Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wall Street Weak


The New York Stock Exchange is going along with a sad display by PFLAG. This homosexual support group has been invited to ring the closing bell tomorrow on the Exchange. PFLAG is touting the buying power of homosexuals and their supporters. According to a PFLAG press release "The purchasing power of the GLBT community is estimated to be a massive $641 billion today with projections reaching $1 trillion by 2012." Homosexuals are known for exaggerating their numbers. But what really stands out is their desire to have it both ways. They cannot cry discrimination and claim to be an oppressed minority and then tell Wall Street, "By the way, we're an economic powerhouse." Some of these pro-homosexual companies may soon have their bell rung by the tens of millions of Christians who increasingly recognize the assault on our faith, our values, and our families. My friend Don Wildmon of the American Family Association is leading a boycott of Ford Motor Company for their anti-family, pro-homosexual policies. Don's efforts persuaded me to buy a Chevy pickup over a Ford. Eighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian and the vast majority opposes same-sex marriage and the homosexual agenda that many on Wall Street are promoting. We would do well to remember that we not only speak with our lips, but sometime we speak louder with our wallets. I would encourage you to visit Don's website and find out more.

Additional Resources
American Family Association

Gay in running for Newark (think Spong country) bishop post

Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, which oversees 12 churches in Hudson County, has included a gay priest on its slate of four candidates for bishop.

The nomination of the Rev. Michael Barlowe, 51, defies a recent edict from Episcopal Church leaders urging "restraint" in appointing openly gay bishops.

Barlowe, the congregational development officer in the Diocese of California, has lived with his partner - the Rev. Paul Burrows, an Episcopal church rector - for 24 years.

Barlowe was one of three gay candidates last month for the bishop's position in San Francisco. He lost that election to the Rev. Mark Andrus.

The other candidates are the Rev. Mark Beckwith, 54, rector of All Saints Church in Worcester, Mass.; the Very Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, 53, chaplain at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and associate pastor at Trinity Church in Ossining, N.Y.; and the Rev. William "Chip" Stokes, 49, rector of St. Paul's Church in Delray Beach, Fla. No candidate is perceived to be the favorite; all four have agreed not to speak to the media.

The bishop will be elected Sept. 23 by about 460 clergy and lay people in the diocese of 30,000 that covers most of northern New Jersey. The new bishop will replace Bishop John Croneberger, who is retiring after nearly eight years.

If elected, Barlowe wouldn't be the first gay bishop in the Episcopal Church - the Rev. Gene Robinson was elected bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

But in a vote at the national Episcopal Church's triennial convention on June 21, church leaders urged nominating committees to "exercise restraint" in considering gay priests for bishop's posts.

The Episcopal Church has been seeking closer ties with the more conservative Anglican Communion, which has about 77 million members worldwide.

Having a gay priest on the ballot will likely draw international attention, but it likely won't cause a stir in the Newark Diocese, said the Rev. Gerard Pisani Jr. of Trinity Parish in Bayonne.

"Most of us in Newark are rather comfortable," he told The Jersey Journal yesterday. "In a church that believes that God loves everyone at all times, it is unlikely for someone to be rejected on account of his sexual preference."

Barlowe's sexuality will certainly be discussed during his consideration, said Pisani, just as every nominee's family life is discussed prior to the elections. But the issue won't "make or break him," he said.

The Rev. Rosemarie Hassan, of Trinity Church in Kearny, agreed that it would be difficult to find an Episcopalian church in Hudson County that opposes Barlowe's nomination. But outside the Diocese of Newark, he said, sentiments are more varied.

"There are some people exalting in support (for Barlowe's nomination), but others are really upset about it," she said. "As far as the final results, it's really impossible to tell."

Newhouse News Service staff writer Jeff Diamant contributed to this report.

The Lutheran Does Hatchet Job

Misquoting Mark Chavez, it appears they thought that they could lump WordAlone and Lutherans Concerned together and portray them as fringe groups. It closes with a Lowell Almen snow job. After this, I'd say I have more respect for Lutherans Concerend than I do for the magazine or Almen--LCNC might be dead wrong when it comes to interpreting the Bible, but at least they speak the truth they know.

It’s about Scripture
Reform-minded groups argue authority

In the ELCA, the face of organized disagreement with denominational policies and perceptions of the church includes groups that describe themselves and their congregations as holding to the authority of Scripture and, well ... those that say the same but from the opposite end of the theological spectrum.

Leaders of such movements as the WordAlone Network and Lutherans Concerned/North America describe themselves as agreeing with Martin Luther that Scripture is the cradle that holds the Christ child. Yet while the former wants the ELCA to hold to tradition, the latter calls for change. In both groups some stay and some leave the ELCA, whether by choice or a decision of the larger church body. Who are these groups? Why do some stay and some leave?

Tim White (left), a pastor of Trinity Lutheran, Columbus, Neb., said the congregation left the ELCA because of a variety of concerns, not “any one issue.” White is pictured here with (front row, left) Kay Ferris, Pastor Doug Zurek, Sue Zurek; (back row, left) Cindy White, Jennifer Uhlig and Mike Drinnin. All are staff except Drinnin, who was council president at the time of the vote.
In 2005, Trinity Lutheran Church, Columbus, Neb., took two separate votes and consulted the Nebraska Synod bishop before leaving the ELCA. Since then, the 2,000-
member congregation hasn’t looked back, two of its leaders say. A small group of members who wanted to stay in the ELCA formed Hope Lutheran Church, a new mission in Columbus. (Their story is coming in August.)

Trinity had already joined Lutheran Congregations in Mission in Christ in 2002. Formed by leaders of the church reform movement WordAlone Network, LCMC provides an alternative church body for some congregations unhappy with the ELCA.

Of the 20 congregations with 14,116 members who withdrew from the ELCA in 2005, 11 are affiliated with LCMC, said ELCA Secretary Lowell Almen. Other congregations joined the Association of Free Lutheran Churches, Fellowship of Confessing Lutheran Churches, American Association of Lutheran Churches and Alliance of Renewal Churches.

“For a period of years, our leadership was aware of an undercurrent of controversial issues within the ELCA,” said Tim White, a pastor of Trinity who also left the ELCA clergy roster. He attributed the departure to several issues, including: Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church; the sexuality studies; and the ELCA’s advocacy work.

White called CCM “a waste of the church’s time ... not critical to church unity,” and dismissed the bylaw that allows some exceptions to the historic episcopate as “a Band-Aid.” (The historic episcopate is a succession of bishops as a sign of unity back to the earliest days of the Christian church.)

Wayne Nestor, called six years ago as Trinity’s “minister of renewal,” is an Assembly of God pastor. He said “leaving [the ELCA] was a process [involving] lots of conversation.”

White said Evangelical Free Church members “prayed for us in the other room while we were meeting [for the second vote to leave the ELCA]. If you want to know why we left, I told my congregation many times it wasn’t any one issue. The issues were just symptoms of what I consider to be a profound spiritual illness in the ELCA having to do with the authority of Scripture.”

Mark Chavez, an ELCA pastor and executive director of WordAlone, said, “I’m disappointed when churches leave the ELCA. ... It’s for the sake of the gospel and the crucified one that I stay [in the denomination].”

Chavez said the majority of WordAlone’s 232 congregations are still among the ELCA’s 10,585 congregations. More than one-fourth of LCMC’s 80 congregations are also on the ELCA roster, he added.

LCMC was formed in 2001 for about 50 WordAlone congregations that had “given up” on remaining in the ELCA but wouldn’t join a Lutheran denomination that didn’t ordain women, he said. Central to their leaving was opposition to CCM, he said, adding, “There was no way of knowing then [about bylaw exceptions related to CCM], and there was concern that some seminary graduates would need a Lutheran church body in which to serve.”

Chavez said “WordAlone works for change within the ELCA—that’s part of our institutional culture.” It’s also a member of Lutheran CORE, an association of ELCA members concerned about “the overall drift from the Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions,” he said. WordAlone is developing a hymnal and a theological house of studies, he said.

“[ELCA theologian and WordAlone member] Jim Nestingen once said that one of the mistakes we made after the ELCA merger was that we never took the time to really get to know one another,” Chavez said. “If we hadn’t been in such a rush to make statements and reach agreements, if we’d taken our time, some of these misunderstandings would have been avoided.”

WordAlone is also concerned about “a decline of the proper mission” within the ELCA and reduced numbers of missionaries, “compromise on fundamental Lutheran doctrine in ecumenical agreements,” “avoiding masculine pronouns for God,” and “[ELCA] leaders who say Lutherans can agree to disagree on sexual morality and ethics,” Chavez said, adding: “Both the Old and New Testament prohibit [homosexuality].”

