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Indian Poster Calls For Arrest And Execution Of 'Homosexual Terrorists'

Amid the national outcry against the Indian Supreme Court's ruling which put back into place an 1861 law criminalizing same-sex intercourse, the city of Madurai has found fliers posted in public calling for the arrest and execution of gay people and their supporters.

DeathThe LGBT Indian blog Gaylaxy reports:

The message from the [Indian National League, a Muslim political party]... is addressed to both the Central and State governments, and requests them to immediately arrest and detain members of the LGBT community and their supporters, and refers to activists as ‘homosexual terrorists’...

First, it mentions that freedom of expression was being abused by the LGBT community- hence Section 377 of the IPC should be in place. Second, being the most extreme message advocated by it, it calls for an extension of the punishment advocated under the Section, and requests that it be rectified from 10 years imprisonment to capital punishment. Third, it reflects and repeats the age-old tune of religious parties in calling homosexuality a crime against traditional values. The poster includes a cautionary footnote from the Quran, quoting it as saying that “if a society does not destroy the evils in it, it will inevitably bear its consequences”.

Despite the forbidding of gay sex in the Quran, Muslims such as openly gay American Imam Daayiee Abdullah are actively challenging homophobic elements within Islamic culture.

Shortly after India's Supreme Court ruling, the UN Human Rights Chief, the Indian government and elected officials all urged quick action to decriminalize homosexuality once more, as was done in a lower court ruling in 2009.

A Coming Methodist Schism Over Marriage Equality?


Reverend Dean Snyder, a senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church — a Washington D.C. church commonly visited by sitting presidents — has told USA Today that Methodist Bishops should call a special General Conference to address the church's policies regarding same-sex weddings instead of waiting until the church's 2016 General Conference.

Snyder said, "Some of us believe this issue is critical enough to do that. There's more and more pressure from one side to enforce the rules and more and more pressure from the other side that thinks the rules are unjust and unloving..."

Snyder's comments came in regards to Frank Schaefer (pictured above), a former pastor who was recently defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex wedding in 2007. Currently, four other Presbyterian pastors are facing church trials for officiating same-sex weddings as well.

"...these trials are about enforcing obedience to just some of the rules of the church," [Snyder] said. "That draconian effort to force obedience to selected rules leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. Trials are counterproductive and we have to find other ways to negotiate our differences."

The denomination, the nation's second-largest Protestant group, accepts gay and lesbian members, but its Book of Discipline calls the practice of homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching" and bars clergy from performing same-sex unions.

Concurrently, Southern Californian Bishop Minerva Carcano invited Schaefer to join the church's California-Pacific Conference where he could continue serving the church, although not in a pastorial capacity. Also late last week, New Jersey area Bishop John Schol released a video asking the church to stop using trials to settle questions of faith and telling gays and lesbians that many Methodists support same-sex marriage. These trends could portend an approaching schism between pro and anti-gay Methodist church leaders.

Earlier this year, the US Presbyterian church experienced a schism over its decision not to ordain gay and lesbian ministers. Similarly in 2010, the Episcopalian and Anglican churches narrowly avoided a schism over the Episcopal church's ordination of gay clergy.

Snyder himself has officiated at least a dozen same-sex weddings and yet the Methodist church hasn't prosecuted him yet. One wonders why.

Group Responsible For Westboro 'Pink Mass' Raises Funds For Satanic Monument at Oklahoma Capitol

The New York-based Satanic Temple that held a "pink mass" over the grave of Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelp's mother to turn her "gay for all eternity" has started a $20,000 IndieGogo campaign to place a Satanic Monument near the Oklahoma capitol to compliment the Ten Commandments monument currently on the north lawn.

CapsatAccording to the campaign page:

The existing Ten Commandments monument, donated to the Capitol Preservation Commission in 2009 by Mike Ritze, a representative of the Oklahoma State Legislature and ordained Southern Baptist Deacon, has raised the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who filed suit in August of 2013, noting that, “the monument stands alone, with no other monuments or memorials in the immediate vicinity.” Also of concern to the ACLU is the “self-evidently exclusive” religious message “that supports and endorses the faiths and creeds of some churches and sects.” We believe that in being allowed to place our monument within the proximity of the Ten Commandments monument, we can appease the ACLU’s concerns.

By accepting our offer, the good people of Oklahoma City will have the opportunity to show that they espouse the basic freedoms spelled out in the Constitution. We imagine that the ACLU will also embrace such a response. Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome. Our mission is to bring people together by finding common sentiments that create solutions that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.

Donors to the Indiegogo campaign will receive official Satanic Temple t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, buttons, membership cards and framed certificates of membership with a wax seal.

