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04/19/2007


Catholic Priest Refuses Gay Man Last Rites

Ronald Plishka, a gay Catholic man who suffered a heart attack on February 6, was admitted to the emergency room at Washington Hospital Center in DC for treatment. Unsure if he would survive, he requested a priest give him the last rites. Father Brian Coelho was brought in to perform the ceremony but stopped once he learned that Plishka is gay.

The Washington Blade reports:

Washington“We started talking and I told him I was so happy with this new Pope because of his comments about the gays and his accepting the gays,” Plishka said. “And I mentioned that I was gay. I said it and then I asked him does that bother you? And he said, ‘Oh, no, that does not bother me,’” said Plishka.

“But then he would not proceed with administering the last rites or communion. He couldn’t do it.”

According to Plishka, Coelho, who brought a supply of holy water to his hospital room, never said in so many words that he was refusing to administer communion and last rites.

Asked what Coelho told him, Plishka said, “Well, I mean he stopped. He would not do it. By him not doing it I assumed he would not do it because why was he getting ready to do it and all of a sudden when I say I’m gay he stops?”

Plishka said Coelho gave no reason for not giving him the sacraments he requested but offered instead to pray with him.

“He said what he wanted to do,” said Plishka. “He wanted to pray. That’s what he wanted to do. He said well I could pray with you. And I just told him to get the fuck out of here — excuse me. But that’s what I told him.”

Plishka received further treatment at the hospital and was eventually released. Once home he called to complain about Coelho.

Once at home, Plishka said he called the hospital chaplain’s office to lodge a complaint against Fr. Coelho. He said he also called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception next to Catholic University, where he has attended Mass nearly every Sunday for years.

“They have a priest on call,” he said. “So he called me back and said he agreed with what the priest at the hospital did. He said unless you’re willing to change and basically become somebody you’re not, then this priest had every right to do that, to refuse you communion and to refuse you the last rites of the church,” Plishka said.


Arizona Senate Passes Bill Allowing Businesses to Refuse Service to Gays Based on Religious Beliefs

Arizonaflag Yarbrough

Arizona's Senate has voted 17-13 to approve a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays based on religious beliefs, the Arizona Daily Star reports:

The 17-13 vote along party lines, with Republicans in the majority, came after supporters defeated an attempt to extend existing employment laws that bar discrimination based on religion and race to also include sexual orientation. Sen. Steve Yarbrough (pictured), R-Chandler, said that's a separate issue from what he is trying to do.

But Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said that's precisely the issue.

"The bill opens the door for discrimination against gays and lesbians," he said.

Yarbrough, however, said foes of SB 1062 are twisting what his legislation says.

"This bill is not about discrimination," he said. "It's about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith."

According to an earlier report in the Star, "SB 1062 would allow businesses sued in a civil case to claim they have a legal right to not provide service to an individual or group because it would “substantially burden’’ their freedom of religion."

Read the text of the bill here.

The House is set to vote on a matching bill imminently.


No Debate About It, Bill Nye Dissected Ken Ham in Creation-Evolution Discussion: VIDEO

Nye_ham

BY DAVID TRIFUNOV / GlobalPost

After posting opposing YouTube videos about creation vs. evolution, Bill Nye "the Science Guy" and Creation Musem founder Ken Ham debate the origins of man.

Watch the full debate, AFTER THE JUMP...

This we can’t argue: Bill Nye’s debate with Ken Ham on Tuesday night in Kentucky sparked healthy discussion about heady topics. After that, well … it gets tougher.

Here’s what all the fuss was about. Nye we all know. He’s “the Science Guy” of TV fame. Winner of Emmy awards, dancer with the stars and best buds with some guy named Obama. Ham is popular in his own right, too. He’s CEO of the Answers in Genesis ministry and founder of the Creation Museum, a facility that’s boasted two million visitors since 2007.

They posted dueling YouTube videos last year, with Nye suggesting kids must be protected from creationist thinking. Ham countered with a roster of accomplished scientists committed to the Bible’s version of events. They continued the argument on Tuesday in Petersburg, Ken., inside the Creation Museum, speaking for about 2 ½ hours.

GapHere’s where the debate focused: Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?

Declaring a clear winner isn’t going to happen because both sides are firmly entrenched. Still, since you’ve lasted with us this long, we should probably get off the fence and tell you this: Nye won by a landslide.

Why? He presented evidence that’s hard to refute, something we can all relate to, he counted the rings on trees.

It seems abundantly plausible to anyone who has ever chopped fire wood that the single ring of a tree stump represents one year in that tree’s life.

So as Ham based his entire argument on the assumption earth is only 6,000 years old, Nye showed pictures of a tree called Old Tjikko. One of the world’s largest trees – a Norway spruce located in, oddly enough, Sweden – if you count the rings you’ll find 9,550 of them.

To that, Nye asked: “How could these trees be there if there was an enormous flood 4,000 years ago?”

Here’s what else we learned:

DebateIt was widely popular.
CNN reporter Tom Foreman, who mediated, told the sold-out auditorium of about 900 people that “hundreds of thousands” were watching online. He said representatives from 70 media organizations attended the event.

Both men are accomplished academics and speakers.
Nye has won 18 Emmy awards and continues to host and produce television programs. He’s a mechanical engineer by trade, and is executive director of The Planetary Society, the world’s large space interest organization. He’s also adamant science education is vital if the United States wants to remain a world power.

“Without scientists and engineers to create new technologies and ways of doing society’s business, other economies in other countries will out-compete the United States and leave our citizens behind,” he wrote on CNN.com explaining why he accepted the debate.

