July 14, 2007

Coverage of a City's First "Gay" Church

The Metropolitan Community Church continues its international outreach by opening a new church in Worcester, England. According to this report by the Worcester News, it's the first of its kind in that city.

Rev Chris Dowd, an Australian who came to the UK 12 years ago and who is leading the services, said: "It's appalling that there simply isn't a place where openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people can come to church and be accepted for who they are. For a substantial number of gay and lesbian people spirituality is very important.

"There is a difference between being tolerant of sexuality and celebrating it."

He said: "The church is on the liberal side but people don't have to be gay to come to it. Some gay people feel that they are expected to sit at the back of the church and say nothing.

"The fact that people don't see a need for a gay church is the problem. A lot of people who attend the church have been on the receiving end of bigotry from people. Most people in my church - particularly the gays and lesbians - have suffered terrible stress from other denominations and feel they can't worship freely.

As I've written before, I don't want to be tolerated, I want to be accepted for who I am. If I were gay, I would seek no less but often be disappointed. ALL people deserve to have a church where they can go to worship God in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of who they are as individuals. To accomplish the first part of that, I strongly believe one needs to be able to do the second part.

This is one of the primary reasons that here in the U. S. there are still many churches that are primarily African-American. Historically, they needed their own churches to not feel like second-class citizens in congregations controlled by white people. It's hard not to see the irony in the fact that "gay" houses of worship and GLBT activists face some of their stiffest opposition from the leaders of those African-American churches.

I put "gay" in quotes here because, though I understand why these churches are described that way, I don't believe it's accurate. That phrase implices the exclusion of anyone who is not gay, and I have not found that to be the case.

When I first started attending Believers Covenant Fellowship, I was warmly received and accepted, not tolerated, even though it would fall under the "gay church" classification and I was a straight man. I have bonded with these wonderful people and call them "my strange little church family." They have loved me and helped me grow in my walk with God, and I have enjoyed poking fun at them as they have at me over our differences.

To me, congregations like BCF are not "gay churches," they are accepting and affirming.

Shouldn't all our places of worship be like that, regardless of race and/or sexual orientation.

After all, God is.

Thanks to PageOneQ for the tip.

Knowing You Are Is Worth the Cost

That's the moral of the story told by the life of Brandon Kneefel, a 20 year-old in Michigan. From the Detroit Free Press:

"I was 14 when my parents asked me if I was gay," said Kneefel, who was born in Dearborn and raised in Livonia. "I said that I was, and they immediately wanted to get me counseling."

For Kneefel, a popular student who holds track and field records at Livonia's Stevenson High School, it should have been a relief finally to acknowledge outwardly what he'd felt inside since he was 4. Instead, it unleashed a nightmare.

His family was humiliated and repulsed by his homosexuality. They objected to him running for student body president, fearing he would negatively influence other students. They didn't want him to play football for similar reasons.

"All I saw was their fear," he said.

Click on the link above to read the rest of the story. Amazingly, it is one of validation, not tragedy.

July 13, 2007

"David Vitter, Another Victim of Gay Marriage"

If you've been watching the news in recent days (always a dangerous proposition), you've probably heard of the latest right winger to get caught with his zipper down, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. His phone number showed up on the recently released records of a Washington, DC "madam," who he contacted to obtain the services of a prostitute. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the Christian Coalition had rated Vitter 100% for his pro-family voting record.

Here is a clever tounge-in-cheek essay by Jon Swift, who blames the whole mess on gay marriage. The post is good, and so are some of the comments although someone took the essay far too seriously.

I link to these type of stories because I have a sarcastic sense of humor and more so because writings like this help point out how absurd the whole "gay marriage will destroy society" is when put in the context of a real situation. Here's a taste of the essay:

Though it is very magnanimous of Vitter to accept responsibility for his transgressions, is he really to blame? After the Hollywood left redefined marriage, it must have been a very difficult and confusing time for him. The failure of the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment must have taken a severe toll on him as he struggled to figure out what marriage really is if even gays can do it. As he grappled with the issue, is it any surprise that he found solace in the embrace of a disinterested paid companion?

