Anti-gay bakery owners must pay $135.000 to lesbian couple

The Christian owners of a bakery in Oregon have been ordered to pay $135.000 to a lesbian couple they refused to bake a wedding cake for.

Aaron and Melissa Klein said their refusal to bake for the lesbian couple was prompted by their Christian beliefs. The case has been cited in the national debate over religious freedom and discrimination against gays.

Jay Bakker leads faith-based rally opposing NC marriage amendment

Gays and Lesbians The son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker Sunday led a rally encouraging North Carolinians to vote against the marriage amendment on the May ballot.

Bakker said though his parents didn’t always bring favorable attention to North Carolina, they taught him that Jesus’ message was to love others.  

UK muslims convicted in gay hatred case

Muslim hate criminals Three Muslim men in England have been found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation after distributing a leaflet that said Islam called for anyone caught committing homosexuality to be executed.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed handed out the pamphlet, called The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

‘Hate group’ listing triggers protest by coalition of African-American pastors

hate groups A protest outside the headquarters of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. last Tuesday put the spotlight on a clash of views between the center and a coalition of African-American pastors and their supporters.

The groups of pastors condemn the SPLC for using its “hate group” label to describe faith-based organizations that are against the LGBT lifestyle

Muslim men accused of hate crime over anti-gay leaflet

Muslims hate group Five Muslim men from Derby, UK, have gone on trial for allegedly handing out leaflets calling for gay people to be killed in the first ever prosecution under new legislation making such actions a hate crime.

They are accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Dutch Christian Civil Servant Fired For Opposing Gay Marriage

gay pride flag A Christian civil servant has been fired by the Dutch city of The Hague for refusing to oversee same-sex marriages on Biblical grounds.

Wim Pijl, 67, said Tuesday, November 15, he would take legal action against the dismissal despite parliamentary support for gay weddings.

Christian hoteliers appeal against ruling on gay couple sharing a room

Peter and Hazel Bull A Christian couple who did not let a gay couple have a double room in their hotel have appealed against a ruling that they acted unlawfully.

The couple says the hotel’s policy is based on their beliefs about marriage, not hostility to any sexual orientation.

Scotland’s gay marriage discussion stirring controversy among faith groups

Homosexuality The Scottish government has begun a 14-week public consultation, running from 2 September to 9 December, on the question of legalizing marriage for gay couples, encouraging individuals and groups such as religious organizations to take part.

The government has said it would like to hear from religious groups and ordinary people, and has indicated religious organizations will have freedom of choice in deciding whether to officiate at gay weddings.

Christian-run B&B to appeal double room case

The Christian owners of a guesthouse who were fined £3,600 for restricting double rooms to married couples are set to appeal the decision.

Osteen comments on homosexuality during TV interview

On CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” Joel Osteen spoke about homosexuality and said he believed it to be a sin in his eyes.

Gay couple wins discrimination case against Christian hoteliers

Devout Christian hotel owners who refused to allow a gay couple to share a double room acted unlawfully, a judge at Bristol county court ruled today. The judge allowed for the possibility of an appeal.

Megachurch Pastor Jim Swilley Announces He Is Gay

The pastor of a Rockdale County megachurch has publicly announced he is gay.

Jim Swilley, bishop of Conyers’ Church in the Now, said he hopes his coming out will change attitudes toward homosexuality.

“I know a lot of straight people think it is a choice. It is not,” Swilley told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.

Swilley, 52, founded the church 25 years ago. He seemed the stereotypical picture of a pastor, with four kids and a wife who doubled as his associate pastor.

But Swilley said he’s known he was gay since he was little boy. He said his wife, Debye, also knew his secret from the start.

“I think some women marry gay men because they really think they can change them,” Swilley said.

The now-divorced couple kept their secret for 21 years, but earlier this year, Swilley said Debye told him it was time to stop living a lie.

She said he should practice what he preaches and follow the church’s motto, “Real people experiencing a real God in the real world.

So, Swilley came out to his kids and his congregation. He said he knew he might risk everything, but the recent rash of gay teen suicides pushed him over the edge.

