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California Baptist Church Votes to Welcome LGBT Community After Pastor’s Son Comes Out as Gay

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A Southern Baptist Church in La Mirada, California has voted to welcome the LGBT community after its pastor gave a sermon announcing that his son [pictured below] had come out as gay  - and that he himself no longer agreed with the SBC’s teachings on homosexuality.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 11.52.17 AMNew Heart Community Church pastor Danny Cortez said that the testimony of gay friends over the years and his son Drew's own coming out last year helped open his eyes to the “injustice that the church has wrought” by marginalizing the LGBT community.

Following the sermon (which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP) the New Heart Community Church elected to study the theological issues surrounding same-sex marriage and the welcoming of same-sex couples into the congregation. 

In a letter posted to the blog Pathos last month, Cortez announced that the church had voted to let him stay as pastor and become a ‘Third Way’ church – agreeing to disagree and not cast judgment on one another.

Wrote Cortez:

This is a huge step for a Southern Baptist Church!!

New heartSo now, we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgment. We will work towards graceful dialogue in the midst of theological differences. We see that this is possible in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage. In this issue we are able to not cast judgment in our disagreement.

The Christian Post notes, however, that the SBC constitution states explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is 'not in cooperation with the Convention,' and thus excluded from its membership."

Check out Cortez' sermon "Why I Changed My Mind on Sexuality," as well as his son's coming out video that was posted on YouTube AFTER THE JUMP...

And head over to Pathos to read Cortez' full letter detailing his and his church's journey - including a touching account of how his son came out to him after the two had a discussion about Macklemore's "Same Love"

[church photo via Facebook]

Continue reading "California Baptist Church Votes to Welcome LGBT Community After Pastor’s Son Comes Out as Gay" »

Southern Baptist Pastor Compares Preaching Against Homosexuality to Preaching Against Slavery: VIDEO

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Failing to pick up on the pervasive irony of his comments, South Carolina Pastor JD Greear was quoted at a Southern Baptist Convention conference this week equating preaching against homosexuality today to the preaching against slavery in the South in the 1800s.

Said Greear:

"The Bible offends every generation in different ways.  Preaching against homosexuality in our day is about as popular as preaching against slavery and racism in Charleston, South Carolina in 1861."

The Southern Baptism Convention, for those in need of a quick history refresher, split from the northern Baptist churches in 1845 because of the SBC’s belief in a pro-slavery Christian doctrine.

In later times, the SBC went on to have a remarkably extensive track record of being on the wrong side of history: defending segregation, preaching the subordinate role of women in society, and kicking out any church that dared open their doors and hearts to the gay community. 

Listen to Greear's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

And for a more exhaustive list of the SBC's anti-gay activities in recent times, click here

[via Good As You]

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Pastor Compares Preaching Against Homosexuality to Preaching Against Slavery: VIDEO" »

Mississippi Baptist Leader Threatened Retaliation On GOP Reps Who Didn't Vote For Anti-Gay Bill

Jimmy PorterMississippi's Senate Bill 2681 is a reprehensible piece of legislature that opens the gates wide for anti-gay discrimination masquerading under the guise of "religious freedom."

The bill passed, and should any GOP representatives have been on the fence about the issue, Jimmy Porter, executive director of the lobbying arm of Mississippi’s Southern Baptist convention, the Christian Action Commission, was sure to set them straight, promising a "political calamity" should any of them vote against Jesus.

Said Porter in part,

The fact is that one’s position on this piece of legislation can be made public whether a vote is taken or not.  The leadership of the House will take a lot of heat for its failure if that is the case but it will be undeserved.  The Christian Action Commission will work diligently to ensure the blame will be laid at the feet of these 20 alleged Republicans [against the bill].  Approximately 60,000 Baptist households will read about it and know the truth.  Add to that Pentecostal households, members of the Tea Party, followers of American Family Association, the Liberty Council and the Family Research Council, etc., and you begin to see the widespread interest in this bill.

Who Would Jesus Harangue?

Five Religious Faiths File 42-Page Brief Supporting Gay Marriage Bans in Utah and Oklahoma

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod filed a 42-page amicus brief to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday arguing in support of Bans on gay marriage in Oklahoma and Utah.

LdsThe filers argued that they aren't against same-sex couples:

"Our faith communities bear no ill will toward same-sex couples, but rather have marriage-affirming religious beliefs that merge with both practical experience and sociological fact to convince us that retaining the husband-wife marriage definition is essential," the brief explains.

