(Uganda) - The Anglican Church in Uganda is to boycott the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of the world's Anglican bishops held once every 10 years. The move is in protest at invitations being sent to bishops who condone "active homosexuality." The extent of the boycott was unclear but a significant number of bishops would be absent, said BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott. They object to bishops with a liberal approach to homosexuality from the American wing of the communion being invited. The Ugandan Church cited the American Church's ordination of Gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 and continued blessing of same-sex relationships as reasons for the boycott.
Note: Read more on BBC
(UK) - A bishop has been ordered to undergo equal opportunities training and to pay a Gay youth worker nearly Ł50,000 for refusing him a job because of his sexuality. John Reaney, 42, had his appointment at the diocese of Hereford blocked by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, despite being told by his interviewers that he was the outstanding candidate for the post. During a two-hour interview with Bishop Priddis, Mr Reaney claimed he asked intrusive questions about his sexuality which had left him feeling embarrassed, upset and "a total waste of space". He took the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance to an employment tribunal and said today he was "delighted" with the payout. He added: "Lesbian and Gay Christians working within the Church of England are entitled to be treated with humanity."
Note: Read more on Telegraph
(EU) - One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberal ideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of the highly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutality and – among other things – violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel, I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier he had been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was Gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn’t come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.
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(USA) - According to the Catholic Church, I'm more dangerous than al-Qaeda. My daughter belongs in a madrasa and I commit acts of social terrorism every time I introduce my husband Gary as my "husband Gary." Pope Benedict XVI believes that Gay people are a greater threat to the family than global violence or nuclear proliferation. In his January 1, 2008 World Peace Day address, the pontiff stated that deviation from the "one man, one woman" family structure was against the moral norm, and prioritized it in his speech as a more dire concern than the conflict in the Middle East or global warming. I guess that makes me a marriage terrorist.
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(Spain) - Tenerife's Bishop Bernardo Álvarez also had a lot to say regarding homosexuality in general. “One has to be very careful these days,” he said, “because one cannot infer that homosexuality is an illness. It’s not politically correct to do so or say it is a lack or a deviation from nature … Things which were commonplace in any psychiatrist’s dictionary just ten years ago cannot be said today,” he said.
The Bishop added that he firmly believes homosexuality is harmful to society and that ours will have to pay the consequences, “as other civilizations before us have had to do.” Following the publication of the controversial interview the president of Spain’s Federation of Gays, Lesbians, Transexuals and Bisexuals issued an ultimatum, warning Bishop Álvarez that if he did not retract the federation would bring legal proceedings against him.
Note: Read more on Tenerife News
(UK) -Reverend Richard Kirker is about to step down after nearly 30 years as head of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM). For the first half of that time, he fought a lonely battle to get church leaders to discuss sexuality. Now it's hard to get them to talk about anything else, but not in the way he had in mind. Homosexuality is at the centre of a global struggle for the soul of the Anglican Communion, and as Gay people are accused of bestiality and demonic possession, the Church seems to have become a repository for the homophobia unacceptable in the rest of society.
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(USA) - Prominent 'Ex-Gay' organization Exodus International has set up an outreach network for people "struggling with same-sex attractions," Family News in Focus reports. Exodus' Randy Thomas seeks to reach those from religious backgrounds who fear opening up to the church or their families about their "unwanted feelings for someone of the same sex." The plan includes a liaison in each participating branch. "The vision," says Thomas, "is that there would be churches that people struggling with same-sex attraction could go to where they could learn how to be Disciples of Christ.”
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(Netherlands) - The Dutch were debating the limits of freedom of expression last week after an artist who photographed Gay men wearing masks of the prophet Muhammad was forced into hiding and her work removed from a museum exhibit. Speaking on the telephone from an unspecified location in the Netherlands last week, the artist, an Iranian exile who goes by the pseudonym of Sooreh Hera, said she had been threatened with “execution”. For her part, Hera, who fled Iran seven years ago, says she has “no regrets”, particularly when she thinks about the young men and women being hanged there for offending the country’s code of sexuality. “I do it for them,” she said, “for the boys and girls with no freedom in Iran.”
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(USA) - A hate-crime trial reconvenes Friday in a case that's dividing Sacramento and drawing attention from organizations that monitor extremists. Alex Shevchenko has been arraigned for a hate crime tied to the assault and eventual death of Satender Singh in July. According to prosecutors, Mr. Shevchenko and Andrey Vusik taunted Mr. Singh in a park because they thought he was Gay. Mr. Vusik eventually threw a punch that toppled Singh, dashing his head, they charge. Gay leaders in Sacramento say the incident followed several years of escalating tensions with some Slavic immigrants. "The gut feeling of the [Gay] community is that preaching among the local Russian evangelical community is breeding hate and that something would happen. And Satender was the something that happened," says Ed Bennett, a Gay Democratic activist.
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(Canada) - Homophobic remarks attributed to Sikh leader Balwant Singh Gill in The Vancouver Sun have unleashed a firestorm within the queer community, spotlighting divisions between those who say homophobia is the primary issue and others more focused on what they consider the racist response to Gill's comments. The Sun's Dec 15 story, "Canada's Changing Moral Landscape," quotes Gill as saying: "I hate homosexuality. Most Sikhs believe homosexuality is unnatural and you can't produce kids through it. And, secondarily, no major religion allows it." In an email circulated on the same day the Sun article ran, queer activist Jamie Lee Hamilton says Gill's comments are "truly offensive and must be rejected." She calls for him to step down as a Sikh temple spokesperson.