“As a father, thinking about your 16, 17 year old killing themselves. I thought somebody needed to say something,” Swilley said through tears.

He says he’s received support from many in his congregation, but at least one conservative Christian blog has called him sick, twisted, unclean and an instrument of the devil.

“I know all the hateful stuff that’s being written about me online, whatever,” Swilley said. “To think about saving a teenager yeah, I’ll risk my reputation for that.”

Iowa pastor preaches politics to oust 3 justices who backed gay marriage

The Rev. Cary K. Gordon has a prayer he recites as he campaigns against the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention in next month’s election.

“Dear God,” he says, “please allow the IRS to attack my church, so I can take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Gordon, an associate pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, says he will defy federal law this month when he urges the congregation to vote to not retain the three justices, who participated in a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex couples to wed. His mass mailing to 1,000 church leaders in September prompted one national religious liberty group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.

Advocates of the separation of church and state and some religious leaders say Gordon’s plan is illegal, immoral and an attempt to falsely frame his dispute as a freedom-of-speech violation. The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.

Others, such as Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, are urging Iowa pastors to communicate to their congregations the “biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections.”

Seems to us at Religion News Blog that some other, more important Biblical mandates are being skipped in the process.

Christian group pulls support for event challenging homosexuality

A U.S. Christian organization will stop sponsoring an annual event that encourages school students to “counter the promotion of homosexual behavior” because the event has become too divisive and confrontational, the group’s president told CNN on Wednesday.

“All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.

Anita Hill, 2 other lesbians in committed relationships welcomed as ELCA pastors

In a ceremony that started with a public mea culpa and ended with a prolonged standing ovation, three lesbian ministers were officially embraced Saturday by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The three were the Rev. Anita Hill, pastor of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, and two Minneapolis chaplains: the Rev. Phyllis Zillhart at Fairview Home Care and Hospice and the Rev. Ruth Frost at the Hospice of the Twin Cities.

Although they never had been officially recognized by the ELCA, the three of them have a combined 60 years of service as Lutheran pastors.

The official recognition of the three was set in motion a year ago when the denomination’s general assembly voted to drop its ban on gay and lesbian preachers who are involved in committed relationships.

Homosexuality against word of God: African bishops

African Anglican bishops voiced their strong disapproval of homosexuality at a meeting in Uganda Tuesday attended by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, as the issue continues to divide Anglicans.

“Homosexuality is incompatible with the word of God,” said conference host and Ugandan Archbishop Uganda Henry Luke Orombi.

“It is good Archbishop Rowan is here. We are going to express to him where we stand,” he added.

Head of the Anglican church worldwide, Williams is struggling to keep the communion together amid disagreements over the ordination of female bishops in Britain, and of openly gay bishops in the United States.

There is already a break. It doesn’t need to be announced,” said Orombi.

Minneopolis pastor back in pulpit after gay report

Tom Brock A Lutheran pastor in Minneapolis who opposes homosexuals being allowed to lead congregations said Monday he is attracted to men, but that he’s not a hypocrite because he never acted on his urges.

The Rev. Tom Brock told The Associated Press he has known for years he is sexually attracted to men, but doesn’t consider himself gay because he never acted on it.

Gay Mormons condemn LDS role in Argentina

Affirmation, a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons, is criticizing the LDS Church for its efforts to thwart the legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina.

Last week, Argentina became the first Latin American nation to allow gay marriage. Mexico City also sanctions such unions.

Despite the LDS Church’s claim that it had not taken a stand on Argentina’s move to allow gay marriage, a high-ranking church official did join other religious leaders there to plan opposition to the bill.

Magazine for gay Chrisitians celebrates 15 years

With its July/August issue, Whosoever, the only online magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians, begins its 15th year of publication. “When we started in 1996, there was nothing on the Internet to assure LGBT Christians that God loved them and created them to live into their sexuality with integrity and joy,” said Candace Chellew-Hodge, founder and editor of Whosoever. “Whosoever began a movement of online support for LGBT Christians and now there are many resources available.” Candace also authored the book Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians.
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