June 14, 2008

The New (and Final) Edition of the ICP is Online

From Ron Hudson:

Dear Friends of the International Carnival of Pozitivities:

It is with both joy and sadness that I am writing to announce the final edition of the ICP. After you receive this notice, I will delete the mailing list for the ICP from my files and you will no longer receive announcements about the project. I was placed on a new drug regimen about 2 months ago and have experienced a serious side effect to the new meds. I am no longer able to continue to maintain the project as a result.

Please know that it has been a joy to bring you the ICP for the past 2 years and that I wish I could continue the project into the future. However, my focus has to be on my own healing now. For those of you who have contributed or hosted the ICP, my heartfelt gratitude can hardly be expressed. For those who blog about HIV/AIDS and who fight to end the stigma of this disease, I urge you to continue your work. We are all in the fight of our lives.

Many, many thanks to Sokari at Blacklooks for hosting the final edition of the ICP at the following link:


Please visit, read and leave your feedback for the host and the contributors in this, the last edition of the ICP.

I wish you all peace and health.

Safe Journeys!

Ron Hudson

Ron's situation is a jarring reminder that there is still not a cure for AIDS. Let's remember that and support effort to find that cure and eradicate this disease, one that is still a great challenge for those infected. Please join me in praying for Ron's health and return to normal activities ASAP.

Rick Warren Welcomes Gays to His Church--Oops, Never Mind

The story had started circulating that Rick Warren, the author of the wildly successful best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life" and pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, had invited a group of gay fathers to worship and meet with him on Fathers Day.

Here is one link to that story passed on by SNN reader Mark:

However, Rev. Warren issued this clarification, reported at the bottom of the story linked above:

Following news of the plan by gay fathers to attend Saddleback Church this coming Sunday, the church’s pastor, Rev. Rick Warren, has issued a statement clarifying the church’s role. “We did not invite this group, and I will not be meeting with them,” he said, adding that he had a previous commitment and would not be in church on Sunday.

The stern tone of this statement was very disappointing. It seems the Purpose Driven Life author sees no purpose in meeting with members of the GLBT faith community. What a shame and an opportunity lost.

June 13, 2008

How a Mind Can Be Changed

From the San Jose Mercury News:

If five years ago somebody had told Paul Kujawski, a Polish kid who grew up in this central Massachusetts mill town, that he'd vote to allow two men to marry, he would have laughed in their face.

But when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that gay men and lesbians could marry, state Rep. Paul Kujawski of Webster and the other 199 members of the Massachusetts legislature had to make the same decision California will face in November: Should a state constitution be rewritten not just to prevent gay marriages - but to potentially undo existing unions?

A kid who grew up over a family meat market that served the old-world Poles, French Canadians, Italians and Irish who made shoes and textiles in Webster's squat brick factory buildings, in a town where you grew up attending Mass under the steeples on the hillside, Kujawski knew exactly what to think:

Marriage was a man and a woman, a bride and a groom, an Adam and an Eve.

When a former baseball teammate asked Kujawski to meet with a group of people from his church who favored gay marriage, the legislator went only as a favor.

"You can talk to me until you're blue in the face, until hell freezes over," Kujawski said. "I'm not changing."

Kujawski wasn't much swayed by the rational, legalistic arguments for gay marriage. But then Debbie Grzyb and Sharon Murphy, two women sitting among the dozen people in the room who Kujawski hadn't even realized were a couple, told their story.

Middle-aged women who had lived closeted lives for the 24 years they had been together, Grzyb and Murphy married in 2004, and only came out to their families then. Feeling apprehensive about revealing their lives to someone who they believed would be hostile, they explained what marriage had meant to them.

"Our families started treating us as a real couple," Murphy said. "It was real; it wasn't make-believe anymore."

Close to the final constitutional vote, Kujawski invited himself to the couple's home. Grzyb, 50, and Murphy, 52, made him oatmeal and tollhouse cookies. He looked at their family photos, and saw the bird feeders and the neat gardens outside.

He came to a new understanding: Murphy and Grzyb weren't really different from other married couples, at least not in the ways that count.
"I understood," Kujawski said of the moment, "that in reality, what we were doing was allowing people to live their lives as they should."

He sighed. "In three years, I tried to put into its proper perspective how on Earth would (gay marriage) change my life. It didn't. I came to the reality of how many lives were enhanced by it, and you had to say to yourself that it would be wrong to take this privilege away."

