Conservative ‘Christian’ Pastor Openly Calls For Executing All Gay People By Christmas Day (VIDEO)
AUTHOR: STEPHEN D FOSTER JR DECEMBER 3, 2014 12:41 PM
It sounds like a sermon that would be delivered in Uganda, but it’s actually from the mouth of an American pastor in Arizona.
Conservative “Christian” Pastor Steven Anderson openly called for executing every gay person in America during a Sunday Sermon at his church in Tempe, Arizona. He claimed from the pulpit that gays need to be put to death in the name of God by Christams Day in an effort to wipe out AIDS, even though AIDS is not a virus exclusive to the LGBT community. Anderson opined:
Turn to Leviticus 20:13, because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along — and they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and testing. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.
In addition, Anderson went on a hateful tirade about how gay people will never to allowed to step foot inside his church.
“No homos will ever be allowed in this church as long as I am pastor here,” Anderson declared. “Never! Say ‘You’re crazy.’ No, you’re crazy if you think that there’s something wrong with my ‘no homo’ policy.”
Here’s the video via YouTube.
Slowly but surely, conservatives are becoming more extreme in their anti-gay views. So much so, that some are now willing to endorse genocide in the name of God in a desperate bid to force their agenda of hate upon the nation. Despite the fact that the Constitution is the law of the land, conservative “Christians” like Anderson want to replace that document with the Bible.
The mass extermination of an entire group people is something the Nazis would be applauding. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, conservatives are acting just like the Nazis did in Germany, from claims that homosexuality is a sign of the decay of the nation, to claiming that it’s a disease that can be “cured,” to calling for killing gay people.
Many in Germany regarded the Weimar Republic’s toleration of homosexuals as a sign of Germany’s decadence. The Nazis posed as moral crusaders who wanted to stamp out the “vice” of homosexuality from Germany…
Because some Nazis believed homosexuality was a sickness that could be cured, they designed policies to “cure” homosexuals of their “disease” through humiliation and hard work.
Thousands of gay people died in concentration camps under Nazi rule.
It sounds like Anderson is one of those who are posing as a “moral crusader” to push their hateful anti-gay agenda. And yet, conservatives have the nerve to compare liberals to the Nazis. If we continue to stand by and allow conservatives to take power in the United States, we may discover to our horror that similar Nazi anti-gay policies have been established under the cloak of religion.
it’s tragic that some congregations don’t like people who don’t conform to their behaviour patterns and belief systems, through fear, ignorance or bigotry. Perhaps that’s the underlying cause (and not “because the Bible says it’s wrong”) of so many C of S ministers and churches being so homophobic. LGBT folk will never be welcomed – but, hey, Jesus hasn’t been welcomed into their midst either!
I once had a thirty year old with severe learning disabilities in one of my congregations some years ago. He loved singing the hymns but would whoop and
shout during them. And everybody accepted that. He came every Sunday with his parents, one of whom was an Elder. At a KS meeting - before I became Minister
of this particular church - a majority of his Dad's fellow elders turned down a request that the young guy became a communicant member, on the grounds that "he
wouldn't understand" what was happening at Holy Communion. His father simply asked "How do you know?" The lad was admitted without any more discussion.
Did someone mention "grace"?
Have We Reached the End of Traditional Religion?
Jews and Christians Alike Are Straying From Affiliation
By Jay Michaelson
Changing Church: ‘The Catholic Church seems to be doubling down on its most conservative teachings. You know something’s changing when Rush Limbaugh calls the pope a Communist,’ writes Jay Michaelson.
Maybe the Christian Right is right. For almost 40 years now, they’ve been warning us that we’ve entered the wilderness, that traditional religion is being eroded. Did 2013 prove them right?
Item One: the Rise of the Nones. This phenomenon — nearly 20% of Americans listing “none” as their religious affiliation — was first documented in 2012, but only in 2013 did it emerge as a demographic and political fact, impacting how we vote, how we live and what we think about political issues. Strikingly, there are more and more Nones the younger the demographic sample gets. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 32% are Nones.