The AP adds:

The coalition struck back at the notion that opposing gay marriage makes one anti-gay, irrational or bigoted.

"The accusation is false and offensive," it says. "It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact."

...Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Monday that religions will always be free to choose which marriages they perform.

But in a statement, Minter added that "the state cannot exclude any group of people from a fundamental right based on religious views held by some. Our society is strengthened when the law both supports all families and protects the freedoms of conscience and belief."

Download the full brief here (PDF).

Gay Married Army Couple Barred from Attending Military Marriage Retreat

A gay married Army couple has been barred from attending a military marriage enrichment program at Fort Irwin, California, the Military Times reports:

FortirwinShakera Leigh Halford said her wife, a soldier at the post, approached a chaplain at Fort Irwin about participating in a “Strong Bonds” retreat at the base but was told the couple is “ineligible” because of their sexual orientation.

“I’m very sad and disappointed,” Halford said in a statement. “To know there are valuable resources available to soldiers and their families to help us through the challenges of military life, and then be told that we aren’t eligible because of our sexual orientation ... it hurts. It really hurts. We’re at a pretty secluded base and there aren’t many other resources out there for us, so what are we supposed to do?”

The retreat is one of the many services run by the Army’s Chaplain Corps. The Southern Baptist Convention, which provides the largest share of active-duty military chaplains, has barred members from taking part in weddings, counseling sessions and couples retreats for same-sex couples. Similar restrictions apply to Roman Catholic chaplains.

The military must somehow resolve the conflict between the chaplains who refuse to serve gay and lesbian couples and Defense Department policy or these cases will continue to crop up.

As San Antonio Considers LGBT Non-Discrimination, Hundreds 'Pray' In Protest


The San Antonio City Council is set to announce soon whether it will add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the city's existing nondiscrimination ordinance. That consideration was what drew hundreds of black and Latino protesters outside of City Hall yesterday. The demonstration, by ministers as well as members of their congregations, was organized to protest more than just the inclusion of LGBT rights. With the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington by Martin Luther King, Jr and company, it was also to protest the comparison of LGBT rights with the rights of racial minorities. 

PrayingWhile we love the people involved, we cannot allow their agenda to stain the fabric, the tapestry, of the civil rights movement,” said the Rev. Charles Flowers, an African American minister and early opponent of the city's nondiscrimination expansion. According to, Flowers believes the two movements to be separate because sexual orientation and gender identity are matters of choice, not genetics. His sentiment was echoed by other members of the Baptist Ministers' Union of San Antonio and Vicinity and the Community of Churches for Social Action, both of whom had representatives present yesterday on behalf of more than 110 different congregations citywide. Others were simply concerned that the wording of the ordinance was too vague. Rev. Paul Stevens, pastor of New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church told the press that:

“We don't feel the document is clear enough to exclude churches to be true to the Word of God. The African-American church is very conservative when it comes to the Word of God. I think the city has underestimated how the church feels.”

SA City CouncilCity Council members Diego Bernal, the proposal's author, and Ivy Taylor met with leaders of both church groups to discuss the wording of the ordinance, although no changes were made as a result. Bernal told members of the press that he is open to any necessary fine-tuning of the ordinance. However, he believes the existing one does nothing to interfere with freedom of speech or religious expression. According to, the ordinance only covers "city contracts, business dealings and service on city boards and commissions."

Nettie Hinton, a local member of the NAACP, finds the sudden distinctions between civil rights movements to be baffling:

“We have had gay people in our community for years, and they were not castigated. That was because the greater danger of a gay man then was not his gayness. It was his blackness. And the community rallied around to protect them from the unreligious scourge of the aftermath of slavery. Why all of a sudden are we taking offense that we have gay people in our midst?”

ProtestThe City Council is currently hearing public comments regarding the new proposed ordinance. Reportedly, City Hall has been so overcrowded that discussion of the ordinance is also being broadcast in two overflow rooms, which still did not prove to be enough:

"The subject has been polarizing, prompting shouting between groups, loud applause at times and at other times, cries of 'liar!' The line of people wanting a seat spilled out into the grounds. Groups held hands and prayed. Others chanted. Some just watched."

You may recognize the San Antonio City Council as the stomping ground of Elisa Chan, the councilwoman who called gay people "disgusting" before refusing to apologize for her bigoted comments. 

The Council's final vote is currently scheduled for Tuesday, September 5th, and the measure is expected to pass. 


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