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January 24, 2009

The Guy Who Took Down the Signs

Like millions of other Americans on January 20, I was flooded with memories and emotions as I watched Barack Obama be sworn in as our President.

I grew up in the segregated South and breathed in the air of racism just like every other child, black or white. I didn't even realize how polluted the air was because it was "normal." But now I know that it sickened us all and diminished all our lives.

I watched my parents grow and change. I remember stories about their best friend in college, a Japanese man. Their friendship did not change even as the racism of World War II emerged. When years later the city schools were desegregated, I watched my mother, an elementary teacher, be the first to welcome and befriend the new African American teachers assigned to her school. I listened as my father taught me to always address any older person, black or white, as Mr. or Mrs. And I watched him treat every customer in his hardware store with the same respect.

But there was also the dinner table talk of anxiety. My parents were good people but they were not vocal activists. They did not speak up when they saw injustice; they just tried to teach us a different way. Too often bigots counted on the silence of decent white people to protect their violence.

This was the '60's and things were changing which probably meant that we would all need to change too. I was in high school when integration came. The African American high school and the white high school combined into one. It wasn't always easy, but we did it. I remember clearly how rude some of the white boys were to one of our black teachers. I would glare at them but I never took them on. And of course there was still neosegregation: the black kids weren't in the advanced placement classes.

One of my in-laws, who is now in his nineties, worked his whole life for the railroad in the South. He tells a story about the day his supervisor called him in and told him to go to every train station on the line and remove the signs. In each station, there were two ticket offices and water fountains, one for "coloreds" and one for "whites." He reluctantly implemented this directive and took down the signs that divided us.

When I went away to university, my real education began. Black students were pushing the university to deal with its institutional racism. I joined the Student YWCA which, as part of the National YWCA, was committed to the "One Imperative to Eliminate Racism, Wherever It Exists and By Any Means Necessary." I began to learn about the burden and responsibility of being a white woman in America.

So as I watched the guests arriving at the Inauguration and saw Dr. Dorothy Height, now 95 years old and wearing the flowered hat, being ushered to her seat, I thought about how she led the YWCA in the 60's and 70's to implement the One Imperative, how much she taught us young and naïve students, and how long and distinguished has been her journey of leadership. She is but one of thousands of brave Americans who made January 20 possible, and January 20 removed the rest of the signs.

As I listen to my African American friends reflect on how much they wish their grandparents were alive to see this time, I realize that my grandparents would not be celebrating but are probably turning in their graves. That was then.

And this is now. In the crowd on Tuesday, there were groups of young people gathered around various elders who were holding court and telling them stories about segregation. The young people hung on every word. Slavery, the Holocaust, segregation, discrimination in every form: these should be the things our children and grandchildren learn about in history books or oral histories--lest we forget--rather than things they experience first-hand.

My faith in my country has been battered and beaten most of my adult life. The vision of what America could mean has been sorely tarnished and its ideals shredded. The work of democracy is unfinished; some of us still do not enjoy the guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But because of the determination of all those who have gone before us, who refused to lose faith even in death, we have now come to a fork in the road, the way less traveled, and we have chosen to make a way out of no way.

We finally have the leadership we deserve but it is our task to clear the brambles, roll away the stones, raise our voices, fill the potholes and drain the swamp so that our children and grandchildren can walk into their futures, remembering the past but not repeating it.

". . . keep us forever in this path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee."

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
Founder and Senior Analyst
FaithTrust Institute

November 19, 2008

A Letter in Support of Same-Gender Civil Marriage

The Riverside Church in the City of New York stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the United States who suffer from social and legal discrimination based upon their sexual identity. Our congregation is energized in its resolve to speak boldly on behalf of God's love and justice for all couples who wish to live in covenant love with one another and share their lives. The recent California vote for Proposition 8 that passed with 52% of the ballots defines marriage as "only between one man and one woman." The Riverside Church reaffirms its commitment as stated in The Riverside Church Statement in Support of Same-Gender Civil Marriage:

Recent circumstances leading to calls for a Constitutional amendment to define marriage to exist solely between a man and a woman, and ultimately ban any legal recognition of same-sex unions, compels The Riverside Church of New York City to raise its voice in unity with those who cherish the principles of freedom, equality, and fairness for all. In so doing, we stand firm in our call for a more just and humane society-one where basic civil rights, and the right to simply be, are never denied to any citizen of this land...

