Brave stands for justice were in the media this week as a Baptist church in Dallas that welcomes LGBT people voted to break away from the Texas Baptist Convention. Lutherans, after decades of struggle, prepared to bring three respected lesbian clergy back into the fold in Minnesota.
Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart and Anita Hill are being received on Saturday, September 18. Anita’s story is very moving.
A Presbyterian church in Ohio is displaying the “Shower of Stoles” to inspire conversation about the harms of exclusion, and another Ohio UCC minister is preaching, “We are all God’s children.” An openly gay Unitarian-Universalist minister is new in Jacksonville, Florida and has the door open to all. MCC posted more billboards in their “Would Jesus Discriminate?” campaign to show what Christianity really teaches.
“Catholics for Equality” announced they will be mobilizing pro-LGBT Catholics who support fair laws for everyone. But St. Edwards College banned Equality Texas from a student fair on volunteer opportunities, and Catholic bishops are organizing to resist marriage equality legislation in Minnesota.
In sad news, the Atlanta LGBT community is grieving over three recent deaths, so the Black Gay Pride festival began with a vigil at an MCC church. And in Tennessee, Unitarian-Universalists and MCC leaders are assisting two women whose house burned. Slurs were written on their home before the fire.
Politics were in the air as primaries set the stage for the midterm elections. Dr. Jillian T. Weiss offers a great article on freedom of religion. You’ll want to keep a copy for reference. It was exciting to see Brittany Novotny run in Oklahoma against anti-LGBT incumbent and conservative, Sally Kern. In Indiana, a campaign manager resigned over anti-gay tweets. And in Iowa, a conservative leader says he’s "pro-gay," but "anti-homosexuality." Finally, a court decision determined that the Defense Of Marriage Act defies the Constitution and violated states’ rights.
Another Iowan took the air out of of dire predictions of what would happen with the passing of marriage equality and talks about his experience of being raised by lesbian mothers. Christian conservatives in Hawaii still oppose marriage equality, and it boils down to clashes over separation of church and state.
An article about what constitutes a family revealed troubling opinions about the recognition of same-sex couples and their families. But, not to worry, in a look at state-by-state acceptance of marriage for gay and lesbian couples, Hank Pellissier notes that with 57 percent of people under 40 supporting marriage equality, it’s only a matter of time before things will change. And, another sign of hope, a mainline Jewish synagogue has a new prayer book that includes prayers that reflect families headed by same-sex couples.
The intersection of issues is meant to stir up political passions as the title “Muslims are the new gays in America” suggests. Take an inside look at being gay in Iran. A gay Saudi diplomat is seeking asylum and fears being killed. And, in the US, Islamic and other conservative religious groups are creating their own web servers and systems to block out messages they don’t want to hear. Candace Chewlew-Hodge describes it as “Seek and ye shall find…anti-gay views.”
Internationally, the Pope is making a splash in the U.K. Advocates are speaking out about their opposition to the Pope’s visit. In Ireland, a poll revealed that two-thirds support gay marriage. A court in Jerusalem required the government to fund an LGBT center.
In the mix is a provocative book about sexuality and Mormon religion called “Mormon Underwear.” And, award-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman open their film about Allen Ginsberg, "Howl," at the end of September. Ginsberg was an openly gay, Jewish firebrand of a poet from the 50s.