Articles By This Author
Gay Mormon Characters Step Out of the Shadows
Twenty years ago, a gay Mormon character stepped onstage for the first time. His name was Joe Pitt, and he was in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches.
Pitt lived in New York with a good reputation and a bad marriage to a woman addicted to Valium. As colleagues dealt with the devastation and uncertainty of AIDS — it was the 1980s — he grappled with openly acknowledging his sexuality. He was Mormon. And gay. And the two didn’t mix.
Before Pitt, there was a gay Mormon character in a novel: Brigham Anderson, in Allan Drury’s Advise and Consent, published in 1959. But words like “gay” and “homosexual” weren’t used; it was all innuendo.
Now, the scene has changed: Gay Mormon characters and themes have a growing role in theater and literature.
David Lamb: Is God Really ‘Angry, Sexist and Racist?'
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Evangelical theologian David Lamb tackles some of the Bible’s most troubling passages in his book, God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? His answer: yes and no.
The book has received mixed reviews in the Christian blogosphere, but Lamb was well received when he recently spoke at a church here. Religion News Service sat down with Lamb, an Old Testament scholar at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pa., to find out how believers’ long-held views of a wrathful Old Testament God might waver with his findings.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Members of Destroyed Joplin Mosque Face Uncertain Future
When the mosque in Joplin, Mo., on the outskirts of town burned to the ground on Aug. 6, the imam’s 4-year-old son knew what to do.
He wanted to build another.
After all, that’s what his family had done with their home after it was destroyed by the tornado that tore through the town a little more than a year earlier.
The imam's family has a new home, but the wait for a new mosque is going to take a while.
A little more than a month after the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque was destroyed by fire, the local Muslim community is moving forward with support from the interfaith community.
But progress is slow.
Missouri 'Right to Pray' Amendment Passes By Wide Margin
Voters in Missouri overwhelmingly approved a "right to pray" amendment to the state's constitution on Tuesday, despite concerns about the measure's necessity and legality.
Amendment 2, which supporters said would protect the freedom of religious expression in public schools and other public spaces, received nearly 80 percent of the vote.
The language on Tuesday's ballot stressed the rights of citizens to express their religious beliefs and the rights of children to pray and acknowledge God in schools. It also stated that students could be exempted from classroom activities that violate their religious beliefs.
State Rep. Mike McGhee, a Republican who sponsored the amendment, said it would remind people about their religious freedoms, such as reading religious books at school. "It's OK to bring your Bible to study hall," he said.
Counter-protesters Target Westboro Baptist Church
Thousands of people wearing red shirts gathered in downtown Columbia, Mo., July 21 to honor an Army solider killed recently in Afghanistan—and to fend off Westboro Baptist Church.
The controversial church, based in Topeka, Kan., had posted fliers around Columbia in advance of the funeral of Army Spc. Sterling Wyatt, who was killed July 11 by an improvised explosive device.
“These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America," the posters read. "THANK GOD FOR IEDs.”