31 May 2011

Baptist pastor who preaches gays deserve death makes secret settlement with 4 men suing him for sexual coercion



CNN  -  May 26, 2011

Bishop Eddie Long settles with accusers

By John Blake, CNN



Atlanta (CNN) – Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-based megachurch leader, has reached an out-of-court settlement with four young men who accused him of sexual coercion, representatives for both sides said Thursday.

B.J. Bernstein, the attorney representing the men, said in a statement that the lawsuits against Long and his church have “been resolved.”

Bernstein's two-paragraph statement said that neither she nor the accusers would talk about the lawsuits “now or in the future.”

Art Franklin, a Long spokesman, said Thursday that the pastor settled because it “is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel.”

“This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry,” Franklin said in a statement.

Long is an internationally known televangelist who crusaded against gay marriage, and the lawsuits against him drew national attention.

The settlement comes eight months after Long, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia, said from the pulpit of his 25,000 member megachurch that he vowed to fight the accusations against him, with the congregation cheering in response.

Long entered into mediation talks in February. According to news reports, the sessions between Long and his four accusers - Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande - were tense.

The suits accused Long of using his position to coerce the men into having sexual relationships with him while they were teenage members of his congregation.

The lawsuits say Long engaged in intimate sexual acts with the young men, such as massages, masturbation and oral sex.

Long took the young men on trips including to Kenya, according to the suits. He allegedly enticed the young men with gifts including cars, clothes, jewelry and electronic items.

Long's attorneys deny those allegations and maintain that the pastor was attempting to be a father figure to the youths by providing them with financial assistance and encouragement.

Though no trial will now take place, Long may face the judgment of his congregation and fans worldwide.

Shayne Lee, a sociology professor at Tulane University in Louisiana and an authority on televangelists, said Long’s out of court settlement may erode some of his support.

“When you settle outside of court, it implies that there’s some guilt involved,” said Lee, author of "Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace."

“To the average congregation in the black church, those are some very serious charges,” Lee said, referring to the men’s charges against Long. “You can’t settle outside of court. You have to fight and roll up your sleeves, be defiant and fight it.”

Since the scandal had erupted, attendance at Long’s church had fallen, and New Birth officials have announced plans to lay off staff and cut Long’s salary.

But Lee said it would be premature to think that Long will retreat from the pulpit.

“He can say ‘I still have my anointing and I still have my ministry,’ ’’ Lee said. “He can say that God is working out the weeds so that the tree has a stronger foundation.”

The four men’s accusations stunned many of Long’s followers. A married man, Long had often preached about the sanctity of marriage. He once led a march against gay marriage.

Long had also cultivated a public image that was built on his machismo. He wore tight muscle shirts in the pulpit. He wrote books that compared Christian men to spiritual gladiators. He told people he had a special calling to reach men.

One Atlanta pastor predicted Long will survive the scandal because his core audience will forgive him.

“Black folks have very short memories,” said the Rev. Tim McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. “We are the most forgiving people on the planet."

McDonald, who said he has talked privately with Long since the scandal erupted, said Long “went into a shell” after the accusations against him went public.

Before the scandal erupted, Long would often publicly criticize other black pastors, and once said they “major in storefront buildings,” suggesting that they lacked the business acumen to build a megachurch like he had.

But Long had shown a different public face lately, McDonald said. His entourage wasn’t as big; he was more visible in the community.

“I found him opening up,” McDonald said. “If he can pick that back up and humble himself and stop saying things like, ‘I ain’t just another chicken-eating preacher,’ he’ll survive.”

Lee, the Tulane sociologist, said Long will remain in the pulpit for another reason.

“This is what he knows,” Lee said. “He’s not going to be able to sell insurance or cars. He’s cocky. He’s confident. He believes in redemption.”

This article was found at:


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CNN  -  May 27, 2011

My Take: No justice in Eddie Long's settlement

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN



The Roman Catholic Church isn't the only religious institution that has failed to respond directly and transparently to allegations of sexual impropriety.

Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of the Georgia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has just settled out of court with the four young men who alleged Long had sexually coerced them. And neither side is talking.

After the allegations surfaced last September, Long said he would “vigorously” defend himself against charges that he used a combination of spiritual authority and material enticements (cars, jewelry, cash) to curry sexual favors from the men, who were 17 and 18 at the time.

Not any more, at least not in court.

And Long’s accusers won’t be talking either. B. J. Bernstein, their lawyer, said yesterday that they would not discuss the matter “now or in the future.”

Over the last few decades, observers of the Roman Catholic Church sex scandal have rightly argued for transparency — for taking sexual assault cases out of the hands of the secretive old boys network of priests and bishops and bringing them out into the open, including into the courts.

Why? So justice could be done, and so Catholic parents might come to feel safe once again entrusting their children to the care of priests.

American Zen centers have dealt in recent years with their own contagion of sexual abuse allegations against Zen masters, and they have done so with remarkable candor and transparency.

In December, a group of Zen leaders wrote a series of letters calling for the dismissal of Eido Tai Shimano from his position as abbot of the New York-based Zen Studies Society.

In her letter concerning the this case, Joan Halifax, founding abbot of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, did not pull any punches. She called Shimano an “embarrassment to Buddhism” and his behavior, brought to national attention last August in the New York Times, “abusive, gender-biased, predatory, misogynistic.”

But she also compared the situation to “family members in a dysfunctional family,” adding that the wider Buddhist community was “complicit in some way . . . as we all knew what was going on."

To be fair to Long, the case against Eido Shimano was clearer cut (recently unsealed papers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa detail decades of sexual liasons with his female students), as are many of the cases against pedophile priests. But the reason we can say that is because the evidence has come out.

In Catholicism’s sex scandals, critics have commonly criticized structural issues. Rather than blaming this priest or that, they have blamed the Catholic practice of clerical celibacy. Or, in the case of a recent study by researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, they blamed the permissiveness of the 1960s.