Jane Ralph and 100 other protesters from Goodsoil faced the 2005 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla., in a silent protest after the assembly voted not to allow pastors in same-sex relationships. Ralph left the ELCA clergy roster in 1998, and is now rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, an independent Lutheran ministry roster formed in 1993 for gays and lesbians.

Selectively literal?

More to the point, said Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, a movement with 330 “Reconciling in Christ” congregations (welcoming of lesbians and gays), is that “Jesus says nothing about same-gender relationships but espouses a continuous ethic of love.”

“When we interpret Scripture from the Old Testament and the epistles we use the lens of the gospel and the witness of Jesus to assist our interpretation,” she said. “Our experience with those who claim a literal interpretation of Scripture is that they are selectively literal, picking and choosing which Scriptures will be interpreted literally.”

Eastwood said everyone interprets Scripture through tradition, what they’re taught and life experience. “The question becomes whether God still speaks to us about issues of justice and morality when our experience and engagement of [gay-
lesbian-bisexual-transgendered] believers would stand in contrast to some biblical passages,” she said.

“[LC/NA] isn’t afraid of dissent to the point of ecclesial disobedience. We see policies of exclusion as being inconsistent with the witness of Jesus,” she said. “The purpose of ecclesial disobedience is to shine a light on the injustice of discrimination ... knowing full well that censure or sanction may follow.”

Erik Christensen sees himself as both a dissenter and more than that. He’s a candidate for the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, an independent Lutheran ministry roster formed in 1993 for gays and lesbians that isn’t recognized by the ELCA. Denominational policy requires clergy to remain celibate outside of heterosexual marriage. The project’s roster has 34 clergy, five approved ordination candidates and six seminarians. Some of its clergy were once ELCA pastors before being removed for noncompliance with policy.

“ECP’s candidacy panels are made up of pastors, seminary professors and other leaders,” Christensen said, adding that its standards are as strict as the ELCA candidacy
process—except for the requirement for gays and lesbians to stay unpartnered and celibate. “It’s done as a way to stay in community with the ELCA, not [as] a process for congregations no longer interested in being part of the ELCA,” he said.


Almen believes many misunderstandings have been created by those within “reforming movements.”

“Some of the misinformation and lies spread in these congregations about the work of the ELCA are absolutely appalling,” he said. The ELCA secretary cited rumors that the queen of England would appoint ELCA bishops, that CCM meant synod bishops—not pastors—would carry out confirmation, that the ELCA is no longer committed to overseas evangelism, or that it preaches universal salvation. “Lies and falsehoods,” Almen said.

He said one-fourth of ELCA funding “is devoted to global mission, and one-half of each dollar for churchwide ministries goes to theological education, vocation, church planting and to raise up leadership. I don’t see this being expressed by these groups.”

Parishioners would do well to question those promoting a congregation’s departure, he said, as well as ask a synod or churchwide leader for another viewpoint. In his time in office, Almen said he and his staff have received scant calls from departing congregations, usually just questions about how to proceed with a vote to leave the ELCA.

By the time a synod bishop or staff member is approached by a congregation seeking to withdraw, “it’s usually too late,” Almen said.

“If the congregation makes a well-informed, conscientious decision, that’s one thing. But I grieve for the way some members have been misled,” he said.

“Movements require an issue to generate enthusiasm, engagement and funding,” he said. “And one of the things that tends to happen with splinter groups is they splinter again.”

Congregational withdrawals and reforming movements aren’t anything new, he said, adding that in the American Lutheran Church withdrawals occurred with greater frequency than in the Lutheran Church in America.

“Some of it is probably a distinctly American phenomenon, related to our sense of independence,” Almen said. In the ALC, an ELCA predecessor with about 4,800 congregations, some congregations typically withdrew each year—93 withdrew from 1974 to 1987. In the ELCA, with 10,585 congregations, 129 withdrew over a similar period, from 1992 to 2005.

“What I hope we can see is a deeper understanding among members of this church about the work that we share [and] the way we, together, share the gospel,” he said. “In some ways a more serious issue for congregations is worship participation and inactivity of members, [leading] many to drop from the rolls.”

© 2006 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers. The Lutheran is the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Multifaith coalition targets O'Malley

Members support same-sex marriage
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | June 27, 2006

In an unusual incidence of religious leaders in Massachusetts publicly criticizing one another, a multifaith coalition of clergy who support same-sex marriage plan to accuse Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley and other Catholic leaders of ``religious discrimination" today.

The gay-marriage supporters plan to call on O'Malley and the other three Catholic bishops of Massachusetts to stop campaigning for a repeal of same-sex marriage, arguing that it is discriminatory to deny civil marriage benefits to gay couples whose marriages are sanctioned by other religious denominations and that it violates the principle of church-state separation to deny civil marriage rights based on Catholic teaching.

``While their magisterium teaches one thing, there are plenty of other faith traditions that don't agree," said the Rev. Anne C. Fowler, an Episcopal priest who is the rector of St. John's Church in Jamaica Plain and president of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. ``Who are the religious voices who get heard? It's the religious right, and around here it's the Catholic Church, so here is the progressive interfaith community trying to take some action."

The coalition, which has been actively campaigning, plans to hold a press conference today on Beacon Hill. It will release a letter calling on the Catholic bishops to stop campaigning against same-sex marriage rights.

``We respect the Roman Catholic Church's desire to speak in a public forum about this, but it has come to a point where their advocacy about same-sex marriage has come to impinge on our own religious practices, because not everyone believes same-sex marriage is wrong or sinful or against religious beliefs," said the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, a United Methodist minister who is pastor of the First Church of Winthrop and of the Cambridge Welcoming Ministries, a United Methodist mission to gays and lesbians.

``What happens when the Roman Catholic Church seeks to create public policy based on their religious beliefs is that they negate other religious beliefs that might be contrary to that," Steinwert said.

The executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, which represents the four Catholic bishops of the state on Beacon Hill, said the differences over marriage show that the best path is to allow voters to decide.

``In no way does the church seek to intentionally discriminate against any individual or deny anyone their legal rights," said the director, Edward F. Saunders Jr. ``But there is a difference of opinion here, and that's democracy, and what it points out [is] that this is an issue that the public should have a right to have their say on."

The marriage coalition's decision to confront the Catholic hierarchy illustrates the tension that the marriage issue has created in interfaith relations and highlights the resentment that liberal religious leaders have expressed about what they view as the inordinate attention paid to conservative religious voices.

At a worship service before Boston's gay pride parade earlier this month, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, implicitly criticized the Catholic bishops, saying, ``Religious leaders that are local to our community . . . have been quite vocal about the need to preserve marriage as they say it has always existed. When they say this, they demonstrate either incredible ignorance or a willful duplicity."

The board of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry includes clergy from several liberal Christian and Jewish denominations and other faiths, including paganism.

Several of the board members are ordained by denominations that do not permit clergy to perform same-sex marriages, including Fowler's denomination, the Episcopal Church, and Steinwert's denomination, the United Methodist Church.

Fowler, a veteran of ecumenical dialogue about abortion, said that before speaking out, the marriage coalition attempted to initiate a private dialogue about the marriage issue with O'Malley, but that he has not agreed to see them.

She said the board felt it was important to speak out before July 12, when the Legislature is scheduled to meet in Constitutional Convention to take a first vote on whether to allow a measure that would repeal same-sex marriage to advance to the 2008 ballot. The support of 50 lawmakers in two successive legislative sessions is needed for the measure to reach the ballot.

Michael Paulson can be reached at

© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Pediatric Group Speakers Encourage Homosexual Activism And Sex Changes For Children


June 29, 2006 – Radical homosexuals and advocates of sex change operations presented their views to pediatricians at the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco from April 29-May 3, 2006.

Dr. Daniel E. Byrne, Ph.D. presented an eyewitness account of his experience at this convention for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

One of the presentations was “Pediatricians as Advocates,” and was a call for pediatricians to oppose traditional marriage and efforts to pass a marriage protection amendment to the Constitution.

A second presentation, “Gender-Variant Youth – The Role of the Pediatrician,” was presented by Irene N. Sills, MD and Arlene Istar Lev, who identified herself as a “lesbian currently in a same-sex, opposite-gender relationship.”

Sills and Lev claimed that children who believe they are the opposite sex should be encouraged to have sex change operations and family members should be taught that this is normal.

