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Homosexuals Unite Church Leaders

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  • Homosexuals Unite Church Leaders

    Since I can't log in to the appropriate thread, here's a sad comment on our times...



    NYTimes.com > International



    European Pressphoto Agency

    Religious leaders met on Wednesday in Jerusalem in a united protest against a gay pride festival planned there in August. From left: Sheik Abed es- Salem Menasra, deputy mufti of Jerusalem; the Rev. Michel Sabbagh, the Latin patriarch; the Rev. Aris Shirvanian, the Armenian patriarch; Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi; and Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi. The man at right was not identified.

    Clerics Fighting a Gay Festival for Jerusalem

    By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and GREG MYRE

    Published: March 31, 2005

    Correction Appended

    International gay leaders are planning a 10-day WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem in August, saying they want to make a statement about tolerance and diversity in the Holy City, home to three great religious traditions.

    Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.

    "They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable," Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi, said yesterday at a news conference in Jerusalem attended by Israel's two chief rabbis, the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and three senior Muslim prayer leaders. "It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."

    Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik, added: "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."

    Israeli authorities have not indicated what action, if any, they might take to limit the events. Banning the festival would seem unlikely, though the government could withhold the required permits for specific events, like a parade.

    Interfaith agreement is unusual in Israel. The leaders' joint opposition was initially generated by the Rev. Leo Giovinetti, an evangelical pastor from San Diego who is both a veteran of the American culture war over homosexuality and a frequent visitor to Israel, where he has formed relationships with rabbis and politicians.

    Organizers of the gay pride event, Jerusalem WorldPride 2005, said that 75 non-Orthodox rabbis had signed a statement of support for the event, and that Christian and Muslim leaders as well as Israeli politicians were expected to announce their support soon. They said they were dismayed to see that what united their opponents was their objection to homosexuality.

    "That is something new I've never witnessed before, such an attempt to globalize bigotry," said Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of Jerusalem Open House, a gay and lesbian group that is the host for the festival. "It's quite sad and ironic that these religious figures are coming together around such a negative message."

    Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, co-chairwoman of the festival and the rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a gay synagogue in New York City, said the controversy was another sign that each religion had become polarized between its liberal and conservative wings.

    The global Anglican Communion split deeply over homosexuality in the last two years after its American affiliate ordained an openly gay bishop and the Canada affiliate decided to allow blessings of same-sex unions.

    "I reject that they have the right to define religion in such a narrow way," Rabbi Kleinbaum said of religious leaders who denounce homosexuality. "Gay and lesbian people are saying we are equal partners in religious communities, and we believe in a religious world in which all are created in God's image."

    The festival is planned for Aug. 18-28 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors from dozens of countries. The theme is "Love Without Borders," and a centerpiece will be a parade on Aug. 25 through Jerusalem, a city that remains deeply conservative, though other parts of Israel have become increasingly accepting of gays in recent years. Other events include a film festival, art exhibits and a conference for clerics.

    When the first WorldPride festival was held five years ago in Rome, religious opposition came from the Vatican, while secular opposition came from a neo-Fascist group that vowed to hold a counterdemonstration. But the neo-Fascists canceled their demonstration, the march came off peacefully, and even a few center-right politicians joined many thousands of marchers.

    One day later, however, Pope John Paul II appeared on a balcony over St. Peter's Square and delivered a message expressing his "bitterness" that the gay festival had gone forward, calling it an "offense to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world."

    Both WorldPride festivals were initiated by an umbrella group, InterPride, that says its mission is to promote gay rights internationally.

    The outcry over the 2005 festival will not be confined to Israel. The American evangelical leader who helped to galvanize the opposition, Mr. Giovinetti, is the senior pastor of Mission Valley Christian Fellowship, an independent church that meets in a hotel in Southern California. A former band leader in Las Vegas, he is also host of a radio program heard on stations around the United States.

    Neither he nor other evangelical American leaders were at the news conference in Jerusalem, which was called by the chief rabbinate of Israel. But by all accounts Mr. Giovinetti played a crucial role in spreading the first alarms among religious leaders about the gay festival.

    He said he had first heard about WorldPride from a congregation member who had told Mr. Giovinetti that he was gay for many years and still monitored gay Web sites. Mr. Giovinetti said he alerted Israeli politicians and religious leaders.

    Mr. Giovinetti circulated a petition against the festival, titled "Homosexuals to Desecrate Jerusalem," which he said had been signed by every member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party in the Israeli Parliament. Another American who helped bring together the opposition was Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, which says it represents more than 1,000 American Orthodox rabbis. At the news conference in Jerusalem, he called the festival "the spiritual rape of the Holy City." He said, "This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land."