Item Two, or perhaps One-A, is the Pew Research Center’s survey of American Jews, which showed that 20% of American Jews (there’s that number again) consider themselves “Jews of no religion,” and that their non-religious Judaism is not a deep or sticky enough of an identity to be sustainable.
Third, even among non-Nones (Somes?), religious affiliation appears to be growing more polarized: There are now more fundamentalists, more liberal-to-atheists and fewer mainliners in between. Denominationally, this means fewer Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Conservative Jews and Reform Jews — and more evangelicals, Pentecostals, ultra-Orthodox and non-denominationals.
Mega-churches are spreading — it’ll be interesting to see whether charismatic forms of Judaism will mimic their success — and old-line churches are dwindling. It seems that the center cannot hold.
And then there’s the Pope. Under Benedict XVI, who resigned amid swirling rumors of sexual and financial scandals in the Vatican, the Catholic Church seemed to be entering a second Counter-Reformation, doubling down on its most conservative teachings and, by way of enormous “charitable” organizations, working to eviscerate legal protections for women and sexual minorities.
Now, Pope Francis tells us he won’t judge gay people, that the church is too obsessed with sexuality and that untrammeled capitalism is immoral.
You know something’s changing when Rush Limbaugh calls the pope a Communist.
Finally, even among those who still profess religious belief, the LGBT equality movement has caused a striking moderation in views. Staying with the Catholic Church for a moment, over 60% of church-going Catholics in America support same-sex marriage (compared to over 80% of Jews), which is above the national average. Even younger Evangelicals, galvanized around the Emerging Church movement, are beginning to say “live and let live” when it comes to gays, although they remain as staunchly anti-abortion as ever. Taboos are falling.
And at the same time, the influence of the so-called Christian Right is at a low point. Think about it: A few years ago, when we talked about conservative Republicans, we talked about the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council. Now, we talk about the Tea Party. Yes, many Tea Partiers are just warmed-over Christian Rightists. But the rhetoric is different, the issues are different and the churchmen aren’t calling the shots.
Clearly, no one factor explains all of these disparate trends. We still don’t know why Americans are becoming more like Europeans when it comes to matters of (un-)belief: secular culture, science, the excesses of “bad religion,” interfaith marriages and so on. It may just be a matter of survey respondents feeling more comfortable saying “None.”
Nor do we really know what the future holds, for Jews or anyone else. We can speculate that the growth in secularism and the concomitant growth in fundamentalism are related — but which is the horse and which is the cart?
It does seem, though, that 2013 was a year in which traditional religious affiliation underwent significant change. Is this the dawning of a new, liberal age, in which America finally starts to look a little more like the rest of the Western world?
Don’t count on it. American religion is nothing if not resilient. It is malleable enough to change with the times, and if anyone ever does declare war on Christmas, they will lose. We remain a weirdly religious country.
There are signs of innovation and renewal, too — forms of religion which focus on the pastoral and the personal, rather than the dogmatic. And these values are timeless. No matter how shopworn and threadbare our religious language sometimes becomes, the mystery and tragedy of human experience still remains — and so religion endures. Remember, even that famous sermon about losing one’s religion begins, “Oh, life, it’s bigger — it’s bigger than you…”
Jay Michaelson is a contributing editor to the Forward.
The Huffington Post By James Nichols Posted: 09/06/2013 11:25 am EDT
Pastor and right-wing radio host Kevin Swanson has some choice words surrounding the closing of an Oregon bakery that rejected a lesbian couple’s wedding cake job, and is offering advice for all Christians considering attending same-sex nuptials: hold up a sign informing the happy couple that they are an abomination and “should be put to death.”
“This is what homosexuals do best,” Swansom stated on his program. “They will engage in their Pink Mafia, their effort to control and shut down business that do not cooperate with their agenda…I think you can attend a [gay] wedding if you hold up a sign that reads Leviticus 20:13 … I guess it comes down to if you bake a cake for a homosexual wedding you could put Leviticus 20:13 on the cake.”
