Mike Pence, Trump’s coronavirus czar, has a terrible public health record

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Mike Pence, Trump’s coronavirus czar, has a terrible public health record

Mike Pence and Donald Trump

President Trump speaks about his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House on Wednesday.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Seriously? How can Vice President Mike Pence oversee the Trump administration’s response to a human health crisis when he has a record on health and safety that is so abysmal?

This is a man who, as governor of Indiana, signed into law an abortion bill that is among the most restrictive in the country. He also permitted discrimination against the LGBTQ community in his state.

But wait, there’s more. He tried to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana and cut off federal aid to existing refugees — and he believes in stripping judges of their discretion in drug-crime sentencing. His record as being anti-science is even more chilling.

Perhaps the only good that will come from this appointment and other missteps by the present administration is that President Trump is voted out of office in November.

Randy Farhi, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: On Wednesday, Trump put Pence in charge of the administration’s public health response to the coronavirus.

While governor of Indiana, Pence arranged to make Indiana rank 48th in per-capita public health spending in the United States. What qualifications justify his appointment?

Dr. Robert R. Young, Corona del Mar

..

To the editor: Maybe Trump will build a wall to keep the coronavirus out.

William Eaton, Banning

United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

Under an agreement to be voted on in May, a new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination would continue to ban same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian clergy.

Credit…Madeline Heim/The Winona Daily News, via Associated Press

A group of leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, announced on Friday a plan that would formally split the church, citing “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage after years of division.

The plan would sunder a denomination with 13 million members globally — roughly half of them in the United States — and create at least one new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination that would continue to ban same-sex marriage as well as the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

It seems likely that the majority of the denomination’s churches in the United States would remain in the existing United Methodist Church, which would become a more liberal-leaning institution as conservative congregations worldwide depart.

A separation in the Methodist church, a denomination long home to a varied mix of left and right, had been brewing for years, if not decades. It had become widely seen as likely after a contentious general conference in St Louis last February, when 53 percent of church leaders and lay members voted to tighten the ban on same-sex marriage, declaring that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

“We tried to look for ways that we could gracefully live together with all our differences,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of Louisiana said. After last year’s conference, she said, “it just didn’t look like that was even possible anymore.”

In the months following, Bishop Harvey and 15 other church representatives came together in an informal committee that determined separation was “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the church to remain true to its theological understanding.”

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The United Methodist Church is only the latest denomination to be roiled with intense and exhausting theological disputes over the place of L.G.B.T. members and clergy. Such fights have led to an exodus of congregations from Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in recent years, and pushed young evangelicals and Catholics to leave the pews as well.

Representatives from the Methodists’ wide-ranging factions, including church leaders from Europe, Africa, the Philippines and the United States, hammered out the separation plan during three two-day mediation sessions held at law offices in Washington. The negotiations largely centered on how to allocate the church’s significant financial assets and how to craft a separation process.

Once the agreement is written in more granular detail, it must be approved when the denomination meets for its global conference in Minneapolis in May. The initial response from some conservatives and liberals after the announcement suggests its passage is likely.

“The solution that we received is a welcome relief to the conflict we have been experiencing,” said the Rev. Tom Berlin, who represented groups that opposed discrimination against L.G.B.T. people in the mediation. “I am very encouraged that the United Methodist Church found a way to offer a resolution to a long conflict.”

Conservatives, who seemed to have the upper hand after the vote tightening a ban on same-sex marriage, would get $25 million once their new denomination is formed and incorporated. All current clergy and lay employees of the denomination, even if they affiliate with the traditionalists, will get to keep their pension plans.

“It is not everything that we would have hoped for, but we think it is a good agreement that gets us out of the decades-long conflict that we have experienced and enables us to focus on ministry in a positive way,” said Tom Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, one of the conservative groups.

The factions agreed to allocate $39 million to support “communities historically marginalized by the sin of racism,” according to the agreement. That sum includes $13 million the traditionalists contributed instead of receiving as part of their portion.