We now continue in this tradition of progressive activism by reaffirming our commitment to pursue an open and candid conversation to forge greater understanding of such issues as family values, sexual identity, and biblical interpretations of human relations. Further, in an attempt to embrace all committed-relationships, the Church will take the bold action of no longer distinguishing between same-sex unions and (heterosexual) marriages. All ceremonies among two committed, loving adults at The Riverside Church will be recognized as marriages...

We further commit our resolve to support efforts leading to the development of social policies and laws that enable same-gender loving couple's access to the privileges, legal protections, and benefits of civil marriage.

My leadership at The Riverside Church will continue to advocate these same principles, and I am committed to speaking out on issues of justice and equality with respect to my Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer sisters and brothers. Please accept this letter of support as another gesture of this commitment. I call upon all people of good will to work together to craft public policies and foster communal practices that will usher in the Beloved Community of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so often. In this Beloved Community, all God's children can have their life-giving, loving covenants affirmed.


The Reverend Brad R. Braxton, Ph.D.
Senior Minister
The Riverside Church in the City of New York

Pastoral Letter following the 2008 Elections

I suspect no matter how we voted many of us will long remember where we were when the results of the 2008 presidential election were announced. I was in frosty Anchorage having dinner with Regional Coordinators, Paul and Karen Jolly and our synod liaison for the Alaska Synod when those nearer the TV let out a cheer worthy of winning the Super Bowl. Envoy Paul returned from a fact finding mission to report that Barack Obama had indeed been elected the President of the United States of America. It was an intense historic moment and a crowd response I did not expect, especially in Alaska.

The next night Karen, Paul and I were in Olympia, Washington, having met with members of a prospective RIC congregation. Synod liaisons for the Southwest Washington Synod joined us for a bite at a local fast food joint. There was a young African-American man in the restaurant boasting an oversized Obama t-shirt declaring victory. He talked excitedly on his cell phone while he pulled at the picture covering his chest. As we congratulated him, his broad smile told a story well beyond the election of a president. I can only imagine his joy, his validation, his new understanding of the meaning and possibility of equality, his swelling pride. I rejoiced for him, for all people of color, and indeed for all of us.

I had felt something like it the day that Jan and I were legally married in California. When the news finally came that we had lost anti-LGBT measures in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas and finally California, my chest literally ached. Hope and later denial were replaced by the pain of betrayal. By Friday as I gathered in New York City to debrief the election with other leaders of the movement for LGBT equality, anger supplanted my every effort to analyze and strategize.

It's taken a few days and sleeping the clock around, but perspective is returning. Yes, we have had a major set back. Perhaps most agonizing, the defeat came largely at the hands of fundamentalist Christians and an un-Christ-like campaign of lies and deceit. While some LGBT communities are blaming the church in general, we know that there were many people of faith in the states considering ballot initiatives who voted for LGBT equality.

Anger is a very personal and appropriate response. Our challenge is to let this anger fuel, not paralyze us. These defeats can be catalyzing events. Organizing is about turning private pain into public action. The election of an African American to the highest office of the land speaks volumes about the power of grassroots community organizing in the face of enormous odds. Obama is a community organizer. So are we.

While Obama did not support same-gender marriage, he also opposed Proposition 8, as well as consistently and publicly included gay and lesbian people in his vision of an inclusive America. Connecticut voters thwarted an attempt to undo the court decision that supported marriage equality. Two states, Connecticut and Massachusetts, supporting marriage equality still stand. Proponents of LGBT rights in California have already filed suit to overturn the passage of Proposition 8 on procedural grounds. Additionally, consider that in 2000 the vote on then-Proposition 22 against same-gender marriage was 61% in favor and 39% opposed; considerable and substantial change has taken place.

Change is coming in our church too. In a marked departure from past history, Bishop Mark Holmerud stood on the steps of San Francisco City Hall and made plain that "No on Prop 8" was the Christian response. Also, as "refrain and restrain" continues to hold in the ELCA, our efforts across the church are expanding through the courage and strategic action of our volunteers. Obama is a master of oratory and inspiration but the key to his victory came from his many years of grassroots organizing, building relationships across ethnic, racial, religious, economic, and even party lines. Our task is the same.

We know the ultimate outcome is assured, but at times like these the journey seems almost too long to bear. In the between time, may the arms of Jesus enfold us as we grieve. May our losses fire us. May the Holy Spirit infuse and enthuse. May God empower us for meaningful personal action as we work for the day when joy, validation, and equality will become a reality in policy and practice in the church and the world.