Swanson’s comments stem from the closing of Sweet Cakes by Melissa after the owners received nationwide backlash for refusing to bake wedding cake for a lesbian couple and coming under investigation for discrimination. The couple told the Christian Broadcasting Network that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates used “militant, mafia-style tactics” to shut down their bakery.
In the past, Swanson has been no stranger to making extreme homophobic and anti-gay claims. Following the repeal of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay youth members, the pastor stated that the move would lead to scouts receiving merit badges for cannibalism and sodomy. Earlier this year, as same-sex marriage gained more traction in political and social life, Swanson claimed that the legalization of gay marriage would prompt gays to burn Christians at the stake
And who can forget when the right-wing pundit insinuated that gay people caused Hurricane Sandy, or claimed that ‘Star Trek Into Darkness” promotes bestiality? Or, his reaction when Jim Henson nixed the “Muppets” deal with Chic-Fil-A: “Kermit is not that interested in Miss Piggy — maybe he’s interested in another frog…I think Miss Piggy on a bun — that’s a better bet, the winner!”
Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke, the first women to wed legally in Minnesota, are married by Rev. James Gertmenian on August 1. (Stacy Bengs/Associated Press)
For most gay Americans in the 20th century, the church was a place of pain. It cast them out and called them evil. It cleaved them from their families. It condemned their love and denied their souls. In 2004, a president was elected when religious voters surged from their pews to vote against the legal recognition of gay relationships. When it came to gay rights, religion was the enemy.
A decade later, the story is very different. Congregations across the country increasingly accept, nurture, and even marry their gay brethren. Polls show majorities of major Christian denominations — including American Catholics, despite their church’s staunch opposition — support legal gay marriage. Leaders of some of the most conservative sects, like the Southern Baptists, have moved away from the vitriolic rhetoric of yesteryear and toward a more compassionate tone. Mormons march in gay-pride parades. A sitting Republican senator, a Methodist from the heartland state of Ohio, says the question was settled for him by “the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.” A new pope says, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Gradually, and largely below the radar, religious Americans have powered this momentous shift. In 2004, just 36 percent of Catholics, the Christian sect most supportive of gay marriage, favored it, along with 34 percent of mainline Protestants; today, it’s 57 percent of Catholics and 55 percent of mainline Protestants. Even among white evangelical Protestants, the most hostile group to gay marriage, support has more than doubled, from 11 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2013. “This debate has gone from a debate between nonreligious and religious Americans to a debate dividing religious Americans,” said Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, who has closely tracked the evolution in public opinion.
This change — from most religious Americans opposing gay rights to many of them supporting it — didn’t happen by accident. It is the fruit of an aggressive campaign by a determined gay-rights movement that realized, particularly in the wake of the 2004 elections, that you cannot win politically in America if you are arguing against religious faith. It is a recent development — Jones dates the “tipping point” to 2011 — and it has helped marginalize gay-marriage opponents by discrediting their most powerful claim: that they speak for the religious community.
For gay Americans, the consequences are already profound: a new generation of gay youth that may grow up less scarred by caustic preaching. The political repercussions, still unfolding, hold the key to further progress in the fight to expand gay rights, particularly marriage, nationwide.
“After the 2004 elections, the story was that we were losing to the value voters,” said Sharon Groves, director of the religion and faith program of the Human Rights Campaign — a position created in 2005. “Family values were defined, largely, as anti-LGBT. The people making the case for the family values side were religious leaders, and we as a movement were responding with advocates and lawyers.” The message audiences got from that image: Religion was on one side and gay rights was on the other.
Groves spent last weekend manning a booth for her organization at the Wild Goose Festival, an annual gathering of social-justice-minded Protestants in rural North Carolina sometimes dubbed “Woodstock for Evangelicals.” It was the first time the Human Rights Campaign had a formal presence at the festival. Over and over, people came to her tent, burst into tears, and said, “I’m so happy you’re here.”