Despite the deep doctrinal disputes that led to the split, the negotiations were “largely secular: process, governance, finances,” said Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer who helped craft the thorny settlements that arose from the 2010 BP oil spill and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I’m the last person in the world who’s going to help the parties resolve their doctrinal differences,” said Mr. Feinberg, who assisted in the church’s mediation on a pro bono basis.

Local churches will choose whether to join any new traditionalist denomination or remain in the United Methodist Church. Several people interviewed on Friday believed that most American churches would stay, though there has not been any formal survey.

While a plurality of American Methodists consider themselves conservative, according to the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study in 2014, six in 10 believe that homosexuality should be accepted and nearly half favor same-sex marriage.

At many of the church’s regional conferences this past summer — in states like Florida, Georgia and Texas — members responded to last year’s vote by electing delegates for the upcoming global conference who largely supported including gays and lesbians in the full life of the church.

“There was a clear message; it is almost like what happened in St. Louis was not reflective of the majority in the United States,” Bishop Kenneth H. Carter of Florida, the president of the church’s Council of Bishops and a member of the mediation team, said of the response to last year’s vote. “That church just awakened.”

Methodism in the United States dates to the early 1700’s, with a long history of valuing local congregations over a top-down structure. It has split many times, most notably over slavery before the Civil War. Membership is varied demographically and politically, counting as adherents everyone from Hillary Clinton to Jeff Sessions.

Americans make up a diminishing share of the United Methodist Church’s global membership, and are projected to soon be a minority, if they are not already.

While they are leaving the church, congregations overseas are growing rapidly, particularly in Africa; there are nearly 3 million members in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These groups tend to be more conservative than the typical American Methodist, which in part explains the vote in St. Louis, where more than 40 percent of delegates were from outside the United States.

Bishop Carter, the president of the Council of Bishops, said that while he had long advocated unity of the church, his own thinking shifted during the mediation process.

“It could not be a unity at someone’s expense,” Bishop Carter said. “There is a kind of unity that oppresses persons. It was just as obvious as we went along that we were going to look structurally different in the future.”

Though the traditionalists won the narrow vote in 2019, it is the progressives who will remain under the banner of the United Methodist Church. This was a topic of extensive conversation among the committee, Bishop Harvey said, though she said the conservatives seemed as if they had been making preparations to leave for some time.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association, a more conservative network of orthodox Methodist laity, clergy and churches, had been preparing for such a contingency for years, said its president, the Rev. Keith Boyette.

“People of all theological perspectives have grown very weary of the conflict and don’t have a vision for how it can end,” he said. And while he profoundly disagrees with the “centrists and progressives” on certain matters, he said, people cannot be compelled to leave the Methodist church. So the traditionalists are agreeing to do so voluntarily.

“I believe that our witness and message is much more important than a name,” he said, estimating that about a third of American churches could follow.

For those remaining, the future already looks different. After the vote last year to disallow gay clergy, candidates for ordination like Chet Jechura were devastated. Mr. Jechura, 30, who recently became engaged to his boyfriend and who serves at Foundry United Methodist in Washington, first felt the call to preach when he was 12, and he had spent years trying to find a church that would fully accept him.

When the plan was released on Friday, Mr. Jechura read it carefully and decided to take time to reflect on what it all meant. He thought of the spiritual practice he has started with his fiancé: naming one hope or joy every morning.

This day, he said, “I do feel hope for the people called Methodist.”

Methodists Split Over Same-Sex Marriage
United Methodists Tighten Ban on Same-Sex Marriage and Gay Clergy

‘We Are Not Going Anywhere’: Progressive Methodists Vow to Fight Ban on Gay Clergy

Improper Voting Discovered at Methodist Vote on Gay Clergy

Elizabeth Dias covers faith and politics from Washington. She previously covered a similar beat for Time magazine. @elizabethjdias

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Methodists Agree to Split on Same-Sex Marriage. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Fifteen years in Iowa jail for burning Gay Pride Flag

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Fifteen years in Iowa jail for burning pride flag

Adolfo Martinez, 30, admitted to his crimes in a jailhouse interviewImage copyright POLICE HANDOUT
Image caption Adolfo Martinez, 30, admitted to his crimes in a jailhouse interview

A US judge has handed down a sentence of at least 15 years to a man who stole an LGBT pride flag from a church and burned it outside a strip club.

