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Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - VIDEO

LGBT advocate and army veteran Allyson Robinson became one of the few openly transgender pastors in the U.S. when she was ordained last month at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., reports Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

6a00d8341c730253ef019103bcd4ff970c-800wiSharon Groves, HRC’s Director of Religion and Faith Program, said:

"We at HRC who have had the privilege of working with her for years are excited to see her gifts put to good use at Calvary Baptist Church.

"Allyson Robinson is a born preacher and pastor who inspires everyone she meets. I have had the privilege of working closely with her and with Calvary Baptist Church, which is leading to new conversations among Baptists and all people of faith. Together they are one powerful combination.  

"As summer comes to an end and families are coming back to church after their summer break, they would do well to check out the prophetic ministry happening at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C."

Last year, Robinson featured in and acted as a consultant on web-funded series TransMilitary, which focused on the unique struggles of transgender service members on active duty. She was the first transgender leader of a national LGBT rights organization until she was asked last year to resign as executive director of LGBT military group Outserve_SLDN.

Robinson is also founder of boutique consulting firm Warrior Poet Strategies and Vice President at LGBT Tech Partnership.

Watch Allyson speak about her transgender journey at a TedX talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - VIDEO" »


Homophobe Richard Land Links LGBT Rights With Nazi Persecution - LISTEN

Former Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land, referring to President Obama’s executive order providing protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors, told the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch that conservatives need to stand up to “the gay thought police” or face Nazi-style persecution, reports Right Wing Watch.

Richard landSpeaking with Land, homophobic Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes said that Obama’s executive order is “mocking and condescending” towards religion because opposing discrimination is incompatible with religious values.

Later in the show, a caller said that she didn’t understand “how seemingly intelligent people could have voted a president in by the name of Barack Obama so soon after 9/11.” Rather than addressing the caller’s racist comments, Land went on to say that Obama has an anti-American worldview and is to blame for everything from the war on drugs to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of girls in Nigeria.

Land, who stepped down from the Southern Baptist Convention following controversial comments he made about Trayvon Martin, is currently the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Listen to the disturbing clips in which Land references Martin Niemöller’s anti-Nazi poem “First they came…," AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Homophobe Richard Land Links LGBT Rights With Nazi Persecution - LISTEN" »


Transgender Students Face Discrimination By Religious Colleges

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A July 14th Inside Higher Ed article highlights two cases of discrimination against transgender students that are representative of the broader ability of institutions to ignore federal laws that interfere with their faith.

The article comes following last month’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, which upheld the right of some businesses owned by religious individuals not to finance contraception coverage for employees; and a letter by more than 140 religious organizations and individuals petitioning for an exemption from President Barack Obama’s pending executive order which aims to protect LGBT federal employees.

The article discusses in detail an exemption granted to George Fox University, Oregon, that allows it to discriminate against a transgender student who identifies as a man and was refused permission to reside in housing for male students; and The California Baptist University case in which a scholarship student was expelled by the university on the basis of “fraud” after she appeared on a reality television program to discuss her transgender identity.

The article goes on to consider the case of Gordon College in Massachusetts. College president Michael Lindsay signed the letter to Barack Obama seeking exemptions. Citing Gordon’s anti-gay policies, the City of Salem, Massachusetts, has since killed a contract under which Gordon has operated the city's Old Town Hall. Additionally, the college’s accreditor is now reviewing whether Gordon’s policies violate NEASC’s anti-bias rules.


Kentucky Baptist Church To Perform Same-Sex Marriage Next Year - VIDEO

Highland baptist church kentucky

In a break with most of the church’s denominations, Highland Baptist Church in Kentucky announced it will marry couple David Bannister and Steven Carr next May.

Highland, which will become the third Baptist church in the area to perform same-sex weddings, is considered to be at the more liberal end of the congregation’s spectrum. In 2012, Highland ordained openly gay Minister Maurice Blanchard.

The news comes following a wave of recent pro-equality judicial decisions, including the June 25 decision in Indiana that struck down that state's marriage ban, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling in Utah which ruled broadly in favor of marriage equality, and a July 1 decision that found Kentucky has no constitutional right to ban same-sex couples from marrying.

