I love this story. Nashville’s largest predominately gay and lesbian church, the Holy Trinity Community Church in west Nashville, will officially will join the United Church of Christ on Sunday because of the UCC’s stance on gays and lesbians.
In 2005 the UCC passed a resolution in support of “equal marriage rights for all regardless of gender” and encouraged churches to adopt new wedding policies for same-sex marriages. It has long allowed the ordination of openly gay and lesbian ministers.
The Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper (pictured), pastor of Holy Trinity, said that her 250-member church was drawn to the UCC because of its “open and affirming” position on gays and lesbians, in the pews and the pulpit.”
At least four-dozen congregations have left the United Church of Christ since the resolution was passed in July 2005. But in the South, UCC membship is growing at an unprecedented rate.
According to the Tennessean, UCC membership is up 79% in the denomination’s Southeast Conference including Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and the Florida Panhandle.
The spurt in UCC membership in the South can be attributed to the thousands of Christian gays and lesbians who live there without
access to accepting churches.
In the South, and I can say this because I am from there, religion and church are for better or worse the cornerstones of society. As my Yankee Jewish girlfriend noticed when we traveled to Nashville just last year, there’s a church on every corner or a sign saying that one is coming soon.
The centrality of church in Southern society is equally true for gays and lesbians as it is for heterosexuals living and raised in the South. The church might not welcome these gays and lesbians, but they are nonetheless a community in need of a church to call home.
Which explains why UCC membership is booming in the South. Just 10 years ago, the Holy Trinity Community Church started in a living room. Now it has it’s own location, 250 devoted members and a place at the table with a national denomination.
More impressive is how the church has truly helped its members come closer to god.
“I always felt worse when I left church than when I went in,” said Phillip Haynes, 46, who said he grew up Southern Baptist and tried the Catholic Church before turning to Holy Trinity about six years ago. “I left because of the prejudice.”
“I could not be myself at church and I always thought that God hated gay people,” said his life partner, Steve Deasy, who was raised in a Church of Christ. “This is the first church that’s opened its arms and accepted me for who I am.”
Wow, this is getting interesting. The Family Research Council – a group that helped put George and Dick in the White House – is now using Mary Cheney to raise money for its anti-gay agenda: “The media have delighted in the fact that Vice President Cheney’s daughter publicly opposes the very convictions that brought her father’s political party into the White House,” says the latest e-appeal from the FRC.
“Raised as a Christian evangelical, I knew I was different from the other boys at about six. I prayed and tried everything from charismatic healings, to ex-gay groups like Desert Streams and finally ended up in reparative therapy…”more on Andrew Sulllivan’s Daily Dish
A reader’s comments to my “God Does Not Hate Fags” posting:
“I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, but I think that gay marriage is wrong. When you sit there and even suggest that it is natural, you bring our society closer to the brink.”
I find this response interesting and many people feel this way. However, can someone help clarify a couple of things for me?
1. Define “wrong”
I think wearing white before Labor Day is “wrong.” Should I push to have the law amended to support my belief? Or, if I do not think it the business of law to determine such things, is my belief then just an opinion; as in, I think it’s wrong to wear white before Labor Day, but that’s just me. You can wear white if you want to.
I also think theft is “wrong.” However, since this belief is supported by the law, it doesn’t really matter what I think, what my opinion is, outside of challenging the law itself.
Which is my right too, as a citizen. And I am free to go about doing that should I see fit. But – in the meantime – I will go to jail if I am found guilty of theft.
Therefore, if you think something is “wrong” but don’t think it should be upheld by law, then what you think is just what YOU think and should remain outside of the law. Yes? And gay marriage – right or wrong- should be legal since, by definition, there is no legal basis for denying it. Just opinions.
2. Define “brink”
According to the Free Dictionary, brink means:
1. The upper edge of a steep or vertical slope: the brink of a cliff.
2. The margin of land bordering a body of water.
3. The point at which something is likely to begin; the verge.
So, with this definition in mind, what exactly is “the brink” we are heading towards should we suggest gay marriage is natural?
The brink of what?
I say gay marriage is natural….now what? am I heading towards the brink?…Cause I feel just fine.
Says the national organization, Clergy for Fairness , which organized to combat the conservative right wing’s monopolization of GOD:
“Despite the fact that similar legislation failed in both the House and Senate in the last Congress, the Federal Marriage Amendment (also known as the so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment”) has been reintroduced. More than 100 national organizations oppose this extreme amendment to the Constitution, including many national religious groups.”
Even the Washington Post has taken note.
Click here to sign the Clergy for Fairness’ open letter to the US Senate.