Adolfo Martinez, 30, admitted to the media that he took the flag from Ames United Church of Christ due to his animosity towards homosexuals.

He was found guilty last month of hate crime harassment, reckless use of fire and being a habitual offender.

The incident occurred around midnight on 11 June in downtown Ames, Iowa.

Police say the crime spree began at Dangerous Curves, a strip club, when police were called because a man was making threats. By the time they arrived, he had already been kicked out by bar staff.

After leaving the club, Martinez then travelled to the church and ripped down its flag. He then returned to the strip club where he used lighter fluid to burn the flag in the street. He also threatened to burn down the bar.

the church in IowaImage copyrightGOOGLE MAPS

He was arrested later that day, and told local media in a jail house interview that he was “guilty as charged”.

“It was an honour to do that. It’s a blessing from the Lord,” he said, explaining that he did it because he “opposed homosexuality”.

“I burned down their pride, plain and simple,” he told KCCI-TV. The interview was entered into the trial as evidence against him.

Church pastor Eileen Gebbie, who identifies as gay woman, says she agrees that Martinez’ actions were motivated by hatred.

“I often experienced Ames as not being as progressive as many people believe it is, and there still is a very large closeted queer community here,” she told the Des Moines Register when he was convicted in November.

“But 12 people that I don’t know, who have no investment in me or this congregation, said this man committed a crime, and it was a crime borne of bigotry and hatred.”

Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said Martinez was the first person in the county’s history to be convicted of a hate crime.

“The hard reality is there are people who target individuals and commit crimes against individuals because of their race, gender, sexual orientation,” she told the Ames Tribune.

“And when that happens it’s so important that as a society we stand up and people have severe consequences for those actions.”

Related Topics

Pope Francis compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Pope Francis compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler

Pope Francis did not name any politicians or countries as the targets of his criticism.

WORLD Updated: Nov 16, 2019 06:54 IST

Reuters

Reuters

Vatican City
Pope Francis says that the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn which is neither human nor Christian.
Pope Francis says that the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn which is neither human nor Christian.(AP Photo)

Pope Francis said on Friday politicians who rage against homosexuals, gypsies and Jews remind him of Hitler.

“It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” Francis said in an address to participants of an international conference on criminal law.

“And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” he said, departing from his prepared address.

“With the persecution of Jews, gypsies, and people with homosexual tendencies, today these actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ a culture of waste and hate. That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”

During the 1933-45 Nazi regime in Germany, six million Jews were killed and homosexuals and gypsies were among those sent to extermination camps.

Pope Francis did not name any politicians or countries as the targets of his criticism.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro had a history of making homophobic, racist and sexist public remarks before he took office on Jan. 1. He told one interviewer he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

In May, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John.

The United Nations had warned Brunei it would be violating human rights by implementing Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has also denounced a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.

On Wednesday, in improvised remarks at his general audience, he said: “Today the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn. Brothers and sisters: this is neither human nor Christian; the Jews are our brothers and sisters and must not be persecuted! Understood?”

Last week, a Vatican cardinal said he was “disgusted” by anti-Semitic abuse directed at an 89-year-old Italian senator and Holocaust survivor, who was given police protection after receiving death threats.

In July, a European Union study said young Jewish Europeans experience more anti-Semitism than their parents, with a rise in abuse coming in emails, text messages and social media postings.

More than 80% of Jews of all ages said they felt anti-Semitism had increased on the Internet over the past five years and around 70% said they faced more hostility in public, the study found.

