OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Religion
A group calling itself the “Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund” along with an anonymous “beleaguered parent” is suing the Ontario school system for not providing advance notice of gay subject matter.
“The parent seeks nothing more than to be given advance notice so that he can […] withdraw his children before the lesson,” the group announced on Friday.
While the press release itself didn’t mention gay issues specifically, the newly-formed group’s website obsesses over the topic almost exclusively, also establishing their opposition to “misguided” Gay-Straight Alliances, and any book written by GLBT authors.
Say, isn’t it odd that the same groups who often demand schools “teach the controversy” when it comes to learning about evolution and other scientific progresses, are so quick to censor and block other material? I spent my entire grade school education in the Catholic school system where gay topics were never discussed, probably on purpose. The only thing that withholding this information did for gay students like me was leave us uninformed and ignorant for many years before having to find out what we needed to know on our own from an uneven selection of reliable and unreliable sources.
At any rate, I want to offer a thought to this parent. Since he has chosen to sue the school board anonymously, let’s refer to him as Count Moriarty Von Jafar IV.
Mr. Moriarty Von Jafar, expose your kids to as many ideas as possible and stop presuming ownership over their minds. By all means, introduce them to your own ideas (and trust me, there’s plenty of time to teach your kids your own ideas; they don’t have to always hear your worldview first), but have the responsibility to let them discover ideas you don’t particularly like. Shielding them from a world you don’t always see eye-to-eye with is a complete impossibility, and that’s a wonderful thing. The less sheltered and more challenged a mind is, the more resilient and capable it becomes.
The Muslim Council of Britain has declared that equal marriage rights are “unnecessary and unhelpful.” What a coincidence—I was just thinking the same thing about declarations from the Muslim Council of Britain!
I originally wrote the following article—rated the greatest article of all time by an independent body that I just formed—for the July 2010 edition of Outlooks magazine. Despite being published under the Slap banner, I never actually posted it on this site. Practically unforgivable, I know. But it’s here now! So, enjoy!
I’m thinking of starting a religion. The climate seems right for it. Catholics are shaken by their church’s sexual abuse coverups, Anglicans are on the verge of an unreconcilable split, and Scientologists have been facing a credibility crisis ever since the release of the secret Xenu sex tapes.
Now, I don’t expect the First United Church of Slap will be very popular on the outset, but I’m optimistic that people will overcome their initial hesitations. For one, Slapelicans won’t be required to accept quite as much dogma as other religious followers. As a non-prophet organisation, FUCS won’t promote any particular mythology about the origins of the universe and meaning of our existence. The big selling point of FUCS, rather, is its central, culturally-relevant tenet of personal entitlement.
The entitlement tenent generously extends existing religious rights to cover pretty much anything. This not only gives each Slapelican an automatic importance over all non-members (and even members that you don’t agree with), but you get to practise it in the form of everyday discrimination without the threat of legal consequences. Just imagine it: Are you a vegetarian working at a government registrar’s office? With the FUCS entitlement tenet, simply refuse to issue hunting licenses. Come from a background where women just don’t traditionally handle finances? Deny them a bank account. Do the reserved clothing styles of Conservative Party members offend your sense of style? Kick them off your bus. Don’t worry about any feelings of guilt or personal responsibility; another bus will probably come along soon, and I’m sure other people will probably be willing to fill in the services for you. Of course, the best part about all of this is that the legal paperwork is already being taken care of by existing religions.
Don’t be skeptical; Even though Canada has, since the 1960s, garnered a reputation of tolerance and equality even beyond those of many other leading constitutional countries, work on the legality of the entitlement tenet is noticeably progressing.
Just last month, the Human Rights Commission heard arguments from a Christian couple in Grand Forks, British Columbia who claimed they have the right to turn away gay customers from their business. As Christians, they argued, it violated their personal religious freedoms to accommodate gay guests at their bed and breakfast. A decision in this case is still pending, but—for the sake of all Slapelicans and the entitlement tenet—the tribunal will hopefully accept the famous biblical precedent about turning people away from inns and rule in favour. If not, persistence will pay off eventually; an identical case from Stratford, PEI in 2001 had ruled in favour of a gay couple who were denied lodging at the Beach View Bed and Breakfast, but that hasn’t stopped this case from being heard nine years later.
