Friday, October 30, 2015

News Tidbits

Utica Observer-Dispatch: Son killed at Word of Life wanted to leave church, officials say

BBC News: Mother 'helpless' to stop fatal church beating of son

New York Times: Witness Says Clash Over Witchcraft Preceded Fatal Beating at Church

CNN: Washington high school coach placed on leave for praying on field

Salt Lake Tribune: Mormon apostle Oaks: Kentucky clerk wrong not to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Reuters: Catholic bishops debating family issues still split on divorcees, gays

Vatican Radio: Women at Synod of Bishops call for their voices to be heard

Associated Press: 6 Republican 2016 Hopefuls Woo Faithful at Texas Megachurch

The Advocate: Ted Cruz Wins Endorsement of Antigay Hate Group Official

Al Jazeera America: Singapore church leader found guilty in $35M fraud case

Irish Independent: Bishop says child fear has led to loss of altar servers

Commentary Tidbits

Homeschoolers Anonymous: What Do “Certificates of Purity” Communicate to Sexual Assault Survivors?

Barrier Breaker: Christians, Quit Waiting to Take Advantage of Tragedies in Our Lives to Convert Us

The Flawless Project: I Will Not Be Thankful for Crumbs from the Church’s Table

No Longer Quivering: The Not-So-Ridiculous Reasons People Leave Church

Friendly Atheist: All 17 Candidates for a North Carolina School Board Want Illegal Prayers at Meetings

Religion News Service: Are conservatives at high-stakes Vatican summit overplaying their hand?

Washington Post: Why Pope Francis’s fight in Rome is about more than sex and marriage

CNN: The real story behind those Planned Parenthood videos

Raw Story: Internet troll impersonates evangelist Joel Osteen on his own Facebook page and the results are hilarious

Cold Season

Please forgive my recent absence from the blogosphere. As soon as I get over this bad cold, I'll be back to blogging on the Religious Right.

:: gulps hot tea ::

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

World Congress of Families IX Coming to Utah -- But So Are Two LGBTQ Conferences!

The World Congress of Families IX Conference will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 27-30. The content of the conference has a decidedly right-wing flavor. In past years, the World Congress of Families event has featured presentations on anti-abortion efforts, gender roles, "traditional" family, demographic winter, and the alleged evils of contraception and LGBTQ rights. The 2015 conference will be no different, judging from its lineup of workshops and panel discussions.
  • "The Beneficial and Harmful Influences of Feminism"

  • "Pro-Family and Pro-Life Victories at the United Nations"

  • "Personal, Family and Cultural Casualties from the Decline of Faith"

  • "International Pro-Life Initiatives"

  • "The Economic and Social Costs of Family Breakdown"

  • "The Future After the SCOTUS Decision"

  • "Reversing the Crisis of the American Family: Solutions Which Offer Hope and Elevate the Importance of the Family in the Public Square"

  • "Encouraging and Promoting Pro-Family Scholarship and Research"

  • "How the Culture Undermines Life and Family"

  • "New Findings in Gender Differences"

  • "Dad’s Don’t Mother, and Moms Don’t Father: The Distinctive Influence of Mothers and Fathers on Children’s Development"

  • "For Love or Money? The Economic Consequences of Delaying Marriage"

  • "The Pro-Life Movement’s Strategic Successes"

  • "Planned Parenthood's Abortion Industry"
The list of conference speakers is a who's who of Religious Right speakers from the U.S., including Rev. Raphael Cruz (the controversial father of Sen. Ted Cruz), Brian Brown (National Organization for Marriage), Lila Rose, (Live Action), Alveda King (Priests for Life), David Bereit (40 Days for Life), Peter Sprigg (Family Research Council), Glenn Stanton (Focus on the Family), Sharon Slater, (Family Watch International), and Mark Regnerus (Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture).

High-profile religious leaders will also speak at the event, including Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson and Mormon elder M. Russell Ballard. At least one political leader -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his wife Jeanette Herbert -- will speak to attendees as well. Much to my disappointment, Elizabeth Smart is scheduled to speak as well. What's an enlightened woman like Smart doing at a place like that? I wondered.

