This is our archive of news items tagged lesbianism.

 memo You'll find articles about that subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Religious Freedom vs. Human Rights

Do religious beliefs trump human rights, or it is the other way around? Three items in this edition of Religion News Briefs touch upon that issue.

The ‘Church’ of Scientology is known for, among other things, its penchant for tearing apart relationships between friends, spouses and family members.

But it is “delighted” that UK Scientologists Louisa Hodkin and Alessandro Calcioli are getting married in Scientology ‘chapel’ today, after the couple won a five-year legal battle for the right to do so.

The case ended up overturning archaic English marriage laws, and declared Scientology to be a ‘religion’ in the process.

Note, that we put ‘church,’ ‘chapel,’ and ‘religion’ in parenthesis because as former Scientologist Marc Headley attests in this video, Scientology claims to be a ‘religion’ merely for purposes of public relations:

And yes, other than Marc Headley and the anchorman, the BBC reporter here was rather clueless regarding Scientology beliefs.

That said, in the end, whether or not Scientology is a religion, no amount of public relations maneuvering on the part of this movement can hide its snowballing decline.

Religious Freedom vs. Human Rights

In the USA, meanwhile, issues dealing with religious freedom and human rights are married in another case.

The Arizona state legislature passed a bill that allows business owners to refuse service based on personal or religious beliefs. As in the classic example of a bakery owned by Christians who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

In response to the passing of this bill, a pizzeria in Tucson has posted a sign on its front door stating, “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona Legislators.” The sign outside the restaurant says, “Live Free or Die Hungry.”

Allow us to interject something here: we, the publishers of Religion News Blog, are Christians ourselves. We can assure you that, had we been bakers asked to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual or lesbian couple, we’d bake them the best cake ever — as we would do for any and all of our customers.

Jesus was a friend of people whose actions and lifestyle he did not necessarily agree with. He ate with them, in their homes! What could more Christlike that lovingly interacting with people to the best of your ability? When asked what the greatest commandment is,

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

That doesn’t say anything about excluding people whose lifestyle you don’t agree with.

What if those bakers had been firemen. Would they have refused to help put out a fire in a home that belong to a homosexual couple?

Religious Freedom Restoration Act: SB 1062
8 things you need to know about SB1062
Religions and homosexuality, lesbianism, etcetera

‘Sister Wives’ Prompts Pro Polygamy Ruling and Debate in Utah

Yet another item on religious beliefs and human rights.

Kody Brown, his four wives, and 17 children are the stars of the reality TV show Sister Wives.

They have also become legal crusaders in the fight against Utah’s anti-polygamy laws.

The state threatened the Browns with prosecution after they flaunted their plural family on national television. That has worked before in Utah’s fight against underage marriage (often forced) within the state’s religious communities.

Utah is home to an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 polygamists, most of whom live in fundamentalist Mormon sects.

The majority of these sects came into existence after the Mormon Church was forced, in 1890, to renounce polygamy – which until then had been one of its key doctrines.

Though Mormon doctrine often changes (Free ebook: The Changing World of Mormonism), Mormon fundamentalists hold that this key doctrine should not have been dropped.

It should be noted that most of these polygamous sects do not, as far as researchers or authorities know, engage in underage marriages.

One major exception is the Fundamentalists Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a religious cult whose ‘prophet’ and leader, convicted and jailed pedophile Warren Jeffs had nearly 80 wives, two dozen of them under the age of 17.

But as this ABC report points out

One study by the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society reported that polygamy leads to “greater levels of crime, violence, poverty and gender inequality” and higher rates of “child neglect and abuse.”

“The United Nations has said it’s a violation of human rights and a violation of women’s rights,” said lawyer Marci Hamilton, the Paul R. Verkuil Chair of Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Last December a federal judge declared a key part of Utah’s polygamy law “unconstitutional.”

The judge ruled that the part of Utah’s bigamy law forbidding cohabitation violated the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion.