His vote did cost him a few friends, however, and made his mother unhappy. To read more about the fallout and the stubborn refusal by some to accept this law in Massachusetts click here.

MySpace Friend of the Day: Faith Family Fairness Alliance


Faith Family Fairness Alliance (FFFA) is an interfaith group of individuals, clergy, religious leaders and faith communities dedicated to seeking full religious and legal equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Minnesota.

Link of the Day: Center for Progressive Christianity


The mission of The Center for Progressive Christianity is:

» To reach out to those for whom organized religion has proved ineffectual, irrelevant, or repressive, as well as to those who have given up on or are unacquainted with it.
» To uphold evangelism as an agent of justice and peace.
» To give a strong voice both in the churches and the public arena to the advocates of progressive Christianity .
» To support those who embrace the search, not certainty.

Currently, we are working to fulfill our mission by:
» Creating open and welcoming communities of faith. We are developing strategies for evangelism that do not assume the absolute superiority of Christianity so that we do not contribute to the worlds tragic divisions.

» Reclaiming the symbols of our faith. We are finding effective means to be heard and to influence the behavior of the churches.
» Building an international network of progressive Christians. We are working with independent networks in other countries to provide support for people, especially the isolated, who hold to the principles that we believe are central to the Gospel.
» Being a constructive force for social and environmental justice and peace in the world. We are finding allies in the struggle to bring social and environmental justice and peace to all people, especially those who have been oppressed and powerless.

UN Announces 2008 Red Ribbon Award Winners

From Pink News:

UN agencies have announced the 25 winners of the Red Ribbon Award 2008.

The United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS announced the winners yesterday.

There were more than 550 nominations from 147 countries.

The award is designed to celebrate "Community Leadership and Action on AIDS," and to recognise the communities who have displayed courage, resilience and strength in providing support to those living with HIV.

Click here to read the award winners, organizations that span the globe.

June 12, 2008

An Anniversary For Equality in Canada

June 10th was the 5th anniversary of the landmark court ruling in Canada that paved the way for same-sex marriage now being legal all across the nation. In the Toronto Globe and Mail (hat-tip to Freedom to Marry), the lead attorney for the case reflects on the impact of that ruling.

Nobody expected that the judgment would have immediate effect. We argued for it – begged for it, truth be told – but between counsel felt that there was little prospect of an immediate remedy. That was the beauty of Halpern and the genius of Roy McMurtry, then the chief justice of Ontario. The judgment had immediate effect. Marriages proceeded. And everybody went on television and said “the genie is out of the bottle,” “the toothpaste is out of the tube,” “the horses are out of the barn” and, well, so it was. Just seven days after the judgment, the federal government announced that it would not appeal.

Nothing prepared us for the backlash and media saturation. For almost the entire summer of 2003, the newspapers were consumed by gay marriage, day after day of front-page stories, for weeks and weeks, tirades by those in opposition, threats by sociologists and “ethicists” about “the end of marriage” or “the rights of children to have a mother and a father,” and volumes of ranting and downright hateful letters to the editor. Few appeared to recognize that, at least legally and, well, practically, too, it seemed, the matter was decided.

It's estimated that about 15,000 gay or lesbian couples have been married in Canada since June 17, 2003. In Toronto, 4,650 licences had been issued to same-sex couples at the end of 2007, making up 6 per cent of the total issued in the period. Marriage rates have not declined. Divorce rates have not increased. The English language seems to have no problem accommodating the concept (in fact, several dictionaries have been amended). Nobody seems to be forcing churches to do things they don't want to do.

Other signs of the breakdown of the family, whatever that means anyhow, are not apparent. The opposing interest groups, including some big-spending American traditional family forces, have publicly announced their retreat. Of course, what that data doesn't show is that individual lives have changed. I have experienced and heard about my share of gay and lesbian weddings, all different and yet, often so similar. Again and again, couples speak of authenticity, and of greater feelings of citizenship and inclusion in families and communities. They tell of neighbours sewing their dresses, reuniting and acceptance with family members, the importance of the public declaration, the effect of the event on their relationships with others.