India: A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights still ahead

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

INDIA Updated: Sep 06, 2019 07:09 IST

Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti
Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.(Sushil Kumar/HT FILE PHOTO)

A year ago, the Supreme Court handed victory to 34 people from across India who challenged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a British-era law that criminalized consensual, adult, same-sex relationships and fostered a climate of fear and discrimination against the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Now, petitioners and other members of the community say that although Section 377 was read down on September 6, 2018, the legal battle for their civil rights has only just begun.

According to them, the right to own and inherit property, nominate their same-sex partners on hospital and insurance forms, and receive legal recognition of same-sex relationships and marriage were some of the main demands. Other petitions pertaining to reservations for trans persons in government jobs and educational institutions, and seeking the formation of Transgender Welfare Boards, among other things, are in the works.

“When I get calls from young people all over India, they want marriage, insurance, civil and economic rights. The cap on the bottle has been removed. It will be a multi-pronged fight,” said Menaka Guruswamy, senior Supreme Court advocate and one of the lawyers in the main Section 377 case titled Navtej Johar versus Union of India.

Analysis | 377: What we won, what remains

The preparations have already begun. Lucknow-based petitioner Arif Jafar said he and his lawyers were finalizing a petition to ask for same-sex partners to be allowed to nominate each other in insurance and property documents. Hotelier Keshav Suri said he was working on a petition asking for spousal recognition and benefits — such as joint bank accounts.

“We may not immediately ask for marriage equality, because that is a longer battle but start on the lower-hanging fruit,” said the 34-year-old, who is married to a French man. “My marriage is recognised in France but not here, I want to change that,” he added, but cautioned that consultations and strategising had not happened yet.

Another petitioner, Suma, a trans woman, will soon petition the Karnataka administrative tribunal over reservations for a government position.

Bengaluru-based activist Akkai Padmashali said the past year had seen greater recognition of LGBT rights by bureaucrats, but raised issue with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. “If it passes in its current form, I will have no choice but challenge it in the SC,” she said.

The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.

The Human Rights law Network (HRLN) will soon file public interest litigation’s for several transgender petitioners asking states to take steps for framing social welfare schemes, including setting up Transgender Welfare Boards, providing identity cards, toilets, and free medical care, a lawyer at HRLN said.

In July, trans activist Grace Banu filed a public interest litigation in the Madras high court seeking reservation for trans persons in education and public employment. Currently, Tamil Nadu allows reservation in the Most Backward Classes category. The petition seeks separate reservation for those persons who identify as trans.

“After the Section 377 verdict, people expected things to change much faster than they have on the ground, with problems of lack of shelter homes/safe houses, sensitive police machinery, lawyers and judges still very much present. In fact, the real struggle begins after the positive court orders where the courts have reaffirmed their right to choice, and people struggle to find jobs, rented houses while facing constant emotional pressure from families to come back,” said Delhi-based lawyer Amritananda Chakravorty.

On September 6, the Delhi high court will hear a habeas corpus case involving a lesbian in her 30’s, who was allegedly separated from her partner by her family. The woman who is married and is reportedly a victim of domestic violence, has been staying at a city shelter home in the city.

Over the past 12 months, judgments in various high courts around the country expanded the scope of human rights for LGBT people. In October 2018, a trans man named Jeeva petitioned the Karnataka high court to change his name and gender on his school and college certificates. The judge directed the state’s education department to ensure that other trans persons are able to do the same without the court’s further intervention in this matter.

In April 2019, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court upheld the marriage between a man and a trans woman, who approached the court after registration authorities refused to recognize the union, saying that a trans woman couldn’t be considered a bride under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

This was the first judgment in India where the right to marry under Article 21 of the Constitution was affirmed for transgender persons, noted the Bengaluru-based Centre for Law and Policy Research.

There are other challenges, too. In October 2018, the SC dismissed a petition seeking civil rights for the LGBT community and refused to review the decision in July 2019 – saying the issue had already been dealt with in Navtej Johar vs Union of India.

Guruswamy said the next battle for LGBT rights may be a case in a district court that eventually gets bumped up to the apex court on appeal.

“Young people are already approaching district and high courts, police stations and registrars and demanding their rights. That is the way the next big case will come,” she added.

