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Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO

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Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican has backtracked on reports earlier this week that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Relatio post disceptationem report from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family faced a severe backlash from conservatives, some of whom accused the leadership of the conference of misrepresenting the proceedings to advance its agenda. The section on homosexuality was especially divisive because it was the first Vatican document that reflected Pope Francis’ earlier announcement that he would take a  nonjudgmental approach to homosexuality.

Homophobic American Cardinal Raymond Burke [pictured below] who chairs the Vatican’s highest court of canon law - and in 2010 said that discrimination against LGBT people is “perfectly just and good” - has been one of the most outspoken critics of the report. He said “the document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium” and accused the bishops leading the meeting of advancing “positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept.”

BurkeFollowing the conservative backlash, Vatican leaders stressed that “welcoming homosexual persons” is not an official declaration of the synod. The less inclusive phrase “providing for homosexual persons” has now been substituted.

Notably, the revision is in English translation only - the published Italian, Spanish and French translations have not been changed and still use language meaning "welcoming homosexual persons."

Watch Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi discuss the new translation, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Irish LGBT Activists Protest Gay Group In New York St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

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Irish LGBT activists are protesting against the decision to allow OUT@NBCUniversal to take part in next year’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the event continues to exclude other gay groups, reports Newsweek.

OUT@NBCUniversal, Universal’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Straight Ally Employee Alliance, will be the first LGBT group to participate in the parade.

This year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the parade because of its anti-gay policy. The City Council, many Irish politicians and Guinness followed suit. Despite this, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the decision to take part last March.

In a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, activists from groups including Irish Queers argued:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0798ec48970d-800wi“Instead of that pressure leading to Irish LGBTQ groups taking their rightful place in the community’s parade, OUT@NBCUniversal has jumped into the space it created.

"OUT@NBCUniversal is the gay employee/marketing group of the parade’s sponsor. The Irish LGBTQ community is still excluded from the parade. The ‘lifting of the ban’ is a sham.”

The letter also reiterates recent demands that OUT@NBCUniversal “withdraw from the parade until Irish LGBTQ groups are part of the parade” and calls for de Blasio and Mark-Viverito to boycott next year’s event.

Irish Queers was denied a request to take part in 2015 because organizers say the parade is full. It is thought that two other Irish LGBT groups’ applications were also denied.

De Blasio and Mark-Viverito have both indicated that they have yet to make a decision regarding next March 17th.

Watch a report on the fight for LGBT inclusion in the New York parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Irish LGBT Activists Protest Gay Group In New York St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »


Suspected Muslim Terrorist Says England Is Rife With Incest, Homosexuality - VIDEO

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A Muslim medical student arrested in London on charges related to terrorism offences had complained on Twitter that the U.K. is rife with incest and homosexuality, reports The Daily Mail.

20-year-old Tarik Hassane was one of four men arrested who were believed to have been orchestrating a terrorist attack in the U.K.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f3e33b970b-800wiSharing his views on Twitter, Hassane is believed to have said that ISIS fighters in Syria were “fulfilling the greatest deed in Islam.” However, he denied that he is a member of ISIS.

In one post, he said that Muslims in non-Muslim countries should emigrate, even though he intended to carry out a two-year medical placement at a hospital in England.

In another, he said in England “you have incest, homosexuals, sexual interactions in public, physical attacks on Muslims, alcohol/nudity everywhere.”

He also suggested that women can never rule, judge or lead because they are driven by emotion and suggested to one woman that it would be “more beneficial for you to take lessons on how to make dinner and clean and obey.”

However, Hassane’s friends have defended the four men, claiming that they are “football loving students” and that Hassane's views should be taken as a joke. One Twitter user said that Hassane's comment the day before he was arrested - "Oi lads, I smell war" - was related to girls, not terrorism.

Watch a recording of Hassane's arrest, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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

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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.”


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