Bed and breakfasts aren’t the only battle front, either. This summer, the province of Saskatchewan drafted and submitted a bill that will make it legal for civil marriage commissioners in the province to refuse to perform marriage services for gay couples. The bill was proposed after a Christian civil marriage commissioner was fined for refusing to perform his duties for a gay couple; the government, overcome with sympathy for the poor marriage commissioner who can no longer able to discriminate as he sees fit, even presented the bill to the Supreme Court to obtain advice on how to implement it without facing pesky legal challenges from Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If it passes, civil marriage commissioners—and perhaps all other regular citizens providing non-religious services—will be able to pick and choose for whom who they can offer their public services based solely on their privately held prejudices.
So, things are looking up for FUCS and Slapelicans. Once these cases make the entitlement tenet a legal possibility, the church will be ready to operate, tax-free. And with other religions footing the bill for the legal groundwork, FUCS will be ready to pass the savings directly to you in the form of reduced initial membership fees.
Unless you’re grey-eyed, Harper-faced, or from Moose Jaw, of course. I don’t think I’d care to serve your types.
Gene Robinson, the world’s first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, has announced that he will be leaving his post after seven years in service.
The Episcopal Church elected Robinson the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, making history in the process. During his term, Robinson served the church splendidly, elevating religion to a higher standard of the love and respect it’s meant to teach.
It hasn’t been easy, though. Members of the Anglican church have been sharply divided on having gay clergy members. When Robinson was consecrated, he wore a bulletproof vest. He has received numerous death threats, requires extra security, and became a symbolic focus point of an increasingly noncivil campaign from conservatives within the church. With a split of the Anglican church nearly inevitable, the job became too much to bear.
“The last seven years have taken their toll on my, my family, and you,” Robinson wrote in a letter to the yearly diocean convention. “Death threats, and the now worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark.” The letter was Robinson’s announcement that he will be stepping down from him position in 2013.
This isn’t to be considered a victory by those motivated by hate. Robinson was threatened and bullied as a 63 year old bishop, but stood up and served for seven years despite these threats. While he is stepping down, his legacy is continuing. The Anglicans have already elected a lesbian as an assistant Bishop back in May, and there will be others.
Thank you, Gene Robinson. I wish you the very best.
- First openly gay bishop to retire after strain of backlash [Digital Journal]
William Goertzen, a landlord from Yellowknife who refused occupancy to a gay couple because he felt homosexuality was “unnatural,” has been fined for his actions.
Goertzen had already signed a one-year lease with Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony, but refused to honor the legal agreement when he found out they were a gay couple. He then kept their $1,125 security deposit and wouldn’t pay it back until he was ordered to by the rental court.
The couple finally took Goertzen to the Human Rights Tribunal, where he argued that his personal religious beliefs exempted him from recognising the couple’s legal rights. Homosexuality, Goertzen claimed, was “unnatural and against nature,” adding that his religion “warned against being associated with such wickedness.” (His religion had no strong opinions against forcing people onto the street and stealing $1,125 in damage deposits, of course.)
Luckily for everyone, religious freedom doesn’t mean you get to ignore your legal responsibilities. Goertzen was fined $13,400 in injury and punitive damages.
- Gay couple awarded $13.4K for rental refusal [CBC News]
The Catholic Church has ordered New Ways Ministry, a religious group that welcomes gay and lesbian Catholics, to not speak about any gay-related subjects. Cardinal Francis George warned the group last week that they have “no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church.”
The group has been at odds with the Vatican for 11 years, when they were first told that their “public statements on homosexuality contained ambiguities and errors.”
Ambiguities and errors. Hey, that describes a bible that I grew up with pretty well. I wonder how that thing is doing these days? Staying relevant, I hope.
