A congregation in Pennsylvania has voted overwhelmingly to leave the United Methodist Church over the growing debate that the mainline denomination is having regarding its position on homosexuality.
Wesley Church, a congregation in Quarryville that has an average weekly worship attendance of about 650, voted to leave the UMC after months of discernment.
Chris Lenhart, associate pastor at Wesley Church, told The Christian Post that leadership for the congregation saw a "considerable chasm forming between what Wesley believed and affirmed about the nature of God's word and what the denomination believed and affirmed about the nature of God's Word. more >>
The Supreme Court's recent decision to make gay marriage legal nationwide was a significant victory for liberals. In next year's election, however, the decision will hurt Democrats. Success, after all, presents it own set of challenges.
As sociologists Mayer Zald and Roberta Ash pointed out in their classic 1966 study of social movement organizations, the two biggest challenges of a social movement are complete success and complete failure (Social Forces 44 (March)).
The ideal situation for maintaining a social movement, they wrote, would be to "over time always [seem] to be getting closer to its goal without quite attaining it." more >>
Two recent research papers have introduced me to a body of scientific literature that is highly pertinent to questions surrounding the development of non-heterosexuality. This research appears to offer confirmation and theoretical justification for what many therapists see clinically and what many people intuitively suspect, i.e., that childhood sexual abuse may play a formative role in the development of non-heterosexuality for many individuals.
The research: O'Keefe, Beard and colleagues (O'Keefe et al., 2014; Beard et al., 2013) procured retrospective data from 1,178 anonymous adult men who were students, faculty, and staff at two West Virginia universities as well as other men from the same area who had completed their educations. The sample was young (mean age of 21) and generally well-educated. Participants in the study anonymously responded via computer measures of depression, intimacy, sexual satisfaction, conflict between sexual partners, hyper-sexuality and risky sexual behavior, and same-sex and opposite-sex orientation. I will focus on the findings relevant to the origins of same-sex attractions and behaviors, but readers interested in the other findings are encouraged to consult the sources directly.
Results and Interpretation: These researchers focused on brother-brother incest (BBI) and sister-brother incest (SBI), but also assessed participants' experiences of child sexual abuse from an adult male (CSA-AM) and child sexual abuse from an adult female (CSA-AF). O'Keefe et al. (2014) provide a clear and helpful summary of the findings and their significance. I will quote the authors at length below to establish that I am not taking the researchers out of context and because I believe they state their case very well. However, I will omit the multitude of scholarly journal citations they provide to buttress their viewpoint. more >>
Editor's Note: The following is a response to Julie Rodgers, who recently resigned as ministry associate for Spiritual Care at Wheaton College, after changing her views about homosexuality. You can read part of the back story in Part 1, "What I Knew About Julie Rodgers Before She Resigned From Wheaton," here.
So how did Julie Rodgers justify her change of views about homosexuality? She begins:
"While I struggle to understand how to apply Scripture to the marriage debate today (just like we all struggle to know how to interpret Scripture on countless controversial topics), I've become increasingly troubled by the unintended consequences of messages that insist all LGBT people commit to lifelong celibacy." more >>
Within the past couple weeks, three separate national polls have been conducted on the issue of same-sex marriage. Interestingly, each of these three polls shows a decline in support for it. Both Ipsos/Reuters and Gallup conducted polls in early July — just days after the Supreme Court handed its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Both polls found a slight decline in the percentage of Americans who support same-sex marriage as compared to previous polls that each firm conducted earlier this spring.
Additionally, a third poll by the AP found that only 42 percent of Americans support same sex marriage. This is a decline of 6 points from the organization's last poll on the issue in April. It also found a significant increase in percentage of people — 59 percent in June vs. only 52 percent in April — who said wedding-related businesses with religious objections should be allowed to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples.
These findings are more significant than many observers realize. Historically, Supreme Court rulings tend legitimize certain policies in the eyes of the public — foror instance, good data from the General Social Survey (GSS) indicates that there were gains in support for legal abortion after the Roe v. Wade decision. It is interesting that support for same sex marriage did not increase in the days after the Obergefell decision. more >>
Days after it was announced that Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa, would be fined $135,000 for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Jesse Bartholomew, a self-identified gay baker, slammed the LGBT community for "bullying" and "being a Nazi."
"I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with my fellow gay and lesbian community — that they would stoop so low to force someone to bake a cake for them who simply doesn't agree with them," said Bartholomew in a just over 2-minute video posted on his Facebook page on July 9. "They don't have to bake a cake for you."
Bartholomew explained that he felt it was "stupid" to force someone to make a cake for an event that was so personal. more >>