    Annual marches by homosexuals have become routine in Tel Aviv, a secular coastal city. For the past three years, gay parades have also been staged in Jerusalem. Religious groups have complained, but the police have issued permits for the events, which have been held without any serious incidents.

    Laurie Goodstein reported from New York for this article and Greg Myre from Jerusalem.

    Correction: April 1, 2005, Friday:

    A front-page picture caption yesterday about religious leaders who gathered in Jerusalem to protest plans for a gay pride festival included an erroneous identification from the European Pressphoto Agency for the Armenian patriarch, who stood third from the left. He is Archbishop Torkom Manoogian. (The Rev. Aris Shirvanian, not shown in the picture, is director of ecumenical and foreign relations for the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem.)

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  • #2
    It seems as if homophobia never goes out of fashion. I sometimes wonder why religions hold on to it so strongly. Its like everything else they used to hate and oppress has been taken away. You can't oppress people based on race, sex, nor even religious beleif (well, unless you follow a minority Islamic sect in Sunni country), so the only thing left is homosexuality. If that is taken away, then what is there left to hate? God forbid people are foced to become introspective and realize that their loathing comes from within.

    The thing I do not like about organized religion is that many faiths are actually designed to use faith as a weapon designed to subvert reason. In some cases of fundamentalist christianity, intellect and reason are called tools of Satan. The other thing is, when you have groups of people come together, the mob mentality sets in. It really sickens me when religious leaders spend to much time fueling the flames of intolerance and bigotry using tools like anger, indignation and out and out hatred.
    Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

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    • #3
      Well, I think it would be a pretty irony if the Messiah came to these people and proved to be gay. Of course, these days, the tabloids would have been convinced that Jesus was a 'well known bachelor' by now.
      He never actually said 'thou shalt not bugger thy buddy' did he ?

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      • #4
        In fact, didn't he encourage everyone to "love thy neighbor?"

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice Freudian slip there, Ad -- chased ?

          Comment


          • #6
            The anti-gay bias of most religions turns a lot of people off I think. There is some dubious sexuality in the Bible, such as the relationship between David and Jonathan in the Old Testament.

            I found it hard to believe that homosexuality was illegal in the UK until 1967, and even then only legal over the age of 21. Of course the gay/hetero age of consent has been levelled now, but it's taken a very long time.

            The omnisexual aspect of the Cornelius books never seemed particularly outrageous to me, but when I encouraged someone to read them in the early 80s he decided they were 'perverted' because of it.
            'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

            Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stapelkisser
              Well, I think it would be a pretty irony if the Messiah came to these people and proved to be gay. Of course, these days, the tabloids would have been convinced that Jesus was a 'well known bachelor' by now.
              He never actually said 'thou shalt not bugger thy buddy' did he ?
              Well he's coming back soon ya know.. "He's gonna replant all the tree's and restock the oceans with big fish". -WISEUSE movement

              I don't fear gays, but i don't like the gay culture around them. Their "self-ironic" expressions, although humorous, get old after a while. I think of them sometimes as 'glamour whores' even if they are not all like that. TV confuses it further with having gays do "Makeovers" on straight mens lives and fashion. Can't men be allowed by women to be men! :(

              What strikes me as weird is that some Christian groups don't like them "longhairs". "'Cuse it's in the Bible!" But Christ is mostly depicted as a 'long haired bearded man' in most paintings. He's also a "Commie-Pinko" in his social attitudes. I guess most Christians aren't as humble as they might make themselves out to be. Seeing God more like a dictator of contradicting decree's rather than an actual provider of spiritual guidance and spiritual relief. The Bible is too packed with contradictions.
              It's also too long and boring!....

              I guess Christ himself would have had more fun with Taoists than Christians. :)

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              • #8
                What amuses me most about male homosexuality is how it's been largely misrepresented by images of effeminate queens, while a lot of real male gay imagery is actually very macho and powerful. Samuel R. Delany's later writing is often very challenging on that level. The opposite could be said of lesbianism where the popular image is of pretty 'lipstick lesbians'.
                'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Isn't 'Homosexuals unite church leaders' a nice Freudian slip in itself? : )

                  Theory: most religions are essentially tribal in origin, so they seem to have an inbuilt rejection of any kind of sexual activity which is (a) non-reproductive and (b) not sanctioned by cultural convention (i.e. marriage), as reproductive sex causes the tribe to increase while marriage ensures the stability of relationships within it.

