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South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO

Open Mosque South Africa to close down

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque could be shut down barely a week after it opened because it has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, reports AFK Insider.

According to Taj Hargey, the director of the “forward thinking” organization Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the university’s Islamic Congregation, the Open Mosque in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb - which opened last Friday - welcomes all genders, religions and sexual orientations. The mosque also allows women to lead prayers.

Taj hargeyHargey said that he has received many positive responses to the mosque but confirmed that he has also received “a lot of death threats.”

The Muslim Judicial Council, an umbrella organization of the South African Islamic clergy, condemned the mosque, stating that Hargey’s establishment cannot be considered a true mosque given that it does not adhere to both the Qur'aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

However, Hargey told the BBC that although his “autonomous and independent” mosque has been targeted by the City Council using “ridiculous bylaws,” he “will not be threatened by them or anyone else.”

Protesting outside the mosque, Imam Bilal Ghorieb said that his argument against the mosque is personal and "not part of the religion['s] understanding, my understanding, a selfish understanding."

Elsabeth Muirhead said that, as a Unitarian, she went to the opening to support the mosque's message of "tolerance, interfaith dialog and equality with women."

Watch a report on the opening of the Open mosque, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO" »


Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO

Danny Cortez

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has kicked out a pro-LGBT California church, claiming that minister Danny Cortez and the church are not in “cooperation” with the SBC’s stance on LGBT issues, reports Think Progress.

In August, New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California voted to welcome the LGBT community after Cortez gave a sermon announcing that his son Drew had come out as gay - and that he himself no longer agreed with the SBC’s teachings on homosexuality.

Speaking about his son’s decision to come out, Cortez said:

“My heart skipped a beat and I turned towards [my son] and we gave one another the biggest and longest hug as we cried. And all I could tell him was that I loved him so much and that I accepted him just as he is … If it wasn’t for this 15 year journey and my change in theology, I may have destroyed my son through reparative therapy.”

After Cortez’s sermon, members of the church had the option to remove him from the pulpit but voted to keep him as pastor and adopt a live-and-let-live approach “in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage.” 6a00d8341c730253ef01a73dd6d034970d-500wi

On Tuesday, the SBC voted unanimously to “disfellowship” New Heart because it “does not presently meet the definition of a cooperating church” as its constitution outlaws congregations that “act to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.”

Forgetting that “compassion” is a two-way street, Ronnie Floyd, SBC President and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said:

“[New Heart has] walked away from us as Southern Baptists. We have not walked away from them. So it is with compassion that I would appeal to them to reconsider their decision, mostly their position related to the Word of God on homosexuality.”

However, New Heart has stood firm in its decision to embrace diversity. In a letter to the SBC committee, church Deacons explained that their congregation holds a multiplicity of positions, but also acknowledges their pastor’s firmly pro-LGBT stance:

“Some ‘members in our church’ believe that same-sex marriage can be blessed by God, while other members in our church believe that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. While ‘our church’ remains without an official stance on same-sex marriage, our preaching pastor has officiated a same-sex marriage.”

Watch Cortez's sermon "Why I Changed My Mind on Sexuality," as well as his son's coming out video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO" »


Gay Minnesotan Church Employee Forced to Resign for Getting Married

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Jamie Moore, music director for St. Victoria Catholic Church in Victoria, MN (pictured) was forced to resign from his post. 

Over the weekend, Moore married his male partner, and as a response, the archdiocese told the church it would be best if Moore resigns. Via CBS Minnesota, Archbishop John Nienstedt said that he was contacted by the church for advice on the situation. Said Nienstadt in a statement:

The … conduct of church employees can inspire and motivate people, but it can also scandalize and undermine their faith. Church employees must … recognize and accept the responsibilities that accompany their ministry.

Nienstadt has a history of anti-gay remarks and recently refused to leave his post despite allegations of sexual misconduct and covering up the sexual abuse of children. 

Moore, meanwhile, is on his honeymoon, and has yet to be heard from on this matter. 