So I have to wonder whether there are structural issues in the Long case also. As names such as Swaggart, Bakker and Haggard remind us, he is not the first megachurch pastor accused of sexual abuse.

The Protestant Reformation was in part about getting away from the authority of priests and popes. Why approach God indirectly when you can do so directly, Protestants asked. Why not read the Bible for yourself?

Unfortunately, there isn't much evidence that many American Protestants today are reading scripture with frequency or care. On a battery of 12 questions about Christianity and the Bible, American Protestants got 6.5 questions right on average, for a score of 54%. Many must rely on pastors like Long to tell them what to do and think.

In her letter, Halifax discussed the dangers of “being under the spell of a teacher or person of authority.” But Christians fall under that spell too. And as they do, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to imagine that their ministers might be sexual predators.

I do not know what Bishop Eddie Long did or did not do with these four young men. I will say, however, that I am predisposed in these cases to give credence to the accusations of the alleged victims, if only because I have seen sexual coercion happen so often in religious groups.

A civil trial might have changed that predisposition. And a complete and public investigation of Long’s actions by the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church could have done the same.

It’s a shame that neither of those things are going to happen. And those who have the most to be ashamed of — perhaps more than Long himself — are the people in the pews who come every weekend to worship him.

If you aren’t familiar with Long’s preaching style, you can view a sermon he gave in 2000 called “Stop the Cover Up.” To which I can only say, "Amen."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.


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17 comments:

  1. Psychiatrist Repudiates Infamous Ex-Gay Study

    By Evelyn Schlatter, Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center April 11, 2012

    Retired psychiatrist and Columbia University professor Robert Spitzer has repudiated his own much-criticized 2001 study that has been used for years by anti-gay activists to buttress their claims that gay men and lesbians can be “cured” of their homosexuality through therapy.

    In the controversial study, Spitzer claimed that some “highly motivated” LGBT people could become straight. His repudiation [1] came in an article about the fringe “ex-gay” movement in the American Prospect. In an interview, Spitzer asked the author, Gabriel Arana, to print a retraction of the 2001 study so that he “wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.”

    Since its publication, the study has been one of the major weapons wielded by anti-gay groups, which frequently cite it as “proof” that LGBT people choose to be gay and can thus change their sexual orientation. At the heart of this argument is the belief that homosexuality is an unnatural deviation from normal sexual development, a form of mental disorder.

    The ex-gay movement, according to Arana, “has relied on the Spitzer study as the single piece of objective evidence that therapy can work.”

    Ironically, Spitzer, who is now 80, was one of the psychiatrists who pushed the American Psychiatric Association to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder, a step the organization took in 1973. His 2001 study came as a shock and disappointment to many, and it received a storm of criticism over its suspect methodology and design.

    Participants had been referred to Spitzer by ex-gay therapy practitioner groups like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH [2]) and Exodus International [3]. Their claims were self-reported, and Spitzer did not compare participants to a control group. Yesterday, Spitzer told Warren Throckmorton [4], a psychology professor at Grove City College, that he “has regret for what he now considers to be errant interpretations” of study participants’ reports. He also said that he had “second thoughts” about the study and now believes that “his conclusions don’t hold water.”

    “I actually had great difficulty finding participants,” Spitzer told Arana in the American Prospect. “In all the years of doing ex-gay therapy, you’d think [Joseph] Nicolosi would have been able to provide more success stories. He only sent me nine patients.” (Nicolosi is a clinical psychologist who practiced ex-gay therapy and helped found NARTH.)

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  2. Ex-gay therapy, also known as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, has been widely discredited by the scientific community. Most strikingly, in 2006, the American Psychological Association (APA) stated: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.” The APA added, “Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

    Since his study’s publication, Spitzer has tried to make it clear [5] that he didn’t want it used to justify discrimination against the LGBT community, and he emphasized that he did not think that most LGBT people could become heterosexual. Nevertheless, the study became a major part of the anti-gay movement’s arsenal, with claims that here, at last, was “proof” that “all” gay people could become straight through prayer or therapy. Spitzer attempted to point out over the years that such change was either highly unlikely or that anti-gay organizations had misused his research.

    It’s not the first time anti-gay groups have used suspect studies or misused legitimate ones to further anti-LGBT sentiment.

    In January, Seton Hall professor Theodora Sirota issued a statement [6] taking NARTH’s Rick Fitzgibbons to task for using one of her studies to oppose adoption by same-sex couples. Sirota said that no conclusions about LGBT parents or the “fitness” of LGBT parents can be drawn from her findings. Fitzgibbons has yet to correct his own article or remove the Sirota citation from it

    Several other legitimate researchers [7] have publicly asked anti-gay organizations stop distorting their research. Now, with Spitzer’s on-the-record retraction, it remains to be seen whether they will stop using his 2001 study to justify their claims.

    Don’t hold your breath.

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2012/04/11/psychiatrist-retracts-infamous-ex-gay-study/

    Citation links from comment above:

    [1] repudiation: http://prospect.org/article/my-so-called-ex-gay-life

    [2] NARTH: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/queer-science

    [3] Exodus International: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/winter/straight-like-me

    [4] Spitzer told Warren Throckmorton: http://wthrockmorton.com/2012/04/11/robert-spitzer-retracts-2001-ex-gay-study/

    [5] make it clear: http://www.truthwinsout.org/in-dr-robert-spitzers-own-words/

    [6] Theodora Sirota issued a statement: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/01/04/40296

    [7] Several other legitimate researchers: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alvin-mcewen/rick-fitzgibbons-theodora-sirota_b_1185223.html

    [8] : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/12/christian-anti-gay-ads-buses

    ReplyDelete
  3. TODDLER'S AIN'T NO HOMOS SONG Puts Church on Lockdown Pastor Gets Death Threats

    TMZ May 30, 2012

    Members of an Indiana church say they've been flooded with death threats since video of a 3-year-old proudly singing, "Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven" ... was posted on the Internet.

