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Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity

April 20th, 2011 · No Comments

New York Times April 18th, 2011

WACO, Tex. — Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian students have erupted in the places that expect it the least: the scores of Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities that, in their founding beliefs, see homosexuality as a sin.

Decades after the gay rights movement swept the country’s secular schools, more gays and lesbians at Christian colleges are starting to come out of the closet, demanding a right to proclaim their identities and form campus clubs, and rejecting suggestions to seek help in suppressing homosexual desires.

Many of the newly assertive students grew up as Christians and developed a sense of their sexual identities only after starting college, and after years of inner torment. They spring from a new generation of evangelical youths that, over all, holds far less harsh views of homosexuality than its elders.

But in their efforts to assert themselves, whether in campus clubs or more publicly on Facebook, gay students are running up against administrators who defend what they describe as God’s law on sexual morality, and who must also answer to conservative trustees and alumni.

Facing vague prohibitions against “homosexual behavior,” many students worry about what steps — holding hands with a partner, say, or posting a photograph on a gay Web site — could jeopardize scholarships or risk expulsion.

“It’s like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object,” said Adam R. Short, a freshman engineering student at Baylor University who is openly gay and has fought, without success, for campus recognition of a club to discuss sexuality and fight homophobia.

A few more liberal religious colleges, like Belmont University in Nashville, which has Baptist origins, have reluctantly allowed the formation of gay student groups, in Belmont’s case after years of heated debate, and soon after the university had forced a lesbian soccer coach to resign.

But the more typical response has come from Baylor, which with 15,000 students is the country’s largest Baptist university, and which has refused to approve the sexuality forum.

“Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching,” said Lori Fogleman, a university spokeswoman.

Despite the rebuff, more than 50 students continue to hold weekly gatherings of their Sexual Identity Forum, and will keep seeking the moral validation that would come with formal status, said Samantha A. Jones, a senior and president of the group.

“The student body at large is ready for this,” said Saralyn Salisbury, Ms. Jones’s girlfriend and also a senior at Baylor. “But not the administration and the Regents.”

At Abilene Christian University in Texas, several students are openly gay, and many more are pushing for change behind the scenes. Last spring, the university refused to allow formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

“We want to engage these complex issues, and to give help and guidance to students who are struggling with same-sex attraction,” said Jean-Noel Thompson, the university’s vice president for student life. “But we are not going to embrace any advocacy for gay identity.”

At Harding University in Arkansas, which like Abilene Christian is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, half a dozen current and former students posted an online magazine in early March featuring personal accounts of the travails of gay students. The university blocked access to the site on the university’s Internet server, which helped cause the site to go viral in the world of religious universities.

At chapel, Harding’s president, David B. Burks, told students that “we are not trying to control your thinking,” but that “it was important for us to block the Web site because of what it says about Harding, who we are, and what we believe.” Mr. Burks called the site’s very name, huqueerpress.com, offensive.

Most evangelical colleges say they do not discipline students who admit to same-sex attractions — only those who engage in homosexual “behavior” or “activity.” (On evangelical campuses, sexual intercourse outside marriage is forbidden for everyone.)

Abilene Christian sees a big difference, Mr. Thompson said, between a student who is struggling privately with same-sex feelings, and “a student who in e-mails, on Facebook and elsewhere says ‘I am publicly gay, this is a lifestyle that I advocate regardless of where the university stands.’”

Amanda Lee Genaro said she was ejected in 2009 from North Central University, a Pentecostal Bible college in Minneapolis as she became more assertive about her gay identity. She had struggled with her feelings for years, Ms. Genaro said, when she was inspired by a 2006 visit to the campus of SoulForce, a national group of gay religious-college alumni that tries to spark campus discussion.

“I thought, wow, maybe God loves me even if I like women,” Ms. Genaro recalled. In 2009, after she quit “reparative therapy,” came out on MySpace and admitted to having a romantic, if unconsummated, relationship with a woman, the university suspended her, saying she could reapply in a year if she had rejected homosexuality. She transferred to a non-Christian school.

