Category Archives: Homophobia and bullying

Cleansed by the Fires of Bigotry (1 Peter 1:6-8)

There is cause for rejoicing here. You may, for a time, have to suffer the distress of many trials. But this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.

                   -1 Peter 1:6-8

Bigotry’s Blood by Emmanuel Dada @ http://www.behance.net/gallery/Bigotrys-Blood/4816849

The christian community was on the ropes. A suspect group within a larger social matrix, the majority of which thought of christians as “those people.” Here is a parallel with the queer experience as marginalized, suspect, and outside the mainstream. In a ironic twist of history (or is it the hand of God at play?) contemporary queers know better the experience of the early church then do the many christians who raise their voice against us. At what point did the persecuted become the persecutors? The answer is always when power corrupts.

The thought and attitude expressed in this text has caused me much frustration. For a number of years I understood the metaphor of refining gold and suffering persecution as a poor excuse for submitting to torment and affliction. I tended to resonate with Dada’s understanding as portrayed above – bigotry contorts and mangles the lives of good people. The present suicide rate among queer teens is a tenacious witness to the crushing effects of bigotry.

Over the years though I’ve come to find this metaphor strangely wise.

– continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Judged (Zachariah 3:1-5)

Then God showed me Yehoshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Adonai, with the satan standing at the Angel’s right hand, harassing Yehoshua about various things. And the Angel of Adonai said to the satan, “May Adonai silence you, Satan! May Adonai, who chose Jerusalem, silence you. Isn’t Yehoshua a stick snatched from the fire?”

Standing before the Angel, Yehoshua’s clothes were covered in excrement. The Angel said to the attendants, “Help him take off those filthy clothes.”

Addressing Yehoshua, the Angel said, “I have taken away your guilt, and I will clothe you in splendid priestly robes!” Then, to the attendants, “- and put a clean turban on his head!” They dressed Yehoshua as instructed them, as the Angel of Adonai stood nearby.

-Zechariah 3:1-5

The Last Judgment by Stefen Lochner (15th Century)

Clichéd are court scenes before the Holy and Righteous Judge of the living and the dead.  Such rhetoric and images as the painting by Stefen Lochner are used to scare and to scar queer people. A tactic which has been around for as long as homosexual, bisexual, and transgender dynamics have been condemned in the name of the of Holy and Righteous Judge of the living and the dead.

Joshua (Hebrew – Yehoshua) standing before the Sacred with the adversary (the satan) standing at his side leveling accusation after accusation is a dynamic well known to us. In an ironic twist religious traditions are the modern Satan, accusing us of wickedness and painting dark pictures of the queer “lifestyle.” Like Joshua we stand in the heavenly tribunal with rags made filthy by the overwhelming onslaught of slander flung at us.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Priest Who Denied a Lesbian Communion Is No Longer Welcome in Archdiocese

The priest who denied communion to a Catholic lesbian woman at her mother’s funeral Mass is no longer in active ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, where the incident occurred.

Father Marcel Guarnizo refused to offer a host to Barbara Johnson at St. John Neumann parish, Gaithersburg, Maryland, back in February.  The incident made international headlines.  Shortly afterwards, Guarnizo was placed on leave from ministry for unspecified “intimidating behavior,” and now the Archdiocese of Washington has revealed that he will no longer be ministering within its borders.

MSNBC. com reports that Chieko Noguchi Scheve, director of media and public relations for the Archdiocese of Washington, announced on July 10th:

“Fr. Marcel Guarnizo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, who was given a temporary assignment at St. John Neumann parish. That assignment period has ended and Father Guarnizo is no longer in ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington.

“Scheve did not comment further on the matter.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 New Ways Ministry /   Bondings 2.0.

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The Idol of Heteronormativity (Daniel 3:16-18)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to Nebuchadnezzar, “Great Ruler, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to overcome the blaze and rescue us from your hand. But even if God does not rescue us, we want you to know, Great Ruler, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you set up.”
Daniel 3:16-18

 

“Captian Moroni”
illustration from the Book of Mormon

My image of the Sacred does not fear sex and sensuality. The Holy does not consider it shameful to express a love that cries out to be celebrated. This sense of God and what God is about in creation, needless to say, gets me in trouble.

I consider myself steeped in the long and rich spiritual traditions of judeo-christianity. Yet, I freely admit that the god concepts that inform my relationship to the Sacred are different. Straight god images have only served to block access to the Holy as they are often used as instruments of spiritual bullying.

In one incident it was suggested that I should be immediately fired – not because I’m gay, but because I publicly joked about being a gay man married to a straight woman. On another occasion I was vehemently told that I was setting “the cause” back because a retreat team I was a part of named our event “QueerSpirit.”
– read the full reflection at “The Bible in Drag

Mormons quit church in mass resignation rites

A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.”

“This feels awesome,” said Alison Lucas, from West Jordan, Utah, who took part in the rally amid soaring temperatures. “I don’t know if I would have had the courage except in a group.”

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.

After gathering in the park, participants hiked a half-mile up nearby Ensign Peak, scaled in 1847 by church President Brigham Young to survey the spot where his Latter-day Saints would build a city.

At the top, those gathered gave three loud shouts of “Freedom,” cheered, clapped and hugged.

“It’s been a hard journey and this is a symbolic end,” said event organizer Zilpha Larsen, of Lehi, Utah. “I just hope that it boosts people up and helps them feel more comfortable in their decision.”

The church bills itself as the one “true” Christian faith, and its theology promises families eternal relationships among those who remain faithful, sealing those gifts through special religious rites.

Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church’s political activism against gay marriage and doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist.

via ABS – CBN News.

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Christians must confront their own ‘disgust’ over homosexuality, says Archbishop

Dr Rowan Williams acknowledged that the Church was still “scratching its head” about where it stands on issues like same-sex marriage despite its vocal public opposition to the Government’s plan to legalise it.

In his most frank public comments to date on the subject, the Archbishop accepted that the Church was in a “tangle” over homosexuality.

On one hand many Christians may themselves be “wrestling” with their own sexuality while others appeared to display only strong feelings of revulsion, he said.

The issue of women bishops – due to come to a head at the Church of England’s General Synod in York next week – was another matter which helped give the impression that sex was “the only thing the Church is interested in”, he remarked.

His comments came during a discussion day for a group of Christian teenagers at Lambeth Palace.

 – full report at Daily Telegraph.

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Desmond Tutu and Nobel winners back gays in Uganda and globally

Archbishop Tutu and others make joint statement in response to Uganda’s ban on gay organizations and threats of new death penalty law

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has backed gay, bi and trans rights around the world.

Four Nobel Laureates – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu – have called on people all over the world to respect gay rights.

The statement issued by the Robert F Kennedy Center (correct) for Justice Human Rights and Human Rights was released in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in response to that country’s government restricting the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Desmond Tutu, Professor Jody Williams, Dr Shirin Ebadi and Professor Muhammad Yunus say: ‘As a global community of individuals dedicated to a more peaceful and just world, we wish to express our grave concern as to how our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters are being treated across the globe.

‘Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

‘By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognize the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace.’

– full report at Gay Star News

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Christians and LGBTQ Equality: There Is No Middle Ground

In response to my post “‘It’s no sin to be gay.’ See how easy that is, Andrew Marin?” folks have made the point that Andrew’s work is valuable, because he is “building bridges” — because he is, as one reader put it, “creating stepping stones from one end of the spectrum to the other.” They appreciate Marin establishing a neutral, non-judgmental, values-free middle ground where parties on either side of the gay-Christian debate can meet to together discuss and explore the issue.

The problem, though, is that when it comes to the issue of LGBT equality, there is no such thing as a values-free middle ground. There can’t be, because that is a moral issue. And that means it’s about a very definite right and wrong.

And it’s a moral issue of no small consequence. There couldn’t possibly be more at stake. The people on one side of this debate — the majority, which wields all the power — are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.

No matter how strenuously he or she might deny it, the fact is that any Christian who does not forthrightly and unambiguously assert that there is nothing whatsoever inherently immoral about same-sex relationships has chosen a side in this conflict. To a starving man, the person who can’t decide if they want to share their food is no better than the person who refuses to (emphasis added).

– more at John Shore, Huffington Post

 

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Uganda: Bishops want shelved anti-gay Bill revived

Speaking after their recent annual conference organised by the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches, the bishops resolved that the parliamentary committee on Gender should be tasked to engage the House on the Bill which is now at committee level.

“We also ask the Education committee to engage the Ministry of Education on the issue of incorporating a topic on human sexuality in the curricula of our schools and institutions of learning,” the resolutions signed by archbishops Henry Luke Orombi, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, indicated.

The clerics also appealed to all the churches in the country “to remain steadfast in opposing the phenomena of homosexuality, lesbianism and same-sex union”.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was proposed by Ndorwa West PM David Bahati and has become a subject of international discussion with most Western powers describing the Bill as barbaric.

Dr Sylvia Tamale, an outspoken pro-gay activist and Makerere University don, said her views “against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill have never changed”.

“I think it is unconstitutional and pursuing it is diversionary as it distracts us from the important issues that the average Ugandan really cares about,” she said on Friday in an email to Sunday Monitor.

The anti-gay Bill has seen ups and downs with donors and international activists threatening to withhold aid should it be let to pass.
Among some of the propositions in the Bill was one of death and life sentence for those for those caught engaging in homosexuality for a second time.

-full report at Daily Monitor

(Anthony, a Ugandan Catholic who was at the United Kingdom Cutting Edge Consortium 2012 Conference on combating faith – based homophobia, passed on this message: :

The Ugandan Gay and Lesbian community is inviting you to a peaceful demonstration outside the Ugandan Embassy just by Trafalgar Square on 15/06/2012 at 1:00pm. We would like to pass on a message  of love to all religious leaders in Uganda on that day. We will be glad to see u.)
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‘Jesus in Drag’: Straight Christian ‘Comes Out’ for New Book

Immersion based reporting has exploded in recent years with authors like A.J. Jacobs, but for one new author the immersion experience took him on an unprecedented journey, and it all began with two words: “I’m Gay.” In his new book, “Jesus in Drag,” Timothy Kurek dared to go where no conservative Christian has ever gone before, attempting to test years of teaching within the conservative denomination of his youth. The book releases Oct. 11.

Timothy, just how far did you go for the research of this book? Who did you “come out” to and what was their response?

I came out to everybody! My friends, family, everyone. When it all began I wasn’t even doing it for a book. I just knew that I needed to understand, as realistically as possible, how the label of gay might change my life. The social experiment itself demanded all or nothing. I knew I’d have to fully engage in order to understand, so there were only a few people that knew what I was doing.

Every coming out story I’ve ever read or heard share one common trait: fear. Fear of the reactions and the great what-ifs. With that in mind, it was essential that I experience the same realistic fear and apprehension that comes with making the declaration that I was a gay man. In all of my life I’ve never been more nervous, or physically and emotionally shaken than I was standing in front of my family when I came out.

-full report at  Huffington Post

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