Read TVC’s report, “A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream” to learn more about the transgender activist movement and its attempts to redefine what it means to be male and female. Also, read “Surgical Sex” by Dr. Paul McHugh on the madness of surgery to ostensibly change a person from one sex to another.

Pentagon Disavows Homosexual Description In Decade-Old Document


June 29, 2006 – The Pentagon has caved in to homosexual activists who have criticized the military for a document titled “Certain Mental Disorders,” which listed such conditions as mental retardation, personality disorders, alcoholism, along with same-sex attractions.

The Pentagon issued a disclaimer last week about the document, saying: “Homosexuality should not have been characterized as a mental disorder in an appendix of a procedural instruction. Notwithstanding its inclusion, we find no practical impact since the appendix simply listed factors that do NOT constitute a physical disability, and homosexuality of course does not.”

The American Psychiatric Association was pressured by homosexual activists in 1973 to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The decision was not based on science, but on political pressure from these radical activists.

See: Homosexual Urban Legend, “Exposed: The Myth That Psychiatry Has Proven That Homosexual Behavior Is Normal,” describe how these radicals pressured APA officials into removing homosexuality from the DSM.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Here's the deal

If you want to sort out what the Archbishop has said about The Episcopla Church situation go here.

The best thing about it is this ecclesiastical theologian st resses "But what does the Bible say" as the bottom line.

It looks like biblically faithful Episcopalians are going to get everything they want in time.

The other side puts its best face forward

Here's one for your "favorites": the religious left blog. The transcript for the recent voices of witness video is here.


From The Lutheran:

WordAlone is also concerned about “a decline of the proper mission” within the ELCA and reduced numbers of missionaries, “compromise on fundamental Lutheran doctrine in ecumenical agreements,” “avoiding masculine pronouns for God,” and “[ELCA] leaders who say Lutherans can agree to disagree on sexual morality and ethics,” Chavez said, adding: “Both the Old and New Testament prohibit [homosexuality].”

Jane Ralph and 100 other protesters from Goodsoil faced the 2005 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla., in a silent protest after the assembly voted not to allow pastors in same-sex relationships. Ralph left the ELCA clergy roster in 1998, and is now rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, an independent Lutheran ministry roster formed in 1993 for gays and lesbians.

Selectively literal?

More to the point, said Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, a movement with 330 “Reconciling in Christ” congregations (welcoming of lesbians and gays), is that “Jesus says nothing about same-gender relationships but espouses a continuous ethic of love.”

“When we interpret Scripture from the Old Testament and the epistles we use the lens of the gospel and the witness of Jesus to assist our interpretation,” she said. “Our experience with those who claim a literal interpretation of Scripture is that they are selectively literal, picking and choosing which Scriptures will be interpreted literally.”

Eastwood said everyone interprets Scripture through tradition, what they’re taught and life experience. “The question becomes whether God still speaks to us about issues of justice and morality when our experience and engagement of [gay-
lesbian-bisexual-transgendered] believers would stand in contrast to some biblical passages,” she said.

“[LC/NA] isn’t afraid of dissent to the point of ecclesial disobedience. We see policies of exclusion as being inconsistent with the witness of Jesus,” she said. “The purpose of ecclesial disobedience is to shine a light on the injustice of discrimination ... knowing full well that censure or sanction may follow.”

Erik Christensen sees himself as both a dissenter and more than that. He’s a candidate for the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, an independent Lutheran ministry roster formed in 1993 for gays and lesbians that isn’t recognized by the ELCA. Denominational policy requires clergy to remain celibate outside of heterosexual marriage. The project’s roster has 34 clergy, five approved ordination candidates and six seminarians. Some of its clergy were once ELCA pastors before being removed for noncompliance with policy.

“ECP’s candidacy panels are made up of pastors, seminary professors and other leaders,” Christensen said, adding that its standards are as strict as the ELCA candidacy
process—except for the requirement for gays and lesbians to stay unpartnered and celibate. “It’s done as a way to stay in community with the ELCA, not [as] a process for congregations no longer interested in being part of the ELCA,” he said.

Selectively literal? My sweet tailfin! What the gay agenda idealogues have done, which is not that different from all revisionists and appears to be running rampant through the ranks of clergy, is make one way of reading law and gospel a selective hermeneutic so that they can find gospel in the doing of whatever it is that they think would be a good thing to do. They are turning gospel into law.

I have come to believe that what these folks are doing is a greater theological problem than Luther's concerns about salvation through faith and works.

Read it all here.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Final Report At The Episcopal Church: Mother Jesus? Interviews With Church Liberals, Conservatives & Bloggers.

Final Report At The Episcopal Church: Mother Jesus? Interviews With Church Liberals, Conservatives & Bloggers. Finally, How Did The Catholic Church Avoid The Dire Situation That Looms For The Episcopal Church? By Dave Hartline

Rarely does one witness a major historical event in Church History. In my first report last week, I spoke of my perceptions along with some interviews. Now I am confident in saying that the Episcopal Convention, which is concluding in Columbus, Ohio, is not only a major event for the Episcopal Church but the Catholic Church as well. The leaders at the Convention passed a different version of the Windsor Report, some would say a watered down version. This Anglican report had asked that the American (Episcopal) Church apologize and repent for allowing the blessing same sex unions and ordaining an openly gay bishop. The odd thing about this convention is both the liberal side and the conservative side seems to think they lost. The moderates think they won. However, the energy is not on their side, it is on the side of conservatives and liberals, with the liberals, although smaller in numbers, having more of the momentum. Perhaps the new head of US Episcopal Bishops, Katherine Jefferts Shori, sent a message in her first homily by saying, “Mother Jesus.”

The Catholic Church will be greatly affected by this convention. The Catholic Church will receive many converts and none of them will be liberal. The orthodox faithful of the Episcopal Church who are considering coming our way have made it very clear to me that if they come they will preach, from the rooftops if necessary, the evils of liberalism, relativism etc. One person said to me, “If I do cross the Tiber, I will preach from the rooftops about the wickedness I have seen envelope my church. I cannot stand to see this happen to anyone else.”

One of the main voices of the traditional side is the Reverend Canon Kendall Harmon. He runs the very influential website. He is Oxford educated and is from South Carolina. The following is his assessment of the Episcopal Convention.

Dave Hartline Where is the Episcopal Church right now?

Read the whole thing here (please, read to end, Susan Russell and VGR).

Same-Sex Marriage Flounders

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, JUNE 24, 2006 ( After the clamor to legalize same-sex marriage, it turns out that not many homosexuals really want it. Following a bitter battle last year, the Spanish government gave homosexuals the right to marry. Since the law took effect last July 3, until May 31, only 1,275 same-sex marriages took place, reported the Madrid daily newspaper ABC last Saturday.

Comparatively, that would add up to a mere 0.6% of the 209,125 marriages contracted in Spain during 2005. Of the total number of same-sex marriages, 923 were between males and 352 among females.

A recent study by the Virginia-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy did a roundup of same-sex marriage trends. The study, "Demand for Same-Sex Marriage: Evidence from the United States, Canada and Europe," was published April 26.

So far the highest estimate of the proportion of homosexuals who have used the new laws to marry is in the American state of Massachusetts, with 16.7% tying the knot. But this seems to be an exception. In the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage has been established the longest, the percentage was far lower.

The authors of the study, Maggie Gallagher and Joshua Baker, warn that it is often difficult to obtain precise data, either on the number of same-sex marriages, or on the number of homosexuals in a given geographical area.

The Dutch experience

In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legally recognize marriages between two people of the same sex. From this date till the end of last year, 8,127 same-sex couples married in the Netherlands. Dutch survey data suggest that 2.8% of Dutch men and 1.4% of Dutch women are homosexuals. Assuming all same-sex partners who wedded in the Netherlands were residents, roughly 6.3% of homosexuals married by year-end 2005. The percentage, both here and in the following countries, includes all who were ever married, not necessarily the number of current marriages.

Belgium, in June 2003, followed the Netherlands. During the rest of that year, 1,708 same-sex couples married in Belgium. By year-end 2004 this increased to 2,204 couples. The authors did not find official estimates of the numbers of homosexuals in Belgium. If it were the same percentage as in the Netherlands, then roughly 4.7% of Belgian homosexuals had married by year-end 2004.

In Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeals led the way for same-sex marriages in June 2003. Eventually, courts in various provinces followed suit. Same-sex marriage was legalized at the national level last summer.

The law allows couples to marry without either of them being resident in Canada. After checking newspaper reports and contacting statistics offices, Gallagher and Baker confirmed that many of the same-sex marriages are between non-Canadian couples, mostly from the United States.