Sadly, you just KNOW there are some nitwits out there who actually believe this.

Featured Organization: The Naming Project

Ross from the website In Lay Terms gave me a heads up about a wonderful organization he works with in the Minneapolis area called The Naming Project. The following is from their website:

The Naming Project is a faith-based youth group serving youth of all sexual and gender identities. The primary focus is to provide a place for youth who are gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgender/ queer/questioning to learn, grow, and share their experiences. In this way The Naming Project is a space in which youth can comfortably discuss faith and who they understand themselves to be--whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender...or straight.

The Naming Project is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a mission and outreach of Bethany Lutheran Church in the Seward neighborhood. However, The Naming Project reaches out to youth across the United States through its programs.

Programs of The Naming Project Include:
* Local meetings on Sunday evenings in Minneapolis
* Outings to Worship and Fellowship Experiences
* E-mail check-ins and resources for youth and parents
* Workshops and conversations for youth in schools, communities, and churches
* Workshops for youth workers, parents, and congregations
* A five-day summer camp for youth

There is also a film about the camp titled Camp Out that will premier on the LOGO network on Saturday, July 28th.

I think this kind of work is so very important. One of the biggest issues I've run across in the GLBT community is the difficulty people have in unlearning who they thought they were supposed to be and coming to understand who they really are. Groups like this can help avoid much of that pain by encouraging youth to accept who they are at an earlier age and learn to love themselves and others.

If you know of an organization that is working for the benefit of the GLBT community, please let me know at straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com and I'll be happy to feature them here.

July 12, 2007

The U. S. As a Safe Haven for GLBT People

As I've chronicled here over time, even with the limitations on civil rights GLBT face in the United States, there are many nations where the situation is much, much worse. That makes the U. S. an attractive destination for seeking political asylum, according to the Washington Post.

Harassment and abuse of gay men and lesbians is becoming increasingly accepted as grounds for legal asylum in the United States, even at a time of conservative judicial activism, fear about HIV/AIDS transmission and increased scrutiny of asylum seekers. The government does not disclose a breakdown of reasons for granting asylum petitions, but legal advocacy groups in several major U.S. cities said they have won dozens of cases.

Homosexuality, once a de facto condition for barring foreigners from entering the country, is now officially recognized by the U.S. government as a category that might subject individuals to persecution in their homeland, just as if they were political dissidents in a dictatorship or religious minority members in a theocracy.

But although petitioning for asylum on the basis of sexual orientation has become far easier since 1994, when then-Attorney General Janet Reno ordered that a groundbreaking case involving a gay Cuban refugee be viewed as a legal precedent, such asylum cases are still extremely difficult to win, according to lawyers in Washington and elsewhere.

One reason is that applicants face multiple burdens of proof. They must demonstrate that they were abused or harassed by authorities, not merely by angry relatives or drunken hooligans, or that the authorities failed to protect them. They must also prove that they were abused because they are homosexual -- and thus prove that they are, in fact, gay.

It is still an uphill struggle for GBLT people to immigrate into the United States, and the organization Immigration Equality is working to improve that situation. Click on the link if you are interested in learning more about this issue.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Gay Rights

In case you missed this excerpt from a Vanity Fair article in which actor/activist Brad Pitt interviewed Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, here it is via the site Josh & Josh are Rich & Famous:

Brad Pitt: So certainly discrimination has no place in Christianity. There's a big argument going on in America right now, on gay rights and equality.