Blessings and hope,

Emily Eastwood
Executive Director

DignityUSA Responds to Passage
of Anti-Marriage Equality Ballot Initiatives

Last week's passage of Arizona's Proposition 102, Proposition 8 in California, and Proposition 2 in Florida amending these states' constitutions to prevent same-gender marriage was profoundly disappointing to all who believe in fairness and equality. However, I firmly believe that this represents a temporary setback in the ongoing work to ensure justice for all families, and want to point to some of the signs of hope which can serve as building blocks for future successes.

Particularly in California, DignityUSA and local Chapter leaders helped to build a coalition of Catholics who support marriage equality that included representatives from a number of organizations, as well as parents and friends of GLBT people. This group help press conferences, circulated a sign-on statement, confronted priests and bishops who distributed anti-equality material, and volunteered their time and money to No On 8 efforts. The Field Survey taken just prior to the election showed that 48% of California Catholics opposed Proposition 8, with only 44% in favor. Our California Chapters celebrated civil marriages for dozens of couples, and established wonderful guidelines for couples considering getting married at Dignity. In Florida, local leaders were very active in No On 2 efforts, as well as in national efforts to mobilize non-gay Catholics who support marriage equality.

I applaud all who were active in this work, and reiterate DignityUSA's ongoing commitment to affirming and celebrating the loving relationships of LGBT people. In the words of a Board motion affirmed by our membership in 2003:

Whereas DignityUSA believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have the right to full expression of their sexuality in ways that are consistent with Catholic/Christian values, including the right to enter into committed relationships; AND

Whereas DignityUSA is the only national Catholic organization that sustains a multi-faceted program of support for same-sex couples, including the blessing of their commitments; AND

Whereas the legal and spiritual recognition of same-sex couples is being debated by many legislative bodies and churches; AND

Whereas we know that civil marriage bestows important rights, protections and duties to the partners and their families and that religious affirmation of a couple's commitment honors the sacredness of their covenant;

Therefore be it resolved that DignityUSA declares the following position on same-sex marriage:

As Americans, we remind our fellow citizens of a foundational principle of our form of government: all are created equal. Consistent with the pursuit of liberty and justice for all, same-sex couples should have full and equal access to the rights and responsibilities bestowed by civil marriage.

As Catholics, we remind our Church of a foundational conviction of our faith: God is love and all that abide in love abide in God and God in them. The love that brings and binds two people of the same, or opposite sex, together has a divine source. It is therefore sacramental in nature and should be celebrated as such by our Church.

Finally, as the U.S. Catholic Bishops begin their annual meeting today, a number of Catholic justice organizations have issued a press release on marriage equality. The statement is reprinted here. I congratulate our sister organizations for their integrity and courage in making such a forceful and eloquent statement.

Marianne Duddy-Burke
Executive Director

Sodomy and civil rights

David R. Weiss, November 7, 2008

This country has a sodomy problem. And until we have the wisdom and the courage to be honest about what that means we’re not going to resolve the question of civil rights for homosexuals. We need to be clear about why sodomy is such a threat to the common good of civil society, why it undermines the family, and why it is such an evil when afoot in faith communities. It’s not going to be easy. But it needs to be done.

The word “sodomy” comes from a biblical text (Genesis 19) where the ancient city of Sodom is marked out for divine destruction because its evil ways so angered God. Sodomy names those who act like the inhabitants of Sodom.

Fine. But listen carefully. Not in this text—nor in any other biblical text—is there a condemnation of committed same-sex relationships. Not one. Not anywhere. There are a small handful of texts that condemn same-sex prostitution in pagan temples, and perhaps military rape and pederasty. But nowhere in the Bible is there a single word that condemns committed same-sex relationships.

To vote on Proposition 8 in California, or on any of the other state initiatives seeking to ban same-sex marriage, based on the Bible is the moral equivalent of using biblical texts to support slavery or apartheid. It is obscene.

So having cleared that up, let’s talk about the real problem here: sodomy. Acting like the inhabitants of Sodom.

The prophet Isaiah (1:10-17; 3:9-15) knew something about the reputation of those who lived in Sodom. He says they despised justice, especially for widows and orphans—those at the edges of family structures in the ancient world. And he says they built an economy that stole the goods of the poor. Likewise, the prophet Ezekiel (16:49) was also acquainted with the sodomy “lifestyle.” He rails against them because in the midst of their abundance they were indifferent to the needy.