Gallagher and Baker were able to obtain data on same-sex marriage from nine of Canada's 13 provinces. In British Columbia, 2,531 same-sex marriages were contracted from July 2003 through year-end 2005. In Quebec, same-sex marriages have been available since March 2004. Between then and last September, 574 homosexual couples married.

The Canadian Community Health Survey conducted by Statistics Canada first asked about sexual orientation in 2003. This resulted in 1.3% of men and 0.7% of women aged 18 to 59 identifying themselves as homosexuals. Of the seven provinces that have had same-sex marriage for at least one year, between 0.15% and 14% of Canadian homosexuals entered such marriages.

South of the border, in Massachusetts, same-sex marriage was introduced on May 17, 2004. That year, 5,994 same-sex couples married. Recent official data indicate that an additional 1,347 same-sex couples married in Massachusetts last year, for a total of 7,341 such unions between May 2004 and December 2005.

According to the study, there are not reliable estimates of the homosexual population in Massachusetts. Assuming the proportion is the same as the national average (2.3% of men and 1.3% of women), and assuming all the marriages are between local residents, 16.7% of homosexuals entered into same-sex marriages.

The future

Information from newspaper reports and data collected by Gallagher and Baker suggest that the number of same-sex marriages, after an initial burst, appears to be decreasing with each passing year.

This is clearest in the Netherlands. In 2001, from April to December, 2,414 couples entered into same-sex marriages. In 2002, the number of new same-sex marriages dropped to 1,838. By 2003 this decreased to 1,499. In 2004 there was a further fall, to 1,210. Recently released statistics put the number for 2005 at 1,166 couples.

The data contained in Gallagher and Baker's study was supported by Hudson Institute fellow Stanley Kurtz. Writing on June 5 in National Review Online, he argued that statistics from Northern Europe confirm the trend to low levels of same-sex unions.

Kurtz drew his information from a new study by a pair of Scandinavian demographers, Gunnar Andersson and Turid Noack: "The Demographics of Same-Sex Marriages in Norway and Sweden."

Scandinavian countries have had legally recognized same-sex unions for many years, and for all intents and purposes there is little to distinguish them from marriage. In Norway, from 1993 through 2001, only 1,293 same-sex partnerships were contracted, compared with 196,000 heterosexual marriages. In Sweden, 1,526 same-sex partnerships registered between 1995 and 2002, compared with 280,000 heterosexual marriages.

Papal defense

Meanwhile, Benedict XVI continues to defend the value of marriage between a man and woman as a vital social institution. On May 20, in his speech welcoming Spain's new ambassador to the Holy See, the Pope stated: "The Church proclaims wholeheartedly the fundamental right to life from conception to its natural end, the right to be born, to form and to live in a family, and not to let the family be supplanted by other institutions or different forms."

He added that during his July visit to the World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, he is looking forward to being able to "celebrate the beauty and fruitfulness of the family founded on marriage, its exalted vocation and indispensable social value."

Just two days earlier, in his speech to Australia's new ambassador, the Pontiff noted that many young people are realizing "that it is the transcendent order that steers all life along the path of authentic freedom and happiness."

This respect for a transcendent order, he continued, enables Australians to recognize the fundamental importance of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of society. "They appreciate that pseudo-forms of 'marriage' distort the Creator's design and undermine the truth of our human nature."

Shortly afterward, Australia's national government overruled an attempt by local authorities in the Australian Capital Territory, the relatively small area where Canberra is located, to introduce same-sex marriage, under the guise of civil unions.

The federal Cabinet decided to invalidate the new law introduced in mid-May, the Age newspaper reported June 7. Prime Minister John Howard branded the law "a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage -- and we don't agree with that." The federal Parliament voted in 2004 to explicitly define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The numbers elsewhere indicate that traditional marriage remains far more popular too.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Matt Kennedy
June 23, 10:57 am

For two weeks now, we’ve been focused rather myopically on B033 and the other Windsor related resolutions.

In fact, after the final vote on B033 Wednesday afternoon, most press organizations, Stand Firm included, packed up and headed home.

But there were several hours of legislative action still to go. During that time a number of resolutions were passed through the HOD without attention or debate.

One of those resolutions was resolution A095, which reads in its final form:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church’s historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention’s action calling upon “municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples”; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions.

In an interesting exchange that took place during the debate on this resolution in the Social and Urban Affairs Committee, a committee member asked Elizabeth Keaton (also a committee member):

“Has the Episcopal Church ever voted to support same sex civil marriage?”

Ms. Keaton replied: “This is it.”*

Logically speaking the language does not, in fact, commit the Episcopal Church to actively support civil unions.

It does, however, commit the Church to actively oppose any move to limit or stop them.

Now you know.

*The dialogue above is based on the signed and written testimony of two sources."

So, don't you love it when people who think they are claiming the high moral ground in a civil rights promotion pull stunts like this...Griswold even told the press "We never.." while he knew this was 24 hours down the pike.

The above is found on Stand Firm. If you missed it, read Matt's reporting, watch the videos of Kendall Harmon and the recent essays of Sarah Hey.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fetus Saves

From WSJ ONline's "Best of the Web" (Mnpls Star-Tribune)

"Delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to tackle whether to adopt gender-inclusive language for worship of the divine Trinity along with the traditional 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit,' " the Associated Press reports from Birmingham, Ala.:

The divine Trinity--"Father, Son and Holy Spirit''--could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb'' or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend'' at some Presbyterian . . . services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

"Mother, Child and Womb"? That's even more sexist than the old patriarchal Trinity. We suspect God will be quite angry at the suggestion that she is no more than an Incubator. It ought to be "Woman, Fetus and Body."

"Rock, Redeemer, Friend" is much better, and it's easy to remember. Rock crushes Redeemer, Redeemer cuts Friend, Friend covers Rock.

Homosexuals Targeting Military, Churches

Massachusetts Rep. Martin Meehan (D) is criticizing a Pentagon document that lists homosexuality among a list of mental disorders. Meehan says, "[It's] more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake." The American Psychiatric Association was forced to re-classify in the face of threats by militant homosexuals in 1973. Our military, however, should not back down under threat. The U.S. military does not march to the beat of the politically correct drummers. Some church leaders, unfortunately, do. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A has just voted to continue to name homosexual bishops and affirm same-sex unions. The Episcopalians' House of Deputies defeated a compromise resolution that would have halted for three years any more such actions. Canon David Anderson of the American Anglican Council said the convention action will lead the U.S. Episcopal Church out of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The 217th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) also dealt with this topic in a resolution. Delegates meeting in Birmingham, Alabama voted to keep regulations against homosexual relations on the books but to allow local option for enforcement. This renders the restriction meaningless. Robert Gagnon, a New Testament professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said the PCUSA had just reached a "transition point" that breaks from Jesus' teaching on the sanctity of marriage. We can only deplore these developments in the churches and offer our sincere prayers for those in these embattled denominations who are fighting a noble fight to defend the consistent teachings of biblical Christianity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Where’s The Outrage Over The Beating Of David Parker’s Son?

By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

The mainstream media has ignored a major news story out of Massachusetts involving a first grader who was dragged and beaten on the playground at Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington. His crime? He is the son of David Parker, a concerned parent who objects to his son being taught about homosexuality. School officials have admitted that the attack on his son was planned and premeditated!

In April, 2005, Parker met with the Estabrook principal and the director of education over the promotion of homosexuality in the classroom. He asked to be notified in advanced about any pro-homosexual teachings so he could pull his child out of the class. He then refused to leave the office until they agreed to his request. They called the police and had him arrested for “trespassing” instead. He was handcuffed and spent a night in jail before facing a judge.

Ever since his arrest for trespassing, he and his family have been the victims of a pro-homosexual smear campaign in Lexington. In this latest attack, Parker’s first grader was assaulted on the playground by eight to ten children on the second anniversary of the imposition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts by the Supreme Judicial Court.

These young hoodlums surrounded Parker’s son on the playground, threw him against a wall and began punching him in the chest, stomach, and genital area. As he fell to the ground, one of the thugs said, “Now you can finish him off.” Fortunately, one girl ran to get a playground aide to stop the beating.

My good friend Brian Camenker, who heads MassResistance, is one of the few individuals to report on this hateful assault on David Parker’s son. Where are the outcries against “hate crimes” by liberal journalists? Where are the candlelight vigils on behalf of his son? Has Parker been invited to tell his story on Good Morning, America? Of course, not. Liberal hatred directed against a first grader isn’t apparently considered “hate,” but justice directed at the son of a “homophobic” parent.