Desmond Tutu: For me, I couldn't ever keep quiet. I came from a situation where for a very long time people were discriminated against, made to suffer for something about which they could do nothing--their ethnicity. We were made to suffer because we were not white. Then, for a very long time in our church, we didn't ordain women, and we were penalizing a huge section of humanity for something about which they could do nothing--their gender. And I'm glad that now the church has changed all that. I'm glad that apartheid has ended. I could not for any part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change--their sexual orientation. For me, I can't imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted. The Jesus who I worship is a Jesus who was forever on the side of those who were being clobbered, and he got into trouble precisely because of that. Our church, the Anglican Church, is experiencing a very, very serious crisis. It is all to do with human sexuality. I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.

Brad Pitt: I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for saying that.

I beileve that God does weep when His children are denied basic rights, especially when it is done in His name.

July 11, 2007

"50 Voices For Equality" In Oregon

From Basic Rights Oregon:

Today, the Basic Rights Education Fund launched a large-scale statewide, public education campaign, entitled" 50 Voices For Equality", a campaign made up of 50 straight Oregonians from ever corner of the state--who are standing up for GLBT equality.

The Fifty Voices for Equality website features biographies and statements of support for fairness in Oregon, as well as photos of the 50 Voices. Each of the Voices will engage in educational activities in their communities throughout 2007 and 2008. The campaign will include other educational components, to be launched in the coming months in combination with other campaigns.

The voices come from diverse perspectives, and include leading businesspeople, parents and grandparents, faith leaders, elected officials, community activists and public safety officers. Voices are geographically diverse as well, hailing from Bend, Philomath, Otis, Woodburn, Portland, Eugene, Baker City, Salem, Warm Springs, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Lincoln City, Ashland, Corvallis, Troutdale, Lake Oswego, The Dalles, Coos Bay, and Keizer.

We've also released a video to launch the campaign that we invite you to watch and share. Click here to watch the launch video!

Homophobes Strike Out in San Diego

Last weekend, the San Diego Padres promoted "Floppy Hat Night" where they gave away about 12,000 floppy hats to children 14 and younger. That same night, the Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego sang the national anthem, and San Diego Pride purchased 1,000 tickets to the game.

This caused some local homophobes to get their knickers in a twist.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune's article:

Roughly 75 protesters showed up outside Petco Park's front gate dressed in red T-shirts emblazoned with the message “Save Our Kids.” They handed out fliers. A few attempted to talk with Padre fans as they arrived for the 5:05 p.m. game that was nationally televised on ESPN.

“We're here to inform parents, to warn them about what's happening inside (the ballpark),” said James Hartline, a self-described Christian activist who directed the protest. “Bringing together homosexuals with baseball and kids is beyond bounds. We're trying to get people to turn around, not go to the game, and we're succeeding.”

If so, it wasn't readily apparent. Official attendance for the game was 41,026, just short of a capacity crowd for the 42,685-seat ballpark.

Of course, if the American Family Association was staging the protest, they'd claim credit for the 1,659 empty seats, but that's a topic for another day.

“We are not boycotting. We are not protesting,” said J.D. Loveland, development director of Set Free Ministries, an El Cajon-based Christian organization that announced last month that it would withdraw its 42 workers from Petco concession stands for yesterday's game in objection.

The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus sings the National Anthem before Sunday night's Padres game against Atlanta.“Maybe it's just coincidence. Maybe it's just bad planning,” Loveland said. “But our bottom line is that Christian folk believe in the sanctity of marriage as stated in the Bible, one man and one woman. Homosexuality is a sin,and promoting it with a Pride Night when thousands of kids are also going to be (at the ballpark) is wrong. So we took a moral stand. We're not anti-gay. We're anti-anti-Christian.”

Local gay leaders responded with puzzlement, dismay and some anger.

“We're talking about a baseball game. That's all this is,” said Ron deHarte, executive director of San Diego Pride, which had purchased 1,000 tickets to yesterday's game, then advertised them on the group's Web site as “Out at the Park with the San Diego Padres, an official San Diego Pride event.”

Now which one of those two people made sense? That's a no-brainer. Everyone knows having gay men singing The Star-Spangled Banner and allowing gay people to buy tickets to a baseball game is anti-Christian, right?