First Published: Sep 06, 2019 05:27 IST

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

Muhlaysia Booker spoke at a rally in Dallas last month after she was attacked in a parking lot. On Saturday, she was found dead. Credit Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News

Last month’s attack took place on April 12, shortly after Ms. Booker was involved in an automobile accident in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

video of the episode showed a man the authorities identified as Mr. Thomas repeatedly punching a woman on the ground as she struggled. Other men in the crowd kicked her before a group of women helped her get away. The police said that people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs during the beating, and that Ms. Booker was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.

Attacks on transgender people have been rising, according to advocacy groups. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States last year, most of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The group has listed three transgender people who were killed in 2019 — not including Ms. Booker — and all were black women who were fatally shot.

Those numbers may understate the problem because local officials are not required to report such killings to any central database, and because the police sometimes release incorrect names or genders, making it difficult to know that a homicide victim was transgender.

At a news conference after she was attacked last month, Ms. Booker stood on a podium and faced a group of supporters, several of whom carried signs in support of transgender people.

“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas,” Ms. Booker said.

“This time, I can stand before you,” she added. “Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”

So, Your Gay And I Don’t Agree With Your Life Style, So What

 

Here in the U.S. far to many people have become one issue oriented whether it be in their politics or in their personal lifestyle. So many people these days decide on who they like, love or hate over how that person believes on just one issue. Take politics, many people vote Republican because of the Republican platform stance on gun rights while many other people vote Democratic because of that same issue. Just as many people vote for Democrats and against Republicans because of the abortion issue. Those for it will vote for the Democrat and those against abortion will vote for the Republican.

 

Concerning the issue of ‘Gay rights’ and ‘LGBT rights’ when it comes to political parties here in the U.S. most people who are for these ‘rights’ do seem to be Democrats as Democrats do seem to be more pro-LGBT-Gay rights than what the Republicans are. But now, let us get to individual issues, lets put this on a personal level, just between you and me. First I will fire off my salvo’s so that there will be no doubt where I stand on these issues. This is best being there is no way that I can possibly speak for you. All I can do here is to pretend that you are a person that thinks totally ‘liberal’ about the ‘Gay’ issues.

 

Growing up, I to the best of my knowledge didn’t know any Gay kids, yet as an adult I did learn of some kids that were actually Gay, I was just unaware of it. My ‘kid days’ were back in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s and back then this was definitely a ‘Closet’ issue, kids would have been beaten up for less than this. So, in the 1980’s some of these kids ‘came out’ as young adults. Living in a closet for years within ones own family would have to have been such a difficult thing to have to do. I am sure that if I had been Gay and my Dad would have found out he would literally have beaten me to death, no doubt about it. Now, my wife was born in 1965, she only had one brother, he was born in 1963, he died from Aids in 1992 at the age of 28. This is something that devastated their family of six. He ‘came out’ at the age of 18 and even his Mom tried to run over him with the family car. Needless to say he moved out of the house at age 18, 9 1/2 years later, he was dead. I never met him as he died 7 years before I ever met his sister yet I do honestly believe that we would have gotten along quite well as long as he didn’t do ‘gay’ thing right in front of me. I’m just being honest, yet it seems that he was a kind and decent person who would not have thrown his ‘gayness’ into people’s faces, just as I would never have belittled him for being gay.

 

Now I try to be the best Christian servant of God that I know how to be and my wife said that her brother knew that the Bible says that acting out on ones gay tendencies is a sin. She said her brother did not want to be gay, he simply was. He tried dating girls but he just wasn’t interested, it would have been like a straight guy trying to date another guy to prove that they are gay when they weren’t. My wife believes that being gay or being bi is a chemical issue in the brain that a person cannot have ‘spanked or beaten’ out of them. In other words, if you are gay, your gay.