Religious Right leaders from around the globe will receive awards from the WCF for their activism. Nigerian activist Theresa Okafor is scheduled to receive the Woman of the Year Award, while Andrea Williams of the UK-based Christian Concern and Luca Giuseppe Volante of the Italy-based Novae Terrae Foundation will receive Familia Et Veritas Awards. Father Maxim Obukhov, a Russian Orthodox anti-abortion activist, will receive the International Pro-Life Award.

For years, the World Congress of Families conference has has come under fire for its anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBTQ messages, as well as its unsavory ties. For example, Restore Our Humanity founder Mark Lawrence condemned the World Congress of Families in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

To counter the toxic messages of the WCF conference, two inclusive conferences will take place in Salt Lake City in late October. First, the Inclusive Families Conference will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 23-24. Sponsored by Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Utah Pride, and the University of Utah College of Social Work, the Inclusive Families Conference will celebrate all families, including LGBTQ families, multicultural families, multigenerational families, and homeless families.
"The Inclusive Families Conference aims to highlight and celebrate the rich diversity of families, especially  those families who love and accept each other despite divergent beliefs and attitudes, “non-traditional families” and those families which may be marginalized or excluded by others.  These families include same-sex couples, those with members who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, identify as transgender (LGBT), or have exceptional gender identity/expression, families with mixed ethnic, racial and religious identities, street families (homeless youth families), families led by elders, adoptive, differently-abled, matriarchal, multi-generational families, and others."
The Inclusive Families Conference cherishes the family as a cornerstone of society, but the family values it champions are far more inclusive than those of WCF.
"We believe the family is the basic human community through which we all are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity. We affirm the importance of loving parents for all children. We understand the family as encompassing a wider range of options than that of the two generational gender binary unit (the nuclear family). We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of consenting adults. We encourage social, economic, political, and religious efforts to maintain and strengthen relationships within families so that all may be nurtured toward complete personhood."
The workshops and panel discussions explore a wide range of topics related to families, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, and trauma.
  • "Embracing & Supporting Your LGBT Children"

  • "Growing Up LGBT & Mormon in America: What Our Youth Have to Tell Us"

  • "Utah Homeless Youth & Street Families"

  • "Considerations, Priorities, and Supports for an Intentional Family"

  • "Trans Vets & Trauma"

  • "Transracial/Mixed Adoptions"

  • "Cultural Trauma & Minority Stressors: A Community Discussion"
Second, the Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 20-23. Hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit will explore the intersections of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. The summit will feature speakers from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Soulforce, Political Research Associates, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Equality Utah. The summit's web page calls out the World Congress of Families for its anti-LGBTQ agenda.
"Later in October, the World Congress of Families, the largest organization of people staunchly against our families, will be meeting in Salt Lake City to continue spreading an anti-LGBTQ agenda that restrictively codifies who counts as family and who does not. Their style of work is evident in the over 100 bills filed in legislatures across our country this past year that negatively target our families and issues we care about such as reproductive justice/health/equality and state sanctioned discrimination disguised as religious freedom. Join us in Salt Lake City, Utah to ensure that, as a movement, we’re strong and resilient enough to face the challenges and opportunities ahead, as we declare that our faith and our families matter."
Enlightened people will not allow the intolerant vision of the World Congress of Families to go unchallenged. Utah progressives are resisting the WCF's messages by taking part in conferences offering a far more inclusive vision. Expect good content to come out of the two conferences -- and expect more voices to condemn the WCF as its conference approaches.

News Tidbits

The Advocate: After RFRA Blowup, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Considering a ‘Utah Compromise’

Los Angeles Times: Religious clinics sue for right to not mention abortion to Californians

Local Memphis: Arkansas Church Revokes Gay Man's Membership

WAPT 16 News: Judge finds Rankin County School District in contempt over school prayer

WBTV 3: Cleveland Co. School Board votes to keep moment of silence, not prayer before meetings

Associated Press: Republican Lawmaker Seeks Ban on LGBT Conversion Therapy in New Hampshire

Associated Press: Kentucky pastors: Exempt clerks from issuing marriage licenses

News*com*au: Former preacher Anthony Venn-Brown spent two decades on a futile fight against being gay

