Last month, a professor and former dean of theology who changed gender identities argued that the Bible defends those who renounce their birth gender, while a leading biblical expert on homosexuality said it condemns them as an "abomination."
"I was dying last year because I couldn't live that way anymore. .. I tried to be the best Christian woman I could be and today I get to be the best Christian I can be and the best person I can be," Heather Ann Clements, former head of the theology department at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Los Angeles, Calif., said in a sermon proposing a biblical defense of transgender identity. During that sermon, he came out as a transgender man, Heath Adam Ackley. Embracing his identity as a man, he claimed it empowered him to love God and others more.
"The writers of Scripture viewed any attempts at overriding one's birth-sex as abhorrent, a sacrilege against the structures of maleness or femaleness created by God, and ultimately a rebellion against the Creator who made our bodies," retorted Robert A. J. Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary who is considered the foremost expert on the Bible and homosexuality. Gagnon addressed Ackley's arguments head on. more >>
The excommunication of an Australian priest known for being outspoken on his support of same-sex marriage and ordaining women for priesthood is keeping the discussion about where Pope Francis stands on moral and social issues at the forefront.
Earlier this year, Greg Reynolds was defrocked and excommunicated for his views via a direct order from the Vatican, according to the Australian publication The Age. Reportedly the first excommunicate in Melbourne, Reynolds had already resigned as a parish priest in 2011 and had founded a progressive Catholic group known as Inclusive Catholics.
Negotiations are still in the process regarding benefits for Reynolds in light of his 32 years of service to the Roman Catholic Church as a priest, according to The Age. more >>
An evangelical couple whose gay son died of a drug overdose in 2009 partnered with a Christian, pro-gay, campaign in which they addressed the LGBT community, through a video released online last week, to affirm that their beliefs and convictions in being gay are not anti-biblical.
Seattle-based Rob and Linda Robertson contributed their video for the "Not All Like That" campaign (NALT), which is the faith-based version of the "It Gets Better" project. The campaign is spearheaded for Christians who say "we are not all anti-gay," while giving them a platform to tell gay people that they can be a Christian and still support equal rights for gays.
"The NALT project is an attempt to communicate to LGBT individuals, especially teenagers and young adults that the loudest, most widely heard Christian voices that proclaim condemnation of the gay community are not speaking for all those who follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior," Linda told The Christian Post. "We are not all like that. There are millions of us who see it differently, but for many reasons, we aren't the voices that are heard." more >>
A heterosexual student attending Smith College, a private, all-female school in Northampton, Mass., was vilified online and had her life "ruined" for penning a now viral email proposing to start a sorority for "straight-only" women because she felt "marginalized" at the school.
The email, which was originally posted on Tumblr along with the identification of the woman by another Smith student, identified as "aQuieterRioter," was later removed because of the backlash against the straight student.
"Hello, this is [XXX] and I am sending this message to girls I think might be interested in this idea and I would also love to hear your opinion on this. so I have this crazy idea but tell me what you honestly think. I want to start a sorority at smith (Delta Gamma/DG), which would basically just be an exclusive group for straight girls, a little friend group," read the text of the email posted on Jezebel.com. more >>
Fifty hand-picked Christians were part of a seminal conference last week planned by Matthew Vines, a 23-year-old Christian who believes Scripture allows for monogamous homosexual activity, in an effort to spread the idea in the American church over the next decade.
Vines says he has had success in convincing lay members of churches over the last year that monogamous homosexual activity is allowed by Scripture, but is encountering resistance from Scriptural scholars. He is likely to encounter much more, say theologians.
More than 100 people applied to participate in the four-day conference, though only 50 were accepted, and the chosen were required to rigorously study throughout the summer before the conference even began. Vines sent them 1,100 pages of dense, academic reading material, for example, to make sure they understood both sides of the issue before the event began last Wednesday. more >>
The United Methodist Church will consider whether various resolutions passed by regional bodies opposed to the denomination's stance against homosexuality are in violation of church rules.
The United Methodist Judicial Council will hold a hearing next month on the resolutions passed by conferences within the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC in the 2013 annual conference session.
Homosexuality is considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" and "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" cannot be ordained, according to the UMC's Book of Discipline. The document further states that UMC clergy may not officiate same-sex unions and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. more >>