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Vatican Backtracks On Positive Comments About Gays Following Conservative Backlash

It appears there have been some aftershocks to yesterday's pastoral earthquake. Despite a groundbreaking report issued yesterday from the Vatican which declared unheard-of support for gay persons, saying gay people have unique “gifts and qualities” to offer their parishes, the Catholic Church is today backtracking on the report as a result of the ire expressed by more conservative members of the clergy. CNN reports: 

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d5bb66970c-250wiIn response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a "working document," not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create "the impression of a positive evaluation" of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.

But gay rights groups say that's precisely the impression the Vatican gave Monday when it said:

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Such statements seem to be in line with the more merciful approach the church has taken toward gays and lesbians under Pope Francis. In 2013, Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

On Monday morning, just before the Vatican released its positive report on gays, Francis preached that laws that do not lead people to Jesus are "dead," and that Christ did "strange things" such as hanging out with sinners and tax collectors.

Monday’s report also said of same-sex relationships, “it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners” and said bishops must grasp the "positive reality of civil weddings" where heterosexual co-habitation (i.e. “living in sin”) is concerned. 

Despite the backtrack, some gay rights advocates still herald Monday’s report and believe today’s retread isn’t a devastating a setback:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd263b67970b-250wi"I actually don't think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!" said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.

"I think that response to this report was swift and intense, and I'm sure many bishops want to be sure people aren't reading more into it than is there," she continued. "However, it is undeniable that there has never been any Vatican document that made positive, respectful statements about same-sex relationships, so that is an undeniable breakthrough."

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, echoed that sentiment.

"Regardless of the fact that this is a working document, it is still significant in that it reveals a strong current of affirmative attitudes at high levels in the church towards lesbians and gay people," he said.


Norwegian Tourism Company Refutes Religious Discrimination Against Canadian Christian - VIDEO

Amaruk

A Christian graduate from Trinity Western University (TWU) in British Columbia, Canada, claims to have been discriminated against and "attacked" because of her religion after applying for a job with a Norwegian wilderness tourism company, reports CBC News.

All students at TWU - a private Christian liberal arts university - must agree to a covenant prohibiting sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage.

In her complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Bethany Paquette outlined a series of emails from Amaruk executives.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. has rejected the claims. 

Bethany Paquette

A rejection email from Amaruk hiring manager Olaf Amundsen read in part:

"Unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.

"The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually  see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life."

In a reply email, Paquette wrote "your disagreement with Trinity Western University, simply because they do not support sex outside of marriage, can in fact be noted as discrimination of approximately 76 per cent of the world population!!! Wow, that's a lot of diverse people that you don't embrace."

She signed the email God Bless “probably partially because I knew it would irritate them.”

Amundsen then shot back that “propaganda is lost on me” because he is “a Viking with a PhD in Norse culture. So propaganda is lost on me”:

"In asking students to refrain from same-sex relationships, Trinity Western University, and any person associated with it, has engaged in discrimination...'God bless' is very offensive to me and yet another sign of your attempts to impose your religious views on me.

“There are practical concerns about a Christian university that rejects the concept of evolution but still grants ‘biology’ degrees.

"I do not want to be blessed by some guy who was conceived by a whore, outside of marriage, and whom has been the very reason for the most horrendous abuse and human right violations in the  history of the human race. If I was to meet the guy I’d actually fuck him”

Amaruk employee Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen then joined the discussion, writing that while "Trinity Western University believes that two men loving each other is wrong… we believe a man ending up with another man is probably the best thing that could happen to him. But we do not force these views onto other people, and we are completely fine if a guy decided to go the emasculation route by marrying a B.C. woman.”

TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold said "Canadians shouldn't be treated this way by a foreign company. Mocking of their religion — there is a personal shaming element to it that was most unfortunate."

Micheal Vonn of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said employers are not supposed to express opinions about an applicant's religious background:

"You are allowed to think anything you like. But you have obligations as an employer to act in a non-discriminatory manner.

"What you have is written documentation that more or less is tantamount to a sign on the door that says no one of religious affiliation need apply for employment here. We don't usually see discrimination cases that are quite this stark."

However, in a statement issued last week, Amaruk said:

"We regret that Bethany Paquette was [em]inently unqualified for an assistant guide internship position with our company.

"We strive to make applicants aware of the minimum requirements for each position.

"Unfortunately, Bethany Paquette applied for a position when she knew, or ought to know, that she was unqualified for the position, did not meet the minimum requirements of the position, and did not hold the necessary certifications for the position."

Read the full email exchange here and watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Prominent Washington-Area Rabbi Comes Out In E-mail to Congregation, 'I Am a Gay Man'

SteinlaufGil Steinlauf, the prominent rabbi at of one of Washington, D.C.’s most distinguished synagogues, has come out as gay in an e-mail widely circulated throughout his congregation and republished in the Washington Post.

Steinlauf came to the Adas Israel Congregation in 2008 and is widely recognized as having been influential in the organization’s efforts to court members of both the progressive and traditional Jewish communities. In 2012 Steinlauf officiated Adas Israel’s first same sex marriage, an experience that he recounted in an article for The Jewish Journal entitled “The Queerness of Love: A Jewish Case for Same-Sex Marriage.”