    Multiple members of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana tell TMZ the church office has been getting harassing calls and the pastor has received death threats at his home. They also say a prayer meeting scheduled for this evening at church had to be moved to a secret location.

    We're told they are looking into increasing security, but for now the congregation is handling it ... taking turns watching over the church.

    One member says Pastor Jeff Sangl is extremely worried about his safety -- and this morning he and his wife left for vacation without telling anyone where they were going.

    Despite the threats, all the members we spoke to have no regrets about the song getting posted online -- in fact one said, "The people who are upset just don't read the word of God. If we don't teach the children the truth early they will never learn."

    As for the thunderous applause after the hate-filled song -- we're told, "Of course we applauded a child who is singing a song about God."

    http://www.tmz.com/2012/05/30/indiana-toddler-church-song-aint-no-homos-death-threats/

    see video at: http://www.tmz.com/2012/05/30/indiana-toddler-church-song-no-homos-heaven/

    This video is nuts -- an Indiana toddler took the mic at his church recently, and sang a hate-filled anti-gay song ... with the lyrics, "Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven" ... and the crowd went WILD.

    The video was reportedly recorded at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana -- featuring a young boy on the altar, barely old enough to walk, singing a song he was obviously spoon fed.

    It's pretty hard to make out the words -- so here are the lyrics ...

    "The Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
    The Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
    Romans one, twenty six and twenty seven;
    Ain’t no homos gonna make it to Heaven."

    The congregation erupts in thunderous applause after the song.

    FYI, here's Romans 1:26-27 -- "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."

    It's the latest video to hit the web showing rampant homophobia in America's churches -- starting with a North Carolina pastor advocating beating the gay out of your child ... and another NC pastor talking about fencing up gay people and letting them die out.

    see: Pastor Sean Harris -- Beat the Gay Out of Your Kid! http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_xf12hm61

    N.C. Pastor Charles Worley: "Put Gays And Lesbians In Electrified Pen To Kill Them Off" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2839yEazcs

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay Cure Is Renounced

    By ERIK ECKHOLM, New York Times July 6, 2012

    For more than three decades, Exodus International has been the leading force in the so-called ex-gay movement, which holds that homosexuals can be “cured” through Christian prayer and psychotherapy.

    Exodus leaders claimed its network of ministries had helped tens of thousands rid themselves of unwanted homosexual urges. The notion that homosexuality is not inborn but a choice was seized on by conservative Christian groups who oppose legal protections for gay men and lesbians and same-sex marriage.

    But the ex-gay movement has been convulsed as the leader of Exodus, in a series of public statements and a speech to the group’s annual meeting last week, renounced some of the movement’s core beliefs. Alan Chambers, 40, the president, declared that there was no cure for homosexuality and that “reparative therapy” offered false hopes to gays and could even be harmful. His statements have led to charges of heresy and a growing schism within the network.

    “For the last 37 years, Exodus has been a bright light, arguably the brightest one for those with same-sex attraction seeking an authentically Christian hope,” said Andrew Comiskey, founder and director of Desert Stream Ministries, based in Kansas City, Mo., one of 11 ministries that defected. His group left Exodus in May, Mr. Comiskey said in an e-mail, “due to leader Alan Chambers’s appeasement of practicing homosexuals who claim to be Christian” as well as his questioning of the reality of “sexual orientation change.”

    In a phone interview Thursday from Orlando, Fla., where Exodus has its headquarters, Mr. Chambers amplified on the views that have stirred so much controversy. He said that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself included. Mr. Chambers, who left the gay life to marry and have two children, said that gay Christians like himself faced a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin and should not be afraid to admit it.

    He said Exodus could no longer condone reparative therapy, which blames homosexuality on emotional scars in childhood and claims to reshape the psyche. And in a theological departure that has caused the sharpest reaction from conservative pastors, Mr. Chambers said he believed that those who persist in homosexual behavior could still be saved by Christ and go to heaven.

    Only a few years ago, Mr. Chambers was featured in advertisements along with his wife, Leslie, saying, “Change is possible.” But now, he said in the interview, “Exodus needs to move beyond that slogan.”

    “I believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible,” Mr. Chambers emphasized. “But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else,” he said, noting that Christians with other sins, whether heterosexual lust, pornography, pride or gluttony, do not receive the same blanket condemnations.

    Mr. Chambers’s comments come at a time of widening acceptance of homosexuality and denunciation of reparative therapy by professional societies that say it is based on faulty science and potentially harmful.

    A bill to outlaw “conversion therapy” for minors has passed the California Senate and is now before the State Assembly. Earlier this year, a prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, apologized for publishing what he now calls an invalid study, which said many patients had largely or totally switched their sexual orientation.

    Defenders of the therapy say that it can bring deep changes in sexual orientation and that the attacks are politically motivated.

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  5. continued from previous comment:

    David H. Pickup, a therapist in Glendale, Calif., who specializes in the treatment, said restricting it would harm people who are unhappy with their homosexuality by “making them feel that no change is possible at all.”

    Mr. Pickup, an officer of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, composed of like-minded therapists, said reparative therapy had achieved profound changes for thousands of people, including himself. The therapy, he said, had helped him confront emotional wounds and “my homosexual feelings began to dissipate and attractions for women grew.”

    Some in the ex-gay world are more scathing about Mr. Chambers.

    “I think Mr. Chambers is tired of his own personal struggles, so he’s making excuses for them by making sweeping generalizations about others,” said Gregg Quinlan, a conservative lobbyist in New Jersey and president of a support group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

    Exodus International, with a budget of $1.5 million provided by donors and member churches, is on a stable footing, Mr. Chambers said. He said the shifts in theology had the support of the Exodus board and had been welcomed by many of the 150 churches that are members in North America, which increasingly have homosexuals in their congregations. More opposition has come from affiliated ministries specifically devoted to sex-related therapies, with 11 quitting Exodus so far while about 70 remain.