- Christian help group has ‘no approval’ from Catholic Church [Digital Journal]
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has warned that gay blessings and the ordination of women in the Anglican church had caused “chaos.”
“Fellowship,” Williams said, “is strained or shattered and trust destroyed.”
The Archbishop began to explain further, but then the world ended before he could finish.
- Anglican head warns of ‘chaos’ over gays and women [Montréal Gazette]
Pope Benedict XVI issued a strong condemnation against Britain on Monday for enacting legislation protecting gays from workplace and housing discrimination.
After a confirmation that he would be visiting Britain later this year (the first such visit in 28 years), Benedict XVI seemed to imply that he wasn’t terrifically happy about it, announcing that the country’s equality laws had imposed “unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”
Religions, incidentally, are exempt from Britain’s anti-discrimination legislation, granting Churches the ability to fire gay employees, or pass them over for promotion with impunity.
But this is an argument I hear time and time again—the idea that gay people are actually the intolerant ones, and equality legislation is all basically an attempt to limit religious freedom.
I’m not sure why it can’t go without saying, but that argument is dumb. Really, super dumb. The premise is essentially that tolerance means tolerating intolerance. We gay people, they imply, should submit ourselves to being treated as inferior, turn an accepting cheek to lobbying efforts to have us fired from our jobs, evicted from our homes, denied the equal right to civil marriage, and worse. Otherwise, it follows, we gays are restricting religious freedoms.
If there were gay lobby groups seeking constitutional amendments to ban religious marriage, attempting to gain the right to fire and evict religious people from their jobs, or seeking to deny religious people civil services, well, then these kooks can speak of intolerant gays trying to limit religious freedoms, but until then—they can apply their own standards of freedom and see who’s intolerant of whom.
- Pope’s swipe at UK equality laws provokes foes [Washington Post]
- Anger as pope condemns Britain’s gay-friendly laws [Tolerance.ca]
The Kings Glory Fellowship, a Protestant church in Calgary, Alberta, has lost their tax exempt status because they spent too much time involved in political activities outside the church, including actively campaigning against gay rights.
Religious officials are pretty miffed, including Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry, who said this incident was “clearly meant to muzzle religious leaders.”
Yes, I can see it now… Dusk falls at the offices of Canada Revenue Agency. The government’s tax regulators congregate in full accountant regalia, sworn brothers in a secret plot to locate Calgary’s religious leaders and attach leather jaw restraints while they sleep.
I’m actually a little disappointed that the truth is so much more boring.
Tax exemptions, you see, are only available for charitable causes, not political ones. If a church wishes to actively affect policy for those that have nothing to do with its religion or beliefs, it becomes part of the public sphere and must contribute to it with income and property taxes. Once they do, they’re free to go outside of their congregations to lecture, publish, organize, put on charming foil hats, bang on pots and pans for effect, terrorize minority groups with neon placards, and do all the other things that wacky, anti-gay lobby and activist groups do. No leather jaw restraints required.
If a church doesn’t want to contribute to the public realm with taxes, then they can abide by their own decision and limit their political influence to inside their private congregations. Well, at least 90% of their influence, anyway. They’re allowed 10% for some reason. See? Who said the CRA isn’t generous?
I’m very pleased to introduce today’s guest author. Matthew David is a gay Christian and talented singer/songwriter with an aptness for challenging popular conceptions. In his second Guest Slap, Matthew questions whether Christianity’s appropriation of Christmas was wise, and whether it’s possible to integrate one’s faith with knowledge that the Nativity is rooted in pagan mythology.
Christmas is a write-off for a lot of people who have happily fallen deaf to the pagan reconstruction’s attempt at Christian symbolism. Adding to that the corporate cash-grab which brings about greed-gone-wild in our children (and our adults too), the heart of the season seems to have been lost. And ever a blog post, article, or television preacher crying foul about this very tragic loss every December.
