Boy Scouts of America Revoke Church’s Charter For Refusing to Fire Gay Scout Leader

The Boy Scouts of America have blocked a Seattle church from sponsoring a scouting troop after it refused to fire the openly gay Scout leader, proving once again that its discriminatory policies are more important to the organization than the actual people it serves.

Last May, the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ages-old policy barring openly gay scouts from the organization, but firmly upheld its ban on gay adult volunteers. While that decision made a world of difference for LGBT youth, it’s a bittersweet underachievement for the adults who first launched the campaign to remove the policy.

[Read more…]

Religious Right-Wingers Claim Transgender Women’s Equality is ‘Sexual Harassment’

When it comes to trans women in the media, religious pundits’ ignorance and willful bigotry truly know no bounds.

It hardly matters what news story Matt Barber and Mat Staver were discussing on the radio broadcast “Faith and Freedom” this week. It could have been the debate over whether RuPaul’s Drag Race creators used transphobic language; it could have been the recent explosion of fame for trans women like Laverne Cox or Janet Mock; it could have been a discussion of one of many “bathroom bills” like a recently-signed law in California, which allows trans students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"]Mat Staver (left) and Matt Barber[/caption]

This time, the gentlemen were riled up about long-standing guidelines on respecting transgender people in the federal workplace, and they stated outright that transgender equality is a form of sexual harassment.

Have a listen:

[Read more…]

World Vision U.S., a Major Evangelical Christian Charity, Will Now Allow Married Gay Employees

After a long history of anti-LGBT activism, World Vision, one of the largest Christian charities in the world, announced a change to its employment policy Monday that has some fellow Christians up in arms. World Vision’s American branch will now permit Christians who are in legal same-sex marriages to be employed with the organization, a decision they say aligns with the charity’s mission.

World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns told Christianity Today that while the policy change wasn’t unanimous among board members, the group was “overwhelmingly in favor” of the change. (The decision applies only to World Vision U.S., not its international branches.)

[Read more…]

Churches Put Home for Abused Children in Financial Jeopardy Because It Merely Considered Hiring LGBT Employees

Churches in Kentucky will stop at nothing to prove just how powerful their homophobia can be. This time, they’ve taken $7,000,000 away from a children’s services organization on the basis of a proposed pro-LGBT policy that never made it past the planning stages. The resulting budget shortage has left the organization scrambling — and the responsible churches sitting back and watching.

Bill Smithwick, former director of a Kentucky children’s home called Sunrise Children’s Services, proposed last year that the home end its policy barring openly LGBT people from being employed there. He was worried the anti-gay policy would lead to a slash in government funding, but his suggestion backfired.

Upon hearing about the proposal, local churches immediately stopped funding the children’s home, and their actions added up fast. Smithwick was forced to resign, the anti-gay policy was never actually revoked, and the organization is now facing a $7 million dollar shortage.

[Read more…]

United Methodist Bishop Says That Pastors Who Perform Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies Should Not Be Punished

The United Methodist Church is not ready to embrace same-sex unions. But a few of its members are. And while they’ve been quietly defying church law for years in order to grant LGBT people the respect, rights, and love they deserve, the story of one pastor who risked his career to celebrate his son’s marriage is finally making bigger waves.

This case began back in 2012, when Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a former dean of the Yale Divinity School and a renowned author on Christian ethics, presided over his son’s wedding to another man.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="263"]Rev. Thomas Ogletree[/caption]

Upon reading the wedding announcement in the New York Times, some Methodist clergy, led by Long Island-based Rev. Randall C. Paige, filed a complaint against Ogletree, resulting in what would have been a church-based case against him.

Ogletree would have faced a UMC canonical trial Monday to determine his fate — which could have been as severe as a defrocking from the church, the punishment faced by Rev. Frank Schaefer in December when he, too, officiated his son’s same-sex wedding. Methodist practice tends to cling especially tightly to the church law saying that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and apparently participating in a same-sex union is equally detestable by association.

But instead of going forth with a punishment, Bishop Martin McLee announced at a news conference that the charges against Ogletree would be dropped.

[Read more…]