Commentary Tidbits

Faith Filled Thoughts from the Front Porch: WORLD Magazine, You Are Part of the Problem

Killing the Buddha: A Murderer and a Saint

Southern Poverty Law Center: SPLC ethics complaint: Alabama Supreme Court justice violated judicial ethics on extremist radio show

Daily Beast: Guns Are Cheaper At This Tennessee Store If You’re a Christian

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Charisma Warns Readers About the "Witchcraft Season"

Charisma, the New Apostolic Reformation magazine that warned us about smelly demons, transgender ghosts, succubi, and Jezebel, is at it again. As Halloween approaches, one of its contributors is warning Christians about witchcraft.

Jennifer LeClaire penned an October 11th commentary piece for Charisma News on the "witchcraft season" entitled "5 Clear Signs Witchcraft Is Attacking You Right Now". Witchcraft, she argues, clouds the minds of its targets, distracts them from Jesus, and leaves them vulnerable to Satan's "vain imaginations".

According to LeClair, autumn is an ominous time of year when supernatural influences compel people to "start attacking and accusing you for no reason, rebelling against authority, and otherwise walking in the flesh." The column describes witchcraft as an infernal power drawn from evil spirits, calling it "one of the powers in the hierarchy of demons Paul listed in Ephesians 6:12".

LeClair lists five symptoms of witchcraft attacks, including lack of focus, the urge to be alone, a sense of self-pity or worthlessness, depression, and "confusion" (questioning oneself, questioning leaders, questioning one's faith, and forgetfulness). First, most of the symptoms she describes are textbook symptoms of depression. Readers suffering from these symptoms would find a visit to their doctor more beneficial than LeClair's superstitious nonsense. Second, these symptoms can also be normal reactions to stress. Readers experiencing these symptoms would gain more from rest and relaxation than from reading the rant of a demon-obsessed fundamentalist. LeClair's column appears to be yet another fundamentalist attempt to cast mental health issues as spiritual maladies, rather than physical or psychological illnesses.

It's revealing that LeClair sees existential doubt, as well as a willingness to ask uncomfortable questions about one's leaders and faith, as the result of infernal influences. In her belief system, Christians must fearfully suppress any doubts about their path in life, rather than follow those doubts wherever they lead. A superstitious belief system won't last very long if its adherents honestly listen to their minds and hearts.

Oddly LeClair never explains who is supposedly deploying witchcraft against hapless believers. Where are all these alleged witches? Where are their demonic patrons? Why would witches waste their time and magical power tormenting Christians? Why would demons teach witches how to inflict depression on enemies rather than something more spectacular, like leprosy, locusts swarms, or lightning bolts?

As usual, Charisma is reinforcing the faith of its readers with superstition and fear. Rather than encourage readers to cultivate introspection and self-awareness, it presses them to attribute problems to imaginary monsters. Charisma's childish messages would be hilarious if not for the fact that some people take this nonsense seriously.

Monday, October 12, 2015

News Tidbits

USA Today: Activists protest Baptists' seminar on homosexuality

Associated Press: Video Shows Pope Defending Chile Bishop Accused of Cover Up

The Hill: Kasich warns against 'secular society'

New York Times: The Chains of Mental Illness in West Africa

Reuters: Tennessee Board Drops Vote on Seeking God's Mercy Over Gay Marriage

The Advocate: Florida Advances Unnecessary Pastor Protection Act

WVLT 8: Gun store offering discount for Christians

Everything Lubbock: Texas: "In God We Trust" Now Displayed On Lamesa Hospital Ambulances

Washington Blade: Clinton on Kim Davis: ‘Enforce the law or you resign’

Commentary Tidbits

The National Catholic Reporter: Where the boys are

The New Civil Rights Movement: 'We Feel Like We Shouldn’t Have To Pay': Sweet Cakes Bakers Say State Order Not 'Legally Binding'

Think Progress: Southern Baptist Conference: ‘Struggling’ LGBT People Can Change Through Christ

New York Times: Chick-fil-A and the Politics of Eating

Slate: Conservative Christianity’s Discovery of Transgender Issues Worries Trans Christians

People Magazine: Michelle Duggar Writes New Blog Post Encouraging Women to Be 'Joyfully Available' to Have Sex with Husbands ... Even While Pregnant

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Anti-Islam Protesters Hold Rallies Across U.S.; Turnout Is Poor

In the U.S., right-wing contempt for Muslims is nothing new. Unfortunately, that contempt has soured into outright hatred among some right-wing Americans, culminating in a series of anti-Islam protests this weekend. Fortunately, the protest effort fell on its face when people of conscience stood up for their Muslim neighbors, or when anti-Islam protesters failed to show up at all.