Gay students say they are often asked why they are attending Christian colleges at all. But the question, students say, is unfair. Many were raised in intensely Christian homes with an expectation of attending a religious college and long fought their homosexuality. They arrive at school, as one of the Harding Web authors put it, “hoping that college would turn us straight, and then once we realized that this wasn’t happening, there was nothing you could do about it.”

The students who do come out on campus say that it is a relief, but that life remains hard.

“I’m lonely,” said Taylor Schmitt, in his second year at Abilene Christian after arriving with a full scholarship and a hope that his inner self might somehow change. By the end of his first year, Mr. Schmitt said, he accepted his homosexuality. He switched to English from the Bible studies department, which, he said, “reeked of the past deceptions and falsehoods I’d created around myself.”

Rather than transferring and giving up his scholarship, he is taking extra classes to graduate a year early.

Some of the gay students end up disillusioned with Christianity, even becoming atheists, while others have searched for more liberal churches.

David Coleman was suspended by North Central University in his senior year in 2005, after he distributed fliers advertising a gay-support site and admitted to intimate relations (but not sexual intercourse) with other men. He calls the university’s environment “spiritually violent.”

Mr. Coleman, 28, is now enrolled at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minn., which is run by the more accepting United Church of Christ. He still dreams of becoming a pastor.

“I have a calling,” he said.

Our Response:

Often at great personal cost, the individuals profiled in this story are challenging the painful legacy of religion-based bigotry against LGBT people. Along with my fellow Faith in America board member Chely Wright, I have had the privilege of getting to know Lisa Howe, the lesbian soccer coach whose departure from Belmont University in Nashville has sparked a national dialogue about the shameful persecution of LGBT people at many Christian colleges and universities. Lisa and her spouse Wendy are incredible role models for the many LGBT students and staff who are struggling to win acceptance and respect on religious campuses. They are true heroes, and their courage is changing the face of history. We must do more to support the brave students and staff who are risking so much to pave the way for others by speaking out against the terrible harm caused by abusing religious teachings to justify discrimination.

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Dear LGBT Community and Allies

April 14th, 2011 · No Comments

“Love might be love; but in GOD’S eyes this kind of love is a sin…only man could ever think this is a great thing…shame on all who are Christians who are congratulating her…” (one of many hurtful response to our engagement announcement on a website called “the taste of country”)

Dear LGBT Community and Allies,

As I near the date of my one-year anniversary of coming out, my re-birth of sorts, I look back and reflect on the progress that has been made both personally and professionally as an LGBT advocate. I am proud to be engaged to the woman I love and to be planning a wedding for August in a state that will recognize our love. I am proud to be working as a spokesperson for GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and a Board Member of the organization. I am proud to have founded my own non-profit, LikeMe, working to open the first LGBT center in Kansas City, and I am proud to be a dedicated board member of Faith in America, an organization fighting tirelessly to end religion-based bigotry towards LGBT people, particularly youth.

Coming out has made this advocacy work possible, it has enabled me to become an example for youth struggling for acceptance across the country and it has opened my own personal life up to experiences I never thought I would be able to have as a gay woman. I am so thankful for this year.

As you may know, several days ago, People magazine announced my engagement on their website. It is truly a wonderful thing for us to enjoy; that two women could happily wed and live the life all people deserve. As the hours went by we saw 60 articles come up on Google, then the next morning we saw 100, then 120. It just kept going and going. We were touched at the level of interest our engagement was receiving and happy to know that our wedding plans were being celebrated by so many.

Late last night, while looking at several of the websites that were sharing our big news, we started reading some comments that had been posted. Our friends and family, twitter friends and Facebookers were wishing us the best, sending love, acceptance and excitement through the world wide web – but the comments we were reading on sites like AOL, Yahoo and other National online media were not as friendly.

I knew when I decided to come out that I would be challenged with opposition, particularly from the cross section of people in the world who knew me best -the country music industry and country music fans. While I have had some support from people from my industry, it’s been largely through private communication- only a few people have had the inclination to publicly vocalize their support for me. Over the last year, I have tried to stay focused on emphasizing the progress that we are making, rather then the setbacks we continue to face. This letter is to make everyone aware that we still have a tremendous amount of work to do- so many hearts and minds to open and so many opinions to change.