Even Jesus, some 2000 years after its destruction, can employ a reference to Sodom with full effect. Twice (Matthew 11:19-24 and Luke 10:12) he invokes the memory of Sodom as a city condemned for its treatment of the marginalized and its lack of hospitality to sojourners.

For both the Hebrew prophets and the Christian Messiah sodomy is not about acting on same-sex attraction; it is clearly and unequivocally about social injustice and horrendous breeches of hospitality, of which the attempted gang rape of Lot’s guests is simply one final bit of damning evidence.

Sodomy, understood biblically, is the sin of creating social structures that systematically isolate those already at the margins of society. It is roundly condemned by the prophets and by Jesus. And for good reason.

It destroys the fabric of families by teaching even the youngest children to dehumanize persons simply because of difference. It undermines the common good of society by scape-goating a minority in ways that contradict the very ideals we claim to hold in a democracy. And it is simply an unforgiveable evil in faith communities where it betrays the very messages of justice, mercy, and compassion that are at the heart of religious faith.

So let’s be clear: the desire to close off the protections afforded by marriage to persons living in committed same-sex relationships (and to their children) is itself an act of sodomy and it has no place in civil society or in communities of faith.

Further, when African-Americans and Hispanics vote in large numbers alongside conservative white Christians to ban same-sex marriage they ally themselves with the same strand of Christianity that in the past quoted other biblical texts just as effectively to justify genocidal policies toward Native Americans, xenophobic laws toward immigrants, and abominations like slavery, Jim Crow, and apartheid.

So, yes, this country has a sodomy problem. But so long as we think it has anything to do with gay sex we’ve missed the point of God’s outrage. Sodomy happens when any group uses their majority or their power to abuse and marginalize another group. That’s what happened in California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas on November 4. And it’s time for us, as citizens and as Christians, to stop acting like the inhabitants of Sodom.

David Weiss is a theologian and author of To the Tune of a Welcoming God (2008). He lives with his wife and children in St. Paul, MN.

A Pastoral Letter:
To our same gender loving brothers and sisters, their families, friends and allies

November 5, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Grace to you and peace on this day after the General Election and in the days ahead.

We have come through an historic election and many of us were involved in important ways, working for the candidates and issues that we care about. Regardless of how one feels about the Presidential results, the votes on ballot measures addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) concerns were disappointing. While these ballot measures were only in a handful of states, the results affect us all. We write to express our solidarity, the assurance that we are not alone, acknowledge the significant progress made in spite of the results, and the good news of God's presence with us, especially as we seek to move forward from this place.

First and foremost, we praise God and lift up with deep gratitude all who gave so much to the cause of equality and justice in this election as volunteers or staff to campaigns, with donations and through their prayers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

As in 2004, the year leading to this election was marked by significant events giving marriage rights to same sex couples, namely, the California Supreme Court decision last May and the Connecticut Supreme Court decision in October. To preserve the court's decision in California , we witnessed an unprecedented effort to defeat a discriminatory constitutional amendment, Proposition 8. People of faith provided significant leadership and support to this effort, joining with others to raise millions of dollars and log hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours in phone banks, canvassing neighborhoods and getting out the vote. Similar efforts were waged to defeat similar ballot measures in Arizona and Florida , as well as to defeat an anti-gay measure in Arkansas affecting adoption rights.

Through these political processes, we once again endured an onslaught of homophobic lies and deceit which drove a wedge in many of our communities, demeaned our lives, and devalued our relationships and families in order to enshrine heterosexist bigotry into the core documents of more state governments.

How could we not be disappointed and angry? How could we not carry a deep sense of righteous indignation at this injustice? The votes on our lives and our equality are unfair, unjust and wrong. They violate the core promise of our faith to treat others as we want to be treated and the promise that every American citizen makes, no matter their religious belief, to uphold the values of liberty and justice for all.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. Old Testament Theologian Walter Brueggemann adds, "the moral arc of the gospel bends toward inclusion." The testament of the Open and Affirming movement within the United Church of Christ and beyond is that we are making progress, mostly in small steps and sometimes in leaps and bounds. Although the progress of equality and justice may have been slowed, we continue forward.