The wedding stories are poignant and astonishing. I continue to be awed. I don't want to leave the impression that discrimination has been eradicated, but things are just a little different. You can feel it in our cities. Not just on Church Street or Ste-Catherine, although you can feel it there, too. Yes, the pace of progress is slow, but today, on the fifth anniversary of Halpern, let's just celebrate that it worked. The Charter is not just some academic document.

Today, five years later, as the judgment continues to change lives here and internationally, I simply say: Indeed. How proud we all should be that the Canadian vision of equality and freedom has life and meaning. And wings.

Recognition of basic human rights for ALL people is indeed something to be proud of.

You can read the rest of the article here.

MySpace Friend of the Day: NextAid


NextAid is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization committed to developing and implementing innovative sustainable solutions to the challenges facing African children. NextAid's mission is to promote community-driven environmentally, economically and socially empowering responses to the AIDS orphan pandemic. NextAid collaborates with individuals, businesses and nonprofits to produce culturally rich awareness-raising projects and music events involving technology, the arts, public education, and volunteer opportunities. From mega-events like the Miami Music Conference and WIRED Magazine’s “NextFest” in Los Angeles to small club and music-related activities, NextAid channels the positive energy on the dance floor across the globe to Africa, thus providing opportunities for concerned individuals to make a tangible difference in the lives of African children in need. For more information on how to get involved, please visit http://nextaid.org/dosomething.htm

Link of the Day: Capital Pride (DC)


June is Pride Month across the nation, and in Washington DC we are in the midst of Pride Week, culminating with the Pride Festival in the shadow of the U. S. Capitol this Sunday.

My church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, will have a booth at the festival, which runs from 11AM-6PM. The two of us will work the early shift up until around 1:30, and we would love it if you would come by and say hello. We can give you some information about our church, or just swap blogging stories. Either way, we hope to see you there. Brenda will be providing prophetic prayer counseling and would be happy to share it with you.

American Family Outing Update: Willow Creek Church

I am a big fan of Willow Creek Executive Pastor Bill Hybels' books and the writing of some of the other pastors in that church, so I was particularly hopeful that the American Family Outing visit to that church this past Sunday would go well. From these reports, it appears that it was positive.

The first report comes from the blog "Celebrating Diversity, where Julie Nemecek and her partner Joanne drove 500 miles to participate in this meeting.

We reviewed the non- violent, reconciliation principles of Jesus, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, Jr, that define Soulforce’s approach. We shared our own stories and heard from former members of Willow Creek Church. We watched a 2006 teaching session by one of Willow Creek’s pastors. The Willow Creek teaching session was filled with much misinformation and false teaching. It helped us focus on our goals for the next day.

There was a gentle, wounded, but positive spirit among this group of Christians that came from all over the country to be together for this weekend. We clearly sensed the presence of Christ in our midst as we prayed together and heard more about each others’ faith journeys. Our four hours together helped make this diverse group a people a cohesive Body of Christ.

On Sunday we arrived at Willow Creek at 10 AM for a tour (at Willow Creek’s invitation). There were some non-Willow Creek protestors near the campus entrance proclaiming their “Christian” certainty of our destination in hell. Most of the group had a white top and we all wore name tags indentifying us as part of the American Family Outing. With the white shirts; nametags; presence of our mascot, Riley; and loving couples holding hands as we walked, we turned a few heads as we toured the massive, high-tech, church village.

At 11:15 AM we were ushered to reserved seats near the center front of the mezzanine section. The rock-star like stage had a 17-member worship team that led us into a meaningful time of worship. They had a VERY adequate sound system. The speaker for the day was a guest mega church pastor from Cincinnati. He had a powerful message about the importance of serving others as a way of expressing Jesus’ love. We wondered if this including LGBT “others” as well. The guest pastor referred to Willow Creek as “the most influential church in America” in part because of their regional churches and the many churches that are part of the Willow Creek Association.

After the service we were led to a private meeting room where we ate together (wonderful boxed lunches provided by the church) and talked casually around tables arranged in one large, open-in-the-middle, rectangle. There were 29 of us allowed at that meeting and 5 people from Willow Creek including their founding (and current) pastor, Bill Hybels.

Both sides shared their issues and concerns in a very gracious dialogue. The Willow Creek staff seemed genuinely taken back that our emphasis was on committed, monogamous, loving relationships and families . . . not sex.

