Religion Hub

Iowa Couple Wins Lawsuit Against Wedding Venue That Discriminated Against Them

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Iowa man Lee Stafford and his fiancé, Jared, who were turned away from a Grimes, Iowa wedding venue because they're gay reached a settlement two years after Stafford levied a lawsuit at the venue for discrimination reports KCCI News. The incident occurred two years ago when the couple approached Betty Odgaard and her husband, the owners of Gortz Haus where the couple hoped to wed, to host their wedding there. The Mennonite couple refused them citing that the marriage conflicted with their personal religious beliefs. Stafford then pursued the case with the Iowa Civl Rights Commission. Tom Conley with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission affirmed that Iowa law states that commercial enterprises cannot discriminate against patrons. 

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.22.28 AMThe settlement included paying $2,500 to both Lee and Jared along with an agreement from the owners of Gortz Haus to not discriminate in the future. However, the owners of Gortz Haus have since closed the venue to all couples and no longer offer weddings or receptions for straight or gay couples. The Haus couple states weddings were a large part of their business but Gortz Haus still offers other services. The Odgaard's still say they stand by their convictions and faith after the results of the settlement. 

'Ex-Gay' Puerto Rico Priest Defends Past As Gay Adult Film Star


Jose Santiago (above right), a priest at the House of Prayer Monte Santo in Puerto Rico, has refused to resign after details of his former career as a gay adult film star emerged, reports Pink News.

Jose santiagoUnder the stage name Gustavo Arrango, Santiago starred in the 2010 adult flick Pride Part 2 and was nominated for best group sex scene.

Santiago has resisted calls for his resignation because he is no longer gay and is now happily married to a lucky, lucky woman.

“In those days I was gay and participated in homosexual activities, but God touched me, God transformed me, God gave me a woman who loves me and she loves my past.

“I haven’t seen any of these films in years. I don’t receive any money for them and it’s part of a life that is over.

“We have all done things we regret. That part of my life was before I knew God.”

Readers of Latin Times are convinced that the priest's best course of action is to return to a career in adult film.

Back in December, we reported that a new book by former seminarian Dr John Weafer revealed that there is a strong gay scene among priests in the Irish Catholic Church.

Gay priest santiago

Anti-Gay Teen Caiden Cowger Attacks 'Lazy' American Family Association For Firing Bryan Fischer: READ


Anti-gay teen activist and Bryan Fischer mini-me Caiden Cowger has taken to his blog to attack the decision of listed hate group the American Family Association (AFA) to remove Fischer from his post as spokesperson, reports Right Wing Watch.

In 2012, Cowger earned some major homophobe brownie points when he called homosexuality a “perversion” and said that President Obama is encouraging kids to be gay.  

According to Cowger, the AFA has become lazy, “compliant with liberal organizations” and adverse to freedom of expression.

The try-hard teen also takes on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for listing the AFA as a hate group. The SPLC, he argues, is “a pro-atheism organization that has fought to remove the ten commandments from court house buildings, and has been recognized by 22 Republican lawmakers (among them Speaker Boehner and Representative Bachmann, three governors, and a number of conservative organizations) for ‘character assassination.’”

“Being a regular listener of Focal Point w/ Bryan Fischer, it is clear that his own organization...took his words out of context and attempted to discredit his views. [In a letter, General Counsel of AFA Patrick Vaughn] inappropriately cited remarks that Fischer said on his radio show along with his own personal interpretations, and then stated that the American Family Association disagreed with his views on those specific matters. This was completely unnecessary, because all of Fischer’s statements are already disclaimed on his radio show at the end of every broadcast, that his views do 'not necessarily reflect those of the American Family Association.'

“If you also notice, the lawyer did not completely quote Fischer’s statements; quotations were used in the same sentence, along with interpretations. That was extremely unprofessional.

“It appears that the American Family Association has become compliant with liberal organizations and while freedom of expression is still allowed on their radio network American Family Radio, it is no longer acceptable in their main organization.”

Read Patrick Vaughn's letter explaining the AFA's decision to sideline Fischer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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REPORT: 'Gay' Man Thrown From Building By ISIS Survives, Is Stoned To Death By Syrian Villagers


Reports are emerging that a man in Syria thrown from a building by ISIS militants for being gay was stoned to death by villagers when he survived the fall.

A series of images show two masked men throwing the victim - charged with having a “homosexual affair” - from a seven-story building.

After surviving the fall, the man was stoned to death by locals in ISIS stronghold Raqqa.

Photos posted on LiveLeak show the man being checked after the fall and finally being circled by a waiting crowd.

While ISIS has labeled the individual as a homosexual, it is important to bear in mind that this is a charge frequently leveled by the Islamic State against individuals who are perceived as dissidents. A statement released by The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission following a similar reportedly anti-gay attack in Iraq best sums up the caution that should be taken when viewing ISIS' crimes that put sexual orientation front and center:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07e11f45970d-250wiIGLHRC and MADRE caution concerned members of the media, representatives of foreign governments and people of conscience generally in the strongest possible terms against assuming that the men identified as ‘gay’ and against assuming the men engaged in homosexual acts. [...]

At this time, to publicly call Iraqi men “gay” can only do harm. If the men did not identify as gay, the allegation is inaccurate and obscures the Islamic State’s motivation for publicly labeling them as such. If the men indeed identified as gay, extreme caution should be exercised and consultation held with those they loved as widespread publicity potentially exposes their families, loved ones and intimate partners to harm. Honor killings are pervasive in Iraq, so the safety of those most affected must be a paramount concern.

