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LGBTQ people suffer when religion & government mix
A pair of recent decisions from two of the southern federal Circuit Courts of Appeals should be alarming us all. Instead, they’re only alarming a handful of us – because, overall, our community still clings to the inexplicable belief that religion can be our friend or, at least, a friend that we will be able to use to defend ourselves from certain others who also claim religion to be their friend.
Of the two recent decisions, only one has a direct LGBTQ component. Even so, it is truly difficult to say which one is the more disturbing, though the non-LGBTQ one, United States v. Brown, probably deserves the nod.
The Brown in question is Corrine, a former member of Congress from Florida, convicted on a slew of counts, the specifics of which are strangely irrelevant for purposes of what makes one of the opinions in her case problematic.
What does matter is that she was convicted by a jury. On appeal she took issue with the trial court’s decision to not allow “Juror 13” to contribute to rendering a verdict.
Shortly after deliberations began, “Juror 8” informed the judge that “13” had said, “A Higher Being told me Corrine Brown was Not Guilty on all charges” and that he “trusted the Holy Ghost.”
Do those sound like the words of someone who is going to make a decision based on earthly evidence?
What the LGBTQ community has never learned is that, when religion merges with government and science is reduced to having no more standing than faith, our religions and faiths and beliefs (or lack thereof) will never be recognized when they conflict with the particular religion and faith and belief of those who have seized power – legitimately or otherwise.
Once religion enters the government picture, everyone loses – at least everyone not sitting at the table of power.
Church of England: Sex Is OK Only in Heterosexual Marriage
Sexual activity is only acceptable within the marriage of a man and a woman — so says a new document issued by the Church of England.
That’s not a new stance for the church, which is considered the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the much more liberal U.S. Episcopal Church is a member. But the Church of England is putting out the guidance because the British government has made civil partnerships, which are not quite equal to marriage, available to heterosexual couples, The Guardian reports.
Chick-fil-A's Last U.K. Location Shutters After Months-Long Protest
The last Chick-fil-A in the United Kingdom has flown the coop.
The restaurant, located in a Macdonald Hotels property in the Scottish Highlands, was controversial from its launch in October due to the fast-food chain's history of donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
Due to this problematic history, Scott Cuthbertson, an LGBTQ activist, had launched a petition calling for its closure, which quickly accrued 1,000 signatures.
Additionally, Patrick Harvie, the first out bisexual member of Scottish Parliament, called on a boycott of the restaurant among his fellow politicians, who often stay at the luxury Macdonald Aviemore Resort.
A major church and state case ignites ungodly amounts of debate at US Supreme Court
Few topics arouse the passions of Americans like god and government and whether the twain shall meet.
This was demonstrated by the many “friend of the court” briefs filed ahead of tomorrow’s hearing at the US Supreme Court, where the justices will consider arguments on a major case that could have implications for the separation of church and state.
A flurry of 44 filings—a number rivaled only by similarly contentious cases on inflammatory issues like gun rights, abortion, or immigration—urged the court to consider the cultural consequences of the matter. The justices’ decision will either hamper religious freedom or erode the precious barrier between church and state, depending on which side the brief writers support.
Lesbian couple left 'overwhelmed with anger' as South Africa venue declines their wedding
A South African wedding venue is facing criticism after the Christian owners declined to host a lesbian couple's wedding.
Megan Watling, 25, and Sasha-Lee Heekes, 24, said they contacted the owners of Beloftebos, a popular event place in Cape Town, inquiring about potential dates for their wedding.
However, they received an email response that the venue does not accommodate weddings between couples of the same gender, Watling and Heekes wrote on Facebook.
Watling said she cried and became overwhelmed with anger after reading the response last Friday.
The Amish Keep to Themselves. And They’re Hiding a Horrifying Secret
The memories come to her in fragments. The bed creaking late at night after one of her brothers snuck into her room and pulled her to the edge of her mattress. Her underwear shoved to the side as his body hovered over hers, one of his feet still on the floor.
Her ripped dresses, the clothespins that bent apart on her apron as another brother grabbed her at dusk by the hogpen after they finished feeding the pigs. Sometimes she’d pry herself free and sprint toward the house, but “they were bigger and stronger,” she says. They usually got what they wanted.
As a child, Sadie* was carefully shielded from outside influences, never allowed to watch TV or listen to pop music or get her learner’s permit. Instead, she attended a one-room Amish schoolhouse and rode a horse and buggy to church—a life designed to be humble and disciplined and godly.
2 Mass. Priests Suspended Amid Decades Old Abuse Complaints
French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest
Senators demand review of Army Reserve sexual assaults
Minnesota Senate Leader: Sexual Assault, Bad Parenting Make People Gay
Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka defended conversion therapy and claimed that sexual assault can cause homosexuality, all in a wide-ranging interview with televangelist Andrew Wommack.
The senator, a Republican, recalled hearing the story of “a lady that was lesbian, and [a counselor] said before you judge her, let me just tell you her backstory. … He said she was chained to a toilet as a like 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-year-old girl and raped by her dad, for years and years. How do you think she’s gonna feel? In other words, he’s trying to get you to realize that there’s a deeper backstory, and if you understand that, you can love them while you’re … bringing truth and trying to help them.”
He also contended that lack of closeness to a parent of the same sex can cause a person to be gay. In a conversation with a gay man, Gazelka said he asked if the man was raised by a mother and father or just by his mother; it turned out the man was brought up by his mother and grandmother. “We actually had a conversation that we could talk about the issues around the why and the what,” the senator said.
“I think the best place to land is let the church have the total freedom to do as they please, and then for professional counselors, if an adolescent comes into their office, says I have unwanted same-sex attraction, I’m hoping that counselor can say ‘How can I help you?’” Gazelka told Wommack.