An entity called Global Rally for Humanity called for the nationwide anti-Islam protests on October 10th, using the Twitter hashtag #tentenfifteen to drum up support. The rallies coincided with a 20th anniversary rally commemorating the Million Man March in Washington D.C., organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

SPLC Hatewatch claims that the protests are the brainchild of Jon Ritzheimer, who organized an armed anti-Islam protest in Phoenix, Arizona in May. This summer, Ritzheimer told the Phoenix New Times that he was planning a global anti-Islam protest, which may have inspired the organizers of the Global Rally for Humanity. Media outlets also claim that the Oath Keepers are one of the groups that organized the events. However, I could find no mention of the Global Rally for Humanity at the Oath Keepers website.

The logo of on the main Global Rally for Humanity's Facebook page shows two muscular men's arms locked in an arm-wrestling pose, with Asia in the background, presumably symbolizing the struggle between Islam and its detractors around the world.

Organizers seemed to make no distinction between law-abiding Muslims and radical extremists, decrying radical Islam while calling for protests at peaceful mosques. "Humanity is attacked daily by radical Islam," the group argues on its Facebook page. The language of the Global Rally for Humanity is urgent and bombastic, demonizing Islam as an invading force that threatens America.  A Facebook page calling for a rally in Dearborn, Michigan laments the supposed "invasion of Muslim colonization" in America, calling on supporters to "save our Republic".

A clear racial undercurrent ran through the rhetoric of other Global Rally websites. The Facebook page for the event's Atlanta iteration warned that violence from Black Lives Matter activists and Louis Farrakhan supporters could erupt. In a paranoid rant fit for a conspiracy theorist, the author accused Farrakhan of seeking a pretext for martial law so that his "brother Muslim" President Obama could rule as a dictator (!?).
"October 10th, radical Imam Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam will be in DC preaching their message of hatred against white people, against law enforcement, and against America in general. He has called for an unruly mob of 10,000 BLM terrorists to pull down the National Flag from the Mall in DC, an act of treason and war. Farrakhan hopes to destabilize the USA in order to provide the pretext for martial law in order to keep a "brother muslim" in the White House, as a true dictator. According to their pages they will also be looking to start trouble around the country on 10/10, in addition to DC. We've already got our thousands going to DC to defend Old Glory, now we've got to throw local resistance together on the Homefront. GEORGIA is OPEN CARRY. And we will be peacefully assembled in force in front of the Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta on 10/10. We intend to fully support local law enforcement across the country, and if need be, we've got their six. We will not allow the hateful rhetoric of ISLAMIC agitators like FARRAKHAN to destroy the country we all love and swore on oath to defend. Come prepared to convoy up, as we must be mobile since it may become necessary for our rally to become a patrol. We'll keep y'all updated here on this event post as the situation evolves."
The Facebook page for the Global Rally's Florence, Kentucky iteration also demonized Farrakhan and Islam while celebrating "red-blooded American Patriots".
"On October 10th Farrakhan will be in DC preaching Nation of Islam's message of hatred for America, law enforcement, and random white people. He's instructed his minions to tear down our National Flag on the Mall, but we've got thousands of red-blooded American Patriots headed up there to defend it ... We're all rallying up in OPEN CARRY STATES in support of local law enforcement and against anti-American TERRORISM both foreign and domestic. In Northern Kentucky our counterprotest rally point is against ISLAMIC CENTER OF NORTHERN KENTUCKY in FLORENCE!! Please SHARE this event in groups and INVITE fellow Patriots, Veterans, Bikers, Rednecks and Good Ol Boys!!"
These Facebook commentators failed to realize that Louis Farrakhan does not speak for all Muslims, that the American Muslim community is not monolithic, and that most Muslims are not extremists. Their ignorance about U.S. Muslims was breathtaking.