Sister Wives: An illustration of why polygamy is, and should be, illegal

Religion News in Brief

  • Alcoholics Anonymous, without the religion There are some 150 A.A. meetings in the USA appeal to nonreligious people in recovery, including agnostics, atheists, humanists or freethinkers. Noting that the trend “marks a departure from the organization’s traditional emphasis on religion,” the New York Times says the boom in such meetings “represents another manifestation of a more visible and confident humanist movement in the United States.”
  • 50 U.S. priests will undergo training to become exorcists: Four decades after the profession gained popular prominence in the gory horror flick “The Exorcist,” the Catholic Church is training a new legion of demon-fighting priests. Our question for Des Moines Register: Why is this article — judging by this story’s URL — in the ‘Sports’ section?
  • A positive look at ‘spiritual but not religious’ folks Religious people need to listen to what ‘spiritual but not religious’ folks are saying, rather than ridicule them as “salad bar spiritualists” or eclectic dabblers. So says Linda Mercadante, professor of theology at The Methodist Theological School and author of “Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.” (hardcover | kindle)
  • In the Philippines, God’s “appointed son” tries to expand his kingdom Pastor Apollo Quiboloy heads the religious sect Kingdom of Jesus, The Name Above Any Name. He also would like for people to believe that he is ” The Appointed Son of God.” He uses convoluted ‘reasoning’ (if you can call it that) and un-biblical teachings to suggest that Jesus Christ was the ‘appointed son in the Jewish setting,” and that he, Quiboloy, “inherited the Sonship and everything that pertains to the Son here in the Gentile setting.” That nutty teaching alone is enough to mark his religious movement as a cult of Christianity — a movement that while claiming to be Christian is nature is actually outside the boundaries of the Christian faith. Quiboloy’s followers, four million in the Philippines and two million abroad, refer to their movement as a ‘Kingdom Nation.’ And, as the article shows, some of them are up to no good.

Sinead’s Gospel * Reza Aslan’s credentials * Scientology slammed

bullet So you thought the interview conducted by Lauren Green, religion correspondent for Fox News Channel, with Reza Aslan, the Muslim author of a book on Jesus titled Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth was a mess?

Buzzfeed dubbed it “The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done” (which says a lot, considering the sheer amount of material to choose from).

But wait a second… as so often is the case there’s more to the story:

First, The Blaze provides some context to the “awkward interview.”

Second — but no less important — GetReligion points out that while people are snickering at FoxNews they are getting duped by Aslan, who misrepresents his credentials.

In addition, while Green could have handled the interview better than she did, it is quite alright to wonder aloud whether a Muslim — scholar or not — can write an objective book about Jesus Christ.

After all, Islam misrepresents the God of the Bible and teaches falsehoods about Jesus Christ.

That said, here are 14 things you need to know about Aslan’s book.

bullet It’s Not What the Pope Said About Gays, It’s How He Said It

bullet Message to the ‘Church’ of Scientology:

[N]o one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to.
– Leah Remini clarifies why she dumped Scientology

bullet Remini was referring in part to Scientology’s destructive disconnection policy which the hate group’s critics says tears families and friendships apart.

Scientology’s unethical policies are based on the writings of the cult’s founder L. Ron Hubbard — a fantasist who could not tell truth and fiction apart.

bullet On August 4, the BBC is airing Inside a Cult: Messiah on Trial.

It’s the story of cult leader Wayne Bent, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after having been found guilty of sexual misconduct with teenage followers.

Bent also goes by the name of Michael Travesser. His followers have been brainwashed into believing that followers believe that ‘Michael, the Spirit of the Son of God’ lives in him.

Bent heads The Lord Our Righteousness Church. The tiny group lives on a small plot of land near Clayton, New Mexico. The community is known as ‘Strong City’ — a name the media has sometimes used to refer to the group.

bullet I’m not sure whether this video, uploaded to YouTube, is covered by some copyright rule that will see it yanked soon, but while it’s (still) there you may as well enjoy this most unusual Gospel Music concert performed by Sinead O’Connor at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Update: Well, the video is gone, but you can view some shorter items.

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. [Read more...]

Twin Cities Gay Pride Fest Cannot Bar Evangelist

The Twin Cities Pride Festival cannot prevent an evangelical Christian from passing out Bibles and discussing his views against homosexuality at this weekend’s event, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Twin Cities Pride argued that its rights should take precedence because it’s paying $36,000 to lease Loring Park on the edge of downtown Minneapolis for the two-day event. The group also said Johnson contradicts the festival’s “message of celebration and pride in being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

But the judge ruled that the 42-acre park is a public forum, so Johnson’s free-speech rights must be honored. Tunheim said Johnson is entitled to go ahead with his plans as long as he remains undisruptive. [Read more...]

Ban of evangelist at Pride festival is sought

Organizers of a gay pride festival in Minnesota have asked for a court order barring evangelist Brian Johnson from distributing Christian literature construed as anti-gay.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board refused to bar Johnson from handing out materials at the festival, saying it was his right under the First Amendment. Pride organizers say they barred Johnson from last year’s festival because in previous years he misled attendees and tried to entice them to repent for the “sin of homosexuality.” [Read more...]