Southern Religion

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George backs away from gay pride/KKK comparison

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George is attempting to back away from his comparison of gay pride marchers to the KKK. According to ABC 7 Chicago, he said:

Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshipping God, well then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade.

He’s under fire, as Think Progress explains: has released a petition calling for the resignation of Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, following comments the Cardinal made to FOX Chicago Sunday comparing the gay rights movement to the Klu Klux Klan’s anti-Catholicism. Equally Blessed, an umbrella group of pro-LGBT rights Catholic organizations, has reinforced the pushback by releasing a statement declaring in part that George, “has demeaned and demonized LGBT people in a manner unworthy of his office. In suggesting that the Catholic hierarchy has reason to fear LGBT people in the same way that blacks, Jews, Catholics and other minorities had reason to fear the murderous nightriders of the Ku Klux Klan, he has insulted the memory of the victims of the Klan’s violence and brutality.”

It was at best a historically uninformed comparison for him to make.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | , | Comments Off on Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George backs away from gay pride/KKK comparison

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George on the gay pride parade

The money quote. Cardinal George said:

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.” he said on FOX Chicago Sunday .

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | , | 1 Comment

D.C. same-sex marriage all but done

Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign the bill. Congress has rejected such action only three times in the last 25 years. So Tuesday’s 11-2 vote all but does the deal.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on D.C. same-sex marriage all but done

Gay marriage passes first D.C. vote

The Washington CityPaper’s Mike DeBonis reported that on Tuesday:

The D.C. Council, in a long anticipated move, voted to legalize the performance of same-sex marriages in Washington. Only two members, Ward 7’s Yvette Alexander and Ward 8’s Marion Barry, voted against the measure, which continues now to a second and final vote next month.

ABC News reported:

The D.C. Council voted in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, moving Washington, D.C., a big step closer to becoming the first jurisdiction below the Mason-Dixon Line to allow full civil equality for gays and lesbians.

. . .
To ensure that the D.C. Council — a unicameral body — does not act in haste, its full membership votes on all bills twice before any legislation becomes law.

As a result, the gay-marriage bill will come up for a second vote of the full Council on Dec. 15.

If, as expected, it is approved a second time, it will then go to Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, who supports the legislation, for his signature.

After Fenty signs the legislation, Congress will have 30 legislative days to enact a joint resolution of disapproval and see it signed by the president — a strategy which expected to fail. Absent such a joint resolution, the measure then becomes law.

Read the Washington Times version of the story here.

December 1, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Politics | , , , | Comments Off on Gay marriage passes first D.C. vote

Warren contradicting Warren (again)

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren returned to television Monday with a blistering round of self-contradictions which moved
Levellers to call him out for fabrication. Pam Spaulding had additional strong objections. Even Dan Gilgoff wondered if Warren had, well, “changed his tune.”

During his first television interview since his inauguration invocation, Warren told Larry King:

. . . I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.

During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

The week before the — the vote, somebody in my church said, Pastor Rick, what — what do you think about this?

And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is — really should be defined, that that definition should be — say between a man and a woman.

And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn’t. And I actually — there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends — the leaders that I knew — and actually apologized to them. That never got out.

There is, however, video footage of Warren issuing “a statement” and “endoresement” of Proposition 8. View below:

Warren also revisited himself again regarding his characterizations of same-sex marriage. He told King:

There were some things said that — you know, everybody should have 10 percent grace when they say public statements. And I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that.

Again, there’s video of Warren contradicting Warren:

We look forward to Warren’s eventual reconciliation with himself.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Warren contradicting Warren (again)

The Oscar for gay rights

Hearing impassioned pleas for gay rights during Oscars, Mark Silk saw no hope for last week’s well-propose compromise:

Well meaning as it is, the proposal advanced by David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch in a NYT op-ed yesterday seems to me a half-way house that will have trouble standing. But the cry of distress from Rod Dreher about the “fast erosion of religious liberty in America” paints with far too broad a brush. It’s not religious liberty that is fast eroding, but one big social norm.