Furthermore, one cannot assume that the executions were for sodomy solely on the basis of information from the Islamic State. Without evidentiary basis or independent confirmation, this sweeping allegation could be applied to anyone the Islamic State seeks to discredit—including human rights activists and anyone opposed to the Islamic State. Accusing opponents of homosexuality is a tried and true tool used to discredit political adversaries throughout the world.

Video footage has also emerged today of a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive by ISIS. From The New York Times:

141226114904-moaz-al-kassasbeh-jordanian-pilot-story-topThe lengthy footage shows clips of Jordan’s involvement in the United States-led airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

At the end, the pilot, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, stands inside of a cage and is burned alive when an unidentified militant uses a torch to ignite flammable liquid that has drenched the pilot’s clothing.

The Islamic State’s previous video executions of captives were all beheadings. The latest video, which was reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors jihadist activity on the Internet, was the group's first known execution by fire.

Additional images of ISIS' most recent attack against an individual they have labeled as gay can be seen AFTER THE JUMP... (warning: graphic content)

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Baptist Pastor Accused Of Murdering Wife So He Could Marry Boyfriend Pleads Not Guilty


A longtime former Southern Baptist pastor accused of killing his wife so he could marry his boyfriend in Europe has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

Richard Shahan, 54, entered the plea Monday in Jefferson County, Alabama, where he served as children and families pastor at First Baptist Church of Birmingham, according to

Shahan2Shahan was arrested last January as he tried to board a plane for Germany. A grand jury would later indict him in the July 2013 slaying of his wife, who was found stabbed to death in their home. reported last year: 

[Deputy District Attorney Leigh] Gwathney said that information obtained from more than 3,000 of Shahan's emails indicated that he was planning to leave the country and never return. He was heading to Kazakhstan via Germany and ultimately planned to move to the United Kingdom, she said.

"He planned to become a citizen there and begin a new life with his boyfriend... who he intended to marry," Gwathney said. "He had no intention of ever returning to the United States. He had no home to return to and he had said his goodbyes to his family."

Shahan, who maintains his innocence, was initially arrested for investigative purposes in July 2013, but released without being charged. He was placed on administrative leave by the church, which later sent out newsletters and prayer cards saying he planned a three-year mission trip to Germany. Shahan's attorneys claim he was leaving for the mission trip when he was arrested at the Nashville airport with $27,000 in US and foreign currencies. 

Shahan was released on $100,000 bond but is on house arrest. reports on Shahan's long career as a Southern Baptist minister, including at churches in Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee: 

He wrote books, curriculum and articles over 30 years for publishers including Zondervan and LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

None of the reports include comments from representatives of First Baptist Church of Birmingham, or mention the denomination's views on homosexuality. But in case you're wondering, here's the Southern Baptist Convention's official position statement

"We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a 'valid alternative lifestyle.' The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ."

Watch a report on the case from WBRC-TV last year, AFTER THE JUMP ... (warning: auto-play) 

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Harlem Hate Pastor Says Justin Bieber Is A Transgender Man, And It's President Obama's Fault: VIDEO


The world's most entertaining anti-gay hater is at it again, delivering perhaps his most hilariously insane diatribe yet. 

Harlem pastor James David Manning, who recently admitted he's been tempted by gay sex, now seems to have a strange fascination with Justin Bieber's torso. In fact, Manning is convinced that Bieber is a transgender man who cut off his breasts and probably regrets it.

Manning blames churches, the media and politicians — including President Barack Obama — for leading people like Bieber to believe that they can choose any "sexual orientation" they want. But Manning vows to protect the children in his flock from those influences by chasing every "sodomite" and "lesbo" with the "chariots of fire." 

Here's a transcript: 

Bieber"I want people to hear this so they can understand that you and I are not lunatics, we're not haters, we're not filled with evil. They need to know that these young girls, if we don't stand like you and I are standing and preach, they can be led or influenced to cut off their breasts once they get into puberty. They can be led to have operations like Justin Bieber. They can think that the best choice for their life is to cut off their breasts, and go through this period that's so pervasive in television and everywhere else, and then by the time they reach the age of 20 years old, they look and say: 'I wish I had never cut off my breasts. I wish I had nee mutilated my flesh. I wish I had never mutilated my penis. I wish I had not done that. I was just young, and the people in the church or the people in the media said or gave the impression that I had the right to choose any sexual orientation that I wanted to choose, and so I cut off my penis, or I cut off my breasts, but now I'm 20 years and I wish that I hadn't done that.' I will not as a pastor allow that to be said by any child that's under my leadership or under the sound of my voice. I will chase every sodomite, I will chase every lesbo, I will chase every political leader with the power of God, with the chariots of fire, that these children be not misled by people in congregations, and people in business or in politics like Obama, that are influencing these children to throw their lives away the way Justin Bieber threw his life away, and then at 20 years old can't grow their breasts back, at 20 years old can't grow their penis back. People need to wake the hell up and see what's going on in our world. They need to understand just how diabolical this devil and evil spirit is."

Last week, Pastor Manning appeared on The Young Turks and defended his statements that gay people should be stoned to death, acknowledging that he agrees with ISIS and the Taliban on the issue. He also elaborated on his claim that Starbucks puts gay semen in lattes, and confessed to some homosexual urges: 

"Absolutely, no doubt about it. I spent three and a half years in prison, and I tell you that I saw a lot of that activity going on in prison. It was just the order of the day, par for the course. ... I was tempted, but I didn’t yield to temptation, by the way. You need to know that. Make sure you publish that, as well.”

Who knows, perhaps someone who served time with Manning will come forward with a conflicting account.  

Watch video of Manning's rant about Bieber and his interview with The Young Turks, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Harlem Hate Pastor Says Justin Bieber Is A Transgender Man, And It's President Obama's Fault: VIDEO" »


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