Understandably, some American Muslim communities were alarmed. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement last week urging mosques to be prepared for anti-Islam protests.
"The anti-Islam rallies come at a time of increased hate-motivated crimes and bias incidents nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.

Many of these planned rallies may not take place, or they may consist of only a handful of people shouting slurs at worshipers. But given the recent endorsement of Islamophobia by national public figures, it would only be prudent for mosque and community leaders to prepare for any eventuality."
Other people of conscience called for solidarity with their Muslim neighbors. Countless people condemned the rallies on Twitter by using the hashtag #HateUnchecked. The Jewish Voice for Peace and the Network Against Islamophobia issued an October 7th statement condemning xenophobia and white supremacist hate. "As hate crimes and bias incidents are on the rise against Muslim institutions and against individuals assumed to be Muslim, we at JVP continue to stand with the Muslim community—and with all communities that are being targeted by xenophobia and white supremacy," the statement reads. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, urged UCC leaders to support their beleaguered Muslim neighbors in an October 9th statement. (Hat tip to the Christian Science Monitor.)
"I am calling on the leaders of the United Church of Christ to learn what they can about these protests planned for this weekend. I am calling on them to organize a planned response to any demonstrations in their community targeted at our Muslim brothers and sisters and their places of worship. I am calling on them to reach out to and contact the leaders of those worshiping communities and let them know that we stand in solidarity and support of them. Even if there is no organized protest in your community, please reach out to those leaders and let them know of your love and support. This will have a deep impact on all Muslims – whether they are specifically targeted for a protest or not.


Finally, I want to say as clearly as I can, and in no uncertain terms, that the United Church of Christ stands in full solidarity with people of the Muslim faith. Their contribution to religion, to peace, to humanity, and to the goodness of all is to be celebrated. The United Church of Christ deplores the narrow-mindedness that fails to see this and seeks instead to engender fear, hatred, and anxiety."
Fortunately, rallies in several U.S. cities fizzled. A protest in front of the Muslim Center of Racine in Wisconsin was canceled for unknown reasons, according to the Racine County Eye. In Huntsville, Alabama, no one arrived at a planned protest outside the Huntsville Islamic Center, according to WHNT 19. No anti-Islam protesters showed up for the Global Rally in Bremerton, Washington, but approximately 40 people came together to show solidarity with the Muslim community, according to the Seattle Times. Raw Story reports that only one woman showed up for a protest in front of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin, Ohio -- and that she was warmly invited into the mosque by Muslims.

Other rallies were well-attended by both anti-Islam protesters and their detractors, suggesting that plenty of Americans found the Global Rallies distasteful. For example, gun-toting protesters outside the Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn, Michigan were met by counter-demonstrators calling for peace and unity, reports the Detroit News. Anti-Islamic protesters in Phoenix, Arizona faced counter-demonstrators across a barricade, according to KTAR News.

At least one rally offered some dark humor. Fox 10 reported that Jon Ritzheimer was unhappy about the presence of "Nazis" at a Global Rally gathering in Phoenix, Arizona. A YouTube video shows several Global Rally participants cursing at alleged neo-Nazis, with one man shouting, "This is the Global Rally for Humanity -- humanity, not hate!" Evidently, men who were wallowing in their irrational hatred of Muslims were offended by neo-Nazis' irrational hatred of non-Aryans.

Ultimately, the Global Rally for Humanity events were not genuine attempts to shine light on Islamic extremism, nor were they conversations about the real problems in Islam. Rather, the rallies were about scapegoating Muslims as "other" and cultivating a sense of racial and religious superiority among right-wingers. Rally supporters found it easier to demonize Muslims as the source of America's woes than to examine the complex roots of the challenges our country faces.

