Queer Methodist Doings

Becky Garrison: A Gallup poll released on May 20, 2011 states that for the first time a majority (53%) of Americans believes same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. Also, an April, 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that for the first time there is as much strong support as strong opposition to gay marriage – 22 percent each. Continue Reading →

Daily Links: Grand Jury Duty Blues

I’m three weeks down, one to go.  Serving justice in Brooklyn has kept me quiet, but here’s what I’m reading between testimonials:

Jane Iwamura at The Scoop on Tupac’s undead appearance at Coachella.

One wonders if Mark Oppenheimer just didn’t have any critical thinking to apply to his recent review of Ross Douthat’s new book, Bad Religion, or if the NYT editors just sliced it right out for the sake of their home-base columnist.  (Regardless, I send a shout-out to one beat man who knows what real bad religion means, Pete Finestone.  Hey Stone, wanna write a review for us?  Word.)

Ahem!  Mennonites are exploring their “martyr complex,” a trait “many Mennonites carry—especially ethnic German and Swiss Mennonites—and the consequences of that mindset.”

Remember when Sojourners backed away from the gays?  Becky Garrison does.  It was a true grit moment, one the “faith in action for social justice” magazine sadly failed to pass, a turning point in our desire to like Sojourners for all their ramble, an end to our guilt for never really getting Jim Wallis’ swagger.

New crits on the religion chopping block.  Religion & Politics launched this week.

The Grand Mufti of the Republic of Tatarstan recounts his version of the past year.

Church artwork is moving to where the devout are; from Europe to Latin America, Africa and Asia.

What do atheist billboards do?

Fredrick Clarkson writes at Women’s ENews about the latest doings of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Continue Reading →

The Kony2012 Family

In a statement on their website and a follow-up video released on April 5th, IC elaborates on the background behind the Kony story and encourages everyone to explore inhumane conditions throughout the world. To this end, they devised a worldwide day of action titled “Cover the Night (Make Kony Famous 2012). Continue Reading →

TransFaith, TransWeb

Becky Garrison: The Miss Universe Organization’s decision to change their rules so that transgender women can compete appears to signify a growing acceptance of trans individuals (GLAAD and other groups had admonished the organization). However, statistics from the Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project, noting more than 800 reported murders of trans people in the last four years, indicates this shifting is not universal.  But the internet helps.

As a growing sign of the increased visibility of the trans community, academic, author and activist Helen Boyd, noted that one can now find over a hundred transgender related blogs. In addition, this community also connects with each other via Facebook, Twitter, Live Journal and other social media tools. Continue Reading →

Restricting Free Speech or Promoting Hate?

Becky Garrison:  Even though the Family Research Council was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 2010, their spokesperson, Tony Perkins, continues to grace cable network news programs like MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.” In light of the fact that Perkins has been a guest on the station 23 times since the SPLC issued their findings, Faithful America designed a TV ad they hoped to run on MSNBC calling the network to cease booking Tony Perkins. As reported by The Advocate, MSNBC chose not to run the ad. According to an MSNBC spokesman, “We have many guests from a variety of viewpoints who all play roles in the political process. The views of our guests are not those of MSNBC.” Continue Reading →

Doing the DOMA Dance

On February 22, 2011, Jeffrey White, a Federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional when he found that Karen Golinski, an attorney and employee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, had her rights violated under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution when she was denied spousal benefits that heterosexual employees receive. The full opinion can be found at Think Progress. Continue Reading →

Did the Ex-Gay Movement Exodus the Building?

By Becky Garrison

Despite recent efforts to mainstream its image, Exodus International, a network of ministries formed over 30 years ago to “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality,” appears to be on the decline. As reported by Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that fights anti-gay religious extremism, attendance at Exodus International’s latest Love Won Out conference, drew at most 400 people, a far cry from the 1,000 in attendance during its heyday when Focus on the Family organized these quarterly ex-gay symposiums. This drop in attendance follows a meeting convened by Exodus International President Alan Chambers on November 16, 2011 to explore how to keep the organization from social and economic oblivion. Continue Reading →

Tying Knots

Becky Garrison:  In the battle for marriage equality, a federal appeals court and the Washington State legislature delivered both a love letter for same-sex couples and a Valentine’s Day massacre on society, depending on one’s interpretation of civil liberties and the institution of marriage.

On February 7, 2012, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared California’s Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, to be unconstitutional. By a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel affirmed the lower court judge’s 2010 ruling that Prop. 8 was indeed a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. (This timeline charts the legal briefs and hearings that transpired since 2008 when Prop 8 went into effect.) Continue Reading →