I’ll join the chorus, but as an oddball—a gay Christian. Sure, many an “unsaved” soul has seen the Christmas tree, the holly, the stockings, and the virgin/manger nativity, and has observed that this is nothing more than a rebranding of Rome’s then-ancient pagan myth. Some have even seen the story behind the celebration as “same script, different cast,” referring to some Egyptian, Greek, or Hindu god-story, to list only a few. To be sure, the similarities are exact, and become frightening to the faithful.
Others have gone further, writing off everything the church believes as false, as they’ve seen how the institution’s dogma has mistreated the human race in ages past, and yes, continues to do the very same burning at the stake (well, as much as the law allows, the bastards). Many readers have experienced the unChristian manifestation of this dogma personally, and have in turn, turned their back on the people of this dogma, and even the dogma itself. Granted, if a belief prescribes atrocity, why believe?
But here’s a thought in a different vein: don’t let a people’s obviously-false doctrine rule out the pursuit of a correct interpretation of said doctrine. Siding with naysayers is the easy button for a person who has been hurt or has seen others hurt; likewise, news that demeans the character of an enemy is easily believed, and is rarely given fair and responsible thought.
Generally, looking at things with an open mind and a different angle is wisdom. Believe immediately the premise that Christmas is a man-made myth meant to help us sleep at night, or hear the criticism and ask a question. Perhaps this: Is Christmas veiled paganism, or is it the final manifestation of the persistent collective human psyche’s prophecy of a god-man coming? Have ancient sages, prophets, and star-gazers from every part of the world and from every age seen the same story in their rituals, apparitions, and star-charts, and deducted the same story to pass on to the masses? Or is this population control for a new era? Perhaps something even more sinister? There are many things to ask before a fair judgment is made, if we’re willing to be fair.
This holiday season, take the time to entertain the thought that there may be something good within the traditions to believe. When we have preconceived notions about anything, we miss the true notions when they come. And believe me, if you will, a pauper’s baby in a back-country manger is easy to miss… Still, strange so many have believed all this time.
Thanks again to today’s guest author! If you’d like to hear more from Matthew, including his brand new album, Masquerade, head on over to the official Matthew David website.
As far as religions go, I suppose you could do worse than the Anglicans. They at least entertain discussions about how to best integrate their doctrine with reality. They bless gay couples, for example, and extend to them the same dignities as any other parishioner—including eligibility for ordination.
Of course, all this love and tolerance doesn’t sit too well with churchgoers who miss the unity that only old-fashioned judgment and condemnation can bring. Priests and bishops have split, some have been fired, the locks on church doors have been changed to keep out congregations with differing perspectives—they’ve even started suing each other. Yet, all this kicking and moaning hasn’t stopped the church from trying to stay as relevant as it can. What are bitter coots to do?
Well, the Vatican has a proposal: Join the Catholic Church! Be as rabidly anti-gay as you like! Heck, they’ll even overlook the events that caused the Anglicans to split from Catholicism in the first place (it was a disagreement over King Henry VIII’s denied divorce in 1534, for what it’s worth) and recognize differing Anglican traditions by creating a new legal entity.
Aw, isn’t that just the most adorablest thing ever? There’s just nothing like a common dislike of us gays to mend a 475 year old religious rift.
- Catholic Church reaches out to Anglicans [CBC News]
Looks like there’s even more evidence that us gays control the weather! A Minnesota pastor has announced that a tornado which terrorized Minneapolis last week is the direct consequence of an effort to allow the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to bless celibate, gay couples who vow to remain “chaste, monogamous, and lifelong.”
Pastor John Piper said that city’s downtown Lutheran church had its steeple damaged because “Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornadoes,” emphasizing that all destruction was a sign that the church needs to “turn from the promotion of behaviours that lead to destruction.
The church was amidst discussions to possibly bless and acknowledge gay parishioners, so long as they do nothing to express each other’s love physically. The measure passed on Thursday with exactly the two-thirds majority required, and not one vote more.
Now, you all better stay on my good side or—so help me—I’ll summon some moderately strong winds to topple over your patio furniture. Mark my words, you will be inconvenienced!