    In another sign of change, the vice chairman of the Exodus board, Dennis Jernigan, was forced to resign in June after he supported anti-sodomy laws in Jamaica. The board pledged to fight efforts anywhere to criminalize sexual acts between consenting adults.

    Robert Gagnon, an associate professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of books on homosexuality and the Bible, last week issued a public call for Mr. Chambers to resign. “My greatest concern has to do with Alan’s repeated assurances to homosexually active ‘gay Christians’ that they will be with him in heaven,” he said in an e-mail.

    Gay rights advocates said they were encouraged by Mr. Chambers’s recent turn but remained wary of Exodus, which they feel has caused enormous harm.

    “Exodus International played the key role in planting the message that people can go from gay to straight through religion and therapy,” said Wayne Besen, director of Truth Wins Out, a group that refutes what it considers misinformation about gays and lesbians. “And the notion that one can change is the centerpiece of the religious right’s argument for denying us rights.”

    Many of the local ministries in Exodus continue to attack gays and lesbians, said David Roberts, editor of the Web site Ex-Gay Watch, and they often have close ties with reparative therapists. He speculated that Mr. Chambers was trying to steer the group in a moderate direction because “they were becoming pariahs” in a society that is more accepting of gay people.

    Mr. Chambers said he was simply trying to restore Exodus to its original purpose when it was founded in 1976: providing spiritual support for Christians who are struggling with homosexual attraction.

    He said that he was happy in his marriage, with a “love and devotion much deeper than anything I experienced in gay life,” but that he knew this was not feasible for everyone. Many Christians with homosexual urges may have to strive for lives of celibacy.

    But those who fail should not be severely judged, he said, adding, “We all struggle or fall in some way.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/us/a-leaders-renunciation-of-ex-gay-tenets-causes-a-schism.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sexual Misconduct and the American Prosperity Gospel

    by Kate Bowler, The Huffington Post October 8, 2012

    Every Sunday, millions of American Christians attend a megachurch that preaches a "prosperity gospel" of health, wealth and happiness. But in this era of supersized banks and corporations, prosperity megachurches have become just another organization that assumes it is too big to fail.

    Victory Christian Center in Oklahoma is shaken by allegations that five of its employees failed to report the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl by another church employee on church property. Tulsa police have accused a 20-year-old man of raping the girl in the stairwell of the megachurch Aug. 13 before a church service. Police say that youth pastors John and Charica Daugherty -- the son and daughter-in-law of the church's famous founders -- and three other employees waited two weeks before notifying police.

    It's hardly the first time that prosperity megachurches have been reluctant to disclose sexual misconduct within their walls: Everyone remembers Jim Bakker's tryst with Jessica Hahn and the downfall of the Praise The Lord empire.

    But ministries have stumbled for far less. And far more.

    Bishop Eddie Long and his multimillion-dollar ministry has been stalled by allegations that young men in his church were coerced into sexual acts.

    The Atlanta Archbishop Earl Paulk Jr. and his Cathedral of the Holy Spirit evaded decades of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and financial impropriety until he finally resigned in 2006. (A year later Paulk revealed he had fathered a child with his brother's wife.)

    Earlier this year, Bishop Joseph Walker of the 25,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville was hit with multiple lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct with congregants.

    Though churches of all kinds weather ethical storms, few seem as committed to secrecy as prosperity megachurches. Why? The answer lies in part with the magnified role of the senior pastor. Prosperity pastors exist as larger-than-life figures. Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar and many others are living proof of their message that God does bless people with finances, health and all-around success. Their biographies (always available at the church bookstore) are understood as spiritual revelations of how to put divine principles into action.

    The prosperity gospel breeds a culture in which pastors are too important to be human, let alone to make mistakes. Their personal lives are their most valuable asset and are protected as such by church employees and congregants alike. Video surveillance of church property is prominent and pervasive. Ushers frequently double as security guards.

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  7. continued from previous comment...

    I have spent almost 10 years earning interviews with these pastors, and it can certainly be said that large organizations must naturally limit personal access. But prosperity megachurches breed a culture of cultivated distance. Office hours are virtually nonexistent. Even longtime church members cannot expect to have a personal interaction with a beloved leader who they refer to affectionately as "The Bishop," "Brother So-and-So" or sometimes "Daddy So-and-So." Most believers seem to accept this distance as part of the price of following someone so important.

    But when rumors swirl about sexual impropriety, why don't church members speak out?

    The prosperity gospel's emphasis on positive thinking and positive speech makes it difficult to raise critical issues from the inside. I have heard hundreds of sermons castigating "complainers" as unspiritual. Some pastors take this even further; riffing from Psalm 105:15, they curse opponents as doubters who speak against the Lord's anointed. People who speak up run the risk of ostracization. Further, they might simply not have a theological framework by which to separate their faith in the message with their faith in the person.

    Charismatic newspapers have struggled with this issue for years. Is it unfaithful to report the moral failings of religious leaders?

    In 1993, the editor of Charisma magazine begged his pentecostal readership to respond to the Earl Paulk scandal with a call for greater accountability and transparency in church leadership. More than a decade would pass before Paulk's ministry finally caved under the weight of the allegations.

    In 2012, it is difficult to see how these questions of accountability have been thoughtfully adjudicated. One reason may be is that these organizations' trustees and church boards are often stuffed with friends and family members, making them far less willing to risk the consequences of whistleblowing.

    In the case of Victory Christian Center, Tulsa investigators fear that more victims will surface but are concerned they may be too reluctant to speak out. When a police detective contacted some of the victims, at least two parents refused to cooperate, saying the church was "handling the situation" and they would "continue to pray about it."