“I get it all the time,” she said. “People have been told for so many years if you’re a gay person you basically don’t belong in the religious community. And straight folks, too, want to see their religion as a source of love and inclusion that’s making people’s lives better, not shaming people or keeping them out.”
Reaching Out In 2003, the head of New York’s largest gay-rights group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, had a realization. If gays were the only people who cared about gay rights, they would lose. “In Albany, who do legislators listen to?” Alan van Capelle asked his fellow activists at a dinner at the Sheraton in Manhattan. “Corporations, labor unions, and people of faith. If we can win their support, we can win the issue.”
Out of this epiphany came three campaigns, dubbed “Pride in My Workplace,” “Pride in Our Union,” and “Pride in the Pulpit.” Van Capelle, a former labor organizer, set out to build “an army of unusual allies.” The pulpit campaign began with a single organizer who rounded up a handful of supportive clergymembers. They crisscrossed the state talking to priests, pastors, and laypeople. “Somewhere in your congregation, there is a parent of a child who’s just come out, looking to be comforted,” they told them. “There’s a gay or lesbian kid struggling with their identity and looking for leadership.” To many clergy, it rang true. Even when clergy members weren’t receptive, the activists went to the congregations, drawing support from the rank and file.
By the end of the campaign, they counted 800 congregations and 1,000 clergy on their side, including the Episcopal bishop of Rochester. A lobbying delegation to the legislature in 2005 included two priests, complete with vestments and crosses around their necks. As legislators inched toward supporting same-sex marriage, these religious activists were there to provide cover, whether they hailed from a white district upstate or a Hispanic district in the Bronx. “We felt like we were doing something radical at the time — using faith as a tool not only to move our agenda but also to begin to heal a very wounded community,” van Capelle said recently.
Gay marriage passed in New York in July of 2011. Van Capelle now heads a Jewish social-justice group called Bend the Arc that focuses on domestic issues. (American Jews are by far the most supportive religious group of gay marriage: 81 percent are in favor, a greater proportion even than the 76 percent of nonreligious Americans who support it.) His 2007 commitment ceremony was attended by then-Governor David Paterson, a drag queen DJ, a rabbi, a priest, and a nun.
“Our job now is to take the lessons we learned to congregations in other parts of the country that are looking to win the right to marry,” van Capelle said. “I hope the larger progressive community is beginning to understand that we need people of faith for all of our struggles. Once they are organized, they are an incredibly powerful force for change.”
Other gay-rights campaigners have come to the same conclusion. All four of the successful state campaigns for gay-marriage ballot measures last fall — Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington — had dedicated organizers working in the faith community. Often they were greeted, like van Capelle, by an outpouring of pent-up support. Campaigners who invited faith leaders to an organizing meeting in Minneapolis in 2011 were stunned when the turnout of 700 more than tripled their expectations, packing a Methodist church and spilling out the doors. By the end, the campaign had the support of all six of the state’s Lutheran bishops.
Central to this outreach has been a message that emphasizes religious teachings about compassion, tolerance, and humility. Religious leaders and followers want to feel that they’re not choosing politics over religion but bringing the two into alignment. When President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage more than a year ago, he framed it as a matter not of separating church and state but of following Christian teaching: “When we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule,” he said. “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.” Senator Rob Portman of Ohio wrote of his switch on the issue, “Gay couples’ desire to marry doesn’t amount to a threat but rather a tribute to marriage, and a potential source of renewed strength for the institution.”
As van Capelle and other activists will tell you, some churches have been more receptive than others. African-American Protestants and white Evangelicals have been the most challenging — but not impossible. In Maryland last year, a black megachurch pastor named Delman Coates came out in favor of gay marriage and testified at the state legislature. A decade ago, clergy who went out on a limb like this sometimes found themselves quickly and effectively put out of business as their conservative congregations abandoned them. Churches literally shut down over the issue. But Coates’ flock of 8,000 did not punish him — it grew. “The people in the pew are further along on this issue than those of us in the pulpit,” Coates told the Washington Post.