“Today, I am unfazed by the apparent biblical injunction against homosexuality as an ‘abomination,’”  he wrote. “It is, in fact, the Jews’ queerness in the world that captures our particular Divine message to all humanity. Love is queer, and in recognizing this, we find its holiness, its Godliness.”

In the e-mail Steinlauf described his lifelong struggle with accepting his homosexuality and spoke of the strength he found in his marriage to Batya Steinlauf, his wife and a fellow rabbi herself. The pair met as students at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and together they had three daughters. While their intentions to divorce are firm, they’ve decided to continue to live together for the time being.

“What we’ve had for 20 years is very real, and the last thing I’d want is for us to live a lie,” he said of his family.

Reactions to Steinlauf’s coming out have been supportive. Arnie Podgorsky, president of the synagogue, reached out to the congregation encouraging them to understand the couple’s decision.

“I have great respect for their ability to face changing circumstances in their lives with honesty and integrity,” he said in a letter. “We can all learn from their example.”


Gordon Klingenschmitt Warns Same-Sex Marriage Allows Gays To 'Recruit Your Kids' - VIDEO

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Nut-job homophobe and Colorado Republican state legislative candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt has said that the Supreme Court’s decision to “force homosexual ‘marriage’” on the U.S. will allow gay people to "recruit" children, reports Right Wing Watch.

Not afraid of wingnut outbursts against LGBT people, in recent months Klingenschmitt said that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed in churches or public restrooms, that Christians are being forced to “worship sodomy” and that Democratic Congressman Jared Polis will “join ISIS in beheading Christians.”

In his latest outburst, writing to members of his Pray In Jesus Name project, he lamented that “cruel judges now deny kids’ rights in 30 states.” He continued that conservatives must now work even harder to “defend their children from such an agenda to normalize sin.” Getting carried away, he also rolled out the old “recruitment of children” chestnut.

Klingenschmitt’s rabid email reads in part:

“Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear any of seven possible appeals from five states that would protect traditional marriage between one man and one woman. This dereliction of duty allowed bad lower-court rulings to enforce homosexual ‘marriage’ in 11 new states, against the will of the voters. Many children will now be told by the government, ‘You can't have a mother. You get two dads instead.’ That's unfair to kids.

“THIS JUST IN: Sodomy is still banned by God in all 50 states. Gay marriage now ‘legal’ in 30 states? Only 3 states voted for that, meaning it was imposed on kids in 27 states by oligarchs, against the voters' will. 38 states had bans before this judicial TYRANNY overruled the people's will. God will have the last word. …

“Will Christians work this hard, to defend their children from such an agenda to normalize sin and recruit your kids? Legislation. Ballot Work. Courts. All fronts in all states.

“We are fighting back. We will fight to defend traditional marriage as Jesus defined it in Matthew 19:4-6, between one man and one woman. We must encourage Congress to NOT give up the fight.”

Watch a video from last year in which Klingenschmitt claims that a "demonic spirit of tyranny" is trying to force Christians "at the point of the government sword" to participate in the "sin of sodomy," AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gordon Klingenschmitt Warns Same-Sex Marriage Allows Gays To 'Recruit Your Kids' - VIDEO" »


Christian Group Ends Fake 'Fast' Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

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Virginia-based anti-gay group Family Foundation has announced that members have completed their very strange fast in opposition to same-sex marriage, reports Pink News.

Last month, the group announced its 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance For Marriage which started on August 27th and finished on Sunday, the day before the Supreme Court was due to hear a series of same-sex marriage appeals cases.

However, not entirely getting it, the group said that it was actually fine to eat during the fast although "feeding on the spiritual food provided is vital.”

Failing to address the possibility that if they had perhaps actually fasted, yesterday's Supreme Court decision might have gone their way, a letter to supporters released at the end of the “fast” read:

“Thank you for participating in these 40 HOLY days of prayer and fasting as we have opened the pages of our Marriage Covenant and travelled through the three stage ritual of a traditional Wedding Ceremony in our journey to a more perfect union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“May you, your family, and your ministry be strengthened and encouraged as you continue to walk in all the ways of holiness, and as you open the hearts of others to the knowledge of the Lord’s extraordinary grace and love.”

Watch Family Foundation's apocalyptic video announcing the fake fast, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Christian Group Ends Fake 'Fast' Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


Grammy Nominated Mary Lambert On Growing Up Gay In A Christian Community - VIDEO

Mary lambert

Grammy nominated musician Mary Lambert has spoken to Take Part about reconciling her sexual orientation with her faith.

In the interview Lambert, known for her collaboration with Ryan Lewis and Macklemore on Same Love, talks about using music to prove that all kinds of love are valid and worthy of acceptance.

Lambert also reveals that she auditioned unsuccessfully for American Idol when she was 16.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Grammy Nominated Mary Lambert On Growing Up Gay In A Christian Community - VIDEO" »


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