Friday, July 8, 2016

"This Is Actually Happening, and It's Real, and It's Right Now": Christian Churches Responding (or Refusing to Respond) to Pastoral Needs of LGBTQ Human Beings

Gay (former) Mormon Tyler Glenn in a video he posted to Facebook on 5 July (the video above), about the suicide of LGBTQ Mormon youth after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints enacted its policy punishing same-sex couples and their children and excluding them from church participation:

This is actually happening, and it's real, and it's right now.

[A]s long as the prevailing cultural perception of Christianity holds it as non-affirming of LGBT people, all of us who claim Christian faith have some degree of complicity in anti-LGBT culture and the resulting violence, murder, and suicide. . . . [T]oo often Christian churches choose to be unofficially or quietly welcoming of LGBT people without vocally or officially offering affirming theology and polity. The painful reality of our time is that, to whatever extent we are not vocally affirming that LGBT people are beloved nor explicitly countering claims that queerness is sinful, we are allowing Christian homophobia to persist. 

Dan Savage on exporting of hatred for LGBTQ people to the developing world by U.S. right-wing evangelicals, and mainstream media silence about this fact: 

Religious extremists are fomenting a campaign of violence and terror targeting sexual minorities. But we're not talking about their religious extremists—we're not talking about imams or mullahs—we're talking about our religious extremists: white evangelical American protestants. They've successfully exported anti-LGBT hatred and violence to Africa and now they're exporting their anti-LGBT hatred and violence to the largest country in South America. 
If the NYT were reporting on the Islamic State's murderous campaign targeting gay men, or the kind of virulent anti-LGBT hate that comes bundled with Saudi Arabia's brand of Islam (which our "ally" has pushed all over the world), the central role that religion plays in legitimizing and encouraging anti-LGBT hate and violence would be the lead and should be the lead. But because we're talking about Christianity in this case—and the harm being done by American Christians—the role religion is playing in this epidemic of anti-gay violence is an afterthought buried 15 paragraphs into the story.

The response of a leading U.S. Catholic bishop, Archbishop Charles Chaput, to the pastoral needs of LGBTQ people (by way of Bob Shine at Bondings 2.0): 

In new guidelines, Philadelphia’s archbishop has banned people in same-gender relationships from pastoral or liturgical roles. 
Archbishop Charles Chaput's guidelines are a response to Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on family, and the synodal process preceding the exhortation’s April publication. The guidelines, which became effective July 1, instruct church ministers involved with marriage and family life, or the church’s sacramental life on handling Catholics in diverse family arrangements.  In addition to restrictions on same-gender couples, the guidelines also tell pastors not to distribute communion to couples who are divorced and civilly remarried, as well as couples who are cohabitating.

Testimony of United Methodist Bishop elaine Stanovsky, by way of UMC minister Debbie Pitney:

God blesses some of the work of the institution and God cries at other parts of the institution. As Bishop Elaine Stanovsky said in her sermon at General Conference this morning, "The church is of God but the church isn't God."

The response of a leader of the Catholic church in Africa, Cardinal Wilfred Napier, to the pastoral needs of LGBTQ people and to Pope Francis's suggestion that the church needs to apologize for its inhumane treatment of these people:

This is actually happening, and it's real, and it's right now.

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