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Archive for the ‘Current News’ Category

Exodus ‘Ex-Gay’ movement needs ‘conversion to truth-telling’

“For decades, Exodus International has been synonymous with the idea that people need to be ‘cured’ or ‘healed’ of homosexuality. This week’s historic apology from Exodus leader, Alan Chambers, for the harm done to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by Exodus is encouraging,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson.  “Sadly, nothing will bring back the lives lost to suicide based on pseudo-psychology and corrupt theology. Any apology for past suicides, lost years and damage to families is only as good as real actions to counter the lies spread throughout the world by past Exodus action.

 

“What is needed is true repentance and a conversion to truth telling. The theology of condemnation must be replaced with a theology of grace in the service of God’s good creation-including LGBT people.  The trail of emotional, psychological and spiritual damage must be mitigated by evangelistic outreach around the world where the lives of LGBT people hang in the balance at the hands of religious and political leaders who would shed their blood, rape their bodies, and crucify their spirits for their own careers.

 

“We will not be satisfied until we see Evangelicals bring the same fervor to saving our lives as they have to trying to separate our souls from our God-given sexual orientations and gender identities.

 

“Around the world, MCC is known as ‘The Human Rights Church’ because we are sometimes the only faith tradition standing up for the lives of LGBT people.  Exodus has the opportunity to join us.

 

Rev. Nancy quoted on Joe. My. God

Rev. Nancy quoted on Joe. My. God

“In just days, MCC will celebrate 45 years of ministry and advocacy as we gather in Chicago, July 1-5, for our 25th General Conference.  We exhort Exodus leaders to join us.  Join us to celebrate the life of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda who risks his life every day to fight the infamous ‘kill the gays’ bill. We challenge you to sit at the feet of leaders who founded the Global Justice Institute and are working with LGBT leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

 

“Words are cheap. Lives are precious,” concluded Dr. Wilson. “Do not disappoint us.”

Supreme Court Defends First Amendment Rights Engaged in the Fight Against AIDS For U.S. Organizations

Today, six justices of the Supreme Court of the United States issued the majority  decision in Agency for International Development, et al. –v- Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. et al., finding that federal agencies mandating that organizations receiving government funding for the global fight against AIDS must hold the same opinion as the United States government to qualify for funding.

Responding  to the escalating pandemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the Congress of the United States passed the “United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003,” allocating billions of dollars to fund non-governmental organizations around the globe in multi-faceted efforts to increase access to treatment, offer supportive care, train health care workers, accelerate research and reduce at-risk behaviors.   As part of efforts designed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, at that time the fourth highest cause of death in the world,  legislators recognized sex trafficking as a factor in the escalation of the disease.

Congress charged the Department of Health and Human Services {HHS} and the United States Agency for International Development {USAID} with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the 2003 funding Act.  The agencies then developed protocol that required recipient agencies, in effect, to adopt the United States government’s position opposing prostitution and sex trafficking as a policy statement in order to qualify for funding.   Agencies of the United Nations, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Health Organization were exempted from the regulation.

The Alliance for an Open Society and others  challenged that requirement based on the first amendment right in the United States guaranteeing freedom of speech and the right to hold opinions and policies at odds with those favored by the government.

“The Supreme Court decision today,” said The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “represents a victory for all those engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The issue is not whether any of us who have long worked in this battle are promoting particular behaviors,  but rather our ability to reach those most in need of safe space and compassionate care. “

“The decision today prevents the U.S. government from telling people what they must say in cases where being judgmental may well determine whether individuals most at risk get the help they need in either remaining HIV-negative or managing their health status in a life-affirming way,” added The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair of the Moderator’s Public Policy Team.  “We serve in a movement of faith founded on the teachings of a man who cautioned against judgment,” she added, “and who proclaimed that prostitutes and tax collectors would enter heaven before many others.  Today, at least, they will be free to enter the offices of agencies around the globe who can offer them the information and health care access critical to saving their lives now.”

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Moderator’s Public Policy Team of

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.

For more information, contact The Rev. Pat Bumgardner .

Historic LGBT Church Leaders Condemn Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

“Russian tradition needs to meet universal human rights standards”

 

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in over 40 countries.  Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979.  She is currently a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute publicly and firmly condemn the adoption of a federal law in the Russian Parliament that bans so-called “non-traditional sexual relations” and which mandates fines and jail terms for people convicted of sharing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) “propaganda.”

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, said:

“Tradition is not about an idyllic past, but rather an ongoing transmission of values. Non-discrimination is one of these values important for the whole society. LGBT people have always been part of the larger Russian community. The only difference today is visibility. Russian tradition needs to meet universal human rights standards, such as the freedom of expression, a principle that applies to all Russian citizens irrespective of their national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.”