Bali villas targeted by authorities for “catering” to the LGBTQ community
Republicans declare war on transgender people in state legislatures all over the US
Kanye West joins stadium “prayer rally” with some of America’s most anti-LGBTQ activists
Rapper Kanye West announced he will appear at Awaken2020, a stadium-sized prayer rally hosted by some of the nation’s most anti-LGBTQ religious conservatives. After West’s announcement so many people rushed online to get free tickets to the event, the group’s website crashed.
West, who’s erratic behavior has seen him suddenly becoming a rightwing Christian and devout worshipper of Donald Trump, has been pushing his new gospel album recently. One of the songs is an ode to Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain most frequently identified with religious controversy over LGBTQ rights.
Florida Republicans submit 4 anti-gay bills on last day to file
Tennessee Will Allow Adoption Agencies to Ban LGBTQ+ Parents
Indonesian mayor plans LGBT raids after infamous rape spree, outraging activists
Gymnastics Coach Allegedly Sexually Abused Teen Student In Front Of His Own Child
A San Antonio gymnastics and cheerleading coach has been accused of sexually abusing his teen student — once while his own child was playing in the same room where the alleged assault took place.
Robert Thomas Kotara, 33, is facing a charge of sexual assault of a child after one of his longtime students, now 18, reported the coach had been regularly having sex with her since she was 16 years old, police said, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The sexual abuse allegedly began when Kotara asked the 16-year-old to help supervise a sleepover at the cheer gym for other students, according to court documents obtained by KENS. But after the teen arrived at the gym, she told authorities Kotara asked her to accompany him on an errand and drove her to a hotel instead, where he allegedly plied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her.
Legion of Christ accused abuser removed from priesthood
Group threatens to sue after blessing of 'official Bible' for swearing in Space Force commanders
The MRFF issued a statement expressing the organization's outrage over the ceremony, saying the group "condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy, dominance, triumphalism and exceptionalism which occurred at yesterday's 'blessing.'"
Florida Football Coach Uses Slur, Calls Homosexuality 'Disgusting'
A Florida youth football coach called homosexuality “absolutely wrong and mentally disgusting” on Facebook posts this weekend, calling on community leaders to stop a rise in LGBTQ presence.
Johnnie Saunders, founder and coach of the Eustis Junior Panthers and of a 10-and-up football team with the Apopka Raptors, wrote the homophobic posts on Sunday, according to the Daily Commercial.
Man Gets Prison After Confessing Sex Abuse to LDS Clergy — and Wife Sues Church for Turning Him in
An Oregon woman claims in a lawsuit that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owes her family millions of dollars after church clergy heard her husband’s private confession to sexual abuse of a minor, and then turned his name over to police for investigation, landing him behind bars for 15 years.
At issue in the lawsuit, which names the Salt Lake City-based church as its sole defendant, is the church’s role in expecting its members to admit their transgressions in order to “get back in favor with the church,” and the members’ expectations that such confessions would be handled internally and kept confidential, Bill Brandt, an attorney for the wife, told The Oregonian.
Delaware GOP Chair Resigns After Facebook Comment That ‘Faggots Cannot Handle Reality’
Chris Rowe, the chair of Delaware’s New Castle County Republican Committee resigned on Friday after using an anti-gay slur on Facebook. “Faggots cannot handle reality,” said Rowe in response to a follower’s comment.
The AP reports: “New Castle County Republican Party Chairman Chris Rowe said he agreed to resign after GOP chairwoman Jane Brady called him Wednesday and asked him to step down from the appointed position. Rowe told The Associated Press that he made the decision ‘begrudgingly and only under duress.'”
Alleged Christian domestic terrorist regularly posted anti-LGBTQ content online
Arizona Republican introduces bill to ban the word “homosexuality” from public schools
Arizona senator drops plans to ban the word “homosexuality” from schools
An art professor beat her colleague with a poker after confessing unrequited “love” for the woman
Rie Hachiyanagi, a 48-year-old art professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, has been charged with attempting to murder an unnamed female co-worker over the age of 60 with a rock, a fire poker, and garden shears after the colleague didn’t return Hachiyanagi’s romantic advances. The alleged attack occurred in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.
Kentucky judge accused of having a threesome in the courthouse
Priest removed from ministry after he was busted taking “disturbing” pics of high school wrestlers
Second LGBT student joins suit against Fuller Theological Seminary after getting expelled for entering into same-sex marriages
Last November, a student at Fuller Theological Seminary — the nation's largest interdenominational seminary — sued the school for discrimination after she was expelled for marrying another woman. Now, another former student is joining the lawsuit.
In the amended complaint filed Tuesday, Nathan Brittsan, an American Baptist Churches USA pastor, joined Joanna Maxon in requesting the school award them more than $1 million each to compensate for damages, Christianity Today reported.
Paul Southwick, the attorney representing Maxon and Brittsan, is arguing that Fuller is required to comply with Title IX, which bars federally funded educational programs from discriminating based on sex. However, religiously affiliated schools are often granted exceptions from Title IX regulations in order to accommodate for religious freedom.
"It's a very important case at this time in our nation's history," Southwick said, according to Christianity Today. "This case could set an important legal precedent that if an educational institution receives federal funding, even if it's religiously-affiliated, even if it's a seminary, that it's required to comply with Title IX prohibitions on sex discrimination as applied to LGBT individuals."
'Death to Gays' Pastor: Fires Ravaging Australia Because It Banned Me
Televangelist Jim Bakker tells followers they aren’t saved unless they worship Donald Trump