Tag Archives: Equality / Inclusion

English Bishop Apologises for Hurt to Gay People.

The Church of England is gradually adapting to the reality of gay marriage – and one more bishop has publicly apologised for the hurt it has caused (in particular, for the hurt caused by the bishops’ January statement on same – sex marriage.

Right Revd Michael Perham
Right Revd Michael Perham

Bishop of Gloucester speaks out on Church of England’s attitude to homosexual people

THE Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Michael Perham, addressed the Church of England’s attitude towards homosexuality at Thursday night’s Gloucester Diocesan Synod.

He apologised for the hurt caused by the ‘harsh’ House of Bishops’ statement on same-sex marriage.

Here is his full address.

“We are where we are. Same-sex marriage is here, here to stay.

“It will fast become part of the fabric of our society.

“The weekend of the first such marriages I wanted to rejoice with those who were rejoicing, recognising what a wonderful moment it was for them, and to weep with those who wept, recognising how for them a deeply held belief about marriage was being undermined.

“The House of Bishops’ January statement, when the first same-sex marriages were taking place did recognise that there needed to be room for conscience, that some gay or lesbian Christians would enter such a marriage and that the Church would continue to honour and accept them as members of the body of Christ.

“What it also said was that it could not extend that freedom to its authorised ministers or allow those who had contracted such a marriage to become one of its authorised ministers.

“There were those who, taking a more conservative position, felt that the statement went too far in its accommodation to same-sex marriage.

“But there were rather more who felt the statement struck an unnecessarily harsh and negative tone.

“The House of Bishops, producing a statement under some pressure, underestimated how uncompromising and hurtful the statement felt to some.

“The tone was harsh – there was not much sense of welcome to all as children of God.

“I am sorry for that and for the hurt I know it has engendered.

– more at Gloucestershire Echo.

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Growing Support for Gay Marriage: BECAUSE We Are Christian

More thoughtful commentary on how the disputes around gay marriage are no longer between defenders of human rights and of religious belief, but about what it means to be truly Christian:

Gay_friendly_church

Antigay religion: How Catholics and evangelicals are coming to accept same-sex marriage.

Throughout history, religion has sanctioned and fueled the persecution of homosexuality. That dynamic may be drawing to an end. Polls, clerics, and denominations are shifting. Theology is adapting. Resistance to same-sex marriage is dwindling, and there’s no end in sight.

WILLIAM SALETAN

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right. Follow him on Twitter.

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For 15 years, the Ethics and Public Policy Center has hosted the Faith Angle Forum, a regular conference on religion and public life. Several weeks ago, the group met again to discuss current issues. Transcripts of the conference have just been posted on EPPC’s website. They underscore the extent of the anti-gay collapse.

The first session, led by papal biographer Paul Vallely and Boston Globe editor John Allen, focused on Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. Vallely, the author of Pope Francis: Untying the Knots, noted that before Francis became pope, he supported civil unions in Argentina. “I think he sees that as a human rights issue,” said Vallely. Allen pointed to the pope’s comment in a March 5 interview with Corriere della Sera:

Q: Many nations have regulated civil unions. Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?

A: Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures … One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.

– full report at  Slate.

Preaching the Gospel, in Belfast – in Drag.

From the Belfast Telegraph:

A gay cleric who preaches in drag wants to bring his message of love to Belfast.

 Ron Eberly - Mz Rhonda

Belfast born Ron Eberly, who describes himself as “Christ Drag Queen”, left for Canada in 1975, but now he wants to return home to speak in churches as his glamorous alter ego — Mz Rhonda.

The son of a baptist preacher, Ron emigrated from Penrose Street off the Ormeau Road with his family and later attended bible college in Canada.

He met his wife with whom he had two children during a missionary trip to Belize — but they divorced eight years later when Ron realised he “had to live an honest life”.

Ron’s family disowned him for 20 years after he came out, but he reconciled with them shortly before his parents’ deaths in 2012.

He still uses his late mother’s hats to perform as Mz Rhonda because he says they make him look like “a little church lady”.

Ron found love and married again 14 years ago, but this time to a man.

 – full report at BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

German Gay Clergy Win Right to Live with Partners

News from Germany:

Protestant churches in northern Germany have voted to allow gay pastors to live in church residences with their same-sex partners for the first time.

The rule change from the two-year-old Northern Church – a union of Protestant churches –  was voted in almost unanimously by a summit in Lübeck on Friday by 156 votes to two.

  It states that as long as a prospective pastor and his or her same-sex partner are in a “recognized life partnership” (the equivalent of a UK civil partnership), the pair are to be treated the same as heterosexual couples when being considered for entering a parish residence.