Fortunately, many Americans understand the difference between extremists and law-abiding Muslims. Most Americans are smart enough to reject conspiracy theories about Farrakhan and President Obama. Most Americans wisely avoided the Global Rally for Humanity events in their cities, unmoved by the fever dreams of right-wingers. Because of people like that, I'm optimistic about my country.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

American Civil Liberties Union: A Rally Around Hatred

Freak Out Nation: The Only Thing Missing From The Anti-Muslim Protests Nationwide Today Were The Protesters

CNN: Global Rally for Humanity is anti-American

Huffington Post: Sorry, Islamophobes: Your Anti-Muslim Rallies Ended Up Inspiring Acts Of Love And Service

Thursday, October 8, 2015

News Tidbits

Religion News Service: No ‘therapy,’ but Christ can ‘change’ LGBT lives, say evangelical leaders

Windy City Times: Trans woman wins decision against Hobby Lobby

Pink News: Joe Biden: Homophobes still exist, and most of them are running for President

Washington Post: Oklahoma’s controversial Ten Commandments monument was quietly removed overnight

Associated Press: Law firm labeled hate group leading Kim Davis' crusade

Reuters: 'Sense of Regret' in Vatican Over Pope Meeting With Gay Marriage Opponent

The Advocate: Liberty Counsel: The Vatican Is Lying About Pope's Kim Davis Meeting

The Courier-Journal: Black coalition forms to back biblical sexuality

Commentary Tidbits

Taylor Joy Recovers: How Quiverfull Speech Can Crash Airplanes

I'm Dani Kelley, and I Do Lots of Things: Basic Human Decency

Ring of Fire: TN County to Hear Resolution Asking “God to Spare His Upcoming Wrath on Them”

Spiritual Sounding Board: The Blogger at “Biblical Gender Roles” is Taken To Task Proving that His Discipline Advice is Really Domestic Violence

The Guardian: Abortion opposition is a religious stance. Atheists must help fight for choice

Time: Why Mike Huckabee Picked a Fight With Frito-Lay Over Gay Doritos

The Atlantic: The Downfall of the Ex-Gay Movement

Friendly Atheist: How Religion and the GOP Have Hurt Those Who Need Mental Health Resources

Huffington Post: 18 Real Things Republicans Have Said About Abortion And Planned Parenthood

Monday, October 5, 2015

Kim Davis Receives Cost of Discipleship Award at Values Voters Summit

Controversial Kentucky clerk and same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis received the second annual Cost of Discipleship Award at the 2015 Values Voters Summit (see video archive here). Family Research Council president Tony Perkins bestowed the award on Davis, who was accompanied by Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, who has represented Davis in her legal battles. In a September 14th statement at the FRC website, Perkins praised Davis and boasted that "courage is breeding courage", which has supposedly struck fear in the hearts of "militant secularists".

The award ceremony overflowed with the usual Religious Right rhetoric about alleged persecution of Christians, Supreme Court overreach, and the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Kim Davis had been blasted as a homophobe and obstructionist by detractors, but that night, among her right-wing allies, Davis was a heroine.

At the beginning of the award ceremony, the FRC's Gil Mertz thanked Liberty Counsel staff for their activism, reminding them that Satan would target them for their "righteousness".
"God knows your name very well, even though I didn't, but be aware, Satan knows your name too. You guys are marked for your stand for righteousness. We're so thankful and proud of you."
Mat Staver condemned the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision as a potential threat to religious liberty. After incorrectly telling listeners that Davis was incarcerated for her Christian faith, Staver spoke at length about her conversion to Christianity. Opponents have accused Davis of hypocrisy for opposing same-sex marriage after having been married multiple times herself, but Staver assured the audience that those marriages were before she converted.
"On June 26th, five lawyers ... imposed their will, not a legal judgment, not based on the Constitution, and not based on the court's precedent, and ... ruled against, in their own mind, millennia of human history and the created order that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We knew, at that moment, that this would be an unprecedented clash with religious freedom. What we did not realize is that within two months of that five-four opinion, that the first person because of their Christian faith would be sent to jail and spend six days in jail. And by the way, the case is far from over. And that lady is Kim Davis.