- Baptist Preacher Says Minneapolis Tornado was Message from God [Digital Journal]
Here’s a neat lesson to start off your Friday: If you want to join a notoriously unwelcoming community, maybe try not to be surprised when you feel unwelcomed.
Jim Corcoran, a gay Catholic in Ontario, was shocked—shocked—to learn that he was removed from his church’s altar service after some of his fellow parishioners complained to the Diocese that a gay man was serving. Jim is now filing a human rights complaint against Bishop Nicola De Angelis for discrimination based on sexual orientation.
While Jim has every right to feel offended, his case will fail—if the Human Rights Tribunal even agrees to hear it at all. Churches, as private religious institutions, are exempt from having to conform to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That means, legally, they can discriminate against whomever they please, so long as it’s within their own private institutions and not within the public sphere.
So, while firing Jim just for being gay wasn’t a moral thing to do, churches are allowed to act that way—and happily seize the opportunity.
It’s what Jesus would do, after all, I guess.
And a courtly tip o’ the hat to the always amazing Matt Guerin at Queer Liberal for the story.
- Gay altar server contests firing [National Post]
I’m über stoked about today’s special guest author. Matthew David is a talented singer/songwriter whose strong message of acceptance in traditionally unaccommodating communities has already crossed borders, earning airtime in both Canada and the United States. In today’s Guest Slap, Matthew shares his personal insights and experiences on what it means to be gay and Christian, challenging the widely-held perception that the two are mutually exclusive.
A lot of people blame the slow-relenting cultural phobia of homosexuality on the effect of our roots in a long-lasting Judeo-Christian tradition, and I tend to agree. After all, homosexuality certainly wasn’t feared or hated on a cultural level prior to the rise of Christianity—in fact, it seems secular culture now is catching up, as it were, to the thoughts of Greeks and Romans on the matter. Odd, eh? When you think about it, modern society is adopting more traditional values than those we currently label traditional (i.e. the religious folk).
As we observe the gradual movement of Western society away from Christianity and any form of institutional dogma, we also see secular culture slowly warming up to the former fringers, further polarizing the communities of faith. I say warming up about Western secular society, but generally it is quite warm, excepting the odd news item of discrimination and violence. In general, it is religiously-motivated groups taking political action against equality and protesting anything helping the gays.
This brings me to the struggle between homosexuality and the culture of faith. A growing group of modern Christians has been surprised to discover that the Good Book doesn’t actually condemn GLBTQ people to hell. And this group includes me, with a foot in both the gay and the Christian worlds. I grew up in an entirely Christian world-slash-bubble, and with the early-teen realization that I was gay, I went into impenetrable denial, dark depression, stark seclusion, and a twitching toward taking my own life. I finally came to the same understanding that God not only “loves the sinner,” but he also doesn’t “hate the sin,” contrary to the doctrine of many of his people. Why did I waste so many years in turmoil? Was all that pain over a silly misread of holy writ?
From age 13 to age 26 I wrestled with the straight-jacket and gag I so lovingly cherished—my faith. I did everything I could to be rid of my “demons,” to cure the supposed psychology that had perverted me, and to pray away the gay, but nothing came of it. Finally, I was told by some brave soul that God loved me, and he didn’t love me “anyway” as many Christians had told me. He loves me fully and completely as I am—gay. He loves me gay, and the only abomination I could be guilty of would be to try to live straight. Doing so would desecrate his holy temple.
However, the struggle continues, as it is transferred from one with the faith to one with the faithful. I am now separated as disingenuous, or worse, fallen. On top of the many questions from the happily-naive like, “did somebody touch you?”, or “have you tried eHarmony?”, there are sucker-punching questions like, “but aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?”
One of the principles I live my daily life by is found in the Book that, on other pages, is used to condemn me and justify my persecution. It tells me “in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” and in the next breath that I am “more than a conqueror” just being his child. I trust it fully. It gives purpose to the struggle, and strength to withstand all the judgement and even the attacks.
