Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Court Allows Lawsuit Against U.S. Pastor for Helping with Uganda Anti-Gay Bill

Repost from the Washington Blade

A federal district court in Massachusetts announced on Wednesday it will allow a case to proceed against evangelical Christian Scott Lively for unlawfully fomenting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda and encouraging passage of the country’s pending “Kill the Gays” bill.

In a 79-page decision denying summary judgment in favor of Lively, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor refers the case to Magistrate Judge Kenneth Neiman for a pretrial scheduling conference.

“The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law,” Ponsor writes. “The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.”

Lively, president of the California-based Abiding Truth Ministries, is known for advocating that gay people should be jailed — even in countries overseas. In 2009, Lively was one of three pastors who went to Uganda to deliver a series of talks on the threat of homosexuality to African society. Continue Reading

Civil Society Groups Condemn Increasing Homophobic and Transphobic Violence in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and other civil society groups in the region are condemning increasing homophobic and transphobic violence in the Caribbean.GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and other civil society groups in the region are condemning increasing homophobic and transphobic violence in the Caribbean. CVC and its partners are deeply concerned by a stream of reports coming from Caribbean civil society organizations about incidents of violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The groups are disturbed by the anti-gay march held by evangelical churches last week in Haiti, and the alleged violence towards LGBT people afterwards.

“We are truly saddened by reports from Jamaica last week that a gender non-conforming 17-year-old was mob attacked and stabbed to death in Montego Bay. CVC extends it condolences to the families and friends of those affected by this hate-fueled violence,” the group said in a statement.

CVC said these tragic events are not isolated acts but instead a reflection of systematic discrimination and violence experienced by Caribbean LGBT people, particularly the most visible and vulnerable.

Organizations such as United and Strong in St Lucia, United Belize Advocacy Movement in Belize, and Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) in Jamaica, Trans Always Friends (TRANSSA) and the Community of Trans-Transvestite Dominican Sex Workers (CONTRAVETD) in the Dominican Republic often have to deal with similar threats, harassment and violence towards their communities because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

“This violence is a consequence of fundamentalist and hateful discourses towards LGBT communities and is likely to be replicated if urgent action is not taken,” the CVC said.

“We call on our allies involved in Caribbean struggles for social justice – progressive faith leaders, trade unions, feminist organizations, and civil liberties groups – to join us in denouncing and challenging fundamentalist views which fuel violence towards LGBT people in our region. Hate speech and extremism have no place in our Caribbean democracies, where resistance against discrimination, unity, and strength in diversity are hallmarks of our shared history. These hateful views do not reflect the teachings of the region’s religions that variously emphasize respect for diversity, non-violence, justice and unconditional love as their cornerstone values,” the statement continued.

The group demanded greater protection from Caribbean governments for all LGBT people, legal frameworks that guarantee human rights protection, and investment in mechanisms that effectively respond to violence. It also called on Caribbean states to ensure that in no circumstance is the right to freedom of expression allowed to endanger the right to life, liberty and security of person, and to the right to privacy.

“Without challenging fundamentalist discourses which undermine dignity and rights, and continuing to foster a culture of human rights, Caribbean states cannot expect to develop, and we as Caribbean citizens cannot expect a better future for our families or children,” CVC said.

“We stand in solidarity with all Caribbean civil society organizations and movements working towards more just and equal societies, where everyone’s rights and dignity are respected,” the statement concluded.

http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Fundamentalism-has-no-place-in-Caribbean-societies%2C-says-community-group-17015.html

Strange bedfellows

reuters-theeconomist-religionRepost from The Economist 

American Christian zealots are fighting back against gay rights—abroad

IT MIGHT seem only a nasty coincidence. As gay rights advance in the West—France and New Zealand are the latest countries to legalise same-sex marriage—homophobia is on the rise elsewhere. But these apparently contradictory trends may be related. Confounded at home, a crusading squad of American conservative Christians are taking the fight abroad.

In an unusual case, brought under the Alien Tort Statute, a judge in Massachusetts is pondering a claim by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a gay-rights group, against Scott Lively, a preacher and co-author of “The Pink Swastika” (which argues that Nazism was fuelled by homosexuality). Mr Lively visited Uganda in 2009, meeting politicians, appearing on television, and sharing his theories about homosexuals’ recruitment of youngsters.

Shortly afterwards a Ugandan MP introduced a parliamentary bill that would stiffen existing penalties for homosexual behaviour; among other drastic measures it mandated the death sentence for “aggravated” homosexuality. Amid a burst of anti-gay vitriol, and headlines such as “Hang Them, They Are After Our Kids”, a gay activist was murdered. SMUG alleges that, on this occasion and previously, Mr Lively conspired to persecute Ugandan homosexuals. He says he advocated therapy and prevention, not harsh punishments. Continue Reading

Calling for Basic Freedoms of Speech and Assembly for LGBT Moldovan Citizens

On July 3, thirty members of the United States House of Representatives—both Republican and Democrat—sent letters to Moldova’s Prime Minister and to the President of the Moldovan Parliament. This bipartisan letter expressed concern about a number of recent events that display a disrespect of basic freedoms of speech and assembly for LGBT Moldovan citizens. In June, the Law on Ensuring Equality, the anti-discrimination bill that has been under preparation since 2008,  was stripped of sexual orientation in its final version and a provision defining marriage as between a man and a woman was inserted. Furthermore, the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament has made a litany of homophobic and derogatory public statements about LGBT people as explanation for the changes in the legislation, and for which Moldovan civil society has demanded an apology .

In the months prior to the legislation, a dozen municipalities and provinces passed identical declarations that call for special zones of support for the Moldovan Orthodox Church and a variety of prohibitions on freedom of assembly and speech by LGBT Moldovan citizens. The Council for Global Equality continues to bring the attention of U.S. policy makers to the disturbing trend in many former Soviet republics towards restricting basic freedoms of assembly and speech, and the rising homophobia in the region.

Related: ILGA-Europe and ICJ’s recent report on “Homosexual Propaganda” Bans

Visiting Evangelist Assures Uganda’s LGBTI “Not all American Christian Preachers are Anti-Gay”

A visiting American evangelist, Pastor Joseph Tolton, has criticised Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Bill saying the conservative US evangelicals who backed the legislation “have lost the moral and cultural war.”

The controversial bill seeks the death penalty for homosexuals and is often referred to as the “Kill the Gays Bill.”

Tolton said that intolerance to sexual diversity had rendered the conservatives unable to cope with realities of life.

Tolton, who says he is “on a mission to Uganda to reassure Ugandan homosexuals of God’s love” told Behind the Mask in an exclusive interview in Kampala, that he would seek to address the influence US conservatives and their opposition to same sex relationships in Africa.

“It is spiritual colonialism,” said Tolton who is described by the US National Black Justice Coalition website as a man who “enjoys a three-faceted career serving the gay and lesbian community as a voice for spiritual freedom, social justice and economic empowerment.” Continue Reading

Huffington Post names inspiring LGBT leaders

The Huffington Post religion section has published a list of inspirational LGBT faith leaders. Originally billed as “15 Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders”, the photo slideshow with brief bios features a diverse array of LGBT faith leaders.

The initial list featured LGBT faith leaders who are recognizable from recent media attention. Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng received media attention for being Malaysia’s only openly gay pastor. The Rt. Rev. V Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool, Assistant Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, were the first and second openly gay bishops in The Episcopal Church. Rev. Scott Anderson is the first openly gay minister to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church since the church formally dropped all barriers to ordination for LGBT individuals. Continue reading


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