The impact of this case on us and on the world has been phenomenal. Some people said, well, how can someone who has not had perfect marriages in her past be defending marriage? Well one of the things that is wonderful about the Gospel is that four and a half years ago, Kim Davis' life radically changed when her godly dying mother-in-law, when she passed on Sunday morning, asked Kim, 'Kim, get your life in order. Try church. Go to church.' And so, to fulfill that mother-in-law's dying wish, on Sunday night she went to church and there she heard a pastor preach from the book of Galatians about forgiveness, about there's a God who created, who loved her and gave himself for her and gives her complete forgiveness and throws her sins into the bottom of the ocean and does not remember them again. And at that moment, Kim became a broken woman. She wept and gave her life to Jesus Christ, and from that moment on, she has not been the same person."
Staver used Davis' story as an example of alleged persecution of Christians in America, warning the audience that anti-gay Christians are supposedly becoming unwelcome in politics, business, and the workplace.

"Kim Davis could not attach her name and her authority to authorize, under her name and title, a marriage that conflicts with God's definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And as a result of that, Kim Davis was targeted by those who demanded that she violate her conscience and her deeply held religious convictions. And most people would cave under the pressure, but Kim Davis did not.

Kim Davis was elected to this position by the people. She believes that God ultimately brought her to this place of the county clerk. She would not resign and should not resign, because if Kim Davis resigns, what does that message say? It says if you're a Christian, if you believe in marriage as one man and one woman, you better not run for office. If you're in office, you'd better resign. If you're not an elected official but you're in the public employment, you better get out. And now, it's not just there. If you're a baker or a florist or a wedding chapel, you need to get out of the business because your faith is colliding with the culture. Kim Davis would not and will not step down ..."
Hilariously, Staver claimed that 100,000 people prayed in a stadium in Lima, Peru in support of Kim Davis, a claim that was later debunked. Liberty Counsel released a statement on September 28th clarifying Staver's claim.

Following an introduction by Tony Perkins, Kim Davis held back tears and thanked God for giving her strength. Flanked by Mat Staver and her husband, Davis reminded listeners that "we are many".
"I feel so very undeserving. I want to start by thanking my Lord and my savior, Jesus Christ, because without him, none of this would have ever been possible, for he is my strength that carries me, and it is his mercies that follow me every day, and it is his love that endures all things.

I have realized through all the trials in our lives that if we wait upon the Lord, he'll show up just in the right time, 'cause timing is always perfect. I have discovered through all of this that his grace is truly sufficient in all things. I am only one, but we are many! Thank you all so very much!
The excitement surrounding Kim Davis at the Values Voters Summit boggles the mind. When did homophobia become a mark of courage? When did dereliction of job duties become the mark of a hero?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

News Tidbits

CNN: Pope's meeting with Kim Davis not an endorsement, Vatican says

Reuters: Papal Meeting With Kentucky Clerk Chills Gay Catholics

Religion News Service: Pope Francis’ words on abuse vary by his audience

Religion News Service: Mass. pastor Scott Lively faces possible fine for harsh anti-gay efforts in Uganda

Associated Press: Australia to Deport American Anti-Abortion Activist Troy Newman 

KTLA 5: California: Suspicious Activity Found After Fire Breaks Out at Thousand Oaks Planned Parenthood

Al Jazeera America: ACLU sues Catholic hospital for denying patients emergency abortions

The Guardian: Faith schools in England illegally denying places to many children – report

Raw Story: Hobby Lobby strikes again as right-wing activists seek exemptions from birth control and marriage laws

Commentary Tidbits

Love, Joy, Feminism: I Grew Up in the Benedict Option. Here’s Why It Didn’t Work.

No Longer Quivering: Here’s How the ‘Pro-Life’ Money Machine Turns Desperate Women into Submissive Baby Makers

Rhymes with Religion: Caught in the spotlight: Christian leaders who mishandle sexual abuse disclosures

Right Wing Watch: Seven Mountains Dominionism At North Carolina's 'Response' Rally

Slate: Some North Carolina Republicans Want to Protect Anti-Gay Christians—And Outlaw Islam

SheWired: 7 Cringe-Worthy Moments from Rick Santorum's Appearance on The View

Huffington Post: 10 Ways Right-Wing Christians Are Destroying Christianity