What an odd Book. One man reads it with hate in his eyes and sets up a pile of wood to burn the witch; and the witch reads it in her time of desperate need only to find the strength and courage she needs to endure the injustice. One day, I have faith that injustice will be inconceivable in every culture and sub-culture, and the Book won’t be needed for purposes like this at all.
Thanks again to today’s guest author! If you’d like to hear more from Matthew, including his latest single, Masquerade, head on over to the official Matthew David MySpace page.
Same-sex blessings have been the epicentre of a bizarrely deep rift in the Anglican Church. Now the divisive issue has culminated in.. well, in pretty much the same way as all ridiculous issues: A court case.
Yes, the Anglicans are suing each other, as four parishes in British Columbia (St. John’s Shaughnessy, St. Matthew’s, St. Matthias and St. Luke’s, and the Church of the Good Shepherd) are scheduled to meet the Diocese of New Westminster in court next week over the ownership of four Anglican church buildings.
The Diocese locked out the parishes from their churches last year over disagreements about same-sex blessings, the appointment of a gay bishop, and other absurdly small differences in doctrine.
While both sides lament that it has come to this, they had failed to reach an agreement through a mutually selected, third-party mediator: Jesus.
- Vancouver Anglicans go to court [Canadian Christianity]
The Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of Anglicans who abandoned the global Anglican church over same-sex blessings and the ordination of women, has decided to go back to their very early roots and re-join the Roman Catholic Church, if The Vatican will let them.
Anglicans spit from Rome in 1534 over their refusal to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII. Nothing like a common dislike of the gays to mend a 475-year old rift, huh?
- Traditional Anglican Communion wants to join Catholic Church [Daily Gleaner]
David Popescu, the crazy fringe candidate from Sudbury who declared that all gays should be killed during a federal election debate, has been charged by the Greater Sudbury Police Service for two counts of the wilful promotion of violence and hatred toward an identifiable group.
Canada outlaws speech that promotes violence or hatred toward minority groups through section 319(2) of the Criminal Code. Despite this, Popescu has only stood by his remarks, saying that his promotion of LGBT genocide is protected by his freedom of religious expression. (Maybe he skipped over the “Thou shalt not kill” bits?)
Already, some right-wing commentators have leapt to Popescu’s defense, claiming that his prosecution is just an example of the oppression and intolerance that Christians are currently facing.
Sigh… Let’s just get this out there, shall we?
Reporting a death threat is not opression or intolerance; investigating a death threat is not oppression or intolerance; charging and prosecuting those who utter death threats is not oppression or intolerance. I will not accept that threatening an entire group of people with death is OK because one interprets their religious texts as such. In fact, I don’t believe that resistance to any of the harmful, hateful messages often repeated by those shielding themselves behind religious texts is oppression or intolerance. Tolerance has never meant submission into being treated as inferior and unworthy of human dignities.
So, to those who seriously believe it’s intolerant for gays to resist being told we are lesser, that we shouldn’t ask for or deserve equal rights, or that we simply write off a call for our death as a religious freedom: Suh-lap!
The gravely divided Anglican church is super interesting for some reason. The issue of same-sex blessings, of all things, has become the epicentre of a massive fracture, and their attempts to stay united has led to some of the most bizarre declarations I’ve heard from any religion.
Why, just in June, 2007, Canadian Anglican leaders congregated to discuss what to do about same-sex blessings and their divided church. After intense debate, they officially declared that same-sex unions are perfectly compatible with the core doctrine of the church. Hours later, they voted to forbid the blessing of same-sex couples.
Since then, several of Canada’s Anglican diocese have broken ranks with the church to bless same-sex parishioners. Toronto Anglicans are now about to join the Ottawa and Montréal diocese in allowing the blessing of same-sex couples. (And, just to be clear, we’re just talking about blessings here; not even marriage.)
But the church is in pretty rough shape. Priests have been fired, churches have split—with some opting to become part of the Anglican community located in the province of Southern Cone, South America. They’ve even barred some of their own bishops from attending conferences, all due to same-sex blessings.