 

No one likes to be told that the things that we do, like or believe is wrong yet reality is, some things are wrong. Regarding human laws, these laws tell us what is okay for us to do and what things will get us fined or arrested. Concerning God’s laws (sins) we are told what is okay and what things He does not want us to do. We each set up rules within our own homes and within our own minds as to what we will or will not accept as being okay. Some will not like some of the things that I am saying but O well, that’s life, deal with it. Just as I will disagree with some of you on this issue, I need to deal with it. Just because you disagree with me or I you on this issue or on a plethora of other issues does not give any of us the right to hate the other person or to physically harm the other person, to do either, is sin. Even though by Scripture the LGBT-Gay lifestyle is a sin and it is not one I personally approve of, if I hate you because you are Gay, that is a sin on me. God says that He hates the sins that we commit, but He still loves the sinner and every one of us are sinners, we may just have different sins that we commit. If I lie, that is a sin, if you act out your gay wishes, you have sinned.

 

Disapproving of each others lifestyles is just normal human ways. Are you old enough to remember how short-haired people ‘hated’ people with long hair? Or, maybe do you remember how people would ‘hate’ people who wore different style of clothes they themselves did? Hate toward one another, it is stupid, it is sinful. Just because I am hair deprived and you have long thick hair it is wrong of me to hate you, or you me. Just because I wear a pocketed T-Shirt to Church services and you wear a thousand dollar suit to Church, should we hate each other? Just as some people may have to walk to Church services or ride a bicycle while another drives a new BMW there, should we hate each other? In these areas there is also another sin to watch out for, it’s called envy. Should I hate or envy you because you are able to have a purple Mohawk hair style when I have no hair? Really, how childish, how sinful are we inside our own minds? Everyday our hate, shows all the people around us just how sinful ‘we’ are.

 

The Hypocrisy Belongs To Some In The “LGBT” Community, Not To The Chicago Cubs

The Hypocrisy Belongs To Some In The “LGBT” Community, Not To The Chicago Cubs

 

This morning I had every intent to write an article about fallen Senator John McCain and I hope that I will still have the energy to do so after I finish this article first. I got up out of bed about 4 A.M. this morning and came out to my computer aiming to write the McCain article but as is normal I read some of the events I find on my computers main pages first. You know, things like I want to know if our “Mafia in Chief President” has started anymore new wars before I try to get my day started. To the best of my knowledge he has not so I then went on to some MLB Web-Sites as I am still somewhat of a baseball fan, not as much as when I was a kid, but it is still my favorite sport. I read an article from Yahoo-Sports that changed my thoughts about my first column today. My article about John McCain is still more important to me but it is going to be a mostly ‘positive’ article and this one on the Cubs (my life long favorite team) has more negative energy in it so I have decided to write this one first, to get the negatives out of my thought patterns.

 

In an article dated yesterday afternoon (August 26th, 2018) on Yahoo-Sports written by Blake Schuster was an article about the recent trade that the Chicago Cubs made with the Washington Nationals for second baseman Daniel Murphy. Even though I have known of Mr. Murphy for several years I have only known of him from a ‘Baseball-Stats’ prospective, nothing about his personal life, either good or bad. By his stats I would say that I consider him an above average overall second baseman so I had no problem with the Cubs trading for him. But here is the ‘rub’ of the Yahoo-Sports article, evidently about 3 years ago he made some comments about the LGBT-Gay lifestyle that still to this day offends many folks who believe that this lifestyle is a perfectly fine way of life. Guess what folks, not everyone on the planet happens to agree wit you about it being an ‘okay’ way to live. Learn to deal with this reality, it is you being the hypocrites here, not Mr. Murphy.