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(USA) - The head of the Anglicans in the United States has accused other churches, including the Church of England, of double standards over sexuality. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality. The threat of schism in the Anglican Communion was prompted by the appointment of a Gay bishop. The US church elected an openly Gay man Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori defended her ministry. "He is certainly not alone in being a Gay bishop, he's certainly not alone in being a Gay partnered bishop," she said. "He is alone in being the only Gay partnered bishop who's open about that status."
Note: Read more on BBC
(Vatican) - On World Peace Day, Jan. 1, most of the world's citizens will be too poor, too hungry, too surrounded by violence or too worried by this century's other basic challenges to pay attention. Those who do pay attention likely will think first of war in places like Iraq and Eastern Congo, genocide in Sudan, a looming crisis in nuclear Pakistan and widespread poverty all over. The spiritual leader of more than a billion of the world's people will be thinking about homosexuality. Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI issued his message for World Peace Day. Entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace," the message argues that peace begins with the family. That's a reasonable point. But then the pope writes, "Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and woman ... constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace."
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(Spain) - Hundreds of thousands of people from all over Spain have converged on Madrid for a rally called to "defend traditional family values". On the face of it, it was a religious gathering, complete with an open-air mass but, with a general election approaching, many have seen it in a broader context. Social changes made by the Socialist government, such as legalising Gay marriage, have been a constant source of friction with the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Madrid denies organising a political demonstration. But Antonio Maria Rouco Varela called for the family, founded on what he said was "real marriage", to be once again seen as the core of society.
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(Spain) - A Spanish clergyman is to be investigated after complaints that he is holding seminars which aim to "rehabilitate homosexuals". Protestant minister Marcos Zapata, head of an organisation running youth centres for troubled children in Galicia, prompted the row after reports surfaced of a recent seminar he led entitled "How to Raise Heterosexual Children". Yesterday the Galician regional government said it would investigate Zapata to make sure the youth centres his organisation runs do not employ "any type of proselytising or homophobic attitudes" when dealing with minors. Spain's Gay and Lesbian groups are planning legal action.
Note: Read more on Guardian
(UK) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu has apologised to gay people all around the world for the way they have been treated by the Church. The Archbishop recently criticised the church for being ‘obsessed’ with homosexuality but speaking on the only gay programme on the BBC he goes further and says he’s ‘sorry’. “I want to apologise to you and to all those who we in the church have persecuted,” Archbishop Tutu says in the interview. “I’m sorry that we have been part of the persecution of a particular group. For me that is quite un-Christ like and, for that reason, it is unacceptable. May be, even as a retired Archbishop, I probably have, to some extent, a kind of authority but apart from anything let me say for myself and anyone who might want to align themselves with me, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the hurt, for the rejection, for the anguish that we have caused to such as yourselves.”
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(UK) - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, asserted his authority over Anglican leaders yesterday in a document sent to all archbishops that said that those who went against the 'mind' of the Church risked being excluded from its councils. The warning, spelt out in his long-awaited Advent Letter to the Church’s 38 Primates and other leaders, could lead to The Episcopal Church of the US and the Anglican Church of Canada forfeiting their seats at the top tables of the Anglican Church if they do not curtail their 'liberal pro-Gay agenda.' The Rev Giles Fraser, Vicar of St Mary’s, Putney, and founder of the liberal Inclusive Church, criticised Dr Williams for planning yet more meetings and bureaucracy in an attempt to resolve the crisis. “We do not want an Anglican Pope,” he said.
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(UK) - The archbishop of Canterbury said Friday he will not reverse his decision to exclude a Gay U.S. bishop from joining other bishops at a global Anglican gathering next year. The office of Archbishop Rowan Williams said he also had not changed his mind about refusing an invitation to Martyn Minns, a traditionalist U.S. priest who was consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria to minister to disaffected Episcopalians in the U.S. Anglicans are now on the brink of schism, and attendance at next year's assembly, called the Lambeth Conference, has become a focus of the tension. Theological conservatives and liberals have separately threatened to boycott the meeting because of who was and wasn't invited.
Note: Read more on Guardian
(Vatican) - The annual message from the head of the Roman Catholic Church to the world has been unveiled. It is entitled The Human Family, A Community of Peace, and in it he calls for the dismantling of nuclear weapons and environmental co-operation and describes Gay marriage as "an obstacle on the road to peace." "Whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace. This point merits special reflection: everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace."
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(Latvia) - The leader of Latvia's Roman Catholics has called on political parties to ban Gays from seeking public office. As the country prepares to go to the polls to elect a new Parliament Cardinal Janis Pujats issued a letter demanding the three major parties pledge not to endorse the candidacy of anyone who is Gay and not to appoint anyone Gay to non-elected office. The letter tells party leaders they must be "ready to defend the Latvian nation against the invasion of homosexuality in public life," the Baltic News Service reported on Tuesday. Pujats later said that European laws barring discrimination against Gays "irrelevant" if they run counter to the morals of Latvia.
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(Rwanda) - Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini has called on churches in the East African region to fight against homosexuality for the 'good of the society.' The leader of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda insisted that Anglican churches in East Africa will not mingle with the homosexuals in the affairs of the church for the good of the community. "We are reformed Anglicans who want to adhere to the original creeds of the Bible, and that’s why our church has decided to ignore the 2008 Lambeth Conference because it has not done much to fight homosexuality in the communion," he said on Sunday. He was addressing a big congregation gathered for a three-day 'peace crusade' at Remera St. Peter’s Church. The crusade, which was organised by the Anglican Church of Rwanda, brought together Christians from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and hosts Rwanda.
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