Padres officials said the team was caught in the middle and that the convergence of events was a scheduling coincidence.

“San Diego Pride wanted to buy a block of tickets and chose this date, and they weren't the only ones,” Stieren said. “There are almost 100 groups at this game, more than 11,000 people. The Gay Men's Chorus sang the anthem because they applied, sent in a tape and we thought they were good. Beyond that, there's nothing else going on. People are making this bigger than it really is.”

Just in case you question that last statement, check out this e-mail blase sent out by Tony Perkins from the (Straight) Family Research Council:

This past Sunday, at the San Diego Padres baseball game, what was advertised as a "Free Floppy Hat Night" for kids under 14 turned out to be a double play. While the Padres management was enticing families with the giveaway for kids, it was also promoting the evening as a Gay Pride night at the ballpark. Children who received free hats were treated to the Gay Man's Chorus of San Diego singing the national anthem prior to what one homosexual group billed as "Out at the Park with the San Diego Padres."

The San Diego Padres organization should be ashamed that they would promote such an event on a night they specifically designed for the family. On this curveball of an evening, the Padres struck out.

Click the link below to contact the San Diego Padres and tell them that baseball is a family game that shouldn't be used as an exhibition of homosexual lifestyles. The national pastime is just that: an opportunity for fans of the sport to enjoy a game and take respite from the daily grind. It's not place for politics - or political correctness.

We've provided a short sample text you can sign or modify as you like to the Padres. Let's tell major league baseball to leave politics aside at the turnstile.

Thank you and God bless you.

As usual, Perkins doesn't let facts get in the way of his bigotry. As you can see from the newspaper story, the Padres did not promote that game as any type of "gay night." The way those type of events work is that the organization buys the tickets and then sells and promotes them theirselves.

I wonder exactly what homosexual lifestyles were exhibited at the stadium that night? Were gay men and lesbians making out and/or fornicating?

Of course not, they were simply watching a ball game and picking up a floppy hat for their kids.

This bothers folks like Perkins and groups like the Family Research Council because they just don't want gay people to do anything outside of the closet.

I do agree with Perkins on one thing--let's keep politics, especially your right-wing hate mongering, out of the ballpark and just let everyone enjoy their peanuts and Cracker Jacks in peace.

July 10, 2007

The 13th Edition of the International Carnival of Pozitives Is Here

The folks over at ScribeSpirit are hosting the 13th edition of the International Carnival of Pozitives, the monthly gathering of uplifting stories about people who are HIV positive or whose lives have been impacted in other ways by the disease.

Next month I'm happy to say that the ICP will be hosted on this blog, so keep an eye out for that.

What Message Does Your Organization Have to Share?

I continue to look for ways to be a more effective adovcate for GLBT equality in politcs and the church.

One upgrade I am making to this blog is placing more of an emphasis (without reducing original content) to let people know of the action orgainzations, either local, national, or international, are taking to advocate for the GLBT community. The post below from the SLDN is an example of that.

I have signed up for a LOT of mailing lists over the last few months, but if you are a member of a group that I've missed and your mission matches up with the theme of this blog, please let me know. Also, even if I'm on your mailing list but you think I've missed something important, I'd like to hear about that also.

One thing I won't be doing is posting fund raising events. That's just not the mission of this blog. It's about issues, not money. I wish any and all advocacy groups much success in their fund raising efforts, but I don't want that to become a focus here. I hope you understand and respect that.

As I've contributed on occassions to other sites, if anyone, either as a representative of an organization or as a concerned individual, has something to say and would like it posted here, I am also open to that. I've posted a few items like that in the past and would love to include other voices here.

My e-mail is straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com.

Veterans: Tell SLDN Your Story

From the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

Every day, lesbian, gay, and bisexual American patriots are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan with honor, courage, and distinction. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) seeks to honor their service by ending the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.

Now, Congress needs to hear from those veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is wrong.