Although U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled in the Kentucky decision that "long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," he stayed the ruling until the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides same-sex marriage cases from Kentucky and three other states, according to The Courier-Journal.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has hired a law firm to handle the appeal after Attorney General Jack Conway declined to appeal the ruling. 

Speaking to The Courier Journal, Pastor Joe Phelps said that the decision to perform the marriage has upset some members of the congregation, who have nonetheless taken the decision to stay with the church.

Sam Marcosson, a law professor at the University of Louisville, said:

"What Highland is really doing is what churches do on important issues. They're taking a stand in order to influence their community and move their community in a certain direction."

Beshear's lawyers will make their arguments to reverse Heyburn's ruling on August 6.

Watch a report on Heyburn's decision to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kentucky Baptist Church To Perform Same-Sex Marriage Next Year - VIDEO" »


California Baptist Pastor Who Came Out In Support Of His Gay Son To Attend White House Pride Reception

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Danny Cortez, the pastor of the New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California will attend a White House reception today along with his fifteen-year old son Drew in honor of Pride month as a guest of President Obama, Pink News reports. Cortez made headlines earlier this month when he announced to his congregation that his son was gay and that he sought to welcome the LGBT community to his church. Some within the Baptist community branded him an ‘apostate’ for contravening The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) constitution that states “explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is 'not in cooperation with the Convention,' and thus excluded from its membership.” Cortez’s own congregation, however, voted to keep him as pastor and become a ‘Third Way’ church.  

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd19ffc9970b-250wiThe New Heart church also issued a statement of support for Cortez and his family:

"As you know, the Cortez family has recently been under fire for reaching out to those in the LGBT community, who have been marginalized far too long.

“If you know Danny like we do, this is not out of character for him. He’s been standing in the gap, and seeking truth, and fighting for justice, and defending the widow, and loving the homeless—for years and years.

“He leads his family, he shepherds a church, and he has been there for you and me when we’ve needed him most. For good reason, we call him pastor."

Danny and Drew Cortez raised money for their travel to Washington, D.C. through a a successful crowd funding campaign. 


Southern Baptist Convention Condemns Transgender People

Southern Baptist

Delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention "overwhelmingly" affirmed that there are "two distinct genders" and that gender is determined biologically and not in any other way, at their convention yesterday. 

From Religion News Service:

The delegates, known as “messengers,” affirmed “God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.”

They added that they had compassion for people with gender conflicts, called them “image-bearers of Almighty God” and condemned “acts of abuse or bullying committed against them.”

But they went on the record to oppose gender assignment surgery and cross-sex hormone therapies. They expressed their hope that transgender people would “experience renewal” through a faith in Jesus.

In response to the news, GLAAD said that the convention "placed the denomination in opposition to the lives and reality of transgender people."

[T]he church only goes on to outline how it opposes the cultural acceptance of transgender people, which has been steadily rising. The denomination wants to have it both ways, welcoming in everyone, and yet denying the realities of their lives. Instead of listening to transgender people, it chose to define them as "other" and oppose their ability to live full and productive lives.

FloydSouthern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd says the denomination won't relax its position on gay marriage or trans identity:

“We stand strong on what the Scripture says about marriage between a man and a woman. At the same time we do know that we have this issue facing our culture. But due to the situation today, we must hold the word of God in one hand and the love of God in the other, and have compassion and love to bring people into the fellowship.”

The delegates, "whose denomination was founded by supporters of slave-owning missionaries," also passed a statement to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. 

From RNS:

It said they “lament and repudiate this nation’s long history of racial segregation as well as the complicity of Southern Baptists who resisted or opposed the dismantling of the evil of racial hierarchy in our churches or society.”

Yet another resolution affirmed their opposition to government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries and asked Americans of all religious and political convictions to join in a call to end the practice, which they say has amounted to “corrupt deals” and “broken dreams.”

They also rejected predatory payday lending, calling those who are engaged in it to “consider the great damage they are causing in the lives of vulnerable people and to adopt a just lending model.” The Baptists suggested churches and employers should provide other ways to solve short-term financial problems in their communities, including financial stewardship classes.

The Convention has taken other anti-LGBT stances recently. In 2013 they voted to denounce the Boy Scouts of America for their new policy allowing gay scouts. 


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