    In an era of supersized organizations, it is time to hold prosperity megachurches to higher standards and demand a healthy dose of accountability.

    Kate Bowler is Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity in the United States at Duke Divinity School and author of 'Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel' (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014).

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-bowler/sexual-misconduct-and-the-american-prosperity-gospel_b_1949103.html

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  8. California bans teenage gay conversion therapy

    BBC News October 1, 2012

    California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a ban on therapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight.

    When the law comes into effect on 1 January, the Golden State will become the first to outlaw the practice for people under the age of 18.

    The bill was backed by mental health groups, and gay rights activists say reparative or "conversion therapy" can increase risk of depression or suicide.

    Counselling and prayer is used to help some Christians deal with gay urges.

    The bill was signed over the weekend along with more than 100 pieces of legislation sent to the governor by California's state legislature.

    'Junk science'

    In a statement, Mr Brown said sexual orientation change efforts "have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery".

    The Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, said: "We're grateful to Governor Brown for standing with California's children.

    "LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being," the gay rights advocate added, urging other states to take up similar measures.

    But the National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality said the bill was a "legislative over-reach".

    Some conservative groups have said banning the therapy would restrict a parent's right to care for children going through gender confusion.

    California is embroiled in a long-standing legal tussle over gay marriage.

    A law called Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage in California just months after it had been introduced. But a court overturned the ban in 2010.

    After an appeal was upheld, the matter may now come before the US Supreme Court for a final ruling.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19789505

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  9. A Burning Question: Is Heterosexuality Illegal in California?

    by Don Terry, Southern Poverty Law Center October 3, 2012

    The headline is sensational and does what headlines are supposed to do – it grabs your attention:

    “California Bans Heterosexuality.”

    After my initial shock, I settled down and read the story under the headline and quickly learned, to my great relief, that the Golden State hasn’t really banned heterosexuality – at least not yet.

    The story turns out to be the latest anti-gay rant from Linda Harvey’s Columbus, Ohio-based website, Mission: America, whose subtitle is “Christian Commentary on the Culture.” Her outfit is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes this blog.

    In this case, the commentary is about California Gov. Jerry Brown signing a bill on Saturday that made his state the first in the country to prohibit mental health providers from subjecting LGBT children and teens to therapy intended to change their sexual orientation.

    “This bill bans nonscientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,” The New York Times quoted the governor as saying in a statement after he signed the bill into law. “These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

    Needless to say, Mission: America sees the bill in a much different light.

    “California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a law that essentially removes choice for most teens with homosexual attractions, except to enter that sinful and high risk lifestyle,” the commentary says. “Counselors cannot warn them or steer them away from these desires.

    “What’s next, ‘LGBT’ loyalty oaths?”

    On her website, Harvey calls what she does a “media ministry’’ and an outgrowth of her “Christian faith and a successful career in journalism, marketing and public relations.” Her on-line bio goes on to say she founded Mission: America in 1995 as “a non-profit organization whose objective is to equip Christians with current, accurate information” – like California’s ban on heterosexuality? – “about cultural issues such as feminism, homosexuality, education and New Age influences.’’

    Gathered together on the site, under the heading “The ‘Gay’ Agenda Targeting Youth,” are some of the many articles she has written about her fears of a gay planet. They include: “How Homosexual Friends Can Influence Our Kids,” “Protecting Youth Against Homosexuality: A Plan for Churches,” and “Grooming Kids in a ‘Gay’ Identity is Like Penn State Abuse.’’

    Here’s another headline for you: “California Bans Heterosexual Bigots.” Come on, governor, the dustbin has plenty of room.

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2012/10/03/a-burning-question-is-heterosexuality-illegal-in-california/

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  10. Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Faces Test in Courts

    By ERIK ECKHOLM New York Times November 27, 2012

    Gay “conversion therapy,” which claims to help men overcome unwanted same-sex attractions but has been widely attacked as unscientific and harmful, is facing its first tests in the courtroom.

    In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.

    The former clients said they were emotionally scarred by false promises of inner transformation and humiliating techniques that included stripping naked in front of the counselor and beating effigies of their mothers. They paid thousands of dollars in fees over time, they said, only to be told that the lack of change in their sexual feelings was their own fault.

    In California, so-called ex-gay therapists have gone to court to argue for the other side. They are seeking to block a new state law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September and celebrated as a milestone by advocates for gay rights, that bans conversion therapy for minors.

    In Sacramento on Friday, a federal judge will hear the first of two legal challenges brought by conservative law groups claiming that the ban is an unconstitutional infringement on speech, religion and privacy.

    Since the 1970s, when mainstream mental health associations stopped branding homosexuality as a disorder, a small network of renegade therapists, conservative religious leaders and self-identified “life coaches” has continued to argue that it is not inborn, but an aberration rooted in childhood trauma. Homosexuality is caused, these therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse.

    An industry of “reparative therapy” clinics and men’s weekend retreats has drawn thousands of teenagers and adults who hope to rid themselves of homosexual urges, whether because of religious beliefs or family pressures.

    But leading scientific and medical groups say that the theories of sexuality are unfounded and that there is no evidence that core sexual urges can be changed. They also warn that the therapy can, in the words of the American Psychiatric Association, cause “depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior” and “reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”

    Those conclusions will be at the center of the coming legal fights in the state and federal courts.

    In the spotlight in New Jersey are a counseling center called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or Jonah; its co-founder Arthur Goldberg; and an affiliated “life coach,” Alan Downing.

    Mr. Goldberg helped found Jonah in 1999, after he finished serving a prison sentence and probation for financial fraud he committed in the 1980s. The group describes itself as “dedicated to educating the worldwide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors that lead to same-sex attractions,” and says it “works directly with those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions,” including non-Jews.

