In the News – Heathens, Hymns, and Holy Men

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

Preaching Out of the Closet

Amy Levin: It’s barely been a day and President Barack Obama’s personal endorsement (belief? affirmation? slow and agonizing compromise?) of same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC’s Robin Robert’s has spread like wildfire across the news, blog, and twitter spheres. Obama’s comments came just a day after North Carolina passed a ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the 30th state to do so. Reaction to Obama has been divided to say the least. Some are excited, some are livid, and others are confused. Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Not all Sex is a Scandal

Cain, Sandusky, Catholic Priests. Sex has been in the headlines a lot lately. But some important distinctions are getting lost in the rush to categorize offenses, blurring the difference between crimes against marriage with those against women or minors, or the crimes of institutions with those of individuals.

So much commentary about the cover up of sexual abuse at Penn State has wrongly made comparisons of the University to the Catholic Church. While both are large, patriarchal institutions, both have kept the long-term abuse of children under wraps for the sake of those in leadership positions, and both have all the ritualistic trappings that inspire devoted followers and protect strict hierarchical structures, Penn State is not the Roman Catholic Church. Continue Reading →