From their actions, though, it seems they can all agree on at least one thing: This is definitely the best use of their resources. You know, instead of things like, oh… Housing the poor, tending to the sick, etcetera, etcetera…
- Toronto bishops propose process to allow same-sex blessings [Anglican Journal]
Tomboys, lesbians, and yoga have all been forbidden by Muslims in Malaysia after the National Fatwa Council declared them to be against Islam.
Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, a spiritual leader and member of the Malaysian Islamic party PAS, said that no one is allowed to protest the fatwa, including non-Muslims:
Not only non-Muslims but also Muslims cannot protest against any fatwa. All fatwa are based on the Koran and Sunnah and to protest against them is like going against the teachings of Allah. Who are we to go against Allah’s commands, are we that great?
Nevertheless, tomboys, yoga-enthusists, and lesbians across the country have been protesting the fatwa. Moreoever, I, Mark, in solidarity, will continue to wear men’s clothes and act boyish, sign up for Yoga, and—what was that last one again?
An entire Lutheran congregation in Newmarket, Ontario has been suspended over the hiring of a gay associate pastor.
Lionel Ketola, a gay, legally married man of faith, was ordained last May in a ceremony that drew more than 300 well-wishing parishoners. However, this did not sit well with Bishop Michael Pryse of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, who officially informed the Holy Cross Lutheran Church this week that they have been suspended over the hiring.
The Synod’s actions are reportedly based on a lesser known biblical passage: And Jesus gathered his followers and spoke to them: “Eeew! A gay! Could someone get him out of here, please? Anyone? Seriously, I’ll turn this church around and there’ll be no heaven for anyone. There we go; thank you, sir.”
- Congregation punished for hiring married gay pastor [The Record]
Four more churches have voted to break from the Anglican Church of Canada over division on whether gay parishoners should receive blessings.
The Anglican Church is in tatters due to in-fighting over doctrine, with gay blessings being the centrepiece issue. Fourteen congregations have left so far.
Ah, another disagreement over what God wants. If history serves as any indication, I think this will all be resolved quickly through a happy consensus with much rejoicing and merriment…
- Four more churches vote to leave [Anglican Journal]
A tiny church in Backlick, Ohio has drawn some ire from local residents over its illuminated sign out front: “I kissed a girl and I liked it. Then I went to hell.”
The text is, of course, a reference to a hit song by Katy Perry, though I’m not sure why they don’t share the world’s enthusiasm for mass-manufactured pop music. When asked about the sign, Reverend Dave Allison said that the message shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, saying that the sign was posted “as a loving warning to teens.”
Aw, gee. That really makes you feel loved, doesn’t it?
- Church turns pop lyrics into a bit of brimstone [Columbus Dispatch]
The Vatican has ordered a Bloc Québecois MP, Rev. Raymond Gravel, to quit his post in Canadian parliament and return to being a Roman Catholic priest. Vatican officials indicated that Gravel’s support of same-sex marriage and women’s rights were the cause of the order.
This isn’t the first time The Vatican has ordered a public official to leave politics. From a Globe and Mail article: (emphasis mine)
In 1984, the Vatican also ordered Rev. Robert Ogle to give up his New Democratic Party seat in the House, in a bid to avoid a blurring of lines between the secular and spiritual worlds.
You heard it here first, kids: The Vatican always abstains from debating or influencing public policy!
Rev. Gravel expressed disappointment at having to leave politics, but said he had no choice but to comply, as being a priest was his first calling.
- Priest ordered to give up seat [The Globe and Mail]
A 73 year old Catholic exorcist, Father Jeremy Davies, has warned that gays are at serious risk of demonic possession, if they aren’t already controlled by Satan.
In a book entitled Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, Davies, who believes that there has been an “explosion in homosexuality” in recent years, said that most of today’s gays are the result of “a contagious demonic factor.” However, he does also warn that “even heterosexual promiscuity” can be a pathway to having your body used as a puppet for demons and I guess make furniture fly around the room.
What an excellent day for an exorcism… Hiss!