    While many Orthodox Jews consider homosexual relations to be a violation of divine law, Mr. Goldberg’s group has no official standing within Judaism, and many Jews accept homosexuality.

    Neither Mr. Goldberg nor Mr. Downing is licensed as a therapist, so they are not subject to censure by professional associations.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, a rights group based in Montgomery, Ala., is bringing the suit on behalf of four former patients and two of their mothers, who say they paid thousands of dollars not only for useless therapy for their sons but also for more counseling to undo the damage.

    “The defendants peddled antigay pseudoscience, defaming gay people as loathsome and deranged,” said Sam Wolfe, a lawyer with the group.

    continued in next comment...

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  11. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Hudson County, calls for monetary compensation and for a shutdown of Jonah.

    Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Downing did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment.

    One former patient in the suit, Michael Ferguson, 30, who is now a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at the University of Utah, sought help from Jonah in 2008. He tried to battle his homosexuality, he said, when he was a practicing Mormon who believed that only those in a heterosexual marriage could achieve eternal bliss.

    Mr. Ferguson attended a retreat called Journey Into Manhood, where he shared what he called his “dark secret” with 40 other men. To be accepted among men who were also struggling with homosexuality was euphoric, he said, but that temporary high was not the promised first step toward becoming heterosexual.

    After months of $100 therapy sessions with Mr. Downing at Jonah’s offices in Jersey City, and after suffering from depression that led him to see a licensed psychotherapist elsewhere, Mr. Ferguson said, he realized that he was not changing.

    “It becomes fraudulent, even cruel,” he said in an interview. “To say that if you really want to change you could — that’s an awful thing to tell somebody.”

    “I was encouraged to develop anger and rage toward my parents,” he added. “The notion that your parents caused this is a horrible lie. They ask you to blame your mother for being loving and wonderful.”

    Another former patient in the suit, Chaim Levin, 23, grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn where, he said, being gay seemed unthinkable.

    Referred to Jonah by a rabbi when he was 18, Mr. Levin began attending weekend retreats at $650 each. For a year and a half, he had weekly private sessions with Mr. Downing as well as weekly group sessions. He quit, he said, after Mr. Downing had him remove his clothes and touch himself, saying it would help him reconnect with his masculinity. Mr. Goldberg has defended Mr. Downing’s methods as sometimes appropriate for men dealing with body image problems.

    But Mr. Levin called the episode “degrading and humiliating.”

    Mr. Levin said that he was sexually abused by a relative between the ages of 6 and 10 and that Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Downing blamed the abuse for his homosexual attractions. “Saying the abuse made you gay is terrible,” Mr. Levin said. “Once I accepted that I was gay, I was able to focus on the more serious problem of a history of sex abuse.”

    Many of the same issues surrounding conversion therapy will be argued before federal judges in California as therapists, some represented by Liberty Counsel and others by the Pacific Justice Institute, seek to prevent the state ban from taking effect in January.

    Responding to the accusations of constitutional violations, a brief by the California attorney general’s office cited the extensive professional literature that discredits conversion therapy and said the new law barred harmful conduct but not speech or religion. Since the ban applies only to licensed therapists, religious counselors will not be affected.

    Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional expert and dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, said, “The law is clear that the government can prohibit health care practices that are harmful or ineffective.”

    If the court accepts the scientific evaluation put forward by the state, he said, “the government is likely to prevail in the end.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/us/gay-conversion-therapy-faces-tests-in-courts.html

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  12. SPLC files groundbreaking lawsuit accusing conversion therapy organization of fraud

    Southern Poverty Law Center November 27, 2012

    The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today accusing a New Jersey organization of consumer fraud for offering conversion therapy services – a dangerous and discredited practice that claims to convert people from gay to straight.

    The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, charges that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), its founder, Arthur Goldberg, and counselor Alan Downing violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act by providing conversion therapy claiming to cure clients of being gay.

    It is the first time a conversion therapy provider has been sued for fraudulent business practices. The lawsuit describes how the plaintiffs – four young men and two of their parents – were lured into JONAH’s services through deceptive practices.

    “JONAH profits off of shameful and dangerous attempts to fix something that isn’t broken,” said Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “Despite the consensus of mainstream professional organizations that conversion therapy doesn’t work, this racket continues to scam vulnerable gay men and lesbians out of thousands of dollars and inflicts significant harm on them.”

    The lawsuit describes how the underlying premise of conversion therapy – that a person can “convert” to heterosexuality – has no basis in scientific fact. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. It is the longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

    Customers of JONAH’s services typically pay a minimum of $100 for weekly individual counseling sessions and another $60 for group therapy sessions. The lawsuit describes sessions that involved clients undressing in front of a mirror and even a group session where young men were instructed to remove their clothing and stand naked in a circle with the counselor, Downing, who was also undressed. Another session involved a subject attempting to wrest away two oranges, which were used to represent testicles, from another individual.

    “Sadly, there is no accountability for those who practice conversion therapy,” said Michael Ferguson, a conversion therapy survivor and plaintiff in the lawsuit. “They play blindly with deep emotions and create an immense amount of self-doubt for the client. They seize on your personal vulnerability, and tell you that being gay is synonymous with being less of a man. They further misrepresent themselves as having the key to your new orientation.”

    continued in next comment...

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  13. Downing and other counselors at JONAH also use techniques that leave clients alienated from their families. These techniques encourage clients to blame their parents for being gay. Clients even participate in violent role play exercises where they beat effigies of their mothers.

    “These counselors are skilled at manipulating you into believing just about anything,” said Benjamin Unger, another plaintiff in the case. “During my time with JONAH, they told me constantly that my mom had made me gay. I was so convinced that I refused to have any contact with her for several months, which caused a great deal of damage to our relationship.”