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director of Global Justice Institute, continued:

“Let me be clear. Tradition is less essential in a democratic society than justice. Stop invoking tradition to perpetuate discrimination at the highest level against our LGBT brothers and sisters from Russia! They will remain proud and visible despite these attempts to silence them, while our solidarity with the Russian civil society fighting for LGBT rights will increase. Censorship shouldn’t be a value that characterizes any nation in the 21st century.

“As a community of faith and a social justice institution, we reject the way the Russian authorities try to legitimize and legalize discrimination against LGBT people. Societal norms and traditions can’t be invoked in good faith when they deliberately harm vulnerable groups, such as LGBT people.“

 

The Global Justice Institute is a collaborative effort of Metropolitan Community Churches and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, dedicated to fostering theological reconciliation, positive public images and economic development with LGBTI people around the globe.  For more information visit www.globaljusticeinstitute.com or contact Rev. Pat, Executive Director, at 

Prepared for change: There have always been gay Boy Scouts

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” This week, gay Boy Scouts are prepared for equality.  At the same time, they are prepared for discrimination.  They know that even if the policy changes to allow gay Boy Scouts, there will still be those who discriminate.  There will be those who are frightened by change and by the full range of human expression of love and family.

read the full article on the washington post website http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/05/22/prepared-for-change-there-have-always-been-gay-boy-scouts

Pope Francis! Treat LGBT Catholics with Dignity!

Pope Francis! Pope Francisco! When I heard his name, I thought, “What an auspicious beginning!” His name alludes to St. Francis Xavier, founding Jesuit scholar, but it is St. Francis of Assisi, renowned for service to the poor and his love for all God’s creatures, that Pope Francis is claiming. We pray that ministry to and with the poor become the hallmark of his legacy.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post

Moderator of Largest LGBT Church Calls for Prayer for New Pope

13 March 2013
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Moderator of Largest LGBT Church
Calls for Prayer for New Pope

Today I join with people around the globe in praying for the newly elected pontiff, Pope Francis, and for the people the world over who will look to him for spiritual guidance.

The challenges any Head of Communion faces are many and far outweigh the privileges that accrue to the position. Though we may differ on our perspectives, I trust that all who lead the faithful seek the fulfillment of God’s plan for peace on this earth and good will prevailing among all. Whether his choice of name reflects his devotion to the great Jesuit scholar or the humble monastic of popular piety who heard the voice of God calling him to rebuild the Church, I pray that Pope Francis will have the wisdom and courage to lead by demonstrating compassion, mercy, generosity and grace in all things as the One Christians across the globe follow, Jesus the Christ.

The first Jesuit and the first Argentinian to be elected as Pontiff, I pray Pope Francis will be the first Bishop of Rome to embrace the diversity of God’s creation, especially as that relates to God’s LGBT children, and become a voice for respect and equality everywhere.

I call on MCCers and people of good will everywhere to join me in that prayer.

Grace and Peace,

+Nancy

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality

Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality

Join the
United for Marriage Rally
March 26, 2013

On March 26-27, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider landmark cases that will determine if LGBT Americans will enjoy the freedom and equality under the law that is every American’s birthright.  These deliberations are coming amid a dramatic change in public opinion about marriage equality for LGBT people with more than half of Americans favoring marriage rights for same-sex couples according to a December poll by Gallup.  The United States of America is ready for marriage equality.

As the nation’s highest court begins its deliberations of these cases, Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute are joining LGBT and allied organizations, faith and grassroots leaders, and social justice and religious associations from across the country in rallying at the steps of the Supreme Court to tell our stories and make our voices heard about the fundamental right and freedom to marry.

Please join us for this historical moment by helping us demonstrate our strong support for marriage equality for all Americans, whether in Washington, DC or in your own community.  In addition to the rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 100 local leaders and organizations are organizing rallies, vigils, observances, and prayer services in their local areas to highlight their support for marriage equality for LGBT people.

Can we count you in? There are three ways you can get involved:

Come rally with us outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 26th and 27th:  
http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageRally

Join or organize a community event in your area: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageLocalEvents

Tweet from your event using #united4marriage

Whether you attend the rally in Washington, DC or in your local area, wear red to show your support for freedom and equality.

Every action and every event we organize in support of marriage equality will bring us a step closer in making freedom and equality a reality for all people.  Several MCC’s have already committed to lifting their voices on behalf of marriage equality within their own communities:

*MCC Hartford, Hartford, CT
*MCC New Haven, New Haven, CT
*Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
*Trinity MCC, Gainesville, FL

If your congregation is planning an event in observance of the marriage equality court hearings, please let us know at .