Even in disappointment, there are many things about which we can be proud and hopeful. The election results may not feel like progress now, but as Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry says, "If we lose, we must lose forward." That is, we must continue to learn and grow from all of our efforts, the relationships that have been built and the amazing organizing networks that have been created.

Let us be present to each other, especially now, as we cope with these disappointing results, learn from them and move on. So, let us attend to one another with love and compassion, being vessels for one another of God's gracious, loving and healing presence. May the solidarity we share strengthen us and our resolve for the challenging journey that lies ahead.

The struggle is far from over and one day our "yes" will come. This is a confident hope, rooted in the gospel promise of love, justice and abundant life. "God is turning the page!" as our sister, The Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder says, "And, if it is God's will, then there is nothing in heaven or earth that can stop it." So, let us continue to be vigilant, creative in our efforts, just in our actions and loving in all we do.

May God bless you, each and every one, and may God bring you the peace that surpasses understanding—the peace that only God can give.

Yours in the struggle.

Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer Executive,
Health and Wholeness Advocacy,
UCC Wider Church Ministries

Rev. Ruth Garwood,
Executive Director
UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

Presbyterian Equality Project

Marriage Equality and LGBT Supporters in California -- and those with family, friends and colleagues in California -- and all of us who believe in justice!

RE: Critical & Urgent Support and Action Needed to defeat Proposition 8 in CA

Your support and action is needed now to defeat Proposition 8 and to keep civil marriage equality in the State of California. What happens in California has extraordinary and direct impact on the future of marriage equality and LGBT rights in all other states.

All of us are affected by what happens with Proposition 8.

Sadly, religious and political extremists who oppose marriage equality and LGBT rights are seeking to strike down the California State Supreme Court's recent ruling that granted civil marriage equality in the State of California with their anti-gay, anti-family, unjust Proposition 8.

Through PEP, the Presbyterian Equality Project, the LGBT civil rights initiative of More Light Presbyterians, we seek your support of marriage equality and LGBT civil rights in this Call to Action.

I know that many faithful Presbyterians are working in California to defeat Proposition 8. Please make sure that your congregation, campus ministry or seminary community is aware of what is at stake with Proposition 8 and how everyone can support the No on 8 Campaign through phone banking, donations, letters to the editor in local papers, etc. Participation and financial support is needed from LGBT supporters and those of us who believe in equality and fairness from outside of California as well.

Rev. Debra Peevey is the Statewide Faith Organizer for the No on Proposition 8 Campaign. A special letter from her follows this call for action. For those of you in California, please contact Debra to tell her of your work and/or to find out how you, your family and your church can be involved in defeating Proposition 8 and protecting marriage equality.

With the federal election, the financial crisis, home mortgage and housing crisis, the Answering God's Call to Serve Campaign to ratify the 218th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 08-B, there are many things that call for our time, energy and resources, of course --- please do support marriage equality and LGBT rights in California. Thank you.

with hope for justice and equality,

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D.
Executive Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians

PS -- Go now to to find out how you can support marriage equality, LGBT rights, and justice!

No on Prop. 8

Dear friends and colleagues in the Welcoming Church Movement,

Much is at stake this November 4, including the efforts to outlaw same-sex marriage in California. I am forwarding a letter from Rev. Debra Peevey, Statewide Faith Organizer for California's NO on Prop 8 campaign. Please take seriously her request not only for financial help, but for help staffing their phone banks. Voter turnout is crucial, and you, no matter where you are, can help. Together we, as people of faith, motivated by our committment to justice and inclusion, can help defeat the agents of intolerance.


Reverend Rebecca Voelkel
IWR & Faith Work Program Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you from the center of the California NO on Prop 8 campaign. I serve as the Statewide Faith Organizer. I am a full time volunteer who moved here from out of state to help defeat Prop 8.

As you know, we are in an historic battle to preserve marriage rights for same sex couples in the State of California. The margin is razor thin and our most recent poll shows us 3 points down. We are in a struggle for the hearts and minds of undecided voters in California. You have undoubtedly heard that we are down in the polls as well as donations, but I write to assure you that we are not down in spirit!

No civil right has ever been won without progressive people of faith!

We have the best and largest coalition and field campaign ever created for LGBT rights! We have raised more money than we ever have when fighting an LGBT ballot measure! We have field offices covering the State of California and over 100 phone banks working night and day. Many of them are located in churches, synagogues and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship halls from Eureka to San Diego. Even the 7th Day Adventists have over 500 people who have signed on to a NO on Prop 8 petition.