As we looked for action steps at the end of over 2-hour meeting, we agreed to continue the dialogue. Bill Hybels also indicated that their church will continue to study to subject and that he would begin to speak out against the misinformation that some Christian groups publish. We then, stood, held hands, and prayed together.

There is much more detail about the specifics of that meeting in the link above.

Here is also a link to the Chicago Tribune coverage.

Members of the group that visited Willow Creek was optimistic after their meeting with the church's leaders, including senior pastor Bill Hybels. They were treated with respect and open ears, even if only limited common ground was reached, they said. "It was a good first step today," said Berry, 54.

Willow Creek was one of the first to welcome Soulforce, which is based in Lynchburg, Va., to worship and engage in dialogue with Hybels, church elders and staff, said Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce.

"Bill Hybels is to be commended," Lutes said. "They were the first church that responded to our letters and to begin to have conversations with us and show willingness to meet face to face. By being willing to sit down at the table with us, they've demonstrated courage."

June 11, 2008

Survey Says Americans Nearly Evenly Divided on Homosexuality As a Sin

From the Christian Post:

Americans are nearly evenly divided on whether they believe homosexual behavior is a sin, a new survey showed.

While 48 percent of Americans agree it is a sin, 45 percent said they don't believe homosexuality is sinful, according to a LifeWay Research study, released Wednesday.

Although those who are religiously affiliated were more likely to call homosexual behavior sinful, the director of the research group cautions that there are still many believers who don't view the behavior as sin.
The study showed that 61 percent of Protestants believe homosexuality is sinful compared to 31 percent who don't. Among born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Americans, 79 percent say it is sinful while 17 percent do not believe it is.

"Seventeen percent in that latter category may seem low compared to the others, but considering these people consider themselves born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist, it reminds us of the need for clear biblical teaching on the issue in our community," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, in the report.

Yes Mr. Stetzer, there is clearly a need for clear biblical teaching, since so many people in your survey still do not have the revelation that monogomous homosexual relationships are no more of a sin than your marriage or mine. Promiscuity is a sin that covers any and all sexual orientations.

We surely need to do a much better job of leading people to understand that biblical teaching.

MySpace Friend of the Day: Rebecca Juro


Direct from the page:

I'm a writer, activist, Internet radio talk show host...and oh yes, a lesbian of transsexual experience. If you really want to know all the dirt on me and my innermost thoughts, check out my blog. If you do listen to my show, the Becky Juro Show, which is live Tuesdays 7-9pm eastern on QMO (http://www.qmoradio.com) and the TransFM Radio Network (http://www.transfm.org), you'll find plenty of information about the show on my blog that you'll find nowhere else. A small white rectangle like this is no place to to do any more than just try to give you a taste of what I'm about, so if you really wanna know more, my blog is where you're going to find what you're looking for. All that said, I love making new friends and talking about stuff I think is cool with other people who feel the same way, and that's the big reason why I'm here. Nice ta meecha!

Link of the Day: The Gay Christian Network


If there is a better online community for gay christians, GLBT people who are searching, or straight allies who want more insight into the gay community, I don't know of it.

I attended the GCN conference back in January and was struck by the passion and devotion toward Christ that many of the attendees I met demonstrated.

The community is one that can be both challenging and consoling, a safe place yet one where controversial issues can be discussed.

This is an online forum well worth checking out and participating in.

Congratualations to Bishop Eugene Robinson

The focal point of the rift in the Episcopal church over ordination of gays, Bishop Eugene Robinson entered into a civil union with his longtime partner last weekend.

From PageOneQ:

The openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop at the center of the Anglican church's global battle over homosexuality, has entered into a civil union with his longtime partner at a private ceremony.

About 120 guests gathered at St. Paul's Church in New Hampshire for Saturday's ceremony for Bishop Gene Robinson and his partner of more than 19 years, Mark Andrews. The event was kept private out of respect for next month's worldwide Anglican conference, Robinson's spokesman, Mike Barwell, said Sunday.

"It was absolutely joyful," Barwell said by telephone. "A lot of his supporters and friends were there, including many members of the gay and lesbian community."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

June 10, 2008

Reports from PFLAG Rally at "Love Won Out" Conference

The PFLAG National Blog has several video interviews with members who participated in their rally last weekend outside a Focus on the (Straight) Family "Love Won Out" conference.

There's not any sharp production style or graphics, just sincere, loving people telling their stories, ones much different than participants in the conference heard, and one much more grounded in reality.

