At INTERCHANGE: “Scripture and Science and Sex, OH MY!”

6cafa7f65ae286b6d782da379ac5af04Evangelical Christian and LGBTIQ ally, Kathy Baldock, is confirmed for INTERCHANGE on Saturday June 29th at the Bozeman Public Library.

You may remember Kathy from last year’s Montana Pride Celebration- she was the one leading the contingent of people wearing T-shirts that said “Hurt by Church? Get a Str8 Apology Here.”

She also led the counter protest against the “Christian” on the ladder during the parade.

When I asked Kathy what she hoped to give us at this workshop, she said, “I want people to realize that the limits of scripture and science and human knowledge have to always be tempered by human experience. In the six years of engaging in dialogue with the straight Evangelical and Protestant communities, I have learned what works to bring understanding on the issue of homosexuality and the Bible. I want to help you find the way to productive conversations through Scripture, science, reasoning and discussion techniques.”

Kathy Baldock, of Canyonwalker Connections, represents the journey many Evangelical Christians are considering as they try to reconcile what the have been told about the LGBTQ community and what they are experiencing  in relationship with gay and transgender friends. The tension of “How do I understand what the Bible says?” with “How do I accurately represent Jesus?” is creating conflict in the conservative church. From her own life, Kathy will share how she has been able to guide people with their personal questioning in a new way to a fuller understand of the message of God’s inclusion of His LGBT children.

This presentation is sponsored by Gallatin Valley PFLAG.

Why You Shouldn’t Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Reprinted from Bilerico.com

By Bil Browning

As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army bell ringers are out in front of stores dunning shoppers for donations. If you care about gay rights, you’ll skip their bucket in favor of a charity that doesn’t actively discriminate against the LGBT community.

The Salvation Army has a history of active discrimination against gays and lesbians. While you might think you’re helping the hungry and homeless by Thumbnail image for Why you shouldn't give to the Salvation Armydropping a few dollars in the bright red buckets, not everyone can share in the donations. Many LGBT people are rejected by the evangelical church charity because they’re “sexually impure.”

The church claims it holds “a positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” The Salvation Army doesn’t believe that gays and lesbians should ever know the intimacy of any loving relationship, instead teaching that “Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”

On its webpage, the group claims that “the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation.” While the words are nice, their actions speak volumes. They blatantly ignore the position statement and deny LGBT people services unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” In other words, if you’re gay or lesbian, you don’t qualify.

The organization also has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies – including an attempt to make consensual gay sex illegal. (Yes, you’re paying lobbyists with those donations.)

After the break are some highlights from the evangelical Christian charity’s recent anti-gay political lobbying, a handy video with more information, and a list of charities who don’t discriminate against their clients and employees.

Click here to read the rest at Bilerico.com

NYT/CBS Poll: Catholic Religious Leaders Out Of Touch

Today’s poll on President Obama and the economy also gauged voter’s take on two key religious “hot buttons”- and it turns out they’re not so hot:

Mosaic cross ~Lobby of New West Catholic gym

Mosaic cross ~Lobby of New West Catholic gym (Photo credit: laudu)

Despite the deep divide between some religious leaders and government officials over contraceptives, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found most voters support the new federal directive that health insurance plans provide coverage for birth control.

In addition, most voters said they favored some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples, at a time when the New Jersey Legislature is set to vote on gay marriage and after a federal appellate court ruled that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.

A majority of Catholic voters in the poll were at odds with the church’s official stance, agreeing with most other voters that religiously affiliated employers should offer health insurance that provides contraception. Jennifer Davison, 38, a Catholic from Lomita, Calif., agrees with the federal requirement. “My opinion is that it is a personal issue rather than a religious issue,” she said in a follow-up interview.

Unlike Catholics, white evangelical Christian voters were more divided, with half objecting to requiring the health insurance plans of religious employers to cover contraceptives; 43 percent supported it. “It is a religious issue with me,” said Jessica Isner, 22, an evangelical Christian from Elkins, W. Va. “I believe that providing birth control is O.K. if the hospital is not religiously affiliated.”

Gay marriage is another debate in which the Catholic laity disagrees with church doctrine. More than two-thirds of Catholic voters supported some sort of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships: 44 percent favored marriage, and 25 percent preferred civil unions. Twenty-four percent said gay couples should receive no legal recognition.

Click here for graphic of full poll results

TWO THIRDS. This is bearing out that the sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful) is much more “common” (read ‘in touch’) than that of the magisterium. And the gap of common sense just seems to be getting wider….

 Read the complete NYT story here

Remembering Fatal Homophobia

In an excellent Op-Ed in the New York Times this morning, we are reminded that homophobia isn’t simple ignorance- in some parts of the world- as in the author’s Uganda- it’s fatal:

English: No Homophobia logo

Image via Wikipedia

The way I see it, homophobia — not homosexuality — is the toxic import. Thanks to the absurd ideas peddled by American fundamentalists, we are constantly forced to respond to the myth — debunked long ago by scientists — that homosexuality leads to pedophilia. For years, the Christian right in America has exported its doctrine to Africa, and, along with it, homophobia. In Uganda, American evangelical Christians even held workshops and met with key officials to preach their message of hate shortly before a bill to impose the death penalty for homosexual conduct was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in 2009. Two years later, despite my denunciation of all forms of child exploitation, David Bahati, the legislator who introduced the bill, as well as Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem and other top government officials, still don’t seem to grasp that being gay doesn’t equate to being a pedophile.

Please read the rest here.