This is what we need from you!

We need you to get on the phones.

We need you to make and solicit donations.

New technology allows us to enlist your energy to directly talk one on one to undecided California voters. Reaching out to them is the single most important act you can take to help us win on November 4. Phone banks can be established in your congregations, homes, and/or on your own! Go to this link:, and help us double our phone banks and reach out to every Californian who needs more information and wants to have a one on one conversation. If you have ever said that you wished there was more that you can do...NOW is the moment to act.

We also need donations. Every individual can go to and donate today!

If you've already donated, do so again! Now is the time for sacrificial giving. We recommend $2008.00 to honor the year this mile- stone decision was made. Or $365.00 for the full year that teams have been on the ground readying for this struggle! The cost of a marriage license in California is $77.00. Do whatever you can, but do it today! We can only win by getting our message out. Won't you please join us in making history today.

In service to a more just world,

Rev. Debra Peevey
Statewide Faith Organizer
NO on Prop 8

Seeking a better way together
By Chris Rowland
Oxford, Ekklesia, June 20, 2005
[". . . Less than 20 years after the death of Jesus, Jews and pagans in a city in Syria were eating together on a regular basis. Jews relaxed the rules which had hitherto maintained their identity. Experience of God, and of each other, led those men and women to new patterns of behaviour. Paul describes the behaviour of those Christians in Antioch in his Letter to the Galatians, when he stood up in defence of them to his fellow church leaders, who had suddenly got cold feet about their participation in this kind of practice. Not surprisingly such activity caused scandals to more conservative elements in the church. Representations were sent from Jerusalem asking Paul, and these newly established communities, to desist from this unscriptural behaviour. Standing up to those who did not want to rock the boat was crucial for Paul, as something important about the gospel was in danger of being sacrificed. Paul had little or no basis in scripture for his decision to support this kind of mixed dining and shared fellowship. Indeed, his opponents had all the best arguments from precedent and scripture on their side. Nevertheless, he was persuaded that the experience of God of those pagans, who had converted to Christ, corresponded to what he, and other Jewish Christians, had experienced, and was an authentic mark of God's presence. . . . Thanks to Paul, Christianity has never really been a religion that used the Bible as a code of law. In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, he writes: "The letter kills, the Spirit gives life." . . . So, basing one's attitudes towards gay and lesbian people merely on two verses from Romans and Corinthians I runs the risk of ending up with a form of religion which is based on the letter of the text - something Paul empathically opposes - rather than on what a loving God is doing in transforming lives in the present."]

|| Commentary || The real meaning of "ex-gay"
(search website under "ex-gay")
An exclusive
posted August 15, 2005
By The American Psychiatric Association.
[ . . . "Reparative therapy" is based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions.
The following statement from the APA was provided to The Advocate in response to a request related to the story "Brainwashed No More" in the August 30, 2005, issue:
The term "reparative therapy" refers to psychotherapy aimed at eliminating homosexual desires and is used by people who do not think homosexuality is one variation within human sexual orientation, but rather still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder. The most important fact about "reparative therapy," also sometimes known as "conversion" therapy, is that it is based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions. . . . The most important fact about “transformational ministry” is that its view of homosexuality is not representative of the views of all people of faith. Many deeply religious people, and a number of religious congregations and denominations, are supportive and accepting of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and their right to be protected from the discriminatory acts of others. . . . Although “transformational ministry” promotes the message that religious faith and acceptance of gay, lesbian, and bisexual sexuality are incompatible, that message is countered by the large number of outspoken clergy and people of faith who promote love and acceptance."]

My Turn: Marriage, biblical teachings not threatened by domestic partners
Editorial, posted with permission of The Juneau Empire, Juneau Alaska, December 17, 2003.
By Sara Boesser, News Services editor of the Institute for Welcoming Resources.
[ ". . . It's a Biblical disagreement, not a threat. . . . to suggest a U.S. Constitutional amendment denying same-sex marriage would make any difference at all to opposite-sex marriages just doesn't match reality. . . . Amending the U.S. Constitution for a few passages some people still choose to take literally, while not amending it for all the others - that's not Biblical consistency. It's selective bias: an attempt to enshrine some people's current religious views into the one document central to American equal freedom and pursuit of happiness that is supposed to give rights, not take them away."]

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Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling in Christ Program of Lutherans Concerned/North America
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