An innovative new SLDN project, Stories From the Frontlines, will show Members of Congress that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is hurting our military by featuring the personal stories of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This collection of veterans' stories will be a key tool in our work on Capitol Hill to educate Members of Congress and build support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246), a bill that would repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Veterans: speak out and share your story! Click here to share your Story From the Frontlines.

All veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to share their experiences for Stories From the Frontlines. Veterans of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including straight allies and those whose careers were not directly harmed by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," are welcome to join us in this exciting project.

Non-veterans are also crucial to the movement to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The ban on openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans serving in the military impacts every American in every community. Our freedoms are more secure when every qualified American is allowed to serve, regardless of sexual orientation. If you haven't already, click here to write Congress calling for the repeal of this discriminatory, unnecessary law.

Thank you for helping us honor all American patriots. Together, we will lift the ban!

What Is the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement All About?

Peterson Toscano, one of the founders of the Beyond Ex-Gay community, addresses that in an entry on his blog.

We don't seek to bash people who identify as ex-gay or invalidate their experiences. Instead we wish to create a space to tell our own. The primary reason being for our own well being and recovery. Too often we shoved our ex-gay experiences in the closet believing that people in the LGBT community may just mock us for spending so much time, money and energy seeking to alter our sexuality. Some can be insensitive to personal and spiritual struggles that filled so much of our lives.

This weekend we saw the birth of the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement. It is a movement without a manifesto or agreed upon goals. Instead we have created a venue for people, who desperately sought to change and suppress their sexuality, an opportunity to unpack their experiences and to ask the essential questions--

Why did I pursue change? What was I looking for? What did I do to myself and let others do to me? What good came of the experiences I had? What harm came of it? How can I recover from these experiences and move on?

The Ex-Gay Survivor Movement--What's It All About? It is about speaking the truth in love. It is about seeking to tell our stories as honestly and vulnerably as possible. It is about telling our stories for our own well being. It is about telling our stories as a witness to the harm we see from a church and a world that insists that to be anything but straight is not good enough and what happens to the people who passionately follow that line of reasoning.

This movement is a radical departure from what some people expect. Even some gay activists are caught off guard by it and do not understand why many of us don't feel bitter and angry. Some conservative Christian groups, who do not know firsthand about the ex-gay struggle yet they insist it is the only route for same-sex attracted people, seem to feel threatened by the gathering of a handful of people who are willing to care for each other, listen deeply to each other and publicly tell our stories.

There is a mysterious power in telling our stories, and one thing is for sure, the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement is about standing up and telling our stories. I hope that the Church, ex-gay ministers and reparative therapists have ears to hear, and that they don't haggle over words and ultimately miss the point.

For there to be true communication, people need to not just hear but actually listen. That is a skill in desperately short supply in our society today, but the members of the Ex-Gay Survivor community deserve plenty of admiration and respect for opening their lives up for public inspection by sharing their stories in the hopes of saving others the pain they endured.

People just need to listen.

July 09, 2007

What Is a Welcoming Congregation?

That's the topic adressed by Robert Cornwall, a pastor in California, in this essay. Pastor Cornwall had one idea of what a welcoming congregation was and how they should treat homosexuals.

Then his brother came out.

As often happens when an issue moves from the abstract to being personal, Pastor Cornwall approached the whole idea of welcome with a different sense of perspective:

I had to face some choices, including how I would read the scriptures. Experience is an important resource when we’re wrestling with difficult issues, and my new experience told me that my preconceived ideas needed to change. Moving from that personal transformation to providing leadership to a congregation that hasn’t dealt with the issue is a long, arduous and even dangerous trek, which is why many of us who have come to new understandings shy away from taking the next step.

Check out the rest of the essay to see how Pastor Cornwall is working to lead his church toward becoming a welcoming and affirming place of worship.

July 08, 2007

A Personal Matter of Life and Death

I'm going to venture off topic with this post because, well, it's my blog.

