-fil-A’s moment in the news
Dallas News, August 14, 2012
In the Spirit: Congregations take pride in parade
Wisconsin State Journal, August 26, 2012

Gay couple married in US feted at Malaysia banquet
Mercury News, August 6, 2012
French Catholic Church targets gay marriage
Associated Press, August, 15, 2012
First openly gay United Church moderator reaches out to Vancouver flock through Cohen and jazz
The Vancouver Sun, August 23, 2012
South African pastor blames gay men, lesbians and feminists for ‘culture of death’
Pink News, August 23, 2012
Priests attack gay marriage in strongly-worded letter read out across Scotland's 500 churches
Mail Online, August 26, 2012
Nepal: Religious leaders remain silent over legalisation of LGBT rights
Pink News, August 27, 2012
Wanganui vicar welcomes gays
Wanganui Chronicle, August 29, 2012

Orthodox and Coming Out…As an Ally
My Jewish Learning, August 17, 2012
Back Bay Synagogue Caters to LGBT Jews
Edge, August 28, 2012

Marriage Equality
Fighting at the ballot box for the right to marry
CBS News, August 26, 2012
‘Religious liberty’ for me — but not for thee
LGBTQ Nation, August 26, 2012

Clergy, laity group asks censure of Bishop Talbert over gay rights activism
United Methodist Reporter, August 24, 2012
Breast Milk, Homosexuality, and Being United Methodist
Methodist Federation for Social Action, August 29, 2012

Metropolitan Community Church
Emerald City MCC Seattle Calls a New Interim Pastor and Gets Its Groove Back
The Seattle Lesbian, August 28, 2012

Can You Be Gay And Muslim? Yes.
Colombo Telegraph, August 21, 2012
Parisians celebrate being gay and Muslim at end of Ramadan
Gay Star News, August 28, 2012

United Church of Christ
Will You Marry Me? The Bible and Marriage Equality
Huffington Post, August 24, 2012

Unitarian Universalist
Gay rights group asks Jackson City Council to support human rights ordinance
M Live, August 14, 2012
An Open Letter to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Let's Talk About Hate
Huffington Post, August 20, 2012
Marriage Equality Supporters to Gather Sunday at Northlake Unitarian
Kirkland Patch, August 23, 2012