Dan Carroll, who has been a church member for 45 years, provided a quote to CBS: "I think he’s a real friendly person. He seems like he gets along with everybody and fits in quite well." And yet, his attitude was more resigned than up-in-arms: “Whatever they [the church] choose for us, that’s what we have to put up with.” 

The church's Father White, who the Archbishop spoke with directly, says he plans to address this issue in a sermon this weekend.


Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO

Serbia pride

Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, yesterday denounced a Gay Pride march planned for this weekend, reports ABC News.

In a statement, Irinej said that the "shameless" event casts a moral shadow on Serbia.

OrthOfficials have suggested they could allow the event to go ahead despite fears of a repeat of the violence in 2010 when right-wing groups attacked a pride march, triggering clashes with police that left more than 100 people injured.

Following the attacks, authorities banned LGBT rights marches for the following three years, citing security reasons.

Holding the march is seen as a test of the country's pledge to respect human rights as it seeks membership in the European Union.

However, Irinej said that the pride organizers "and their mentors from Europe" haven't learned the lesson from the past marches.

Several far-right groups have announced anti-gay marches in Belgrade next Saturday.

On Tuesday, police announced they have filed charges against eight people who had made threats against LGBT people on social media.

Milorad Todorovic, the police officer in charge of cyber crime in Serbia, has vowed to “secure the safety of all citizens” and is hopeful that the Pride event will go ahead. "I hope the pride event will be held on Sunday."

Watch police combating extremist protesters at Serbia's 2010 Gay Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO" »


Black Pastors Invoke Martin Luther King, Form Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

Stacy swimp
(Pastor Stacy Swimp)

A coalition of black pastors and supporters has said it will file legal briefs in more than 80 court cases involving lawsuits to legalize same-sex marriage, reports The Detroit News.

Flint, Michigan Pastor Stacy Swimp said at a press conference yesterday that he also wants to see a boycott against black-owned media and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for supporting marriage equality.

The press conference was organized by the coalition and right wing legal groups Thomas More Law Center which is filing the briefs on the pastors’ behalf.

Swimp announced that the coalition’s members will speak out against judges who have ruled in favor of lifting voter-approved bans on gay marriage.

Claiming that marriage was defined by god, Swimp argued that the Constitution does not indicate “that equal justice under the law is relative to marriage redefinition."

Invoking Martin Luther King and with a massive lack of insight that prejudice exists outside the vacuum of his own little world, Swimp also announced on Facebook that he is "compelled to fight against the injustice of redefining marriage and against any and all false comparisons of sexual orientation to being Black- anywhere and everywhere that this hijacking of civil rights is taking place."

However, Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP said:

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Watch Swimp launch his defense of "traditional marriage," AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo by Stacy Swimp.)

Continue reading "Black Pastors Invoke Martin Luther King, Form Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


Far-Right Activist Walid Shoebat: ISIS Promoting The 'Homosexual Agenda' - VIDEO

Walid shoebat

Walid Shoebat, a Palestinian American who converted from Islam and a former Muslim Brotherhood member, has claimed that ISIS is promoting the “homosexual agenda” by raping men and using recordings to blackmail them, reports Right Wing Watch.

Shoebat was writing on BarbWire, the virulently homophobic website belonging to anti-gay wingnut Matt Barber.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d070687c970c-800wiReferring to a documentary broadcast on August 27th on the Kurdish station STERK TV in which ISIS members claim that the group has been raping and gang raping men in a ceremony it describes as "marriage” and using the footage to force them to join the terrorist group, Shoebat inexplicably states that the terrorist group’s use of rape as a weapon “is truly the manifestation of the purest form of the homosexual agenda.”

Oddly referring to “human rights” to show that rapes and gang rapes are used “to assassinate [victims] while they are still alive”, Shoebat of course makes no coherent argument - in fact no argument at all - to back up his ridiculous, inflammatory and vile opinions connecting homosexuality with rape.

Watch a disturbing clip of the documentary in which an Iraqi official interrogates an ISIS terrorist about the use of rape as a recruitment tool, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Far-Right Activist Walid Shoebat: ISIS Promoting The 'Homosexual Agenda' - VIDEO" »


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