    JONAH, formerly known as Jews Offering New Alternatives for Homosexuality, was founded by Goldberg, a former Wall Street executive and attorney. Before founding JONAH, Goldberg was convicted of three counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government. He was ultimately disbarred from being an attorney.

    “People who are told repeatedly that they are innately defective are being abused and traumatized,” said Laura Booker, a licensed clinical social worker who helps people recover from conversion therapy’s devastating effects. “The cost of conversion therapy to gay men and lesbians may be nothing less than emotional devastation. They may spend years recovering from the trauma inflicted upon them.”

    Conversion therapy also promotes the idea that gay men and lesbians choose their sexual orientation, a position that encourages a climate of anti-gay bigotry.

    The American Psychological Association has expressed concern that the positions espoused by some of the leading advocates of conversion therapy, such as the National Association for Research Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), “create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.” JONAH’s practices include so-called scientific methods invented by NARTH co-founder Joseph Nicolosi.

    The law firms of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP and Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC are serving as the SPLC’s co-counsel on the case. The SPLC has previously filed complaints against conversion therapists with the American Psychiatric Association and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

    More information about the SPLC’s campaign to end conversion therapy, including an interactive map showing the location of therapists who advertise conversion therapy, can be found here.

    to view the numerous links and charts embedded in this article go to:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/splc-files-groundbreaking-lawsuit-accusing-conversion-therapy-organization-of-frau

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  14. Law banning gay conversion therapy put on hold by judge

    By Ashley Fantz, CNN December 4, 2012

    CNN) -- A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction on California's ban on "conversion" therapy -- a method some say can help turn a gay person straight.

    The first of its kind in the United States, the state ban was intended to prevent young people under 18 from undergoing the controversial treatment. It would have gone into effect January 1.

    Conversion therapy has been being hotly debated across the country for some time. In November, four homosexual men who underwent the therapy filed a civil suit in New Jersey against a counseling group, saying they were deceived under the state's Consumer Fraud Act.

    The therapy techniques described in that lawsuit included having participants strip naked in group sessions, cuddling and intimate holding of others of the same sex, violently beating an effigy of their mothers with a tennis racket, visiting bath houses "in order to be nude with father figures," and being "subjected to ridicule as 'faggots' and 'homos' in mock locker room scenarios."

    Some psychologists insist conversion therapy is dangerous to patients, and say it simply does not work.

    "To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective," the American Psychological Association writes on its website.

    "Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons," says the APA, the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States.

    Since 1975, the APA has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations.

    U.S. District Judge William Shubb ruled Monday that the ban Gov. Jerry Brown signed earlier this year could offend the First Amendment rights of therapists to express their opinions about homosexuality. Three plaintiffs filed the suit, arguing that the ban was unconstitutional.

    The plaintiffs are a licensed marriage and family therapist who is also an ordained minister; a medical doctor and board-certified psychiatrist who works with people over 16 years old; and a man who was sexually attracted to other men but who wanted to practice conversion therapy to "help" men like him.

    Earlier this year, Brown tweeted about the measure to ban conversion therapy on minors.

    "This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide," the governor tweeted. "These practices have no basis in science or medicine."

    Shubb counters in a 38-page ruling that he didn't believe there was sufficient evidence to support the argument that conversion therapy could prompt patients to commit suicide.

    That assumption is "based on questionable and scientifically incomplete studies that may not have included minors," the judge wrote.

    David Pickup, a spokesman for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, believes conversion therapy is valid and should be used.

    "We do competent therapy, therapy that truly works," he told CNN in October, adding that he'd undergone the treatment himself and was treating others.

    California governor OKs ban on gay conversion therapy, calling it 'quackery'

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/04/us/california-gay-therapy-ban/index.html

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  15. Ex-Gay Group Shuts Down, But Movement Is Re-Branding

    by Michelangelo Signorile, Huffington Postt June 20, 2013


    It's terrific news that Exodus International, the largest and most known group that promoted "reparative therapy," is shutting down. But don't be fooled into thinking this is anything more than a re-branding for the "pray-away-the-gay" movement. It's certainly not a surrender.

    The damage the group has done to thousands of LGBT people in the more than 35 years since Exodus International came into existence is immeasurable. We've long known that these crackpot therapies don't "convert" people to heterosexuality, hearing from the many who went through them, including one of Exodus' founders, Michael Bussee, who denounced the group and apologized for having helped create it. And in recent years we've learned more about the emotional and psychological harm done by these groups, with studies confirming it. The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, issued an apology, stating that "from a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we're all prodigal sons and daughters" and that "Exodus International is the prodigal's older brother, trying to impose its will on God's promises, and make judgments on who's worthy of His Kingdom."

    It was a welcome admission from a Christian evangelical leader to say that, in condemning gays, Christian fundamentalists are judging others, something that is against their own tenants. But Chambers has been moving in this direction for some time, as his group was battered with bad PR and an inability to raise money. Chambers was increasing being isolated from other Christian right groups after he admitted that for the vast majority of people who went through ex-gay programs, it was a failure in terms of converting people to heterosexuality. He also had stopped using the term "reparative therapy."

    But as Truth Wins Out, the group that monitors the conversion therapy charlatans, notes, many who led these programs are now embarking on a re-branding rather than shutting down.

    In response to Exodus's movements of late, hardcore fundamentalist "ex-gay" figures have moved to create their own new group, the Restored Hope Network, which is chaired by Anne Paulk, the estranged wife of John Paulk, the former poster-boy for the "ex-gay" movement who now admits that he is an openly gay man. Restored Hope's co-founder, Andrew Comiskey, has claimed that "Satan delights in homosexual perversion," which shows that this new group is committed to doing as much as or more damage than Exodus ever did.