Estabrook Elementary School’s leadership is apparently captive to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which sets up programs to make schools “safe” for students who think they are homosexuals. While GLSEN may make schools “safe” for homosexual recruitment programs, it obviously does not make schools safe for children who do not wish to be indoctrinated into thinking that homosexual conduct is normal or healthy. David Parker’s son is a chilling example of what may happen to other children whose parents oppose the normalization of homosexual sex among kids. Are schools to become unsafe places for these children?

It is time for Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to step up and be counted. He has expressed support for a federal marriage amendment that defines marriage as a one-man, one-woman union as the best protector of children. He should also put his convictions on the line by launching a thorough investigation into this hate-filled assault on David Parker’s son.

Gov. Romney should find out if pro-homosexual parents encouraged their children to beat up Parker’s son, to make sure the hoodlums who assaulted this child are punished, and to assure that all schools in Massachusetts are “safe” places for children who think homosexual behaviors are abnormal and physically dangerous. If parents encouraged this beating, they should be prosecuted as accessories to a crime.

In my view, David Parker is one of the most courageous individuals in America. He has had the courage to take on the homosexual activist movement and to protest against the recruitment of children into life-threatening homosexual behaviors. He should be honored, not vilified—and his son should not fear being beaten up on the playground.

What has happened to David Parker and his son is a frightening example of what will occur to anyone who openly opposes the homosexualization of our nation’s children. This injustice against Parker and his family must be corrected—and Governor Mitt Romney should take a leadership role in seeing that justice is done—and making certain that all children are safe in Massachusetts schools – not just sexually confused children who are being recruited into the homosexual lifestyle.


This Editorial can be viewd online at:
Rev. Sheldon is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, an ordained minister, and the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, DC. His new book, The Agenda -- The Homosexual Plan to Change America, was recently released by FrontLine Publishers, a Strang Communications company.
Traditional Values Coalition is an inter-denominational public
policy organization speaking on behalf of over 43,000 churches.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please call
(202) 547-8570.

139 C. Street SE,
Washington, DC 20003.
Web site address:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

US Church defiant on gay bishops


US Church defiant on gay bishops
Members of the US Episcopal Church have rejected a demand from the worldwide Anglican Church that they stop appointing gay bishops.
Correspondents say the decision by the Church's House of Deputies could lead to a permanent split within the world Anglican communion.

The US Church attracted the ire of conservative Anglicans by appointing gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

The issue may still be revived before the end of the conference on Wednesday.

The House of Bishops may try to return to the question of a ban but the House of Deputies - which voted against the move by nearly a two-thirds majority - would have to go back on its decision for it to pass.

Two days ago the conference took a further radical step by electing a female leader.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made clear on Monday that she believes homosexuality is not a sin.

A majority of the Church's House of Deputies - comprising clergy and lay members - on Tuesday rejected a resolution to "refrain from" nominating gay bishops or developing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

'Difficult choices'

International church leaders warned before the vote that the main body of the 77-million member Anglican communion could part from the US Church if it did not impose a moratorium until Anglicans worldwide could agree a consensus on the issue.

Earlier on Tuesday the Episcopal convention passed an apology for the ordination of Gene Robinson, as requested by Anglican counterparts, but watered down its reference to "breaching the proper constraints" to "straining the bonds of affection".

Many conservative Anglican churches, especially in Africa and Asia, have already broken ties with the US Church over Gene Robinson's elevation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the religious head of the Anglican Church, warned that the communion was now facing "exceptionally difficult choices" and has said he fears a permanent rift.

Government Promotion of Homosexuality

Government Promotion of Homosexuality

Most Americans identify the month of June with graduations and weddings, but a number of federal agencies have given in to pressures from the homosexual lobby to proclaim and celebrate "gay pride" month. Among those bowing to the pressure of homosexuals; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of the Census, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and even the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, State, and Transportation. All of these agencies are in the executive branch and report to the President. Closer to home, the National Education Association (NEA) is trying to advance the homosexual agenda in your child's classroom. The NEA, at it annual convention this week in Orlando, FL, is poised to approve resolutions that call for recognition and promotion of "civil unions and/or marriage" for all the diverse groups it generally panders to. This means more King and King books in second grade classrooms. Please contact your NEA state affiliate and register your opposition to sexual radicals taking over the nation's schools.

Additional Resources

Family Research Council: 801 G Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001
P: 202/393-2100 or 800/225-4008 W: unsubscribe


Look it over, also take note especially of the KFUO link and go to Issues Etc., scroll down on it and listen to the series of interviews with Robert Benne (on our mailing list) in discussing issues related to his latest book which is the Book of the month. Synod’s excellent website with links to other ELCA sites also -ALPB (American Lutheran Publicity Bureau) website-especially helpful link to Forum Online-with selected articles and online discussion. Also link to Pro Ecclesia, is a journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. First Things- A thoughtful Journal of “Religion, Culture and Public Life” The radio station of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod- especially helpful The Bible Study and Issues. Etc., which can be played over the internet. Hour Ministries-a great resource for inspirational stories, confessional sermons, and a host of other things Modern Reformation, a timely journal of traditional Protestant thought. thoughtful journal of “mere Christianity” Fortress (our denomination’s Publishing Company) of Concordia Publishing House-an excellent Lutheran publisher Mission Prayer League a pan-Lutheran Community in prayer and mission of the Holy Trinity: A Lutheran Ministerium dedicated to the renewal of the Ministry and the Church. a grassroots organization concerned with issues in the ELCA Lutheran churches, one by one, recommitting themselves to the mission and ministry of the Gospel, and working together to bring the Word of Christ to a new generation. The Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession (LC3) is an association of congregations from across the country which is lifting up such a vision website of this Group

http://www.youthencounter.orgIncorporated in 1965, Youth Encounter is an evangelical and confessional Christian organization that began by sending a music ministry team to Scandinavia. Rooted in the Christian Scriptures and shaped by the Lutheran tradition, Youth Encounter has now grown into a global ministry serving churches of many denominations in the United States and over 40 other countries.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Mother, Child and Womb" [no, please, make them stop!!!]

Presbyterians 'receive' policy on worship By RICHARD N. OSTLING, AP Religion Writer
Mon Jun 19, 3:42 PM ET

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The divine Trinity — "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" — could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday's debate on the Trinity.

The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.

A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father."

Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include:

• "Lover, Beloved, Love"

• "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"

• "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

Early in Monday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" that avoided male nouns and pronouns for God.

Youth delegate Dorothy Hill, a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, was uncomfortable with changing the Trinity wording. She said the paper "suggests viewpoints that seem to be in tension with what our church has always held to be true about our Trinitarian God."

Hill reminded delegates that the Ten Commandments say "the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

The Rev. Deborah Funke of Montana warned that the paper would be "theologically confusing and divisive" at a time when the denomination of 2.3 million members faces other troublesome issues.

On Tuesday, the assembly will vote on a proposal to give local congregations and regional "presbyteries" some leeway on ordaining clergy and lay officers living in gay relationships.

Ten conservative Presbyterian groups have warned jointly that approval of what they call "local option" would "promote schism by permitting the disregard of clear standards of Scripture."


On the Net:

Presbyterian assembly:

New US church leader says homosexuality no sin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newly elected leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Monday she believed homosexuality was no sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.

Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected on Sunday as the first woman leader of the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church. the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. She will formally take office later this year.

Interviewed on CNN, Jefferts Schori was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual.

"I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us," she said.

"Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."

Jefferts Schori's election seemed certain to exacerbate splits within a Episcopal Church that is already deeply divided over homosexuality with several dioceses and parishes threatening to break away.

It could also widen divisions with other Anglican communities, including the Church of England, which do not allow women bishops.

In the worldwide Anglican church women are bishops only in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. The Robinson issue has been particularly criticized in Africa where the church has a growing membership and where homosexuality is often taboo.

Jefferts Schori, who was raised a Roman Catholic and graduated in marine biology with a doctorate specialization in squids and oysters, supported the consecration of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in more than 450 years of Anglican history.

The 52-year-old bishop is married to Richard Schori, a retired theoretical mathematician. They have one daughter, Katharine Johanna, 24, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and a pilot like her mother.

Asked how she reconciled her position on homosexuality with specific passages in the Bible declaring sexual relations between men an abomination, Jefferts Schori said the Bible was written in a very different historical context by people asking different questions.

"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.

"The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings, and that's certainly the great message of Jesus -- to include the unincluded."

