Twenty-two years ago, Reverend Oliver White founded Grace Community United Church of Christ in a low-income black neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a strong congregation with 320 members — until 2005, when White stood up at a synod of the United Church of Christ and voiced his support of gay marriage. Then he came home and told his congregation what he had done.
“I thought they were with me,” he says, “but much to my chagrin, I immediately started losing members.” Over the next few weeks, two thirds of his members left the congregation.
This month, the church may close its doors altogether. White is currently struggling to raise $200,000 to pay back a loan on the church building by June 30. Even if the money comes through, there’s no guarantee that he will ever fill his pews again. But White, who once marched with the Civil Rights movement, remains adamant in his support of gay marriage. He spoke to me about his views on the subject and the deeper reasons the issue has met with so much resistance from the black church.
-more at Atlantic
Gay marriage advocates have a new and powerful ally in corporate America.
One by one, national corporations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Google are wading into the once-risky business of taking a position supporting gay marriage in states across the country.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which a federal appeals court called unconstitutional on Thursday. Forty-eight companies, including Nike, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, Exelon Corp., and Xerox had signed a brief arguing that the law negatively affected their businesses.
Read more- Politico
Last week, I called attention to, but did not write about, an important article by former Ambassador Thomas Melady and the Reverend Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical leader. The two men wrote about the need for Christians to oppose efforts in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality, including life-time prison sentences and even death as penalties in certain cases. I think Melady’s and Cizik’s article is very important.
Many gay men and women see the Christian Church as unjust and bigoted towards them. For purposes of this article, I will only consider the situation of the Catholic Church. Just today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in publishing its notice about Sr. Margaret Farley’s book on sexual ethics, reaffirmed the teaching that: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” It is not difficult to see how gay men and women could find these words hurtful and even demeaning, even though the CDF precedes this bit about “intrinsically disordered” by affirming the fact that the Church also teaches gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
I should like to see the Catholic Church, and the broader Christian community, do more to focus on the teaching about “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and think Melady’s and Cizik’s article does this. It does not ask the Church’s leaders to do something they do not think they could, i.e., change the Church’s teaching. It does not ask the Church to reverse its views on marriage. Instead, the call to oppose unjust discrimination against gays in Uganda asks the Church to do what it can.
Michael Sean Winters
-full post at National Catholic Reporter
The power of the laity’s pocketbook to respond positively when the hierarchy reacts negatively was front and center this week in Colorado.
Regular readers of this blog may remember that back in April, Bondings 2.0 reported that Compañeros, an immigrant social service agency in Durango, Colorado, was denied $30,000 of funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development by the Diocese of Pueblo because they participate in a social justice coalition which includes a gay-rights advocacy group.
In response, lay people and foundations have raised more than $60,000–more than double the original amount–to support Compañeros. The Denver Post reports:
” ‘A lady from Florida sent us $3. A man in England donated $1,000, and we’ve had everything in between,” [Compañeros’ Executive Director Nicole] Mosher said. ‘It was totally unexpected and amazing.’
‘The Gill Foundation, one of the largest funders of civil-rights activism for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, told Compañeros it would provide a matching grant of $30,000 if it could raise the first $30,000. Both have occurred.”
Equally significant is that money was raised by WithCharityforAll.org, a fund established with the help of the social justice group Catholics United. (Bondings 2.0 encouraged readers to support WithChairtyforAll.org’s campaign).
An eastern Louisville Baptist church has ordained an openly gay man as a minister with unanimous support from church members.
Highland Baptist Church on Sunday ordained Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard, a local gay-rights advocate who started the church’s gay and lesbian outreach group last year.
Church Pastor Joe Phelps says ordaining Blanchard was “new territory” for the church but in April it moved to support his ordination.
The Fairness Campaign, a Louisville-based gay rights organization, hailed Blanchard’s ordination as 1 of only about two dozen at Baptist churches in the U.S.
“My religion compels me–and I love it for it–to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider [the ban on gay marriage] a form of discrimination. I think it’s unconstitutional on top of that. So I think that yesterday was a great day for America because the president in a very personal, as well as presidential way, made history, and hopefully this will bring people together on the issue.