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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. 


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).


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