Turning South It’s no coincidence that the two sects most hostile to gay marriage are concentrated in the American South — the region where same-sex marriage polls the worst. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, as of March 2013, 43 percent of Southerners support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry (up from 25 percent in 2004), as opposed to 62 percent of Northeasterners, 53 percent of Midwesterners and 58 percent of Westerners. If the campaign for gay marriage is to convert this region, it will have to do so through its institutions — primarily its conservative churches, black and white alike.
Among the most conservative Christian denominations, there are signs of fatigue with the culture war. Two of the religious right’s most vocal combatants, James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, have stepped down in the past few years, ceding their posts to more moderate-minded successors. Jim Daly, Dobson’s replacement, is a 52-year-old Californian who has met with gay-rights leaders and appeared at the White House for a fatherhood initiative.
Russell Moore, the Southern Baptists’ new head of public policy, put out a statement after the Supreme Court’s gay-marriage rulings in June that notably declined to criticize the decisions or inveigh against the court. “Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing,” Moore wrote. “It’s a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done. It’s time for us to point beyond our family values and our culture wars to the cross of Christ.”
With nearly 16 million members in more than 46,000 congregations, the Southern Baptists are America’s largest non-Catholic denomination. In an interview this week, Moore, a 41-year-old former aide to a Mississippi Democratic congressman, stressed that the church’s doctrine has not changed. “Among churchgoing, conservative evangelicals, the convictions haven’t changed at all,” he said. “But there is fatigue — more than fatigue — there is a rejection of seeing those who disagree with us as enemies.”
The younger generation in particular, he said, prizes “speaking with conviction but also speaking with kindness as gospel people. We believe we’re all sinners. No one stands in some sinless point of judgment except for God.” Significantly, Moore, who recently taught a Christian ethics class on the subject of how to minister to a transgender congregant, says he has received no negative feedback on the new tone he’s taken.
Conservative religious leaders like Moore and Daly — and indeed Pope Francis — aren’t backing down from their opposition to gay marriage. But the change in tone is progress from gay activists’ point of view. The gay-rights movement has sought to assuage faith leaders’ concerns by building guarantees into legislation that no church will be forced to perform a marriage it doesn’t approve. Federal nondiscrimination legislation currently being considered by the Senate has a broad religious-liberty clause that exempts all churches and religious nonprofits. These concessions have been hard to swallow for some in the gay activist community, but most see them as a necessary compromise.
A cynic could see these churches’ repositioning as a response to market pressure. As the culture changes, they fear being left behind if they don’t evolve along with it, particularly considering the overwhelming sentiment of the younger generation. (Even among the most conservative Christian group in America, 51 percent of white evangelicals aged 18 to 34 now support gay marriage.) There’s no question this is partly the story of an overall change in American public opinion toward gay rights; it’s also partly the story of a rising religious left that seeks an alternative focus to the old religious right.
“The faith community in general, like the rest of the country, has been going through a period of soul-searching in regards to gay marriage and gay rights,” said Michael Wear, a former faith-outreach official in the Obama White House and on the reelection campaign. “Many Christian leaders, even those who oppose gay marriage, are saying, ‘Is there a way to approach this issue that’s faithful to our view of Scripture but doesn’t turn young people away from the church?'”
For faith leaders and LGBT activists alike, a reconciling, gradual but profound, is under way. “People have been told for decades that homosexuality is a sin, but they know really good LGBT people, and they don’t know what to do,” said Groves of the Human Rights Campaign. “We need to be going into those conservative religious spaces with messages like the pope — who am I to judge? Once people see the humanity of LGBT people, it is very hard to hold onto a vitriolic stance.”
written byHANNAH MUDGE PUBLISHED 01.08.20133
We want depth, we want space to be ourselves, but our needs are also linked to our stage of life.
Last week, Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece for the CNN belief blog that touched a nerve. It’s received 185,000 shares on Facebook and more than 2,600 on Twitter. This post has been a main talking point among Christians I know for days now. Entitled “Why millennials are leaving the church“, it’s Evans’s take on the oft-discussed issue of why people aged (roughly) between 18 and 30 are quitting church or reassessing what they want out of a Sunday service, young people’s ministries, and church community. Just one take on the problem of the “missing generation”, it’s prompted a flurry of responses.
