“Confirmed: God is slightly gay”- (Columnist Mark Morford)

Well, OK – not so much GOD, as Her/His creation:

“Just ask the animals. As soon as they stop having all that homosexual sex”

but for what that says about the Divinity, there may not be too much of a distinction.

Mark Morton writes in his column on SFGate about new research in the animal kingdom which shows that some homosexuality occurs in virtually every animal species.  It has long been known  that some animals engage in homosex, but the new research shows that this is in fact far more widespread than previously recognised.  I saw the news reports that Morford refers to when they first appeared, but he writes about them with humour, style and verve, producing a piece which is irreverent but fun, as well as important.

“I am sitting here right now smiling just a little, fondly recalling that famously controversial children’s book, the one about the gay penguins.

Remember? That positively adorable pair of them, at the Central Park Zoo, who had adopted an abandoned egg and then hatched it themselves and were raising the chick together as a couple, even though the chick was clearly not theirs …..The best part: the story was absolutely true. The book, “And Tango Makes Three,” was beautiful and sweet and touching in all the right ways — except, of course, for the fact that it was also totally evil.


For indeed, the penguins in question, named Roy and Silo, were both males. Read the rest of this entry »

Children and Marriage Equality*

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog

AMA Condemns the Dangerous Heterosexual Perversion. *

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog

Outing the Church: Archbishop Wuerl, Homosexual Ministry & Gay Marriage.

Two notable bloggers have  current posts on some bishops’ perceptions of their teaching role: “locking down discussion“, is how William Lindsay at Bilgrimage describes it – even when the dissent comes from fellow bishops.  (Bishop Sample of Marquette has banned Bishop Gumbleton from speaking in his diocese, because he has uncomfortable and “well-known” views on homosexuality and women’s ordination.  Even though neither of these were up for discussion, he appears to be afraid that his colleagues simple appearance might become an occasion for discussion, which it his own responsibility to prevent.

Meanwhile, Fr Geoff Farrow has a piece called “pay, pray and obey,” in which he refers to news stories about Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

Archbishop Wuerl with SC Justice Roberts

Archbishop Wuerl with SC Justice Roberts

The first story from the New York Times of April 1989 , dating back to 1989, tells how he was called in by Pope John Paul II to muzzle a colleague, Archbishop Hunthausen, in Seattle who was seen as having views that were too liberal – amongst others, on gay Catholics:

After criticism of the archdiocese by conservative Catholics, the Vatican named Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh, a conservative in church affairs, to share power in Seattle in 1985.

Bishop Wuerl was given control of five areas in which Archbishop Hunthausen was considered lax: ministry to homosexuals, granting of marriage annulments, clergy appointments, liturgy and moral issues of health care.

Most priests and nuns in the Seattle Archdiocese continued to support Archbishop Hunthausen, who called the power-sharing arrangement ”unworkable.”

Another story (at Huffington Post), on the apparently “unstoppable” gay marriage bill in DC includes as a footnote the well-known fierce opposition by Archbishop Wuerl.

With gay issues prominent in both stories, I thought that now might be a good time to haul out a story on Archbishop Wuerl I cam across some weeks ago, with quite a different perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

Clerical Abuse: Vatican Puts its Head in the Sand.

Following the announcement of Papal visit to the UK, the Guardian yesterday carried two important stories on Benedict XVI and the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI

In an opinion piece, Tanya Gold expressing deep anger at the Papal visit.  Under the heading, “Ignore the bells and the smells and the lovely Raphaels, the Pope’s arrival in Britain is nothing to celebrate“, she writes:

Save us, O Lord, save us all. Save us from the Pope. Joseph Ratzinger is coming to Britain. Gordon Brown is “delighted”. David Cameron is “delighted”. I am “repelled”. Let him come; I applaud freedom of speech. But no red carpets, please. No biscuits. No Queen.

In his actions on child abuse and Aids, Joseph Ratzinger has colluded in the protection of paedophiles and the deaths of millions of Africans. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Pope John Paul II’s chief enforcer), it was Ratzinger’s job to investigate the child abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic church for decades. And how did he do it? In May 2001 he wrote a confidential letter to Catholic bishops, ordering them not to notify the police – or anyone else – about the allegations, on pain of excommunication. He referred to a previous (confidential) Vatican document that ordered that investigations should be handled “in the most secretive way . . . restrained by a perpetual silence”. Excommunication is a joke to me, perhaps to you, but to a Catholic it means exclusion and perhaps hellfire – for trying to protect a child. Well, God is love. Read the rest of this entry »

Scripture Discussion in Kalamazoo

There is an instructive story at Box Turtle Bulletin (which has become my favourite site for general LGBT news and comment) on a Kalamazoo discussion of the Bible and homosexuality.