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Courage and Compassion on Homosexuality

Courage and Compassion on Homosexuality
Friday, June 16, 2006

The church's engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions--but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle. Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns.

Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident--with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.

The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change by political action and cultural pressure. Can we count on evangelicals to remain steadfastly biblical on this issue?

Not hardly. Scientific surveys and informal observation reveal that we have experienced a significant loss of conviction among youth and young adults. No moral revolution can succeed without shaping and changing the minds of young people and children. Inevitably, the schools have become crucial battlegrounds for the culture war. The Christian worldview has been undermined by pervasive curricula that teach moral relativism, reduce moral commandments to personal values, and promote homosexuality as a legitimate and attractive lifestyle option.

Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality--and taught to esteem marriage as God's intention for human sexual relatedness.

The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender--what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God's gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.

Courage is far too rare in many Christian circles. This explains the surrender of so many denominations, seminaries, and churches to the homosexual agenda. But no surrender on this issue would have been possible, if the authority of Scripture had not already been undermined.

And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well--compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.

Liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands. They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction.

Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love--and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion.

In far too many cases, the options seem reduced to these--liberal churches preaching love without truth, and conservative churches preaching truth without love. Evangelical Christians must ask ourselves some very hard questions, but the hardest may be this: Why is it that we have been so ineffective in reaching persons trapped in this particular pattern of sin? The Gospel is for sinners--and for homosexual sinners just as much as for heterosexual sinners. As Paul explained to the Corinthian church, "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" [1 Corinthians 5:11].

I believe that we are failing the test of compassion. If the first requirement of compassion is that we tell the truth, the second requirement must surely be that we reach out to homosexuals with the Gospel. This means that we must develop caring ministries to make that concern concrete, and learn how to help homosexuals escape the powerful bonds of that sin--even as we help others to escape their own bonds by grace.

If we are really a Gospel people; if we really love homosexuals as other sinners; then we must reach out to them with a sincerity that makes that love tangible. We have not even approached that requirement until we are ready to say to homosexuals, "We want you to know the fullness of God's plan for you, to know the forgiveness of sins and the mercy of God, to receive the salvation that comes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to know the healing God works in sinners saved by grace, and to join us as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, living out our obedience and growing in grace together."

Such were some of you . . . The church is not a place where sinners are welcomed to remain in their sin. To the contrary, it is the Body of Christ, made up of sinners transformed by grace. Not one of us deserves to be accepted within the beloved. It is all of grace, and each one of us has come out of sin. We sin if we call homosexuality something other than sin. We also sin if we act as if this sin cannot be forgiven.

We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis. The genuine Body of Christ will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage. We will see this realized only when men and women freed by God's grace from bondage to homosexuality feel free to stand up in our churches and declare their testimony--and when we are ready to welcome them as fellow disciples. Millions of hurting people are waiting to see if we mean what we preach.

This article originally appeared on July 23, 2004. It is reprinted today in light of Dr. Mohler's appearance last night on CNN's Larry King Live.

Voting with Their Feet

Matt Kennedy
AAC Press Conference: Voting with Their Feet

Canon Anderson: On average 700 people have left the Episcopal Church every week since 1965

It's 1:22 and I'm at the Nationwide Arena for the AAC daily briefing. I just met Kevin Kalleson from CT6. He's going to video today's briefing so I'll be sure and link his stuff.

E Brust+ is at the podium to open the events. He launches into his devotion. Dt 10

Since it is posted on the AAC General Convention website, I'll simply link it. Today's devotion is very good, as usual, and its better to listen to these sorts of things than to blog them....

Ugh...I’m having computer problems and I’ve had to miss a significant portion of the briefing getting unfrozen. I’ve missed report…so I’ll just make sure I get it tomorrow.

I did, however get Canon Anderson’s speech and it was awesome:

Canon Anderson:

One of the things that winds up being a point of tension are numbers and what they mean. It’s been 144 weeks since GC2003. In that time, something like 140 congregations have popped up out of ECUSA. When I talked to 815, they said their records did not show that big of a loss.

When a congregation decides they want to leave or don’t want to believe, there is always a small group who do not want to leave.

He gives an example of a congregation that experienced a split in which 80% of the congregation left the building and 20% stayed. The diocese counts this as a church that did not leave. The AAC considers it a church that has left. Both are right. There is not necessarily any malice here.

So that is why I say “Popped up out of ECUSA”. Some have not necessarily left, but popped out joined other parts of the Anglican Communion, some have joined the continuum.

Since 1965 about 35,000 a year Net, have departed. People in my own family have done this.

What to make of it?

People vote three times.

1. They vote with their lips: They say, we don’t agree. If they are not listened to..
2. They vote with their Wallet: They say we won't support you.
3. Finally they vote with their Shoes: they vote as they walk out the door.

This 35,000 a year is about 700 per week or three or so congregations.

Three lights going out every week since 1965.

And you wonder why we are in trouble?

What is the root?

WE have to go back to +Pike, someone who was willing to deny the core doctrine of the Christian faith.

We failed to discipline him.

Since then, the attitude of “make your own theology” has grown as the Church has shrunk.

The best prediction of what a person will do si what they have done. What has the other side done in the past? They have tried to silence us and keep us out of orders.

I sent 8 people through the ordination process in LA.

I sent a Hispanic woman through and she was not accepted because she believed the bible was true. They told her you are not our kind of people. So I stopped sending candidates. I won’t subject godly people to that kind of abuse.

They do not intend to let us reproduce.

It is like what the Pharaoh told the Hebrew Midwives.

The trajectory of where things are going is where our problem lies. Whether you take ECUSA’s numbers or ours, both show a trajectory of systematic decline

Will we be honest?

Will we accept WR in full, in spirit and in the letter?
Will we cooperate with the Communion?
Or will we continue to do it as we have in the past?

God only requires a moment in time to work a miracle, but as the clock runs and resolutions fall, the time is running out

You as a deputy have the opportunity to stand up for the truth of the gospel, to turn this around; to let your voice be heard.

The other side speaks of a listening process but the process they advocate is only a one way process. We must listen to them.

Why is it that Gay people who live celibate lives are never accepted and their stories are never heard?

Why is it that those who have been healed of their homosexual desires, why is it that they are not allowed to speak.

IF there is to be a listening process then all should speak and all should listen.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Episcopal convention to debate gay clergy

Here's a typical story. The "debate" is not about "gay clergy" but antinomianism.

Episcopal convention to debate gay clergy

The Post and Courier

In what could lead to a split in the worldwide Anglican Communion, Episcopal Church leaders will continue the debate on gay clergy Tuesday when they meet in Columbus, Ohio, for the denomination's 75th triennial convention.

Most leaders from the South Carolina Diocese do not expect a resolution. Many conservatives, such as diocesan canon theologian Kendall Harmon, predict 'obfuscation' at the eight-day gathering.

'The Episcopal Church is saying we really care about the communion, but we want to continue what we're doing,' Harmon said of ordaining openly gay clergy. 'What they're going to try to do is fudge.'

His concerns revolve around the very definite possibility that a failure to denounce the elevation of gay clergy could eventually cause a split between the Anglican Communion and its American member, the Episcopal Church USA. Many rectors in the South Carolina Diocese share his feelings, but not all.

Moderates and liberals, who number few in the S.C. Diocese, believe the only way to avoid an immediate schism is to delay definitive resolutions on homosexuality. Supporting the ordination of openly gay clergy, they say, will alienate conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans in Africa and Latin America, but failing to support gay rights will cause a split within the mostly liberal Episcopal Church.

Rev. David Williams is the rector at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ansonborough and described the decision to appoint a gay bishop as a 'prophetic' step that was not consecrated in a vacuum.

'We spoke for ourselves,' he said of the denomination's 2003 vote to elevate the Rev. Gene Robinson to Bishop of New Hampshire. 'The church has no business monkeying around in people's bedrooms and private relationships.'

Upcoming convention resolutions reflect the denomination's split over gay rights and the interpretation of Scripture.

One (Resolution A095) calls for the church to oppose any laws banning same-sex marriage, while another (A160) resolves to express regret over the denomination's failure to communicate with the Anglican Communion before elevating a gay bishop.

How to frame the debate, in many ways, has become the crux of the debate.

Moderates, who would like to see a decision delayed, typically favor a bureaucratic framework, one that places emphasis on the Episcopal Church's failure to consult with the Anglican Communion before elevating Robinson. The sword rattlers on both sides - liberal and conservative alike - want something more definitive. Williams favors the more ambiguous approach, and says it's much more in line with the inclusive 'big tent' traditions of the Episcopal Church. Williams might be in the denominationwide majority on this, but in the South Carolina Diocese, he has few ideological allies in leadership positions.