In the words of Reverend Mark Tidd, from Denver, Colorado:

“Some straight people are comfortable not taking things in the bible literally that might apply to them (like plucking their eye out when they lust) but have no problem becoming literalists when it means telling gay people they are uniquely flawed and must not fall in love unless they change their whole orientation. It’s a cruel religion that would demand that people repent of something they can’t change.”

(Rev. Tidd is a straight evangelical preacher who recently “changed his mind” about LGBT issues in regards to biblical teachings. He leads Highlands Church that is entirely welcoming and affirming to LGBT people.)

I continue to read countless references to the Bible as a tool to attack my relationship and to attack my life. I want to encourage those who are able to help end this religion-based bigotry to make a donation by clicking here to Faith in America. Seeing my fiancee’s face turn from joy to sadness is not okay during a time that should be one of the happiest of our lives. Join me in supporting Faith in America and ending this type of bigotry today.

Thank you so much,
Chely Wright

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Anti-gay Catholic leader lying – and He knows it

April 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Click here to read the original article.

Our response

Here’s a message we hope you’ll pass on to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput who recently wrote this:

“The civil unions debate is finally about securing legitimacy for social arrangements and personal behaviors that most societies and religious traditions have found problematic from long experience—and that a great many people see as morally troubling, not because they are “haters” or “frightened” or “bigots” or “uneducated”—that kind of language is the real bigotry in this debate—but because they’ve carefully thought through the implications for society at large.”

Sorry Charles but your line about it is those advocating for the human dignity, worthiness and equality for gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender Americans who are bigoted is a lie and you know this.

Here’s a message we hope you’ll pass on to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput who recently wrote this:

“The civil unions debate is finally about securing legitimacy for social arrangements and personal behaviors that most societies and religious traditions have found problematic from long experience-and that a great many people see as morally troubling, not because they are “haters” or “frightened” or “bigots” or “uneducated”-that kind of language is the real bigotry in this debate-but because they’ve carefully thought through the implications for society at large.”

Sorry Charles but your line about it is those advocating for the human dignity, worthiness and equality for gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender Americans who are bigoted is a lie and you know this.

The ones who use mistruths, fear and misunderstanding to oppress a minority with prejudice, hostility and discrimination are the those who wield the sword of bigotry – not the sword of truth. Again, you know this Charles.

That is why the Catholic Church and anti-gay religious professionals keep asking Faith in America to please quit saying that they are bigoted.

But if these people would take a moment to really listen to our message they would understand that we are not calling them bigots nor are we accusing them of espousing “bigotry.”

We are accusing them, as well as you Charles, of much worse. What you and others are espousing is religion-based bigotry – and it is one of the most vile forms of bigotry because of the religious and moral stamp of rejection and condemnation it places on the lives of LGBT people, especially LGBT youth and their families.

Religion-based bigotry has been used by the church and so-called religious organizations against other minorities many times in our past. Charles, do you recall the apology the Catholic Church issued to Native Americans for using misguided religious teaching to justify treating them as morally inferior? Do you recall the Catholic Church apology in 2000 to women for using misguided religious teaching to promote the attitude that they are inferior to men?

And let’s not forget, Charles, your now cozy anti-gay friends on the Religious Right and how the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for using misguided religious teaching to justify bigotry toward African Americans and interracial couples.

Do you really expect the American public to believe that you actually believe it was those fighting the oppression of those minorities who were the ones expressing bigotry.

And finally, please remember Charles how your Religious Right buddies have for years used misguided religious teaching to say Catholism is a Satanic cult. As an evangelical, I recall many Sunday School lessons and sermons in which that attitude was espoused and promoted.

Can you defend your faith against the religion-based bigotry that has maligned Catholics? Would your defense be an expression of bigotry?

You know not. And we know you know it.

From Faith in America


Forward this article to Charles at info@archden.org

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NAACP Leader: “Gay Community Stop Hijacking The Civil Rights Movement”

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Original Article

This is not Ratliff’s first attack on the LGBT community, and it directly counters his leadership role at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), whose mission clearly states, “is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

Ratliff’s anti-gay actions also go directly against the teachings of the NACCP’s president, and Chairman, Benjamin Jealous, and Jealous’ predecessor, Julian Bond. Additionally, Dr. King’s right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, who planned the historic march on Washington, was openly-gay.

