LGBT

Betsy Shirley 9-18-2017

Erica Lea. Image via Erica Lea.

Albuquerque Mennonite Church will announce today that they have called Erica Lea to be their pastor — the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as a lead pastor in the Mennonite Church USA, a denomination that claims more than 70,000 adult members in the U.S.

Layton E. Williams 9-13-2017

FILE PHOTO: Plaintiff Edith Windsor greets the crowd outside after arguments in her case against the Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Edith Windsor died at the age of 88 this week. Her legacy in bending the arc ever more toward justice — nationwide and indeed within the faith community — cannot be overstated.

In 2013, Edie won her Supreme Court case in a landmark victory for LGBTQ rights in the United States. I was newly out, trying to become a minister in a denomination that had just begun allowing the ordination of LGBTQ people. Even as my church still struggled to be fully inclusive toward LGBTQ people, many of us saw hope and possibility in stories like Edie’s. That hope kept us faithful — both to God and to our own queer identities.

Image via RNS/Sally Morrow

Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Sept. 6 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors — are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

the Web Editors 8-31-2017

On Tuesday, a group of 150 Evangelical leaders representing the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a document called the “Nashville Statement,” which delineates their conservative theological position on human sexuality and gender. The statement not only condemns those who are bisexual, lesbian, gay, and transgender, but also anyone who supports them — claiming that agreeing to disagree on human sexuality is sinful in itself.

Though little in the document is new, the response from countless other Christians — ranging from evangelicals to progressives — has been swift and emphatic.

Image via Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi

The opposition Nationalist Party backed the introduction of same-sex marriage, despite fierce criticism from some conservatives, who said it marked a damaging departure from the party's Christian-Democratic principles.

the Web Editors 7-10-2017

Image via Reuters/Brendan McDermid.

Sexual orientation change efforts — more commonly known as "reparative therapy" or "conversion therapy" — are currently legal in the United Kingdom. While the government condemns the practice, conversion therapy is not illegal. In March, a petition seeking to change the practice's legal status failed to garner enough signatures to be considered in Parliament. 

the Web Editors 6-30-2017

1. Who Gets to Use Facebook's Rainbow 'Pride' Reaction?
“Is Facebook’s rollout of rainbow flags a case of algorithmic hypocrisy, user protection, or something else? Using their ability to detect people’s location and interests, the company's algorithms are choosing which people get the rainbow flag while hiding it from others.“

2. As Climate Changes, Southern States Will Suffer More Than Others
Maine may benefit from milder winters. Florida, by contrast, could face major losses, as deadly heat waves flare up in the summer and rising sea levels eat away at valuable coastal properties.

David Beltrán 6-12-2017

Visitors sign a wall outside Pulse Nightclub on the one year anniversary of the shooting in Orlando, Fla. Image via Reuters/Scott Audette.

Rosado was one of the first people to be called the morning of June 12. The body count from the Pulse nightclub shooting was still unconfirmed, but as names started to be released, it was clear that most of the victims were Latinx, particularly of Puerto Rican descent. Many of their families only spoke rudimentary English, a secondary tongue not suitable to communicate the nuance of such tragic news. Rosado remembers how most of the hospital staff did not speak Spanish, and consistently mispronounced the Hispanic names of the victims.

Eliel Cruz 5-11-2017

Image via ep_jhu/Flickr

“I just wish we could have had more conversation before funds got dropped from 20-plus backing churches and organizations,” Hale told Sojourners. “Rather than the conversation, we went straight to protocol. And that’s a sad reality of the way big business and denomination operates.”

the Web Editors 3-22-2017

“It is not my practice to censor the invitations to campus from any of our theological centers or student organizations,” Barnes said in a letter addressed to the seminary community. “Yet many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that woman and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained… In order to communicate that the invitation to speak at the upcoming conference does not imply an endorsement of the Presbyterian Church in America’s views about ordination, we have agreed not to award the Kuyper Prize this year.”

Image via RNS

Enrollment has dropped at more than a quarter of Jewish Community Center preschools since a wave of threats against JCCs began in early January.

“I’m starting with the most difficult news, which is simply that more JCCs indicated something of a decline — but the majority have not,” said David Posner of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, sharing the results of the umbrella group’s latest member survey.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

In her sermon on the last Sunday of Black History Month, the Rev. Maria Swearingen preached about her belief that black lives, “queer lives,” and immigrant lives matter.

And since it also was Transfiguration Sunday, she pointed to the story in the Gospel of Matthew where God declared Jesus “beloved.” That is a term, she said, that can be used for everyone.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool

A day after his first speech to Congress, President Trump was still basking in unexpected praise from the public and some pundits, who saw in his delivery a man who finally came across as measured in tone and downright “presidential,” as some put it, even if his few policy prescriptions reiterated the hard line, nationalist agenda that propelled him to office.

But there is one key constituency that might not be as enamored with the address: social conservatives, whose support was arguably most critical to Trump’s election.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

The Rev. Leah Daughtry stood in front of fellow black Christian leaders and told them they will need to work harder for social justice.

“If you’ve been feeding them, now clothe them,” said the Pentecostal pastor and 2016 CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee at a conference last week. “If you’ve been clothing them, now console them. If you’ve been at a march, now lead the march. If you’ve been at a rally, now organize the rally.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Amit Dave

In one weekend, the swastika appeared in public places in three U.S. cities — HoustonChicago, and New York. The sight was so offensive, average New Yorkers pulled out hand sanitizer and tissues to wipe the graffiti from the walls of the subway where it had been scrawled.

“Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone,” one subway rider who was there said. He added, “Everyone kind of just did their jobs of being decent human beings.”

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

In January 2016, the Rev. Cynthia Meyer told her United Methodist Church congregation she felt “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is: “a woman who loves, and shares her life with, another woman.”

Jera Brown 1-24-2017

At GCNC in 2016, Rev. Broderick Greer spoke to this problem in his keynote address, “Theology as Survival.” In it, he said, “I survived — and am surviving — the strain of being subject to white heterosexist patriarchal theology.”

After the death of Michael Brown, Greer became active on Twitter using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag, and found “stories of black and brown people oppressed, silenced, and erased by white church leaders, pastors, and theologians — or theobrogians, as some of them are affectionately called. And the stories were like mine: incomplete, sore, familiar, frustrated,” he said.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

Crying out “no justice, no peace,” crowds joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in a weekend march towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, vowing not to let President-elect Donald Trump turn back strides made by the civil rights leader.

The mostly African-American throng — smaller than the thousands expected, due to the steady rain — heard from civic and religious leaders about key areas of concern: health care, voting rights, economic equality, and police brutality and reform.

Warren Hall 1-12-2017

Image via RNS/Francis Micklow/courtesy of The Star-Ledger

It has also been five months since Myers suspended me from all priestly ministry, for my “disobedience” in continuing to be involved with that same work against LGBT discrimination.

That’s given me a lot of time to think about what would happen when a new archbishop came to Newark, and what my future would be.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Molly Riley

The backlash to gospel singer Kim Burrell’s homophobic rant was swift: canceled national television appearances and the termination of her local public radio show.

But to those of us in religious communities, it’s important to note that, even as the controversy over Burrell’s statement recedes from the national spotlight, the issue of what goes on in the vast majority of American churches remains a festering wound.

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