Click here to watch the video.

MySpace Friend of the Day: Cross Left


CrossLeft is an organization that focuses on action to support Progressive Christian viewpoints. The page currently features a Petition for Peace directed to President Bush, a statement supporting the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (it's amazing to me we need one in this country, but that's a topic for another day), a petition for Fairness and Opportunity in the Gulf Coast in support of persons displace by Hurricane Katrina, and support of Religious Tolerance.

The page also features a Progressive Christian news feed, a discussion group for Progressive Christians, and over 4,500 friends.

Link of the Day: Equality California


There is a lot going on in California's GLBT community these days, and Equality California is right there at the forefront of it.

Winning the state Supreme Court case overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban is only the start. They will be involved in helping gay and lesbian couples understand the impact of this ruling while concurrently mobilizing support against the ballot initiative that would put discrimination into the state constitution by prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The EUCA website is a good place to keep up with all of the news and initiatives surrounding this landmark case, as is their blog:
California Ripple Effect

Save Us From the Tyrany of the Majority

Right-wing operatives like to talk a lot about the "will of the people" these days, protecting us from "activist judges. Here are a couple of examples.

An excerpt from a Charles Colson column for the Christian Post regarding access to public restrooms for transgender people:

The American people are not asking for new bathroom laws. The truth is, this is an effort—by a small but radical minority—to use the force of law to punish anyone backward enough to believe there are only two sexes: male and female. The true goal behind the law is the radical remaking of our society—one in which faithful Christians, Muslims, and Jews will be punished for their beliefs.

This is taken from an American Family Association "Action Alert" calling for passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment that would write the prohibition of same-sex marriage into the U. S. Constitution:

Homosexual activists are determined to force homosexual marriage on America by using activist liberal judges, like those in Massachusetts and California. A Federal Marriage Amendment will finally put an end to activist judges tampering with the will of the people.

For people spouting off about the Bible, they sure are latching on to a very unbiblical concept.

What if Noah had listened to those around him who thought he was nuts while he was buidling the ark?

What if Moses had listened to the people complaining about lack of food and turned them around back to Egypt and into slavery?

When Jesus was tried by Pontius Pilate, he offered Him and Barabbas, a convicted murder, in front of crowd and allowed them to decide which one to set free. They chose Barabbas, not allowing an "activist judge" like Pilate could have been to have a chance to act on his conscience. So much for the "will of the people."

Jesus' ministry was all about going AGAINST the majority, bringing a message that transcended the will of the people and showing them the vastly more important will of His Father. An important part of that will is to show love to the poor, sick, and downtrodden minorities.

If right-wingers want to make a case, they need to be a lot less interested in poll numbers and put more effort into discerning the will of God, a God who loves people even if they don't agree with the right-wing agenda.

June 09, 2008

There is a Difference Between Leadership and Judgement

From the Washington Post:

Word spread like wildfire in Catholic circles: Douglas Kmiec, a staunch Republican, firm foe of abortion and veteran of the Reagan Justice Department, had been denied Communion.

His sin? Kmiec, a Catholic who can cite papal pronouncements with the facility of a theological scholar, shocked old friends and adversaries alike earlier this year by endorsing Barack Obama for president. For at least one priest, Kmiec's support for a pro-choice politician made him a willing participant in a grave moral evil.

Kmiec was denied Communion in April at a Mass for a group of Catholic business people he later addressed at dinner. The episode has not received wide attention outside the Catholic world, but it is the opening shot in an argument that could have a large impact on this year's presidential campaign: Is it legitimate for bishops and priests to deny Communion to those supporting candidates who favor abortion rights?

So now we have a person denied a sacrament from their faith because of their political views. I've been taught that a person should be a member in good standing of the church from which they receive communion (debatable, in my opinion, but still somewhat reasonable) and have their hearts right with God, not carrying unconfessed sin (which I strongly agree with).

With the latter, however, it is a decision an individual makes about the status of his relationship with God, not a litmus test about what politician he is supporting. Taking this a step further, wouldn't churches then be able to deny communion to those who support same-sex marriage?

How can a leader of a church determine who is worthy of receiving a sacrament? How can he look into someone's heart and determine where that person stands with the Lord? Of course, the answer is that only God can do that, which is why the rights of judgement are reserved for Him and Him alone. That's why someone ignorant litmus test like supporting the "wrong" politician is used to exercise authority that God did not give man in the first place.