The conflict within the denomination goes back to when debates over Darwin and creationism first started to heat up in the mid-1920s. Clergy in the Episcopal Church were becoming more progressive in their approach and scholarship, while the laity remained conservative. Both pastors and laypeople left the church as a result. Others attended conservative seminaries and tried to counter the rise of liberalism from within.

In the years since then, the tension within the denomination has been palpable but manageable. The elevation of Robinson changed that. Part of the reason is because pastors such as the Rev. Greg Snyder see no room for compromise when it comes to interpreting what Scripture says about homosexuality.

'What I'm hearing from the international community is they want to hear we're sorry for what we did, and that's not going to happen,' he said. 'I don't think the general convention is going to resolve any of these issues.'

He does believe that eventually the issue will come to a head. Snyder is a pastor at St. John's Episcopal Church on Johns Island who opposes the ordination of openly gay clergy. He has heard rumblings that the Anglican Communion intends to require members to sign a covenant that would clearly delineate the church's attitudes on homosexuality.

'There's a whole lot of talk about the possibility of an Anglican covenant,' Snyder said. 'That's the only way out of this mess.'

In case you don't know, Kendall Harmon has the blog to watch, titusonenine. Another good one is Stand Firm. for the other side you can go to An Inch at a Time, the blog of the president of the ECUSA GLBT group, Integrity, Susan Russell.

Our ELCA GLBT is worth watching as, of course, it will be interesting to see what the Good Soil people have to say about all this and their recent defeat in Metro New York (they don't have resolution results up yet, but the Assembly rescinded Resolution C from Oct 29, turned down a resolution commending Craig Nessan's "contextual theology," approved a resolution encouraging traditional Lutheran theology on Confessions and Scripture, and the makers of two additional resolutions promoting pro GLBT issues withdrew them on the last day.

This Shellfish is wondering if the tide is turning?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Get your tickets to ECUSA wrestling here...

Integrity is the GLBT player. Their fearless leader is Rev Susan. She posted their 'agenda' on her blog:

The Integrity Agenda
(Finally ... for those who've asked about it, speculated about it, even fantasized about it ... it's the Integrity Agenda for General Convention 2006: courtesy Integrity Board member Elizabeth Kaeton.)

Watching Integrity work at General Convention is analogous to watching open heart surgery on a dinosaur. Part of it requires muscle and stamina: cracking open the chest of this ancient relic requires nothing less than brute strength.

Another part is delicate, intricate work, requiring all the fine-motor skills of a surgeon in the tiny, thin places of the heart and soul of this still-living and breathing organism.

Much of it is like the work of the larger team members: the surgical assistants and anesthesiologist -- long, tiresome, weary moments strung out over minutes, hours, days and weeks of watching and waiting, monitoring and evaluating, ready to move on the advanced notice that is sometimes less than a heartbeat.

It's all about the 'holy' spirit which people bring from their own 'holy places' and the Holy Spirit who shows up at the oddest times and in the oddest places, but is always firmly in control. That being said, I think that we do a disservice if we do not communicate the contextual setting of General Convention to our constituents before telling them that the strategy going into General Convention is pretty much the same every time: Be awake. Be alert.

Above all, be as gracious and as generous as we can possibly be, aiming always to follow the Via Media without compromising the dignity -- ours or anyone else's -- to which we are called to respect in our baptismal covenant.

Like open heart surgeons and all other physicians, we pledge to do no harm. As Christians, this means, additionally, even when harm is being done unto us.

This year, I anticipate higher drama from the right side of the church than most Queers on the left can muster up on a good day at Gay Central. I expect some of them to come prepared to leave this church and all of them well prepared to do as much collateral damage as they can before they do.

We on the left -- not just Integrity but the constituent members of the Consultation -- have to be ready to be part swat-team, part rescue-unit. And, we need to come to General Convention absolutely crystal clear about what it is we believe and what it is we want -- and be equally clear that people may not want/be able to hear our statements of belief or give us what we want -- even our allies on the Left.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Communion In Crisis–A reflection offered by Lord Carey

"Allow me to offer my perspective on the issues that the General Convention’s decision of August 5th 2003 has opened up theologically.
It represents
i. A Departure from the Ordinal and theology of Ministry. The Anglican tradition has inherited from the undivided Church an understanding of ministry that those ordained must be either celibate or married. The fact that our Ordinals never mention the possibility of practising homosexuals being ordained is that such an option was considered inconceivable by previous generations– indeed, reprehensible. That homosexuals in same sex partnerships, which effectively replace marriage should be ordained, would have been seen as a serious and extraordinary departure from the Church’s practice.
ii. A departure from orthodox interpretation and the teaching of the Bible. The bible is unequivocal in its condemnation of practising homosexuality. It cannot be dismissed as having no consequence for us today. The matter is far more than the interpretation of a few Old Testament verses but includes significant Pauline texts that are central to the classical interpretation of sin and redemption. I cannot see any justification for bypassing Paul’s teaching in Romans I, concerning homosexuality physical relationships, as irrelevant to our times, or as a cultural equivalent to women wearing hats in church. It is a timeless commentary on the power of sin when people turn away from God.
iii. It is a departure from our understanding of the sacramentality of marriage. We know how central to message of Jesus is his understanding of marriage. The way that apostolic writers build on this in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy and elsewhere show their continuity with our Lord’s teaching concerning the creational significance of marriage between a man and woman, that is lifelong, faithful and tender. The parallel of marriage to the union of Christ to his church in Ephesians V shows the error of identifying any other relationship as comparable with marriage. Paralleling any other relationship with marriage, however close the friendship it is, is a dangerous error and it is difficult to see how such alternative relationships may be blessed by the Church or considered ‘holy’.

Read all of former Abp's recent address on importance of ECUSA convention (less than a week away)

Well Said, Mr. President!

From Family Research Council (I thought it was well said, also).

"Well Said, Mr. President!

"Marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all." This is just a portion of the President's weekly radio address. You can access the entire address on the White House website. As the Senate debates the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) today and tomorrow, we appeal to all to call their two U.S. Senators' offices (202.224.3121) and continue to press for this crucial measure. The President's leadership on this issue is most welcome. He has carefully avoided making this a partisan issue. The same cannot, unfortunately, be said for Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). Biden says the issue is "silly" and that it is not needed because the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 has not been challenged. That's simply not true. It is currently being challenged in two states and activist judges have increasingly threatened to overturn the act and the institution of marriage. Biden and his fellow Democrats can avoid the partisanship he deplores by voting for the constitutional amendment we need to protect marriage. FRC Action has an MPA ad in today's USA Today. I had a chance to promote MPA on CNN at length this morning. You can access my remarks on our website."

More Marriage Protection Amendment facts here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Divorce, Single Parenting and Kids' Well-being

NEW YORK, JUNE 3, 2006 ( Changes in family structures have placed many children in difficulties. In a nutshell this is the argument of two studies released March 30 by the Institute for American Values. The studies, both authored by Norval Glenn and Thomas Sylvester, are based on an examination of articles published in the Journal of Marriage and Family from 1977 to 2002.

Introducing the first study, "The Shift: Scholarly Views of Family Structure Effects on Children, 1977-2002," the authors comment that academic opinions can be broadly divided into two camps. The first can be termed pro-marriage, and argues that the decline in marriage has been a troubling trend, especially for children.

The second, labeled "pro-family diversity," maintains that families haven't been weakened by divorce and unwed childbearing, but have just changed in form. The changes in family structures, this opinion holds, have not had such a negative effect on children after all.

In the 1970s, right after divorce laws were liberalized, the more optimistic view prevailed. By the end of the 1980s, concerns increased and many commentators worried about increases in divorce and single parenting.

Research and debate on family structure effects continued in academic journals in the following years. More recently, the debate over divorce and unwed mothers has taken a back seat to conflicts over the issue of same-sex unions and their possible legalization.

Better with both

Glenn and Sylvester contend that the research over the effects of the shifts in family structure that started several decades ago is now clearer. "Most family scholars," they comment, "apparently now agree that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that children tend to do best when they grow up with their own two married parents, so long as the marriage is not marred by violence or serious conflict."

In many cases the divergences of opinion now center more on whether society can somehow compensate for the changes in family structures, so as to reduce the negative effects on children.

To provide a clearer opinion of research into family issues, Glenn and Sylvester examined all the relevant articles -- 266 in all -- published in the Journal of Marriage and Family over a 26-year period. This publication, they noted, is the most influential journal in family social science in the United States.