With a city council anti-discrimination ordinance facing a test at the ballot box, a public meeting was arranged to hear a public discussion on just what Scripture has to say.  But this was a discussion, not an anti-gay tirade.

So the Wenkes sponsored a forum with ministers discussing scripture. But you probably have made some false assumptions about Wenke’s motivation. (Mlive.com)

“The more that you talk about this issue and the more you get to know families struggling with this issue, the more you know the Bible doesn’t condemn them,” Wenke said.

So Wenke’s forum was not limited to anti-gay messages. Rather, he presented three ministers who find scripture to condemn homosexuality and three that do not.

“It’s only .002 percent of the entire Bible, an incredibly small slice,” Laney said. “Sexual orientation is not a choice; it’s not a disorder. It’s part of God’s diverse creation.”

The Rev. Dr. Douglas Vernon, senior pastor of Kalamazoo’s First United Methodist Church, agreed, saying the Bible may be taken “very seriously” but not always literally.

“We believe there is no one right way to interpret Scripture,” Vernon said.

The Rev. John Byl, pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church, and the Rev. Dr. Paul Naumann, of St. Michael Lutheran Church, disagreed, saying the literal words are relevant and timeless.

The organisers say they were encouraged by the turnout.  Expecting 300, they had 800. This is encouraging, but not surprising. It is easy to demonstrate that, as noted, the supposedly anti-gay texts are only a very tiny slice of the entire Scripture. Those who have gone into it more carefully have observed (i)that this in itself is surprising, in a Graeco-Roman cultural context where homoerotic relationships where commonplace; (ii) that the supposedly hostile texts have misinterpreted, mistranslated, or misapplied; (iii)and there are far more supportive texts than hostile ones.

Wherever the churches have approached the issue with careful reflection and study, there have been movements at least towards greater acceptance.The recent proceedings of the ECLA are a great example. Following an extended process of careful study and prayerful reflection on Scripture, the assembly passed a series of notable resolutions that recognise that differing interpretations are possible and equally valid, that approve the recognition of gay and lesbian pastors in committed, monogamous relationships that need no longer be celibate, on exactly the same terms as those of heterosexual  pastors, and that are likely to lead to the recognition of same sex marriage or blessing ceremonies in church.  This process towards rational debate and greater acceptance will continue.

We as queer Catholics and other people of faith need to say this to our non-religious friends, and point out that if they could just set aside their anti-religious bigotry, and try to understand the supportive side of the religious argument, they can assist the moderates in the churches in this move towards LGBT acceptance

Here is the (late ) News

Earlier, I was trying to find a format to bring you at least headlines and links to key news events.  I stopped doing so because I wasn’t very happy with the way it was working out, but I now realise that was wrong. It is clear from the blog stats that it is one of the pages people have been most frequently accessing and want to read.  If I haven’t been entirely satisfied with how it’s working, I need to find better methods- not simply suspend the concept.  So, I revive it here.

The key concept is that this will be a running post with (reasonably) current headlines and very brief comment.  For fuller comment, and links to my sources, go to the LG BT News page.

Some current stories you may have missed:

Hope in a new Oakland Diocese appointment? Feb 5th
The new man in charge of Oakland Diocese, California, has a distincly progressive background – it is reported he once ‘blessed gay marriages’  in his parish.

Benedict Completes The Turnaround Feb 5th
In extraordinary contrast with the discouraging messages implied in his early announcements, Benedict has now stated that further reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X will not proceed without “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council”.

Good News From Benedict? Feb 4th.
In what appears at first glance to be a dramatic turn around by Benedict, he has now gone beyond merely distancing himself from Williamson’s views, and has demanded a full recantation before further progress can be made on re-admission to the Catholic church. This appears to be a response to unprecedented criticism by very senior figures in the church – most recently the leader of the church in England & Wales

Women Respond to Excommunication Feb 2nd
W
omen have responded to the recent excommmunication of  Fr Roy Bourgeois, who assisted at the ordination of a WomanPriest, with a Liturgy of Lament. I like it.

If You’re Gay, GoMaltese Bishop.   Feb 2nd, Malta.
The Bishop says that if we LGBT people are not ‘happy’ with official church teaching, we should just pack up and leave.  I don’t know about you, but if a bigoted bishop so badly wants me out, I am all the more determined to stay in.

Portuguese Bishops SUPPORT Civil Partnerships.
1st February.
With a political battle looming in Portugal over gay marriage, the Catholic Bishops have taken a surprising stance.

Another Nutcase Bishop?
1 Feb
In Austria, another of Benedict’s decisions is causing an uproar

Scottish Bishops Oppose Adoption Decision
28th Jan
The hierarchy is using poor science to oppose a legitimate decision by the adoption authorities to place a child with a gay couple.