                  Some Jewish friends of mine who were married for several years without feeling the need to reproduce said they had come under 'intense cultural pressure' to have children - and this from a fairly secularised modern couple. I suggested that this pressure was essentially tribal rather than cultural - an atavistic need to outnumber the Hittites or the Shites or whoever. They were inclined to agree. I think religious homophobia is similar. Bear in mind that Onan engaged in coitus interruptus, not masturbation as tradition has it - his 'sin' was in denying the process of conception, which is also true of gay sex/love.

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                  • #10
                    Well, true. But visceral homophobia must also be involved because the same people object to 'gay marriage' and the adoption or other means of gay couples having children. The fact is they are emotionally very confused people. But then you'd have to be, really, to believe in all that stuff as gospel (as it were) wouldn't you. You are forever having to square the ludicrous with your common sense. Those who don't seem to have that problem (and doubtless all religions have 'em) are spiritually at one with themselves and rarely seem to turn up pointing the finger at some fellow soul. Spiritual beliefs are one thing.
                    Organised religion is politics. Without the responsibility. Imagine a bunch of high-ranking politicians getting together to condemn homosexuality in the advanced democracies. Priesthood -- a profession which has practised power without responsibility down the ages... the perogative of the whore... I wonder what those guys would do if they depended on popular elections for their jobs. I'm not saying they'd ALL back off, but I bet quite a few would.

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                    • #11
                      I meant to add -- I bet it takes a lot more courage to take part in that Gay Pride demo than it does to condemn it. Easy for some.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Religion is politics, yes. Which brings two thoughts to mind: first, the church(es)'s conservatism responds to the expectations of their...clients. second, do we really want them to pretend they're cool on topics like homosexuality or contraception with the sole aim to be popular and keep their influence?

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                        • #13
                          :? I've got very little to go on and to really back perhaps alot or all of what I'm about to say, but frankily I'm with the Leaders in banning Homosexuality. I believe in Christ and I've accepted him as my savior and I frankily believe all of what's stated in the bible. Even without it I'd be against Homosexuality because I find it creepy and rather disturbing. Granted I know people who are into the homosexual/bisexual thing but I've even told them i don't like it. Then again it's not the person I've judged on it. It's the act. The act alone is creepy. Not so much as the person practicing it...

                          I guess I don't as much as I could even though I believe. But really, if the Holy City is being trashed like this...I would think that it only means Christ returns even sooner.

                          David, he was supposed to be a guy filled with folly and impulsivity. He ended up getting killed by a tree branch during a wild ride. He did a bunch of other things that were supposed to be kind of vain as well. I think the story about him showed that he was more good than not though
                          David from the bible? I think your confusing yourself with the people in the book. David wasn't killed by a tree branch. More like natural causes if I recall correctly...

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                          • #14
                            Even if religious doctrine does forbid homosexuality - does that mean that gay people can't be believers? From the 'scandals' we've seen in the catholic church, as well as the UK anglican church this is clearly not the case.

                            I think something is very wrong when religious leaders feel they have to relativise faith. Just because someone is living a lifestyle you disagree with - does that mean that their faith in God is in some way deficient?
                            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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                            • #15
                              We took my wife's car in for a tune-up today and as she stepped out of it and I came up behind it from my own parked car to walk with her into the garage, I noticed the bumper sticker she put there which reads, "Another Family for Equality in Marriage" and worried a bit about how the mechanic might feel about the issue and how that might affect our service. Thankfully I don't think it did any harm in this case.

                              The weirdest thing for me about homophobia, is that people feel at all threatened by what other people feel or even do sexually. So it grosses you out a bit to picture a couple men you know having sex. (I guess I'm basically responding to strangelonewolf here, but I don't intend to limit my comments to such a response) Don't you feel a bit grossed out picturing your own parents having sex too? Would you tell them what they should or shouldn't do because of how it makes you feel uncomfortable?

                              That's obviously an intentionally extreme example, but what about overweight heterosexuals? Many people might find it unpleasant to picture them having sex, but they don't seem to want to make it illegal.

                              Even if you do beileve everything that is said in the bible in a totally literal manner, you must admit there is some definite hipocrisy that religious leaders are spending so much energy speaking out against homosexuality and so much less addressing heteroxexual aldutery. Homosexuality has a handful of passages which are open for interpretation (similiar to the passages that tell you not to not eat shellfish), while adultery is one of the Ten Commadments! There is certainly at least as much adultery as homosexuality in the world, so why the double standard? How is this not discrimination?
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