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Politico: Evangelical Support For Gay Marriage On The Rise - VIDEO

Vines

In a lengthy profile published yesterday on Politico, reporter Jim Hinch looks at how evangelical Christians are changing their minds on gay marriage, supported by rather than in spite of the Bible: 

Over the past decade, evangelical support for gay marriage has more than doubled, according to polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. About a quarter of evangelicals now support same-sex unions, the institute has found, with an equal number occupying what researchers at Baylor University last year called the “messy middle” of those who oppose gay marriage on moral grounds but no longer support efforts to outlaw it. The shift is especially visible among young evangelicals under age 35, a near majority of whom now support same-sex marriage. And gay student organizations have recently formed at Christian colleges across the country, including flagship evangelical campuses such as Wheaton College in Illinois and Baylor in Texas. […]

For a branch of Christianity devoted to scriptural interpretation, a debate about gay marriage was bound to contend with what the Bible says on the matter. Sure enough, as the politics of same-sex marriage have changed, a quiet movement to change evangelicals’ very interpretation of the Bible has gained momentum. 

One of the faces of this sea-change is 24 year old Matthew Vines, whose hour-long YouTube sermon on the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality posted in 2012 has since racked up more than 730,000 hits and spurred the creation of his Reformation Project which holds conferences to bring pro-gay rights evangelicals together who want to prove that the Bible does not necessitate a condemnation of gay relationships but actually supports them. 

The shift in attitudes towards gay marriage among evangelicals has also had major political ramifications: 

Just a decade ago, conservative Christians powered an electoral surge that outlawed gay unions in 11 states and, in the view of many political analysts, helped to ensure President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection. Barely one in 10 evangelicals supported gay marriage, and church leaders like Warren urged their followers to vote against same-sex unions. 

FischerToday, conservative Christian groups and Republican leaders have shied away from campaigning on gay marriage and have instead focused on topics such as “robust religious exemptions.” Anti-gay organizations, such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), have also felt the financial sting of a waning interest in battling gay marriage from the Evangelical community. 

Still, despite the dramatic shift, the Evangelical community is still home to some of the country’s most anti-gay firebrands like Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer. Said Fischer of the movement towards more pro-gay attitudes among Evangelicals,

“What we are seeing is the impact of this relentless brainwashing by the mainstream media, and it affects people that aren’t thinking clearly or aren’t grounded in a biblical worldview...There are some evangelical leaders who are sounding a very defeatist tone—the battle is over, and we lost and we have to get used to it. That kind of defeatism just has no place in the evangelical community.”

In case you missed it, watch Matthew Vines’s sermon on the Bible and homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP…

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Suspect May Have Used Grindr To Target Two Seattle Murder Victims: VIDEO

Ali Muhammed Brown

Ali Muhammed Brown, a radical jihadist charged with killing Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young in Seattle on June 1, may have targeted his victims using Grindr. Brown is also wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

NY Daily News reports that Brown has since been seen in his home state of New Jersey, allegedly committing an armed robbery.

According to Q13Fox.com, 30-year-old Brown met up with Said and Anderson-Young after they left gay bar R Place on the night of May 31.

Police say Brown allegedly shot his victims after driving to Anderson-Young’s house.  Brown is thought to have then stolen Said’s car which was later found abandoned in south Seattle.

In the charging documents, police said they linked Brown to the slayings after finding his fingerprints and three shell casings inside Said’s car.

Although a motive for the murders has not been listed, Q13Fox.com reports that Brown underwent jihadist training in April and that Said and Anderson-Young were targeted because their sexual orientation offended Brown’s radical Muslim beliefs.

Watch a report on the murders, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Faith Leaders Ask President Obama For ‘Robust Religious Exemption’ From Executive Order On Anti-LGBT Discrimination: READ

Letter

As mentioned in our coverage of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision earlier today, religious leaders close to The White House sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, petitioning for a "robust religious exemption" to President Obama's earlier announced executive order that would make it illegal for all federal contractors to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Post reports. This letter comes on the heels of a previouis letter from 140 religious leaders asking for a similar exemption. Importantly, Tuesday's letter was sent in the immediate wake of the Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court. The letter argues that religiously affiliated organizations should be able to discriminate against LGBT people:

The letter reminds Obama of his own earlier faith-based opposition to same-sex marriage, as well as the government’s massive partnerships with faith-based social service groups that work on issues including housing, disaster relief and hunger. […]

“An executive order that does not include a religious exemption will significantly and substantively hamper the work of some religious organizations that are best equipped to serve in common purpose with the federal government.,” it said. “When the capacity of religious organizations is limited, the common good suffers.” […]

“Without a robust religious exemption . . . this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.”

None of the groups mentioned in the letter have explicitly said they would pull out of their partnerships with the White House if they do not get an exemption.

Executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights Kate Kendell commented on the request for a religious exemption, stating, "This would be a catastrophic erosion of non-discrimination protections. We will not stand for this.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511b8305a970c-150wiMeanwhile, Former Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Towleroad guest blogger Matt Foreman, also took issue with narrower interpretations of The Hobby Lobby ruling and asserted how disastrous it would be for the LGBT community should Hobby Lobby influence a religious exemption to President Obama's executive order:

Such an exemption would have been bad enough before Hobby Lobby, but the decision makes it even more deadly. The Hobby Lobby majority said the decision shouldn't be read to undermine employment nondiscrimination laws. BUT if the EO contains the ENDA exemption, there's nothing to stop the reasoning in Hobby Lobby from having full force and effect in justifying anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors - pushing the door even more widely open for discrimination against our people for essentially any reason whatsoever.

The only acceptable religious exemption is the one long-contained in Title VII. Anything else can spell disaster for years to come, including profoundly weakening the impact of future federal nondiscrimination laws and our hopes to secure meaningful civil rights protections in the 29 states that still lack them.

There is no moral or political justification for President Obama to cave and endorse LGBT people having less protections from discrimination than other Americans. This issue is not a side show; it is core to our equality.

You can read the letter to the President for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News: Episcopal Support For Gay Marriage, Rugby, Omar Sharif Jr., Gay CEOs

Jesus RoadAwesome counter-protest at Chicago Pride.

RoadA guy in Britain had his already well endowed member made girthier thanks to plastic surgery.

RoadChris Colfer tweets he was let go from Glee; reps then say his account was hacked and the actor will in fact be returning to the show.

RoadThrowback Thursday: TRL returns for one day only.

RoadThe Episcopal Diocese of St. Louis announces support for challenge to Missouri's same-sex marriage ban: "Bishop George Wayne Smith said in a statement that he 'supports St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and City Counselor Winston Calvert in their challenge to Missouri law prohibiting same-sex marriage. Even as the Episcopal Church works to clarify our theological understanding of and pastoral practices around same-sex blessings, I believe that it is not the place of the State of Missouri to deny the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to anyone, basing that denial solely on the gender of the couple.'”

RoadJessica Chastain played Juliet in NYC's Shakespeare in the Park.

RoadFault in Our Stars star Ansel Elgort to play gay pianist Van Cliburn in biopic.

RoadFirst official image of Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Henry RoadPennsylvania High School won't allow production of Monty Python's Spamelot because play features gay wedding: "Dawn Burch, director of the school’s drama department, told WNEP news that Principal Jesse Smith wrote an email to her informing her that homosexuality does not exist in a conservative community such as South Williamsport. Smith did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry regarding these specific comments."

RoadApparently, there were some fireworks on the set of The Notebook. Hate and love are the closest emotions.

RoadAustralian rugby team Sydney Convicts are first gay team to play on professional level: “The Sydney Convicts are very excited and proud to be the first gay and inclusive rugby team to be invited to play as part of an elite level rugby match," [The president of the Convicts, Dave] Whitaker told the Gay News Network. “We hope this game helps to challenge these misconceptions while also raising awareness that homophobia in sport is still a major issue and gay people often still feel unwelcome.”

RoadHorrible Bosses 2 trailer released.

RoadOmar Sharif Jr. one of People's hottest bachelors.

RoadBrothers & Sisters alum and out actor Luke MacFarlane to play gay service-member on NBC's Night Shift

RoadRussian conductor Valery Gergiev, known for being close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, says Russia's anti-gay propaganda law isn't anti-gay: “It’s not anti-gay… Nothing to do with gay. It’s about propaganda in schools, in schools, what they call ‘non-traditional’. I don’t understand all these things; I also don’t understand the campaign [of protests against his performances].” He went on to claim that the impacts of the law are exaggerated by western media, saying: “I didn’t know about this law. I learnt about this law in the west. Nobody knows about this law in Russia because [the] law is never applied. No one is put in prison, no one is killed, no one is arrested. We have no idea what is this law in reality to do with our lives here. No idea. Nobody here is about this at all.”

RoadGay CEOs reluctant to come out? "'Of course there are gay CEOs and I reached out to many of them and got an extremely cool reception,' said New York Times columnist Jim Stewart on CNBC, 'Not one would allow to be named for the column.'"


Mormon LGBT Rights Advocate John Dehlin Faces Excommunication: VIDEO

Dehlin

John Dehlin, a Mormon advocate of LGBT rights, has said that no decision has been made on whether he will be excommunicated from the church.

Last month a top Mormon official reiterated the church's stance against same-sex marriage.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Dehlin, who runs the Mormon Stories website, said that regional Mormon church leader Bryan King told Dehlin he needed time to think and pray on whether to send the case to a disciplinary panel.

Writing on Mormon Stories, Dehlin says “that many LDS church leaders have good intentions, but I am deeply troubled by their historical and current treatment of women, racial and sexual minorities, and scientists/intellectuals.”

He also writes:

“I believe that I am being considered for disciplinary action because of: 1) the popularity of Mormon Stories podcast, 2) my support for LGBT rights within Mormonism, and for the legalization of same-sex marriage, 3) my support for Ordained Women, and 4) I believe that both local and high-level church leaders are blaming Mormon Stories for the fact that some people inevitably leave the church.”

Although Mormon officials have not specifically discussed the case, they have said the church welcomes questions and conversations about the faith.

Dehlin has agreed to no longer talk with the media about the case.

Watch a video of Dehlin speaking about LGBT rights at a TEDx talk this past November, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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. 


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