Passionately felt social norms die unquiet deaths, as Silk suggests. Indeed, when their change is mirrored in shifting legal rights, they are fought out in public debate, through the halls of legislatures and in the courts. On this issue Silk predicts, and we agree, a future of pitched civil and legal battles.

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Law | , , , | Comments Off on The Oscar for gay rights

Fire in the streets, quiet in the pews

Public conflict between those who view homosexuality as a path to hell and civil liberties activists who reject that view has apparently not built a fire in the pews of U.S. churches.

The 2006-07 National Congregations Study (Wave 2), a major survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,506 congregations from all over the United States, found:

Even though conflicts within American religion over ordaining homosexuals have received a lot of attention in recent years, and seem to be tearing some denominations apart, the overall level of conflict within congregations is about what it was in 1998, with 26 percent of congregations experiencing a conflict in the last 2 years that led some people to leave. (Interestingly, only 2 percent of congregations in the NCS-II reported a conflict over homosexuality.)

That does not mean little is happening in the average church.

Congregations have changed a great deal since the initial, 1998 snapshot (Wave I), as Mark Chaves of Duke University explained:

A second snapshot of U.S. religious congregations reveals four trends in American worship: a growing informality in worship practices, a graying of congregations and clergy (on average), churches becoming less white and more ethnically diverse, and an ever-increasing use of technology.

Change proceeds at a rapid pace — just not the kind and direction of change implied by the pitched political battles of the past two decades.

Clerical zealots who seek to bar gay church membership, forbid homosexual marriages, keep women out of the pulpits and so on down the culture warriors’ list of imponderables may be doomed by a lack of the broad, underlying support required to keep those barriers in place.

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Religion | | Comments Off on Fire in the streets, quiet in the pews

Warren revisits himself

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to pray at his inauguration, has been misunderstood as a kind of radically insulting extremist in his views of homosexual Americans.

Warren explained exactly how he has been misunderstood in a three-part video blog to his congregation at Saddleback Community Church on Tuesday:

I have in no way ever taught that homosexuality is the same thing as a forced relationship between an adult and a child, or between siblings. I was trying to point out I’m not opposed to gays having their partnership. I’m opposed to gays using the term marriage for their relationship.

His views were still received by many as insulting, as gay rights activists like Pam Spaulding and Wayne Hudson observed. But it is clear that he really didn’t intend to put homosexuality on the same moral and ethical level as pedophilia and incest.

Apparently to underline his commitment to a civil dialog, the Saddleback Web site has been rewritten to provide a gentler explanation of homosexuality as a mortal sin. Saddleback Community Church standards are unchanged, of course. Homosexuals must still overcome and cast off their homosexuality, as though it were the equivalent of alcoholism or drug addiction, in order to join his church.

I’m neither homosexual nor remarkable for my devotion to gay rights, and while I see there is a difference between his expressed views and the language in which they were being cast, I don’t expect the waters to be abruptly calmed. What Warren and his church have to say to homosexuals is still “repent,” not “I accept and respect you just as you are. Let’s make peace.”

Warren’s conciliatory explanation is in my view progress toward such a dialog, but to many a homosexual ear Warren’s voice still rings with something like the dulcent tones of the late Bull Connor’s expositions on racial equality.

December 24, 2008 Posted by | Cultural | , , , | 2 Comments

Westboro barred from Canada (again)

Cover of the play text

Because hate speech is illegal in Canada under section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code, members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church are barred from entering to protest a Nov. 28 Vancouver performance of the play The Laramie Project.

The play is about Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered near Larami in 1998.

The Kansas church protests most productions of the play with signs that say “God Hates Fags.” Well-known for those strategies, its members were barred from entering Canada in August, when they had planned to protest at the funeral of Tim McLean, a man who was beheaded on a Greyhound bus in July.

Westboro is an unaffiliated Baptish Church whose principal focus is rabid intolerance for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual individuals. Its Web site has the words, “God hates fags” on the top of its home page.

Westboro’s demonstrations don’t meet, the least of these standard set forth in Matthew 25:34-40. Canadian law notwithstanding, they deserve protest themselves.

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Comments Off on Westboro barred from Canada (again)