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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).


Anti-Gay Demonstrators in Sochi Identified as Americans

Antigaydem_sochi

On Friday we reported that Sports Illustrated had filmed some anti-gay demonstrators freely preaching against gays outside the Sochi train station with police standing idly by. At the same time in other places in Russia LGBT activists were being arrested and beaten.

The WSJ has identified the anti-gay protesters:

One of the three men in Sochi—Larry Craft from Rochester, N.Y.—said that earlier in the day, they had spent a few hours at the police station after their banner got them in trouble. It read, “God bless Putin for his stance on homosexuals.” He said that they were allowed to return to the sidewalk if they promised to put the banner away.

They didn’t reserve their ire exclusively for homosexuals. Mr. Craft explained that the three men were speaking out against everything from abortion and sex addiction, to atheism, drunkenness, and “church gossips.” His position was also laid out on his sweatshirt.

They're on their way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans after Sochi. Craft has been arrested in New Orleans.


Idaho Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Would Allow Religion-Based Discrimination Against Gays

Idaho Republican Rep. Lynn Luker has introduced a bill in Idaho that would allow religious-based discrimination against gays, Al Jazeera reports:

LukerRepublican Rep. Lynn Luker introduced the legislation, and said the bill is meant to "protect persons holding occupational licenses in the exercise of their religious freedom." The Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses manages certifications for professional boards from social workers to doctors. The bill does not apply to emergency responders and will not prevent Idahoans from being fired if they choose to deny service based on religious reasons. Additionally, it does not authorize the "intentional infliction of emotional or physical injury."

Wrote Luker in a blog post:

With government mandates of all types forcing religiously faithful people to violate the tenants of their faith, including the forced subsidizing of contraceptives and termination of life, interference with faith based counseling, and compelled participation in same gender weddings, concern about refusing such mandates prompted the bill to protect the right to earn a living while staying true to a person’s faith.


Evangelical Campaign Says Gays are Made in the Image of God and Therefore Deserve Respect

Imago Dei, a new campaign from Focus on the Family and other evangelical groups claims to push respect for gays even though several leaders who have signed on lead organizations who have fought tirelessly in the courts to demean gay people and seek to exclude them from marriage.

TIME reports:

DalyThe leader behind the movement, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, says the goal is to change the narrative of evangelical engagement in the public square, especially when it comes to traditional culture war issues. Other heavy hitters have joined him. President of Focus on the Family Jim Daly (pictured), televangelist James Robison, producer of The Bible Series Roma Downey and her husband, Survivor producer Mark Burnett, and vice president of the Liberty University Mat Staver have all signed on. The launch of the website was pegged to Martin Luther King Day as a reminder that the Biblical message and justice go hand in hand.

The Imago Dei signers are not making a political statement about hot-button issues like gay marriage. But the Imago Dei campaign does mark the first time, Daly says, that Focus on the Family—a group that opposes gay marriage—has publically stated that gays are created in God’s image alongside straight individuals. “People have said love the sinner, hate the sin,” Daly explains. “So often I think that has fallen woefully short, and it certainly appears like we are hating the sinner as well as the sin. And that is the difference—you’ve got to recalibrate and say I know you are made in God’s image, and therefore you deserve my respect.”

Says the campaign on its website: "For the image of God exists in all human beings: black and white; rich and poor; straight and gay; conservative and liberal; victim and perpetrator; citizen and undocumented; believer and unbeliever."

Good As You's Jeremy Hooper notes, in the comment thread on the article:

Under the marriage section of its site, Focus on the Family continues to run the claim that homosexuality is a "particularly evil lie of Satan," in a piece penned by its senior researcher. 


Pastor Ken Hutcherson Dies

Pastor Ken Hutcherson, Washington state's lead crusader against same-sex marriage and former Seattle Seahawk, has died, Antioch Bible Church reports:

HutchersonAntioch Bible Church sadly announces that shortly before noon today our Senior Pastor Dr. Ken Hutcherson was ushered into the presence of the Lord. Please pray for comfort and peace for the family. The family asked that you give them some privacy at this time. Please no phone calls or visit.

Hutcherson battled prostate cancer for more than a decade, the Seattle Times reports:

His slogan was “Black and White in a Gray World.” Colleagues said that summed up both his conviction that Christians from all ethnicities, social and economic backgrounds should feel comfortable worshiping together and his belief that God’s word is immutable and unchanging.

His supporters described him as a funny and happy person — remaining jovial even through prostate cancer — who had been mischaracterized as a hate-filled preacher.

His detractors, however, mostly in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,  considered him a bully who used religion to campaign against the rights of gays to marry.


Baylor Student President Vetoes Proposal to Remove 'Homosexual Acts' from 'Sexual Misconduct Code'

Last week we reported that Baylor University's Student Senate voted to pass the Sexual Misconduct Code Non-Discrimination Act, which would remove "homosexual acts" from the Waco, Texas Christian school's "sexual misconduct code".

HodgesThe Student Body President vetoed that decision on Thursday, the Waco Tribune reports:

Student Body President Wesley Hodges told the Student Senate Thursday that the university’s board of regents likely would not have granted final approval for the change to the policy, especially because the full student body had not had a chance to weigh in on the topic.

The senate did not achieve a two-thirds majority to override the veto during a vote in a closed session...

...“I truly believe that Baylor treats its students with grace, love and truth, and in doing that seeks to accept all students, but does not affirm all student behaviors,” Hodges said. “Simply because the university disagrees with your actions or lifestyle, does not imply that it is seeking to attack you.”

(image twitter)


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