(image via the Satanic Temple Indiegogo page)

The Supreme Court Will Rule on Obamacare's Contraception Requirement. Here's Why You Should Care.


131002191139-tsr-moos-obamacare-sign-up-glitches-00000812-story-topLast week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging the Affordable Care Act. The last time that happened, the Court determined by a bare 5-4 majority that the so-called individual mandate, the requirement that everyone has to buy health insurance or pay a tax, was constitutional. Next year, the Court will consider whether corporations can refuse to provide insurance plans that include contraception if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of those corporations' owners.

This matters, not just to those of us in need of health care and not just to those of us who work for companies run by religious people. It matters to all LGBT Americans because the scope of this particular religious exemption could affect the scopes of other religious exemptions.

The cases -- Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius -- will determine the breadth of the religious exemption from Obamacare. Unfortunately, the pretext of religious freedom has gained much traction of late in justifying continued discrimination. And this Court's conservative majority has set itself up to strike a blow against equality.

AFTER THE JUMP, I will construct the argument I expect the Court's conservatives will use to expand the religious exemption. I will show how that argument is deeply flawed. And then I will show how dangerous it is for the LGBT community.

Continue reading "The Supreme Court Will Rule on Obamacare's Contraception Requirement. Here's Why You Should Care." »

Pennsylvania Pastor Faces Church Trial for Officiating Gay Son's Marriage

20131110__422684~p1_300Over the weekend, Rev. Frank Schaefer joined with his supporters at Coleman Chapel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania for a candlelight vigil.  No one had died: the vigil was for Schaefer himself, who is facing a church trial for officiating his gay son's wedding in Massachusetts in 2007.  The Lebanon Daily News reports:

Schaefer is pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in South Lebanon Township.

"We know of a lot of churches that are doing it," said Schaefer, "but we're hoping that a lot of churches that we don't know of are doing it."

Schaeffer said the prayer vigil were not just for him but for the gay community.

"People are called upon to pray for me as I prepare for trial, for my family, but also for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community at large, because this is for a cause. This is not just for an individual."

Schaefer could lose his ministry if he is convicted of violating church rules.  The United Methodist Church allows its members to be gay, but does not recognize marriage equality or allow LGBT people to join the clergy.

According to the Daily News, a group of over 30 United Methodist pastors in Pennsylvnia who support Schaefer say they will officiate a joint same-sex wedding.

Schaefer hopes that his church will reconsider its position on homosexuality, and credits his son with changing his own views:

"Everything changed for me when I learned that my oldest son was gay," he said. "I think we need to look at this issue again. This is not just an issue of theology. This is an issue of life and death for our young people."

Schaefer said that as a teenager, his son considered suicide because of his struggle with his sexual identity.

"We, as parents and as Christians, rallied around him and affirmed him, and it brought him through some very rough times," he said.

Schaefer's trial will begin on November 18th.

(photo: Earl Brightbill & Lebanon Daily News)

ENDA's Problems and Potential


The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect millions of Americans from being fired from their jobs simply because of their sexuality, will likely pass the United States Senate soon. A small handful of Republicans (Sens. Collins, Hatch, Heller, Portman, Ayotte, Kirk, and Toomey) joined every Democrat and Democratic-aligned Independent to overcome a Republican filibuster that would have prevented the Senate from even discussing the bill. The bill will most likely never pass the Republican-controlled House.

EqualityThe discussion on ENDA now turns to the law's religious exemptions. I wrote previously about the dangers of those exemptions: they are gaping holes in equality that threaten to make equality meaningless if left unchecked. Controversy surrounding those exemptions occupied nearly an entire hour of discussion during the "ENDA Situation Room," an expert roundtable streamed live here on Towleroad, hosted by leading ENDA advocate and Freedom to Work Founder Tico Almeida and co-hosted by New York Law School. What to do about proposed exemptions is dividing leaders of the gay community, pitting Lambda Legal and Human Rights Campaign advocates on different paths.

Not all religious exemptions to equality laws are bad; no one wants to force a church or synagogue to do something that its liturgy tells it not to. But a cavalier approach to these exemptions could be very bad. The ENDA religious exemption debate is not, counterintuitively, just about exemptions to ENDA's application. It is about future judicial interpretations of ENDA. It's about every future LGBT equality law. It is about accepting that LGBT equality is some special category of equality that unnecessarily gets a shorter reach, like swiss cheese with extra holes. It is about elevating and changing an unrelated right to an antagonist of equality. And every religious exemption that we let slide weakens our position on all of these issues in the next fight.


Continue reading "ENDA's Problems and Potential" »


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