Is the Pope Catholic?

Pope Benedict’s sudden announcement to step down stirred a whirlwind of commentary and speculation. The publicized reason was that the pope no longer had the stamina to fulfill the duties of his office. This is the first time in more than 600 years that a pope has stepped down. Every pope since then has died while serving as pontiff.

Read more on Rev. Nancy’s Huffington Post Article

No Strangers to God: A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families

When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them.  Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Sovereign your God.

–Leviticus 19:33-34 (CEB)

 

National borders around the world appear to shrink with each passing day, leading God’s people to seek better lives and more opportunities wherever they exist. The United States has a complicated but long history with welcoming the foreign born.

Our faith mandates that we welcome and offer the immigrant sanctuary.  We hold to the principle that all people living in the United States are entitled to protection provided by due process of law and that all immigrants and their families are entitled to receive protection granted by our laws and Constitution.

Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) condemns in the strongest possible terms rhetoric and policies that seek to devalue or demean immigrants as anything less than our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, neighbors and friends, all made equally in the image of God.

Further, MCC calls upon the U.S. Congress to pass and implement comprehensive immigration reform which will allow millions of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States and are often parents and spouses of U.S. Citizens to have a pathway to legalization and to full social and economic integration into the United States.  Such reforms would enhance our immigration system for the better, righting the wrongs of past restrictions that left immigrants and their families living in the shadows and ensuring that all those wishing better lives for themselves and their families will be welcomed to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in this country.

As the Congress considers immigration reform legislation, we call on all lawmakers to ensure that such legislation supports fairness and equality specifically for LGBT families regardless of their legal status.  We applaud the approach of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to comprehensive immigration reform, an approach that includes the “Uniting American Families Act.” Among the proposal’s seven principles is a call to protect “the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.” We thank Rep. Luis Gutierrez for his leadership on immigration reform and immigration equality in particular, along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who originally introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Michael Honda for his corresponding efforts.

We call the U.S. Senate to follow the leadership of the House of Representatives, and commend the work of Senator Patrick Leahy.

We applaud President Obama for instituting federal policy reforms that will enable the children of undocumented immigrants a more viable pathway to securing a college education. We also applaud his reprioritization of deportation cases that assigns the lowest priority to deportation of bi-national same- sex couples. These are common sense reforms that promote our best values and ensure that more and more of this nation’s residents maintain meaningful opportunity for life, liberty, and happiness.

We urge all our national leaders, state legislators and fair-minded citizens to support immigration reform, upholding the God-given equality of all who call this land home.

We celebrate the citizens of Maryland who approved that state’s version of the DREAM Act, allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to receive the same in-state tuition benefits as other Marylanders, while cautioning against putting questions of justice and equality to the ballot.

We pray that all national and state leaders, as well as all people of good will, will join the effort to help the nation live into its promise of equal opportunity for all. MCC will continue to work so that no one is outside of the light of justice and the protection of the law. God’s people deserve no less.

Obama’s Inaugural Prayer Service Includes Head of Pro-LGBT Denomination
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of MCC, to read Bible at inaugural service

 

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), which has ministries in over 40 countries.  Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979.  She is currently a member ofPresident Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 

STATEMENT:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – White House staff announced that the Interfaith Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, to be held Tuesday morning, 22 January, will include the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator and international leader of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination founded 45 years ago as a church open to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Dr. Wilson was installed at the National Cathedral as MCC’s global Moderator in 2005 during an MCC service hosted by the Cathedral.  This month, the National Cathedral staff announced they will begin performing marriages for same-gender couples.  Dr. Wilson recently celebrated her 35th anniversary with her wife.

Dr. Wilson said, “It is profoundly meaningful to read the Bible during President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s second inaugural interfaith service.  As I read, I will remember the hands laid on me seven years ago in this very cathedral by faith leaders who called me to serve all of God’s beautifully diverse children, including LGBT people. President Obama prayerfully and respectfully stood up for LGBT equality during his campaign, and I am proud to stand with him.”

The prayer service dates back to President George Washington.  Today, participation by religious leaders from many traditions mark this service.

In a December 18th press release, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral, said, “The Inaugural Prayer Service is an historic observance that Washington National Cathedral is honored to host once again for President Barack Obama. The Cathedral has come to be known as a spiritual home for the nation, and as part of living into that calling, it is our prayer that the service will embody the hopes and vision of our nation, and that God’s purpose might shine forth with new clarity in our lives.”

Attendance at the National Prayer Service is by invitation only, and tickets are required. The service will be webcast live at www.nationalcathedral.org. For the latest updates on the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, please visit www.2013pic.org.