Our response

Religion-based bigotry against LGBT people is wrong…just as it was wrong to use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

The majority’s religious teachings cannot be used to deny minority groups their civil rights in a democracy. California Supreme Court Justice Joyce L. Kennard said it best in her concurring opinion in the May 2008 ruling for marriage equality:

“The architects of our federal and state Constitutions understood that widespread and deeply rooted prejudices may lead majoritarian institutions to deny fundamental freedoms to unpopular minority groups, and that the most effective remedy for this form of oppression is an independent judiciary charged with the solemn responsibility to interpret and enforce the constitutional provisions guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and equal protection.”

Religion-based bigotry’s history as a justifier and promoter of oppression against African-Americans is undeniable. Talking about religion-based bigotry’s past doesn’t equate the LGBT community’s struggle with the Civil Rights Movement – rather it only points to religion-based bigotry as a common denominator for injustice toward most minorities in American society’s past.

This Baptist preacher’s religion-based bigotry is causing him to ignore its dark history in oppression of African-Americans. In doing so, he is doing a disservice to African-Americans and a disservice to history.

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Equality California, Faith in America Issue Statement on Crystal Cathedral’s Anti-LGBT Declaration

March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

San Francisco, March, 17, 2011 – The leadership of Crystal Cathedral, one of the state’s largest Evangelical Christian churches, located in Garden Grove, recently required choir members to sign a discriminatory document that demonizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

Statement: Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors:

“It is outrageous that the leadership of the Crystal Cathedral is requiring choir members to pledge to discriminate as a condition to joyfully worship. This mandate will do real harm to LGBT people and particularly to the LGBT youth in the church and in the community.

“The church’s declaration that LGBT people are unwelcome creates a toxic environment that leads to bullying, hate crimes, and even suicides. It must stop. Out hearts go out to the many LGBT members of the church who are being demonized.”

Statement: Faith in America founder Mitchell Gold:

“This type of societal bullying by religion-based bigotry toward gay youth and other LGBT individuals must no longer be afforded any degree of respectability in America. The harm caused by such prejudice, discrimination and hostility toward LGBT individuals must no longer find comfort within the church or be justified and promoted under the guise of religious teaching.”

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org

Faith In America was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in 2005 to effectively counter-message the bigotry, prejudice and hostility toward the LGBT community being sold to the public for several decades under the guise of religious belief and religious teaching. www.faithinamerica.org

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House Republicans vow to uphold Defense of Marriage Act

March 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Original story: www.latimes.com


The GOP just can’t seem to break cycle of religion-based bigotry.

When we hear Republicans like North Carolina Sen. James Forrester say there are too many African-Americans and gay rights attorneys in the N.C. General Assembly, some might dismiss this as an isolated case of bigotry in a lower 40 state.

When you couple his statement with his ties to so-called religious organizations working to write discrimination against gay North Carolinians in the state constitution, you understand how it is not just bigotry but a very vile and harmful form of bigotry –religion-based bigotry.

And then we read where Republicans in the U.S, House have decided to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, another piece of legislation that is highly discriminatory toward all gay and lesbian Americans. And again, this action by congressional Republicans is at the behest of so-called religious organization that have long held sway in Republican Party ranks.

The picture could not be clearer – religion-based bigotry is alive and well in the Republican Party as it can’t seem to break its ties with this vicious and very harmful form of bigotry.

African-Americans and women have been the victims of of the Republican Party’s embrace of religion-based bigotry in the past and still today. With the election of the first African-American president, we all would have hoped that deep-seated prejudice by factions within the Republican Party would be waning.

Unfortunately, we’ve all seen how that hasn’t happened. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others have kept the flames of bigotry and prejudice burning hot. They’ll all cry foul and say how unfair we are in making that claim. But anyone who has been involved Republican Party politics since the early 1980s, knows very well how their words cater to deep-seated bigotry and prejudice.

With the 2010 election bringing forth a large number of new Republican legislators, many were again hopeful that these lawmakers would perhaps break with the party’s bigoted undertones.