While Evans’s post discusses the reasons why Millennials – also known as Generation Y – have become disillusioned with the evangelical Church in the US, I’ve seen many friends from the UK discussing the experiences of people they know in the same way – and putting forward ideas of how things could change.
There are some similarities with Christian culture in the US – the tensions between the Church and those who identify as LBGT, the perceived obsession with sex, the tendency for our generation to want to live life ‘untethered’, as a ‘traveller’ – resulting in ‘spiritual homelessness’, and the perception that the Church is hostile towards those who have questions and doubts.
But there are also many differences; which makes me wonder whether the Church in the UK is haemorrhaging Millennials for different reasons. Less prominent in the debate here are the ‘culture wars’, the conflict between science and faith, and the Church pushing an agenda that aligns itself with a particular political party.
In fact, most Millennials – or at least the ones I know – haven’t so much left the Church as never had anything to do with it in the first place. It has never been a part of their lives; the times they have engaged with church seem boring and like something that belongs to another time, another generation. They don’t need church, and they don’t see the point of it. Tearfund’s well-known Churchgoing in the UK report from 2007 told us that two thirds ofUK adults have no connection with church whatsoever; whether that’s because they’ve never been to church at all, or are “de-churched”. As I was talking about this to an American friend on Twitter this week, she told me that growing up in a fundamentalist church, members had been “warned” that without action, the US would become as “Godless” as the UK.
Held Evans’s post discussed how she has observed a trend of Millennials leaving evangelical churches and instead turning to high church traditions. She described liturgy as compelling because it has no desire to be cool. It’s “refreshingly authentic”. But in these difficult times for my generation, the word ‘authentic’ is now bandied about so much that I wonder if it’s losing meaning. Could it be possible that ‘authenticity’, often used to describe ‘being real’, creating close community based on love and friendship, welcoming those who have questions, and focusing on ‘doing life together’, is just another buzzword – a catch-all term for everything that’s slightly offbeat yet keen on being relational?
It’s important that we don’t replace one gimmick with another. Earlier this week, when I shared a post from aUSchurch leader on how his church was providing an authentic environment for Millennials, one friend commented to say how “terrifying” it sounded to her. One thing I know about my generation is that we’re cynical enough to spot a gimmick when we see one – and we understand that church, like everything else, is not one size fits all.
We want depth, we want space to be ourselves, but our needs are also linked to our stage of life, our background, where we are on our journey of faith, our preferred ways of expressing ourselves and learning. So perhaps solving the problem of the missing generation won’t mean a directive on what churches must do. Does it, instead, mean listening to us first?
Exodus International Apologizes For Harm To LGBT Community
20 June 2013
The leadership of Exodus International has announced that they are shutting their doors after 3 decades of practicing so-called ‘ex-gay’ ministry.
According to a statement on the group’s web site, the board of directors was finding ‘ex-gay’ work more and more difficult, given their anti-gay words and actions.
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, was a well-documented figure on GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project for previous anti-gay statements. However, his tone and words began shifting over the course of the past two years. Today, Chambers posted an apology on the Exodus web site for the harm that he had caused LGBT people and their families in his quest to make them match an anti-gay view of God.
I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.
I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.
The timing comes as Exodus opened what is now to be their last conference. It also comes just one day before an episode of Our America with Lisa Ling, in which Chambers offers an apology (part of which is printed above) to a group of ex-gay survivors. This is a follow-up for Ling, who two years ago did an episode on so-called ‘ex-gay’ programs that featured Chambers and other ‘ex-gay’ practitioners.
“Alan Chambers, and the rest of the Exodus leadership, has fully and completely come to the realization that their so-called ‘ministry’ has done harm to thousands of people,” said Ross Murray, Director of News and Faith Initiatives. “They are coming to the right decision to end that harm now.”