 

About 3 years ago Mr. Murphy evidently said that he “disagreed with the gay lifestyle” so now it seems that many people in that community really do not like him. This seems to even go to the extent that they would prefer that Mr. Murphy wasn’t able to earn a living in his preferred profession as a major league baseball player. There is a rather large group of people in the Chicago land area who call themselves the “Out At Wrigley” LGBT organization. Yesterday was the ’18th annual LGBT original MLB Gay Day.’ As it turns out (I did not know of this fact until I read this Yahoo article) that one of the Ricketts family who owns the Cubs is an openly gay lady, Ms. Laura Ricketts. Some folks in the LGBT groups decided to wait to give their opinion on the trade for Mr. Murphy until Ms. Laura weighed in with her opinion on the issue. Other folks within the LGBT community there in the Chicago Land area weren’t quite so kind or patient. There will be some folks who read this article who will be mad at me and even call me a hypocrite and some other names for writing this article and for daring to have an opinion different from their own concerning the LGBT life style. My official opinion is that “I, just like Mr. Murphy, do disagree with the LGBT-Queer Lifestyle being an okay lifestyle.”

 

There are many who may well say things along the line of “why should I give a damn about what you have to say, your just an old white boy in Kentucky.” To this I say, exactly. Why should you care what I have to say if I disagree with you, but then again why am I suppose to care what you think or feel about this issue either? Now a third line of thought on this ‘caring’ issue, why should you or I care what Mr. Murphy’s thoughts or feelings are on this issue? He is a baseball player, concerning the Cubs trade for him, only what he does on the field should matter to any of us. Now, if Mr. Murphy was wearing a bright neon tea-shirt in the pregame fielding and batting practice that blared out something like “I hate Gay people” then yes, you should probably take offence to him doing that. Personally I would take offence to him doing that myself, just as I would if he or any other player decided to wear a dress out on the field. He is there to play baseball, he is paid to play baseball, if he has an opinion that is different from yours or mine on the “Gay issue,” so what!

 

There are probably a few folks in their anger at me for not having the same opinion as their, or for daring to state my beliefs who will bring up other ‘incidents’ to see if I feel the same way toward those folks. What I am getting at is that some folks will, in their anger, say things like, well I bet you would be okay with Murphy if he was a wife beater or a child molester too, as long as he was a good baseball player. Folks, that is stupid, being a wife beater or being a child molester is actually illegal, disagreeing with you about if a person agrees with or disagrees with your LGBT lifestyle is not ‘yet’ illegal. We do have something in the Constitution of the United States (First Amendment) saying that we the people are allowed to have free speech in this Country whether you happen to like it or not. Not everyone is going to agree with you, or me, on everything, grow up, learn to deal with reality just as those who don’t agree with you also have to do!

Mennonite Church Appoints Openly Lesbian Head Pastor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

NM Mennonite Church Becomes First in Denomination to Appoint Openly Lesbian Head Pastor

(PHOTO: TWITTER / @REVERICALEA)Rev. Erica Lea

A Mennonite church in New Mexico became the first church in its denomination to select an openly LGBT person as head pastor.

The Albuquerque Mennonite Church announced Monday that it selected Erica Lea, an open lesbian, to be its new lead pastor.

Lea is a graduate of Truett Seminary at Baylor University, where she was introduced to Anabaptist theology, and has served in a missionary and pastoral capacity for over 10 years.

According to Mennonite World Review, the church stated that it stands behinds Lea’s “strong call to connect with and serve people affected by current immigration policies and racial, social and economic discrimination — as well as a call to provide a beacon and safe haven for the LGBTQ community.”

Lea’s hiring at Albuquerque Mennonite comes as she was in her third year of residency at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. She served at Baptist churches in states like North Carolina, Texas and Wyoming. She also served as the interim pastor of Houston Mennonite Church while the church’s pastor, Marty Troyer, was on sabbatical, Mennonite World Review reports.

“She is passionate about strong Anabaptist ministry and brings a heartfelt theological commitment to her adopted faith family,” Troyer was quoted as saying. “While she served at Houston, our congregation experienced the best pastoral ministry has to offer: preaching, caring and management.”

“Erica is also passionate about Mennonite emphasis on peace witness and radical hospitality,” Troyer added. “Her ministry is rooted in the belief that all people are welcome, and that community is the deepest expression of God’s desires.”

According to the Mennonite World Review, Albuquerque Mennonite Church consists of about 150 members and officially became a LGBT “welcoming community” in 2007. However, it did not immediately join the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests.