The House Republicans’ decision last week to defend a piece of legislation that puts a moral stamp of disapproval on the lives of gay Americans shows very clearly that breaking the cycle of religion-based bigotry within the GOP’s ranks isn’t something we can look forward to anytime soon.

But just as religion-based bigotry is a caustic agent to religion, it is equally cancerous to the political factions that harbor it. In the end, the Republican Party will be its victim as well.


Call, write or email your elected representative and let them know that it is time to end religion-based bigotry’s harm to gay Americans, especially youth. Explain to them how the Defense of Marriage Act places a moral stamp of disapproval on the lives of good, hard-working Americans only because their sexual orientation. In the past this same moral stamp of disapproval has been placed on the lives of African-Americans because of their skin color. It was placed on the lives of women simply because of their gender. Religion-based bigotry is harmful to the individuals who bear its oppression and its harmful to society because the division and strife it promotes. Any elected official who refuses to denounce it is not working to better America nor promote the ideals of human dignity and equality.

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The Rhoda Gold Legacy Fund

March 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Rhoda Gold and husband Jack

Rhoda Gold and husband Jack

Dear friends and supporters,

It is with both sadness and joy that we share the news of Mitchell’s Gold’s mother, Rhoda, death yesterday. She was 95. Our sorrow and sympathy is extended to Mitchell, his brother Richard, their family and friends as they have lost a dear and loving mother and friend. Yet we also celebrate the countless wonderful memories her children, family and friends surely will cherish today, tomorrow and forever. In his book, CRISIS, Mitchell mentions what a great sense of humor his mother had and if you have spent much time with our founder you know that is certainly a trait he must have received from Rhoda. We’re sure there are many more characteristics he can attribute to his mom.

As many of you have followed this organization since Mitchell founded it in 2005, you know that there is an all-consuming trait that Mitchell also possesses – an incredible passion to end the harm to gay youth and others caused by terribly misplaced prejudice and discrimination. Again in CRISIS, Mitchell refers to the influence Rhoda had on his unfailing pursuit of equality and social justice.

“Via our black-and-white television, the words of Alabama governor George Wallace’s 1963 inaugural address penetrated our Northern suburban bubble: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” I can also recall how Wallace—along with many Southern religious institutions— misused religion to justify his bigotry and his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“It was my mother who explained to me that not all religious people felt that way. One of the many things I cherish about my parents is that they taught me not just that prejudice is wrong, but how very destructive it is.”

What a wonderful legacy to have etched in the minds of your children.

To honor Rhoda Gold and as a way to express your regards and sympathies, you can contribute to the Rhoda Gold Memorial Fund via the Faith in America website. Just click here and enter whatever amount you wish and feel free to include a note if you like in the gift message field at the bottom of the form.

Thank you.
Faith in America’s Board of Directors and staff

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Wedding Bills

March 5th, 2011 · No Comments

March 2, 2011 edition of Raleigh News and Observer:

…However, not content merely to see one reading of the Bible locked into the state constitution, other backers of Forrester’s amendment range freely into outright bigotry.

For example, Bill James, a Mecklenburg County commissioner, told The N&O’s Lynn Bonner that the amendment would place on homosexuals “a big letter of shame on the behavior. We don’t want them here. We don’t want them marrying.” The amendment would pass with public support to spare, James said, because voters know the difference “between perversity and diversity.”

What, exactly, are citizens to make of that? Sentiments such as James’ should make any fair-minded legislator pause before signing on – particularly those who say they want government out of people’s lives.

We have, after all, considerable experience now in this country with civil unions and gay marriage, and it’s trite but true to say that the sky has not come crashing down. In fact, there’s a growing recognition, certainly among younger Americans but also more generally, that homosexuals are, above all, people – friends, co-workers, relatives. And that gay couples’ desire to marry – to place their relationships within one of society’s established parameters – is a good thing. In fact, those who complain loudest about “the gay lifestyle” (Forrester has done so) might logically welcome gays’ interest in coming under the marriage tent, with all its commitments to stability….

Read more here.

Our response:

On behalf of North Carolina’s gay and lesbian youth, I want to offer my deep appreciation for your “Wedding bills” editorial on March 2.