Pastor Brenda and I have been operating with a heavy weight on our shoulders in recent weeks.

In May, not long after I recovered from complications following "routine" gallbladder surgery, Pastor Brenda went in for her annual mamogram.

They found a very small lump in her left breast.

They did a biopsy.

The biopsy showed some "bad cells," so they performed a lumpectomy, where they remove a portion of the tissue from inside the breast.

The pathology tests showed that there were four very, very small cancererous tumors.

They had to go back in and extract more tissue.

This is the part where our faith was being tested. We both felt that she would be completely healed, but we didn't know how big a price she would have to pay for that healing. After the third procedure, we waited to see if further treatment, likely radiation, would be needed.

Praise the Lord, it wasn't. The pathology (two days after we had been told to expect the results) came back clean. No more cancer, no more surgery or other treatment needed.

I post this for two reasons. First of all, that our passionate prayers were answered and Pastor Brenda will be fine.

Second, with her blessing, I want to point out the vital importance of early detection. If Brenda had skipped her annual exam, this cancer would have had plenty of time to get a good foothold, and her prognosis could have been much, much worse.

Unlike many of our laws, breast cancer does not discriminate based on a woman's sexual orientation.

I am linking to the Susan G. Komen Foundation's website, which contains a plethora of information about breast cancer. Pastor Brenda and I recently participated in the Race For The Cure in Washington, DC, and now that she is officially a breast cancer survivor, you can bet we'll be doing that as long as we are able. It was inspiring walking along with so many brave survivors who endured a lot more than Brenda had to.

So why did God allow my wife to be afflicted with those tumors? Perhaps so you could read about her story here. Perhaps she will meet someone in the future who needs to hear about the value of early detection.

I'm just glad she'll be around, whole and healthy, to do so.

Response to the "Cool Church"

Last week I posted about the homophobic pastor at the Tuscon (AZ) Community Church and how he is misleading his congregation with bogus "research" about what claims to be the consequences of the homosexual "lifestyle."

My friend and faithful reader Sharone Belt saw that post, became angry and, as she usually does in those situations, channeled her anger into a well-written letter. She has given me permission to reprint her letter to Pastor David McAllister:

Dear Pastor McAllister,

I was appalled and shocked at your website’s section on “homosexual sex”. While you may discount what I have to say, I must say it. You may think of me as an activist, which is fine with me. However, I am not a Godless humanist or some kind of child molester or pervert. I simply am in love with another woman.

I would like to speak to a few of the issues raised on your site:

Homosexual sex activists have tried to convince our society that 10% of our population practices homosexual sex to give it credibility, yet study after study continues to consistently come up with only 1-2%.

You cite study after study, but as we all know, studies are usually one sided. Studies on the side of homosexuals usually quote 10% while studies by the other side quote 1-2%. Most true experts believe the figure is more like 5%. Either way, if the incidence of homosexuality was less than 1%, it wouldn’t matter. The point isn’t legitimacy…it’s tolerance. Most of the mainstream church has decided that homosexuality is a behavior and not a sexual orientation. I disagree.

Contrary to what homosexual sex activist have tried to convince us, there is no medical or scientific evidence that people are born homosexual; it is a choice of sexual behavior.

There’s no medical or scientific evidence that people are born heterosexual either. There are a lot of things that medical science doesn’t understand yet. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Take the disease Lupus. Years ago, medical science said it didn’t exist. Today, they know better. That has happened with a great many medical breakthroughs. That’s why they are called “breakthroughs”.

Virtually every STD increases astronomically among homosexuals compared to the general population, as do violence and the various addictions – practicing homosexual sex is a risky, dangerous choice.

Again, studies can be, and are, skewed to show a certain point of view. Straight people and gay people alike engage in reckless behavior. To say that one group is more promiscuous than the other is just irresponsible. I would also ask you what hundreds and thousands of years of being told you’re evil will do to your self-esteem and judgment too. Many homosexual people have been told they are evil for their orientation for so long that they believe it and start acting like it. It doesn’t make that right, I’ll grant you, but it also doesn’t make what the Church has done to us over the years right either. Jesus hung out with sinners, remember??

