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Gay Florida Couple Wins Battle To Have Son Baptized At Episcopal Church: VIDEO

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After a week of national outcry, an Episcopal church in Florida has decided to baptize a same-sex couple's baby after initially canceling the ceremony. 

The controversy began last Saturday, when Rich McCaffrey (above with his husband, Eric) reported on Facebook that the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando had canceled their son's baptism because some members of the congregation objected: 

JackWe chose Sunday, April 19 for the baptism. We attended Sunday services and recommended classes, becoming more familiar and pleased with our choice. We invited friends and family, both local and from out of town, and we looked forward to celebrating with Jack on what was to be an important day. On Thursday, April 16 we received a message from Dean Clark asking us to contact him regarding “a development” concerning the baptism. With relatives in the room, I called and what I heard still creates a lump in my throat. The Dean shared there were members of the congregation who opposed Jack’s baptism and although he hoped to resolve the conflict, he was not yet able to (the Bishop of Central Florida, Greg Brewer, was also involved). After probing further the Dean said “the issue is with you and Eric being the first two men who will baptize their child at the Cathedral.” He offered his apologies and further explained this was a bigger deal because of the exposure that comes along with the baptism taking place at the Cathedral. In essence “this is not no forever, just not now.” Three days before our son was to be baptized he was turned away. At that moment, he was unwelcomed by the church, and denied his rite to be recognized as a Christian. I was speechless, angry, and heartbroken.

McCaffrey's post was shared more than 1,000 times and garnered national media attention. An online petition calling for the church to baptize Jack reached almost 25,000 signatures.  

The outcry prompted Brewer, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, to reach out to the couple. And McCaffrey reported Friday that Brewer had agreed to allow Jack to be baptized in the church: 

Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. ... He genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his apologies for how it had been handled. Most importantly, he was clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it. 

We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer. At the same time we know on many fronts there is healing to be done which will take time. ...

I close with one more lesson for Jack – Aspire to live your life with grace and forgiveness. You will be better for it.

Change is seldom easy. I thank each of you for listening to us, supporting us, and engaging in the conversation.

Watch a report from WFTV.com, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Watch Episcopal Pioneer Rev. Malcolm Boyd's Final Interview: VIDEO

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Episcopal priest, author and gay rights activist Rev. Malcolm Boyd passed away in Los Angeles last month at the age of 91. Now, thanks to MSNBC, we're able to watch Boyd's final interview in which he discusses his time in Hollywood (he wanted something more meaningful), his priesthood and also offers sage advice to young people.

Here's what he had to say about the latter:

Boydbw"I think older people with a certain kind of experience can be very helpful to non-older people, including 'how did you make it?' 'What are you doing?' Also, 'how do you treat other people? Relax. Be yourself. Find out who you are. That's a full time assignment. Have some fun. Enjoy life but also stand for something. There's a lot to stand for. Keep learning. I would say keep your sense of humor and, if you don't have one, get one. I really mean that."

Wise words from a very wise man. Watch the entire clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Openly Gay Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Episcopal Pioneer, Dies at 91

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Rev. Malcolm Boyd, an early leader in the push for a more LGBT inclusive Episcopal Church, passed away Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 91 from severe complications with pneumonia, The Advocate reports:

Boyd was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1955, having left a career in film, TV, and radio production for the religious life, the Episcopal News Servicereports. As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, he became an activist clergyman, advocating for racial integration and other social justice causes. He embraced the era’s counterculture, speaking in coffeehouses and other unconventional venues, such as the Newport Jazz Festival and the Hungry I nightclub in San Francisco. At the latter he sometimes opened for politically outspoken comedian Dick Gregory. [...]

While many lauded Boyd’s unusual approach to ministry, few of his fans — or members of the church hierarchy — were ready to embrace his homosexuality when he came out in 1976. For several years no church would hire him.

“It was wilderness time,” he told The Indianapolis Star in 2003. “There was criticism, there was unemployability. I learned you have to be flexible in life.” He wrote books on gay spirituality and ran consciousness-raising groups, and finally, in 1982, St. Augustine-by-the-Sea in Santa Monica, Calif., offered him a job.

“We lost some members but those who stayed loved Malcolm dearly,” the church’s rector, the Rev. Frederick Fenton, told the Times. “He was incredibly creative, compassionate, funny.”