Glenn and Sylvester looked at three main family structures: children living with married biological or adoptive parents; children living with only one parent; and stepfamilies.

They found there was a substantial change in the studies, in the direction of expressing concern over changes in family structures, in the periods 1977-1982, and again in 1983-1987. Thus, concerned views became more prevalent, but it was not a steady change.

One important study they cite is a 1991 meta-analysis by Paul Amato and Bruce Keith, who pointed out that a host of negative outcomes are associated with parental divorce. Amato and Keith wrote: "The results lead to a pessimistic conclusion: the argument that parental divorce presents few problems for children's long-term development � is simply inconsistent with the literature on the topic."

Contrasting (and rosier) views were not absent, however. Glenn and Sylvester cited examples of some studies that denied any significant problems related to divorce.

Hard data

There is, nonetheless, an important factor to consider. The more-concerned views tended to be based on quantitative research, while the sanguine approach tended to be expressed in theoretical articles. "A major reason for this difference," Glenn and Sylvester conclude, "is probably, though not certainly, that the views of the authors of the quantitative pieces were more constrained by 'hard data' than those of the other authors and thus were less affected by preconceptions and ideological biases."

They do, however, add a note of caution regarding the quantitative studies. The evidence for negative effects on children resulting from changes in family structures is not conclusive. This is so because, ideally, evidence would have to be based on random studies; these cannot be done since it is impossible to divide families into groups and artificially impose divorce on the couples in one group and use the other as a control group.

Thus, Glenn and Sylvester caution that the statistical methods used are fallible. Nor is it possible to statistically prove a strict cause-effect relationship between divorce and negative consequences for children, they maintain. Still, the preponderance of the evidence "indicates that family structure matters, and matters to an important degree, for children," they conclude.


The second paper by Glenn and Sylvester is titled: "The Denial: Downplaying the Consequences of Family Structure for Children." It looks at some of the arguments used by the authors of articles published in the Journal of Marriage and Family to justify a more optimistic view of the consequences of family changes.

In the early period, some academics argued that the increase in absences by fathers was not new, as in the past parental death used to be quite frequent. This thesis was debunked, however, in later years as subsequent research showed that parental death and divorce have different consequences for children. Outcomes for children who lose a parent to death, in fact, are substantially better than for children whose parents divorce.

Other earlier studies maintained that, in the case of a father's absence, other male figures (such as grandfathers, stepfathers and boyfriends) could serve as alternative male models or substitute for the missing parental role. Evidence to support this view is, however, scarce. "The hope that other men can easily substitute for absent biological fathers has received little or no empirical support," according to Glenn and Sylvester.

A more recent trend is to simply argue that divorce does not of itself necessarily doom children to suffer. But this approach is simply exaggerated, as serious family scholars never held that each and every child touched by divorce would be negatively affected.

A more serious argument made by some scholars who are relatively sanguine regarding divorce is that many problems assumed to be the result of the divorce actually stem from pre-divorce parental conflict.

A review of the evidence examined by Glenn and Sylvester reveals that some studies do, in fact, indicate that a portion of the alleged effects of divorce were present before the divorce occurred. There is not, however, agreement about the size of those effects.

Research leads to the conclusion that the end of a highly conflicted marriage seems to normally improve outcomes for children, freeing them as it does from an angry and unstable home life. But divorces that dissolve low-conflict marriages appear to have a strong negative influence on children. Importantly, the paper observes, one nationally representative study estimates that around two-thirds of divorces stem from low-conflict marriages.

An authentic good

Benedict XVI, in a May 11 address to members of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, observed: "Marriage and the family are rooted in the inmost nucleus of the truth about man and his destiny."

He continued: "The communion of life and love which is marriage thus emerges as an authentic good for society." Moreover, the Pope insisted that we must avoid confusing marriage with other types of unions, which are based on a weaker type of love.

"It is only the rock of total, irrevocable love between a man and a woman that can serve as the foundation on which to build a society that will become a home for all mankind," the Holy Father concluded. Secular academic research amply backs up that conclusion.

Friday, June 02, 2006

File under "Told You So!"

The Advocate bills itself as "the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine." Its June 6 cover story certainly should make news. The magazine depicts three identical male dolls wearing tuxes over the caption "Polygamy & Gay Men." The story features oh-so-sympathetic portraits of several groups of men who are living in arrangements it calls polyamorous. "We're as married as we could be," says one homosexual member of a San Diego trio, "we all have rings and have a day we celebrate [as] our anniversary." The challenge could not be more "in your face." Every argument, every emotional appeal for same-sex "marriage" is recapped in this air-brushed version of marital bliss for what the magazine editors call "Big Gay Love." This is what those senators who vote against the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) next week will be voting for. Serious legal scholars like Jonathan Turley agree. Thoughtful columnists like Charles Krauthammer find it undeniable. Same-sex "marriage" means polygamy. So why not polyamory, too? This weekend is our last chance to share vital information with friends, family and members of your church. You can click on the link below and download our latest FRC fact sheet on the Marriage Protection Amendment. Please copy and distribute this vital material as widely as possible. June 6 is the day of the vote on the MPA in the Senate. Will marriage survive or will America move in the direction of "Big Gay Love?"

Any questions about the Marriage Amendment just a pandering to the Republican base?

YOu know what is next, right? "I have three daddies."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Worth reading if your missed it: Banned In Boston

Catholic Charities Gets Out Of Adoption Business
(Weekly Standard) This column was written by Maggie Gallagher.
Catholic Charities of Boston made the announcement on March 10: It was getting out of the adoption business. "We have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve. … The issue is adoption to same-sex couples."

It was shocking news. Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation's oldest adoption agencies, had long specialized in finding good homes for hard-to-place kids. "Catholic Charities was always at the top of the list," Paula Wisnewski, director of adoption for the Home for Little Wanderers, told the Boston Globe. "It's a shame because it is certainly going to mean that fewer children from foster care are going to find permanent homes." Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said simply, "This is a tragedy for kids."

How did this tragedy happen?

It's a complicated story. Massachusetts law prohibited "orientation discrimination" over a decade ago. Then in November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered gay marriage. The majority ruled that only animus against gay people could explain why anyone would want to treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently. That same year, partly in response to growing pressure for gay marriage and adoption both here and in Europe, a Vatican statement made clear that placing children with same-sex couples violates Catholic teaching.

Then in October 2005, the Boston Globe broke the news: Boston Catholic Charities had placed a small number of children with same-sex couples. Sean Cardinal O'Malley, who has authority over Catholic Charities of Boston, responded by stating that the agency would no longer do so.

Seven members of the Boston Catholic Charities board (about one-sixth of the membership) resigned in protest. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights, issued a thundering denunciation of the Catholic hierarchy: "These bishops are putting an ugly political agenda before the needs of very vulnerable children. Every one of the nation's leading children's welfare groups agrees that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child. What these bishops are doing is shameful, wrong, and has nothing to do whatsoever with faith."

But getting square with the church didn't end Catholic Charities' woes. To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination — including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

Cardinal O'Malley asked Governor Mitt Romney for a religious exemption from the ban on orientation discrimination. Governor Romney reluctantly responded that he lacked legal authority to grant one unilaterally, by executive order. So the governor and archbishop turned to the state legislature, requesting a conscience exemption that would allow Catholic Charities to continue to help kids in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching.

To date, not a single other Massachusetts political leader appears willing to consider even the narrowest religious exemption. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the Republican candidate for governor in this fall's election, refused to budge: "I believe that any institution that wants to provide services that are regulated by the state has to abide by the laws of the state," Healey told the Boston Globe on March 2, "and our antidiscrimination laws are some of our most important."

From there, it was only a short step to the headline "State Putting Church Out of Adoption Business," which ran over an opinion piece in the Boston Globe by John Garvey, dean of Boston College Law School. It's worth underscoring that Catholic Charities' problem with the state didn't hinge on its receipt of public money. Ron Madnick, president of the Massachusetts chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, agreed with Garvey's assessment: "Even if Catholic Charities ceased receiving tax support and gave up its role as a state contractor, it still could not refuse to place children with same-sex couples."

This March, then, unexpectedly, a mere two years after the introduction of gay marriage in America, a number of latent concerns about the impact of this innovation on religious freedom ceased to be theoretical. How could Adam and Steve's marriage possibly hurt anyone else? When religious-right leaders prophesy negative consequences from gay marriage, they are often seen as overwrought. The First Amendment, we are told, will protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage.

The rest is here.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...