  The right to live in the clergy’s residence is a “symbol” according to Pastor Mathias Benckert, a spokesman for the Northern Church.

  Benckert told The Local: “The principles of trust, care, reliability and commitment, all the things that would need to be part of a pastor’s marriage – these things also go for a registered life partnership,” he said.

  The rules guaranteed that clergy, whether gay or straight, would only be chosen if the parish council and the regional supervisor, whose job it is to nominate them, agreed.

  The model allows conservative and liberal elements of the church to form a consensus, Benckert said, as if the congregation is not happy with a prospective clergyman or woman, they will not be selected.

– full report at The Local

Caribbean Priest Urges Constitutional Protection for Lesbians, Gays

The Caribbean is not noted for its tolerance of LGBT rights, but as Trinidad debates a proposed new constitution, a Catholic priest has caught national attention for speaking up in favour of building LGBT protections into its Chapter on Human Rights:

Trinidad

 

PRIEST BATS FOR GAYS

‘They should have rights as other people have’

A Catholic priest has come out in support of the gay community, saying their rights, including the right to love whomever they want, should be included in the Constitution.

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Dr Fr Stephen Geofroy captured the attention of the audience with his comments during consultation on the draft Constitution at the University of the West Indies Sport and Physical Education Centre, St Augustine, on Monday evening.

Geofroy said the matter should not be debated further and instead Government should be embracing of all its people.

“Now on the issue of sexual orientation being subject to further national discussion…discussion about what? Aren’t LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), aren’t they not humans still, yes or no?” said Geofroy.

“Yes? Then they should have rights as other people have,” he continued as he received loud applause from the packed hall.

Geofroy said there was no debate on whether gays are people or not as they have expressed themselves clearly that they are part and parcel of this country’s culture.

“We’ve come over a long history of slavery and indentureship and now it is time to break the many things that denigrate the person,” said Geofroy.

“This is certainly one of the things we have to do and we have to be very decisive of it.”

Geofroy said there has been discrimination on the basis of race, colour and class in this country.

“…I don’t see the difference with sexual orientation. We are citizens of a country and people have the right to love who they want irrespective,” said Geofroy .

He said to continue discussing the issue at a national level without taking a decision was to go the way of other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda as part of a political agenda.

“I think we should avoid that like the plague,” he said.

Geofroy said the rights of a minority should not be suffered because of the majority as the bill of rights speaks to upholding the dignity of all.

“We do not belong to a theocracy, neither are we in a religious oligarchy where people impose their beliefs on others,” said Geofroy.

He said if it was this way then moves would be made to criminalise adultery, masturbation and the use of condoms.

“Then all of these things should be looked at and in my tradition I would say first, they are all sins so I think we have to be very careful on human rights and our rights to our own belief but not the right to impose it on the rest of the population,” he said.

via  Trinidad Express Newspaper 

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Belgian Bishops: Church Must BeMore Welcoming to All.

Reporting on the the Religious Information Service release of some European results of the global survey on marriage and family, Vatican Insider has a snippet from Belgium that will not surprise LGBT Catholics – but is of great importance to us, and the for relevant discussions likely at the family synod. The Belgian bishops have concluded that the Church need to be “more open and welcoming” – especially to gay people and remarried divorcees.

“Belgian Catholics expect the Church to welcome everyone, regardless of differences or mistakes made. This especially true when it comes to gay people and remarried divorcees,” SIR says.

“Belgian Catholics, inspired by Francis, are calling for a mother Church that embraces all: hence the need to grow in the faith and form lively communities,” SIR highlights. The questionnaires also placed an emphasis on the essential role women can play in Church life: “It is they who pass on the faith to children and guide them,” Belgian Catholics point out. 

 – Vatican Insider.

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Jesuit Video Series Asks, “Who Are We to Judge?”

A Jesuit production company is highlighting the experiences of LGBT Catholics in a YouTube series called Who Are We to Judge?, a reference Pope Francis’s response when asked about gay priests last summer.

 Rev. Eddie Siebert, president of Culver City, California-based Loyola Productions, said that the series creates a space for LGBT Catholics to share their faith stories.

jesuit video series, who are we to judge

“We didn’t want to get into church teaching, and dogma, and doctrine,” said Siebert. “We just wanted to talk to faithful people who are gay and ask them to tell their stories.”

He explained that the staff at Loyola Productions, which runs the YouTube channel Ignatius News Network where the videos are posted, came up with the idea to create the series:

“We asked, ‘What can we do to highlight this issue in terms of being Catholic and being gay, and what this means for people?’”

Though some conservative Catholic groups have criticized the project, Siebert said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

– full report at  Advocate.com.

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