Boyd is survived by his partner of over 30 years Mark Thompson. In 2004, the two had their relationship blessed in a church ceremony and in 2013 were legally married in California after Proposition 8 was struck down by the Supreme Court. 

Frontiers Media has a poignant look back at Boyd's life and career that you can read here

Watch a video of Boyd talking about his journey towards self-acceptance as a gay Christian, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Openly Gay Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Episcopal Pioneer, Dies at 91" »


Transgender Priest is First to Preach at National Cathedral: VIDEO

Screenshot 2014-06-23 14.14.26The first openly transgender to preach at D.C.’s National Cathedral spoke from the Canterbury Pulpit this past Sunday in celebration of the Cathedral’s National Pride Month. A lecturer at Harvard University Divinity School and an Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge is one of seven currently open trans clergy members in the Episcopal Church.

“As we behold one another in these days of celebration may we honor the way we sustain each other,” Partridge said to congregants. “I am moved by how our decisions are calling us into deeper awareness of the mystery of the human person.”

As a part of the Cathedral’s efforts to further promote acceptance and openness, Sunday’s service also included prayers and readings from members of the LGBT community. Reverend Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, presided over the service.

“The message that indeed God loves God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children is desperate needed to be heard,” he said after the ceremony. “The most important person to hear the message of inclusion is that person who has been told for years at a time that God abhors them.”

Listen to an excerpt of The Rev. Dr. Partridge’s ceremony AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to Divorce

Gay Episocopal Bishop Gene Robinson is divorcing his husband of more than two decades, he announced today in a statement to the Diocese of New Hampshire and an accompany piece in The Daily Beast.

RobinsonSaid Robinson in a statement:

“As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us — not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling,” Robinson wrote in a letter. “We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead.”

He added, in the Daily Beast:

As my marriage to Mark ends, I believe him to be one of the kindest, most generous and loyal human beings on earth. There is no way I could ever repay the debt I owe him for his standing by me through the challenges of the last decade. I will be forever grateful to him, and as I tell couples in pre-marital counseling, “Marriage is forever, and your relationship will endure—whether positively or negatively—even if the marriage formally ends.”

Robinson adds that marriages face many difficulties, and both parties shoulder the burdens:

It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples. All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of “til death do us part.” But not all of us are able to see this through until death indeed parts us.

My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate. Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot. It will take a lot of work, a lot of grieving, and a large measure of hope to see it through. And that’s where my faith comes in.


Rush Limbaugh: 'If You Believe In God, You Can't Believe In Global Warming'

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During a recent speech which announced the creation of the State Department's Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, John Kerry described "global climate change" as "a challenge to our responsibilities as the guardians--safe guarders of God's creation." Those comments apparently didn't sit well with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who spoke out against Kerry's remarks on his soon-to-be-dropped radio show earlier this week:

"See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create."

Thankfully, ThinkProgress presented overwhelming evidence to the contrary in their report, stating that:

"In reality, millions of church-goers in the United States already recognize that the evidence for climate change is undeniable. A December 2012 survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that strong majorities of most American faith traditions agreed that the recent string of natural disasters were the result of climate change, especially among mainline protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (60 percent)."

Of course, those attempting to support Limbaugh's assertion may argue that popular opinion does not necessarily dictate the rules and teachings of any particular church. Luckily, ThinkProgress goes on:

"What’s more, scores of religious institutions have responded to our shifting environment in ways that fully acknowledge humanity’s role in creating the crisis. The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have all issued statements or launched initiatives aimed at acting on global warming, and the United States Council of Catholic Bishops has an entire section of their website dedicated to combating climate change and its disproportionate impact on the world’s poor." 

Praying-in-churchApparently, Pope Francis even recognizes the existance of the phenomenon, and made it apparent as part of a prayer earler this year:

"Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of good will: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."

Unfortunately, according to ThinkProgress, Limbaugh isn't alone in expressing this erroneous sentiment, and chronicled similar statements made by members of Congress:

"On Tuesday, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) told constituents that 'It wasn’t just a few years ago, what was the problem that existed? It wasn’t global warming, we were gonna all be an ice cube. We’re not ice cubes. Our climate will continue to change because of the way God formed the earth.' North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx lamented that some environmentalists 'think that we, human beings, have more impact on the climate and the world than God does.' Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) told a congressional hearing: 'The earth will end only when God declares it is time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.'"

Perhaps all of these public figures should consult those sitting next to them on Sunday before speaking on behalf of their entire congregations (or religion). 

 


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