    In a world where many children are taught by families and churches that their sexual or gender difference is some sort of sickness and is condemned by God, there will always be those who are desperate to "change," no matter how wrong and futile that will be. And there will always be those who are willing to help them try to do that, either because of their own warped beliefs or to make money or both. The last thing we should be doing is believing "ex-gay" therapy is dead simply because the largest group has shut its doors. It's a measure of our success that the anti-gay right that promotes these harmful therapies has to re-brand itself. But we've got to keep exposing them, because, re-branded and underground, they could now be even more dangerous and deceptive than ever before.

    to read the links embedded in this article go to:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/ex-gay-group-shuts-down-b_b_3472389.html

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  16. Salvation Army says Gays Need to Be Put to Death

    By David Volz, TGV News June 6, 2013

    Christmas, it is the time of the year for holiday shopping, and also hearing the bell ringers for the Salvation Army collection donations. Those donations provide Christmas dinners, clothing, and Christmas toys for children in need. The charity collects millions of dollars in donations every year, and they distribute it to needy families, seniors, and the homeless in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season.

    The Salvation Army has expressed their Christian beliefs in the past, stating that they do not accept the LGBTQ lifestyle, nor do they stand up for gay marriage. Salvation Army went on record recently, stating that LGBTQ parents should be put to death as the bible instructs. Major Andrew Craibe, a Salvation Army Media Relations Director, went on public radio hosted by journalist Serena Ryan, to discuss a recent call by LGBTQ parents for a boycott of the nonprofit for its anti-gay policies and beliefs.

    Ryan questioned Craibe about Salvation Story:

    Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, the manual used to train Salvation Army “soldiers” and members. Several chapters refer to the sin of homosexuality, including a section that cites Romans 1:18-32, which includes a admonition that homosexuals “deserved to die”;

    “ Ryan: According to the Salvation Army gay parents deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?”

    “Craibe: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.”

    Ryan: So they should die.”

    “Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.”

    “Ryan: You’re proposing in your doctrine that because these parents are gay, that they must die.”

    “Craibe: Well, well, because that is part of our Christian doctrine “

    “Ryan: But how is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?”

    “Craibe: Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation…”

    “Ryan Or die…”

    “Craibe: Well, yes.”

    Major Bruce Harmer, the Army’s Communications and Public Relations Secretary recently issued the following statement;

    “The Salvation Army encompasses a diverse community with a wide range of opinions on human sexuality and other subjects. The senior leadership of The Salvation Army continues to reflect on Christian and Biblical tradition, and especially on the themes of justice and mercy, to further deepen the understandings of our own members and build a more healthy relationship with the LGBTQ community. We pledge to continue to offer services to all and to treat each person with dignity, respect and non-discrimination.”

    The salvation is willing to take the money from the LGBTQ community, but they aren’t willing to support them. I remember reading a story a year or two ago about the salvation army not supporting the LGBTQ community, so I stopped supporting them. That red bucket they put out every year for Christmas, depends on people like us, to put money in it. They are a charity that depends on donations to help the families in need.

    I think it is horrible that a charity admits they think LGBTQ parents should die. It does not matter who you are or what you believe in. No one deserves death. For a charity to wish death upon the LGBTQ community is distasteful, alarming and hurtful. I think the LGBTQ community needs to take a stand against the Salvation Army. If you do not support us, then we do not support you.

    see follow up story in next comment.

    http://tgvnews.com/2013/06/salvation-army-says-gays-need-to-be-put-to-death/

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  17. But wait! There’s more: The Salvation Army: Gays need to be put to death

    By David Volz, TGV News June 13, 2013

    Salvation Army says “Gays need to be put to death,” is an article that we have posted , which has been getting a lot of backlash. Many people who stand up for the charity, voiced their opinions and I have heard you loud and clear.

    Since 2001, TSA has been making it clear that they do not support the LGBTQ community, and they do not support gay marriage. In 2001, The Washington Post reported ;

    An internal document from the Salvation Army says the charity has a “firm commitment” from the Bush administration for a national regulation shielding it and other religious charities from city and state laws barring discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    “The Salvation Army never discriminates in whom it serves,”

    says senior official George Hood,

    “but being forced to hire gays really begins to chew away at the theological fabric of who we are.”

    The Bush administration turned down The Salvation Army’s request.

    In early 2004, The Salvation Army threatened to shut down all of their soup kitchens, which feed the homeless if Mayor Michael Bloomberg enforces a new ordinance requiring all groups with city contracts to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

    In late 2011, Bil Browning at ” The Bilerico Project” promoted a drive encouraging gay-rights supporters to give their holiday donations to other charities that don’t

    “actively discriminate against the LGBT community”

    Bill Browning posted in his blog about how he was turned away from The Salvation Army, when he and his partner were in need stating;

    “When a former boyfriend and I were homeless, the Salvation Army refused to help us unless we broke up and left the “sinful homosexual lifestyle” behind. We slept on the street and they didn’t help when we declined to break up at their insistence. I’ve seen the discrimination the Salvation Army preaches first hand..”

    The main focus of my last article was of Major Andrew Craibe, a spokesperson for The Salvation Army with him stating that practicing homosexuals

    “deserve to die. We have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.”

    The Salvation Army has released a statement apologizing for Craibes comments, stating it was a

    “miscommunication and he was not referring to physical death but spiritual death.”

    According to The Salvation Army’s website, they state;

    “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.”

    Ex Employee of The Salvation Army Danielle Morantez,

    “states that she was fired from her job as a caseworker with the Salvation Army of Burlington, Vermont because she came out to them as bisexual and raised concerns about sections in their employee handbook relating to sexual orientation and employment discrimination.”

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and their religions. Although a charity should not be able to discriminate against a group of people. There are a lot more accounts of discrimination against them as a charity. I do not understand why a charity would turn someone away, that is in need just because of who they love. I welcome everybody’s opinions on this matter.

    http://tgvnews.com/2013/06/but-wait-theres-more-the-salvation-army-gays-need-to-be-put-to-death/

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