Ham is a transplanted Australian who also has a science degree (environmental biology), and has appeared on a raft of TV shows, from CNN’s The Situation Room to Fox and Friends.

Noah’s ark was the focal point.
The Bible preaches that God cleaned the slate 4,000 years ago, telling Noah to collect two of every animal and 14,000 righteous followers as 40 days of rain fell on the earth. Nye said if the ark was built in the Middle East, how did kangaroos end up on board, and how did they get back to Australia?

“You don’t want to raise a generation of science students who don’t understand how we know our place in the cosmos,” Nye said.

They were unapologetically polite.
Nye reminded his audience that he’s not against spirituality. He said millions of scientists find comfort in religion, but many of them can’t accept Ham’s assertions. Ham suggested science and religion are linked.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a creationist or an evolutionist. You can be a great scientist,” Ham said.

Neither conceded defeat.
During a Q&A after the formal debate, they were asked what would sway them to the other side. Nye said “we would just need one piece of evidence” from his opponent, while Ham said nothing could persuade him “the word of God is not true.”

Watch the full debate, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "No Debate About It, Bill Nye Dissected Ken Ham in Creation-Evolution Discussion: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Church Revokes Membership Of Gay Worshipper Out Of Love

Ambassadors Bible Chapel

20-year-old Bobbie Pierce had been a member of Ambassador's Bible Chapel in Newberry Township, Pennsylvania his entire life. Now, though he is still allowed to attend services, he is a member no longer after church elders including Pastor David Slautterback decided that church discipline was needed when Pierce chose not to renounce his homosexuality, the York Daily Record reports.

PierceSaid Slautterback:

I do not believe that a homosexual person has to be homosexual any more than I believe that a person who is inclined to steal steals[...]We placed Bobbie under church discipline out of love for Bobbie and regard for his soul.

Pierce is less concerned with his soul and more about the lives of other gay youths and wants them to know that they are not alone.

I've heard so many stories of someone who is homosexual who has a strict Christian family, who commits suicide.

Pierce still attends his church. He takes his wheelchair-bound grandmother there weekly, and despite the actions of Pastor Slautterback he still feels at home there.

The members of the church are like a family. That's where I grew up. Even with the non-acceptance of homosexuality, it's still my church where I felt comfortable.


Gay Christian Apologist Stirs Controversy By Calling LGBT Identity A Choice

In the New Republic this week, gay Christian apologist  Brandon Ambrosino penned an article entitled, “I Wasn't Born This Way. I Choose to Be Gay: Macklemore sends the wrong LGBT message in 'Same Love.’”

AmbrisinoIn it, Ambrosino suggests that the gay rights movement stop focusing solely on being “born this way," “to stop fearing the word ‘choice,’ and to reclaim the dignity of sexual autonomy.” He continues:

“Many people do feel as if their sexuality is something they were born with, and I have no reason to disbelieve them. But as I and other queer persons will readily confirm, there are other factors informing our sexualities than simply our genetic codes…

“The aversion to that word (“choice”) in our community stems from belief that if we can’t prove that our gayness is biologically determined, then we won’t have grounds to demand equality… I see no reason to believe that the only sexualities worth protecting are the ones over which one has no control. After all, isn’t trans activism fueled by the belief that the government has the responsibility to protect all of us regardless of our sexual choices? And aren’t protections for bisexuals based upon the same presupposition of sexual autonomy? Perhaps the L and G factions of our community would do well to follow the political lead of the Bs and Ts on this issue…”

“We’re at a very exciting time in history when it comes to LGBT equality. Yes, there are setbacks almost daily in America—to say nothing of Uganda and Russia, two countries that demand our immediate attention. But here in America, we are edging ever closer to post-equality. With that in mind, should we continue to believe that people will only accept our gayness if they are made to believe we didn’t choose it? Should reluctant, obligatory acceptance be the goal of our activism? Well, that certainly isn’t my goal.”

In the article, Ambrosino never actually says that he chose to be gay. Rather, he conflates sexual activity with sexual identity, saying that “ I’ve convinced a few men to try out my sexuality." By this thinking, people “choose to be gay” only when they engage in gay sex. He later applies this thinking to transgender people too, suggesting that trans people exercise “sexual autonomy” when they follow their own modes of gender expression.

Continue reading AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Christian Apologist Stirs Controversy By Calling LGBT Identity A Choice " »


Church Loses 80 Percent Of Congregation After Driving Out Gay Choral Director: VIDEO

Adam Fraley

The laws for the United Methodist Church say that gay men and women are welcomed and are allowed to be members of the church; however, they are forbidden from having any sort of leadership position. This was the rationale used when the United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Indiana chose to not re-hire choral director Adam Fraley, who was driven from his position by a new minister after six years of service to the church.

The decision to not re-hire was apparently made by interim minister David Mantor, and when David Steele, who worked as an intermediary between the congregation and the minister, supported Fraley, Mantor told Steele he could no longer serve the church. This decision was upheld by the district superintendent who said Steele was neglecting his duty for not supporting the decisions of the minister and fired him. Said Steele of Mantor's decisions:

It's almost like he's hijacked the church. He is completely going against what the church body wants.

The church body supports Steele's assertion as 80% of the congregation chose to stop attending over how Fraley was treated. The former members have rallied around Fraley and his partner with support.

You can see a video interview with Fraley and Steele AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Church Loses 80 Percent Of Congregation After Driving Out Gay Choral Director: VIDEO" »


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