When religous leaders move beyond leadership into judgement, are they doing God's work or have they moved over to the other side?

MySpace Friend of the Day: PFLAG National


The National PFLAG (Parents and Friens of Lesbians And Gays) page features links to all the key pages on their website, including their Straight For Equality program, along with updates on their current initiatives and pertinent news items.

Currently, they are promoting their new national advertising campaign for transgender rights and mobilizing support to fight the constitutional amendment in California that would overturn the court decision allowing same-sex marriage.

Link of the Day: Bilerico


This site began as a humble project focusing on GLBT issues in Indiana and has grown far beyond that into one of the premier GLBT news blogs in the world.

This blog covers the big issues like the presidential campaign and media coverage of the GLBT community, but it mixes in book reviews and the latest Ugly Bette update. There is a wide variety of contributors lending different voices to the site.

If you want to bookmark only a few GLBT related webpages, this should be one of them.

BCF is Holding a Homosexuality & the Bible Event

Believers Covenant Fellowship in McLean, VA will be holding a Homosexuality and the Bible seminar on June 14th from 10am to 3:30 pm. We will also be showing the new documentary entitled, "For The Bible Tells Me So". One of the families interviewed for the movie is Dick Gephardt's family, and this documentary has received much acclaim. You can check out the film's website for more information.

There will be a lunch provided between the seminar and movie. You can register at bcfregistration@aol.com to attend this seminar. We have capacity for 55 people, so please register early!

If you are gay, or love someone who is gay, or just want to understand more about what the Bible says (or doesn't say) about being gay, then this seminar is for you. Please join us.

You can e-mail me at straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com for more information.

June 08, 2008

A Few Upgrades For Your Blogging Enjoyment

If you are a regular visitor here, you've hopefully noticed some upgrades, and we have more to come.

We've added a poll question so we can be a bit more interactive.

There is now a guestbook with photos so when you visit, you can let us know who you are and where you are from. I hope you like the new picture of us, taken during BCFs Fall Renewal worship services last October.

We have added music for your listening enjoyment while you are reading the content on this blog. I have put together a group of uplifting songs and will be adding to them as time goes on.

We will also be starting two new daily features on Monday, the Link of the Day and MySpace Friend of the Day. We have a lot of interesting sites that have linked to us and that we interact with that we think are worthy of your time to check out. We want Straight, Not Narrow to be not just a place to read news and essays but also a resource for helpful and interesting information.

Speaking of MySpace, our page there is up to over 2,100 friends that are a wildly eclectic group. If you have a MySpace page, please ping us so we can add yours to our list. If not, I invite you to check it out and enjoy the diversity of resources we offer.

Reports From the American Family Outing Visit to Georgia

Here is an excerpt from the Southern Voice's report on the recent American Family Outing visit to Bishop Eddie Long's church, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which is the largest church in Georgia:

After weeks of negotiation and anticipation, the gay Christian activist group Soulforce peacefully met June 1 with Bishop Eddie Long, the leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, the largest church in Georgia.

Long, who returned to the U.S. that morning after a weeklong trip to Dubai, met with Soulforce members after 17 hours of travel followed by an emotional sermon. Long made national headlines in 2004 when he led thousands of people through downtown Atlanta in a march protesting several issues, including gay marriage.

Soulforce met with Long for roughly 30 mintues after the 10:30 a.m. worship service. The meeting was closed to the press, but both New Birth and Soulforce representatives said it was a productive, civil and sometimes emotional conversation.

“From the respect of New Birth, I can tell you that they thought it was productive. They were happy to have them worship with them,” New Birth Spokesperson Dan Renee said.

Soulforce member Dr. Dionne Bates, an Atlanta area psychologist, attended the meeting with her partner Dr. Kathi Martin, a pastor at the First Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta.

“Not only was [Long] open with regards to talks about homosexuality, he was able to say that there are some things that he does not know, and some things that he has to learn,” Bates said.

“One of the things that he expressed is that his name has really been bashed in the media as far as the gay and lesbian community,” Bates said. “What I would like to walk out of this meeting with is that people’s consciences are changed. We don’t want to go back, but we want to go forward.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Here is the official release from Soulforce regarding the visit.