Saturday, February 26, 2011

By Grace Alone

In the context of encouraging Presbyterians to vote for Amendment 10-A, which would drop restrictions on LGBT clergy, The Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba makes an excellent Biblical case for inclusion in a piece titled By Grace Alone.

The Presbyterian Church USA, under the auspices of the organization More Light Presbyterians, is one of the denominational partners of Believe Out Loud.  Rev. Duba is the Former Director of Admission & Director of Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Former Dean at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

USA Today Column: Anti-Gay Rhetoric Rings Hollow With Americans

A column by Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today portrays conservative Christians being backed into a corner as the American public's perspective on LGBT people is being reshaped by real-life experience.  Groups that continue to plug homosexuality as evil risk losing the loyalty of their members when this rhetoric contrasts with their experience with LGBT people in their own lives.

In addition, a series of books about scripture and sexuality are painting a very different picture than the black-and-white "reality" the Christian right has traditionally presented. 

On gay rights, keep fighting or adapt?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Break the Silence Concert: More Details

Three renowned LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) choirs will come together for the first time to sing sacred and spiritual music, while lending their own unique voices to advance the existing Christian movement for LGBT equality.  The concert will take place in New York City at one of the oldest Christian institutions in the United States – Marble Collegiate Church.  The entire event is an initiative of the Believe Out Loud project, which is managed by the Collegiate Churches non-profit organization, Intersections International.

The three choirs are:

  • The New York City Gay Men's Chorus, which has appeared at such venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and performed alongside such stars as Liza Minnelli, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing and Eartha Kitt.  From Town Hall to City Hall, from the advent of AIDS to the struggle for marriage equality, the NYCGMC and its more than 250 members have been producing innovative programs and serving the LGBT community for more than 30 years.
  • The Anna Crusis Women's Choir, the longest running women's choir in the United States, was founded in Philadelphia in 1975.  In addition to being a premier performing arts group, they are an agent for social change that tackles issues facing LGBT persons and other disadvantaged populations.
  • Lavender Light Gospel Choir, a men and women's chorus, was founded in 1985.  The group consists of several ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, and provides a special ministry to African-American gays and lesbians—a constituency who have historically been pressured within their communities to choose between their race and orientation.
Sung Won Park, director of Believe Out Loud and all LGBT programming for Intersections International, called the coming together of the three choirs "a historical event to shout out God's love for all people, especially those who have been marginalized by the church as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"The time has come for us to take a stand," said Park, "and let the world know that being silent about our support of LGBT equality equals shutting the doors to the sanctuaries for these individuals."
Believe Out Loud, a trans-denominational movement to promote LGBT-inclusion in the Christian church, has begun a three-year drive to get one million progressive Christian voices to believe out loud and show the public that an all-inclusive Christian collective can save lives.  According to a recent poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, an astounding two-thirds of the respondents see a direct connection "between messages coming from America's places of worship and higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth." (

Within the Episcopal Church, IntegrityUSA, along with TransEpiscopal, The OASIS and other diocesan LGBT ministries, has adopted the brand"Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregations" for those churches who are intentionally welcoming and affirming of LGBT people.

"The church should serve to affirm life for all people," said Park.  "But if two-thirds of the public believes the church is not affirming life when it comes to LGBT people, it is a wake-up call to all churches to shift this perspective."

Believe Out Loud is an unprecedented coalition of the nation's leading religious and secular LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Gays & Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Progressive Christians Uniting; Public Religion Research; Christian Community Inc.; The Religious Institute; Many Voices; The Association for Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (American Baptist Church USA); Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance (Christian Church/Disciples of Christ); Integrity USA (Episcopal Church); Lutherans Concerned (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America); More Light Presbyterians (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)); The Coalition for LGBT Concerns (United Church of Christ); and The Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist Church).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Uganda Update

 Bishop Christopher Senyonjo wrote a poignant letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the other leaders of the Anglican Communion about the plight of LGBT people in Uganda, punctuated by the recent brutal murder of David Kato, an LGBT activist and member of the church.

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill to make homosexuality a capital crime in Uganda are using the murder to drum up more support for their cause. 

Back at home, Bishop Gene Robinson wrote a guest column in the Washington Post entitled "Words Do Matter" in which he points out the connection between the violence in Uganda and religious figures on these shores, including Scott Lively and Rick "purpose driven" Warren.  David Bahati, the author of the aforementioned bill, is a member of a group called "The Family" who sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast.  President Obama attended the event, despite an outcry from many progressives.  He did so last year as well, and used the occasion to remark on the draconian law in front of its author.

In a slice of good news this week, a 29 y.o. lesbian woman who was under threat of deportation from England back to Uganda has been granted a reprieve while her case is reviewed, thanks in part to 30 members of the British Parliament and an on-line petition.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Break the Silence Concert

On Sunday, February 20th, Intersections International presents a spectacular concert to benefit Believe Out Loud, the multi-denominational revolution of welcome that's sparking new ways of thinking in churches across the country.


Join us for Break the Silence, an afternoon of spectacular music and celebration featuring the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir of Philadelphia, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lavender Light Gospel Choir at the beautiful Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Proceeds benefit the Believe Out Loud project, a collaboration of Intersections International, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Institute of Welcoming Resources, and twelve Christian denominations. Within the Episcopal Church, Integrity and the various OASIS diocesan LGBT outreach programs, along with TransEpiscopal, are working with congregations to promote inclusion. For more information on Believe Out Loud within the Episcopal Church, visit An Invitation to Become a Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.

Tickets are $20.00 in advance; $15.00 for groups of five or more; and $25.00 at the door.

For more information, contact James Rowe at Intersections International.

WHEN:  Sunday, Feb. 20th at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Marble Collegiate Church, 3 W 29 St, New York, NY
- Subway: 28th & Broadway (N,R) 28th & Lexington (4,6)
- Bus: X27 (5th Ave & W 30 St)

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