THE Church of Scotland has voted to allow the appointment of ministers in same-sex relationships in a historic shift, despite a lingering threat of an evangelical split.
TENSE TIMES: The Kirk’s Procurator Laura Dunlop with the Clerks at the General Assembly in Edinburgh during the debate on gay clergy yesterday. Picture: Gordon Terris
Two former moderators to the Church’s General Assembly were key to the day-long debate, which was sparked by the appointment of the openly gay Reverend Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen four years ago.
A surprise 11th-hour challenge to the Kirk’s own Theological Commission by last year’s moderator, the Very Reverend Albert Bogle, led to the groundbreaking decision. The final vote was 340 to 282.
The current Moderator, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, said: “This is a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church.”
And Mr Rennie welcomed the move last night, saying decision would allow congregations to call the minister of their choice: be they lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.
But traditionalists warned it could cost the Kirk “members, ministers, congregations and money”.
Mr Bogle’s motion at the Kirk’s annual gathering called for a traditionalist stance, but allowing congregations to opt out. It overturned the commission’s revisionist option that would have meant congregations against gay ministers in same-sex relationships would have to opt out.
How it will work is unclear and a new Theological Forum will examine the issue. The process of opting out may involve some form of congregational declaration, one minister suggested.
Such a decision was failure of leadership, according the Reverend David Randall, who said such sitting on the fence would anger many traditionalists who believe Scripture does not sanction homosexuality.
A moratorium on recruitment of gay clergy remains in place until at least next year.
Former moderator the Very Reverend Dr John Cairns introduced a strongly revisionist amendment to allow all gay clergy. He reminded commissioners of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s previous address to the assembly when he said “all belong to the Church”.
He withdrew his motion after his speech to the assembly at The Mound in Edinburgh.
Mr Bogle described Mr Cairns as a “clever fox” before laying out his motion. He said he felt compelled to lodge his challenge. He said: “I have put myself out on a limb just has John [Cairns] has, and if I am cut off I am cut off.”
Mr Bogle’s motion was accepted by some traditionalists. Seconding the move, the Reverend Alan Hamilton of Killermont Parish in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, said: “I do not want to depart from the traditional view of the Church, a view I believe is enshrined in the Bible and the will of God.
“But I believe this is the time for the Church, particularly traditionalists like me, to concede to allow others who disagree space to express that disagreement.”
He described it as an option that “does not require the Church to abandon its traditional position and all that flows from it, not least our position among world churches”.
However, Mr Randall said the issue of gay clergy “has been forced upon us by the revisionists who want us to turn our backs on what common sense tells us”.
“If we go revisionist or try to sit on the fence then we will lose members, ministers, congregations and money. Are we to stand by Scripture or are we to go with the flow of social trends?”
The Reverend John Chalmers, Principal Clerk of the Kirk, said: “This has been a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church. At the end of a long day we came down to a choice of two motions, both of which were for what we have called from the beginning: the mixed economy.”
Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) campaign group, Equality Network, said: “We welcome this decision by the Church of Scotland, which is particularly important for the many LGBT people within the Church and their friends and family.
“This is a positive step forward for a more equal society, and speaks to the progressive values of 21st-century Scotland.”
The decision will go back to General Assembly next year for the law to be drafted and fully introduced in 2015.
The appointment of Mr Rennie, who was backed by most of his congregation and by the General Assembly, in 2009 caused two congregations and six ministers to break away.
A blog dedicated to the thoughts, opinions, ideas and random madness of Edward W. Raby, Sr. - Pastor, Theologian, Philosopher, Writer, Bodybuilder and Football Fan. "Yes, the dog is foaming at the mouth. Don't worry, He just had pint of beer and is trying to scare you." This is a Theology Pub so drink your theology responsibly or have a designated driver to get you home as theology can be as intoxicating as alcohol.
To conspire... act in harmony toward a common or agreed upon end. God wants to conspire with us [and] this means that God calls us to give our lives to God, to surrender completely, so we may live more fully. Dallas Willard