I hope your readership fully understands the outstanding public service this editorial represents.

For far too long in this country, the only faith-related message so many gay youth have heard about their sexual orientation is the vitriolic condemnation coming from anti-gay religious industry spokespersons like N.C. Sen. James Forrester and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James.

That the sentiment so many hear from their pastors, their parents, their peers in schools and sadly their elected officials.

Such language and action causes deep emotional and psychological harm to the 12-year-old gay or lesbian youth who at such a young age must bear the burden of that moral and religious stamp of disapproval on their very being. Many older gay and lesbian individuals will tell you about the emotional scars that they have carried for years because of the stigma and hostility that has been justified and promoted by misguided religious teaching.

The spiritual violence inflicted by religion-based bigotry is one reason that it is such a vile and harmful form of bigotry.

Your words offer a different message – one that hasn’t been publicly broadcast nearly enough. It’s a message that uplifts and gives hope that North Carolina truly is a place where they aren’t merely accepted but embraced in love, understanding, respect and dignity. For those growing up gay in America, that’s a wonderful place to be.

Action step:

When others, especially editorial writers, challenge religion-based bigotry, it’s imperative they receive feedback to counter the negative comments from the promoters of religion-based bigotry. Send a note of thanks to Steve Ford, editorial page editor, at:

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Our Response To CNN’s ‘My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality’

March 4th, 2011 · No Comments

Read CNN’s article here: My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

Our response

Sorry Mr. Gagnon, the gig is up.

More and more Americans are coming to understand how the Bible has been misused in the past to look upon others as inferior and undeserving of equality. You suggest the slavery analogy is outdated but you don’t mention how the Bible was used to say interracial couples shouldn’t marry (1960s and still today in some churches) or how the Bible was used to say women should not be treated equal as men in society. You see, Mr. Gagnon, Americans understand that it is OK if you want to tell the women in YOUR church “to keep silent” but you can’t then apply that religious belief to all American women outside your church (have fun trying).

And the exact same is true with gay and lesbian Americans. If you want to condemn and judge them as inferior and undeserving in your church, you have the right to that. Unfortunately, you also have the right to cause them immense harm – especially gay youth – with your words and actions. Sadly, you even have the right to cause such harm in the name of Christian belief. But such vile and harmful bigotry in the name of religious teaching is a plague on religious ideals…history is the moral arbiter of this argument and not you.

We Americans and we Christians simply aren’t going to allow you do that without calling your religion-based bigotry to question.


Send Mr. Gagnon an email and let him know we as Americans, believers or not, simply will no longer respected his religion-based bigotry as religious truth. Because it’s not!

And send CNN (http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?35) an email and let them know that they are being complicit in such harm to gay youth and others when someone makes a call for social justice as Jennifer Wright Knust did and CNN then allows a promoter of bigotry to have their say. Imagine if Knust had talked about how the Bible can no longer justify segregation and then CNN allowed a spokesperson for the Klan to respond. So CNN, why do you think it is OK when gay people are the target?

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March 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

MARCH 2, 2011 – Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James in a March 1 Raleigh News and Observer article expressed his sentiment as a Christian toward gay North Carolinians – saying he doesn’t think they should exist.

“It’s also to put a big letter of shame on the behavior,” James said in the article. “We don’t want them here.”

Can you imagine the emotional harm that causes to a 12-year-old or 15-year-old who is gay or lesbian? For one, it causes many to take their own life because of the religious and moral stamp of disapproval placed on their very being. For many others, it causes deep emotional and psychological harm.

I wonder if anyone has asked Commissioner James to read the definition of child abuse? Allow me.

The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) definition of “child abuse and neglect,” at a minimum, refers to:

“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

This public official is promoting and justifying very real emotional, psychological and spiritual harm to gay youth under the banner of religious teaching and there can no more vile or harmful form of bigotry than religion-based bigotry.

He is causing immense harm not only to gay youth but many other gay and lesbian North Carolinians.

I wonder what his pastor and fellow congregants at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. think about a member of their church using Christ’s name in causing others such harm?

Promoting this type abuse in the name of Christ. It should make us all sick on our stomach.

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