“Our congregation has a majority of attenders who did not grow up Mennonite — who, like Erica, have chosen to join our faith community,” Andrew Clouse, a member of the church’s search committee, stated. “We look forward to finding more ways of articulating and sharing an Anabaptist faith that can flourish in locally derived expressions of Jesus’s call to discipleship, peacemaking and justice. We think Erica is well-equipped to help us do this.”

The website PinkMenno.org lists over 70 Mennonite Church USA congregations that are “willing to state publicly that they are welcoming to all, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

According to Sojourners, Mennonite Church USA claims over 70,000 adult members and several openly LGBT individuals serving in associate pastors roles in churches across the nation.

In February, it was reported that the Allegheny Mennonite Conference licensed an openly married lesbian woman, who is an associate pastor at a Mennonite church in Hyattsville. The pastor, Michelle Burkholder, became the third openly LGBT minister credentialed for pastoral service in the Mennonite Church USA.

But as Sojourners points out, “The membership guidelines of the MCUSA define marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman, categorize ‘homosexual…sexual activity as sin,’ and forbid MCUSA pastors from performing same-sex marriages.” Sojourners notes that the denomination has no plans to revisit its guidelines until 2019.

In 2015, Mennonite Church USA passed a resolution stating, “We acknowledge that there is currently not consensus within Mennonite Church USA on whether it is appropriate to bless Christians who are in same-sex covenanted unions.”

“Because God has called us to seek peace and unity as together we discern and seek wisdom on these matters, we call on all those in Mennonite Church USA to offer grace, love and forbearance toward conferences, congregations and pastors in our body who, in different ways, seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ on matters related to same-sex covenanted unions,” the resolution, titled “Forbearance in the Midst of Differences,” states.

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Church of England Votes to Affirm Transgender People; Top Bishop Says LGBT ‘Not a Sin’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Church of England Votes to Affirm Transgender People; Top Bishop Says LGBT ‘Not a Sin’

Jul 10, 2017 | 7:22 AM

(PHOTO: REUTERS/GARETH FULLER/POOL)The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks to the congregation during a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral, in Canterbury, southern England March 21, 2013.

The General Synod of the Church of England has officially passed a motion welcoming and affirming transgender people to the church. A top bishop also declared that being LGBT is “not a sin.”

“That this Synod, recognizing the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition,” the motion that passed on Sunday reads.

As the official CofE website points out, the vote went overwhelmingly in favor of welcoming transgender people, with 30 for the motion and two opposed in the House of Bishops; 127 who backed the motion and 28 against it in the House of Clergy; and 127 for and 48 against in the House of Laity.

The Rev. Christopher Newlands of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod said at the beginning of the assembly: “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.”

During the synod’s weekend session, the church body also backed a motion calling for a ban on what critics have called “conversion therapy” for people with unwanted same-sex attractions.

The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu, who is one of the most senior officials in the CofE, declared: “As the world listens to us, the world needs to hear us say that LGBT orientation and identity is not a crime.”

“LGBT orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBT orientation and identity is not a sin,” Sentamu added, according to BBC News.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, said that he continues upholding the church’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

A number of church bodies within the Anglican Communion have challenged that definition, including The Scottish Episcopal Church, which became the first mainstream Christian denomination in the U.K. to approve same-sex marriage in June.

Concerns from Anglican conservatives over the pro-LGBT direction they say the CofE has taken has led groups such as the Global Anglican Future Conference to put forward their own “missionary bishop” to oversee traditional Anglican parishes.

GAFCON has said that the Western world is “abandoning Christian heritage,” and warned that a number of U.K. churches are “under pressure to compromise clear Christian teaching in the face of secular humanist philosophy.

“In some cases, the Gospel appears to have been watered down or even denied. Even some faithful clergy do not feel free to give clear teaching on key topics such as sexual ethics or the uniqueness of Christ,” GAFCON said earlier.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, wrote following The Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision to change its laws on marriage:

“This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin.

“It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behavior that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behavior, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.”

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