Practicing homosexually - even taking out the issue of AIDS - reduces the life expectancy of a person by OVER 30 YEARS.

This figure has been scattered around for a long time. Again, there are reasons for those numbers. Homosexual teenagers, for instance, run a much higher risk of committing suicide due to discrimination and bullying than straight kids.

While the average number of sexual partners in a lifetime in the heterosexual community is around 10, in study after study, the average number of partners in the homosexual community is consistently in the hundreds with over ¼ claiming over 1,000 partners, many of these encounters anonymous, one time events.

I guess I don’t have to talk about studies anymore since I covered that before. Suffice it to say that people are people. Some sleep around and some don’t. Gene Simmons, who prides himself on being a “ladies’ man”, has openly and consistently bragged about sleeping with thousands of women.

In light of the total farce of what they call “gay marriage”, studies show that less than 2% of practicing homosexuals could be referred to as being in a monogamous relationship.

I can only speak from experience on this one. My partner and I are monogamous and have been for 14 years. I know many gay and lesbian relationships that are monogamous. In my circles, which admittedly are full of Christian gays and lesbians, non-monogamous relationships are rare and are not celebrated by any stretch of the imagination.

People who participate in homosexual sex are extremely more likely to suffer psychological disorders and consider or attempt suicide and have a less happy, satisfying life than the general population.

Why do you think that is?? You would be depressed too if your parents kicked you out of their home and lives for being who you are. You’d probably want to attempt suicide if you were called a faggot every day of your life. You’d probably take up drinking or drugs to feel better if you lived life knowing that the majority of churches wouldn’t allow you to be a part of their worship experience.

Here's what God says in the Bible.

God also says in the Bible that He loves us. He also says that if anyone causes the “least of these” to stumble, it would be better if he had a stone tied around his neck and be cast into the ocean. He also says that whosoever calls upon His name will be saved. Whosoever. It doesn’t say whosoever is straight. I am a whosoever.

"Is homosexuality healthy for society?" (recent articles – 2002/2003)

If you asked most folks, they might say that religion was unhealthy for society. It’s religious folks who judge everyone else and tend to blame others when they themselves do wrong. How many Christian leaders have been caught in sexual or financial wrong over the years? Remember that Jesus said, “Let him who knows no sin, cast the first stone.”. That’s a paraphrase, of course, but I think you get my point. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, much less condemned it. Jesus hung out with the outcasts of society. I believe that if He lived in modern day America, He would count homosexuals among His inner circle of friends, much like he did the prostitutes and tax collectors in Biblical times.
In conclusion:

I find it really disappointing that people who call themselves Christians would use language such as “homosexual sex activists”. I don’t advocate for homosexual sex. I advocate for myself and others like me who love differently. If I never had sex with my partner again, I would still be a homosexual. I love her as you love your wife, if you have one.

The pastor of the church that I call home has been in a monogamous relationship with his partner for over 30 years. He’s a mighty man of God and preaches to a congregation of about 80% gay or lesbian. He is uncompromising in his defense of the Bible as God’s word to us, even though many gay and lesbian congregations have turned their backs on the Bible because of what straight Christians have put them through. The Bible is an offense to them, not because of them, but because of what they’ve been told by the Church.

I truly hope that you will one day come to understand that this issue is not unlike the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the 60’s. Many churches back then refused to allow blacks into their churches. They believed that God taught us in the Bible that blacks were less than human. One minister in particular, Jerry Falwell, had to later confess that he was wrong in that belief and now the church that he founded has many black members, as well as other racial diversity. Whether you ever understand the revelation that God loves homosexuals as we are, I think you will be surprised at how many of us you will meet in Heaven. I count myself among the sheep, not the goats. How about you?


Sharone Belt