Today is a time when what is right and what is wrong is overshadowed by what seems right and what seems wrong. Controversial issues deepen the difficulty for each one of us as we determine what we believe and why we believe it. The issue of gay marriage is one of these controversies that leave our society searching for answers.
It shouldn’t matter if a person is straight, homosexual or transgender. If two people find happiness, then they should be able to commit to the other person without restriction from the government.
Same-sex marriage should be legal for many reasons, such as the defined separation between religion and government, the benefits of marriage, and minority discrimination.
Live From All Saints Pasadena, Sunday, December 18, 10:15 a.m.
“The Role of Progressive Religion in the Occupy Movement”
with Serene Jones and Cornel West
Dr. Cornel West is a prolific essayist, public speaker, social activist, and major figure in African American academia. Commenting recently on his decision to return to the faculty of Union Seminary in NYC, Dr. West said that his liberal politics were formed in Progressive Baptist churches, and that Union was “the institutional expression of my core identity as a prophetic Christian.” His work exemplifies synthesis and innovation and we are honored to welcome him to the Rector’s Forum. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Seminary is a popular scholar in the fields of theology, religion and gender studies and a long-time friend of All Saints Church. Dr. Jones not only returns to the Rector’s Forum to reflect with Dr. West on the theological context of the Occupy Movement, she will be in the pulpit at both the 9:00 & 11:15 services preaching “Visceral Reckonings.” From the All Saints Forum.
Macky Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, an educator on issues of media and religion, an organizer within the worlds of philanthropy and media-making, and a regular writer and reviewer on film and religion. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary (M. Div.), he comes from a long line of ministers in the American South and grew up exposed to the power of the media and the pulpit, as charismatic leaders on the Left and the Right shaped social and political relations for generations to come.
At Auburn Media, a division of the Center for Multifaith Education at Auburn Theological Seminary, Alston has developed and directs a program that offers religious expertise to the world of the media and media expertise to the world of religion. Auburn Media promotes responsible, engaging religious voices and programs to create multifaith understanding.
Alston is currently completing The Killer Within a documentary feature for Discovery Docs on a Columbine-type crime that took place fifty years ago and recently returned to front page news. He is also producing The Hard Road Home, a feature documentary about a formerly incarcerated gang-leader who rose to national fame for founding Exodus Transitional Community, an exemplary program in East Harlem that helps the formerly incarcerated successfully reenter society.
Alston’s most recent completed documentary feature, Questioning Faith, explores what happens to people’s spiritual convictions when crisis strikes. It aired nationally on HBO and Cinemax in June 2002 and met with critical acclaim. His previous film, Family Name, explored the legacy of slavery in America today. It aired nationally on PBS in 1998, winning the Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the IFP Gotham Open Palm Award, and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Historical Programming. (Siskel & Ebert gave Family Name “two thumbs up, way up.”)Alston has been featured in press all over the world, including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The New York Times.
Since 1998, Alston has been a partner at River Films, a documentary film company in New York City. He has received grants for his productions from the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, HBO and PBS. Through firms such as Applied Research & Consulting and the Michael Cohen Group, he has consulted with a range of media companies on their organizational communications and marketing strategies.
Alston is on the board of the Hartley Film Foundation, a public charity that supports documentaries on world religions, spirituality, ethics and well-being. He sits on the steering committee of the Docuclub, the New York organization committed exclusively to supporting the work of documentary filmmakers, and has served on a host of boards and juries, including those of the New York State Council of the Arts, the Student Academy Awards, the Faith Project, and the USA Film Festival. He has taught courses on documentary film at Union and Auburn Theological Seminaries.
Puerto Rico Senate approved a provision to the penal code that would eliminate hate as an aggravating factor for crimes motiviated by prejudice against gender, real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnic origin. This amendment to the penal code will affect minority groups in Puerto Rico. The House is expected to vote on this amendment to the Penal Code and they need to know how this amendment will affect its citizens.
Watch this video featuring Equalities Minister of the UK, Lynne Featherstone, as she announces the launch of the first ever transgender action plan. Also, trans activist, Harri Cole Weeks, talks about his personal experiences and why the action plan will make a difference.
Download a copy of the full Transgender Action Plan by clicking here.
National survey indicates physicians believe addressing patients’ social needs is as important as addressing medical conditions.
Four in five physicians say patients’ social needs are as important to address as their medical conditions, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For physicians serving patients in low-income communities, nine in ten physicians believe this is true.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York addresses the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Marylalnd November 14, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
One of the scariest things coming out of the November annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is their false claim that our religious freedom — and they claim to speak for all Catholics — is under attack. In the midst of the worst economic crisis this country has seen since the Great Depression, rather than focusing on economic inequalities the bishops have created a bogus distraction, hoping to move the Catholic electorate to the right.
Oakland’s “Catholic Voice” recently carried a lead story stating that our religious freedom is at risk. Many of us ordinary Catholics think that while our religious freedom is not now at risk, it could be put at risk if the hierarchy continues to bring scandal to the church by its handling of the sex abuse crisis, its contempt for the laity, and its shady interventions in U.S. politics (Prop 8 for example). (http://tinyurl.com/7nrw6ls)
The days of the persecuted Catholic Church in America are over, as the country is no longer dominated by Protestants. There is not even a single Protestant left on the Supreme Court, which is now comprised entirely of Catholics and Jews. The bishops are using the defense of religious freedom as an excuse and/or mask for their prejudice and discrimination.
Their real goal is to have Catholic dogma — as defined by them — “trump” and subvert the rights of those whose faith supports equality. Ironically the United Church of Christ, descended from the Puritans and formed when Protestantism was still dominant, supports marriage equality, while the once-persecuted Catholic Church is opposed. Who is the bully now?
The religious freedom at risk is that of persons in the UCC and other pro-equality believers, including the majority of Catholics. A UCC military chaplain, for example, is not allowed to perform a wedding of same-gender spouses in a military chapel in California.
According to the Voice article, the bishops seek to protect “the right of a private individual to deny renting an apartment to a same-sex couple on religious grounds.” The article then raises the fearful specter that a “public school teacher could be fired for refusing to talk about same-sex marriage as a justice issue.” They don’t believe this for a minute. The bishops are not ignorant people; they know exactly what they are doing with their deliberate distortions.
Their real concern is access to government funding: “A religious organization that does not recognize same-sex marriage can be considered discriminatory by a state or local government and lose any contract for services.”
Churches are already tax exempt, which frees up more of our donations to be used for anti-gay activism! Now the bishops want to secure a privileged access to taxpayer monies, while refusing to respect the rule that those who feed at the government trough must respect its definitions of civil rights.
Recent Featured Comment
Thanks for the great work for Justice that you are doing at Soul Force. I live in Botswana the last 30 years and we are also going through the process of Justice for all. Keep up the good work. ~JM
We encourage productive dialogue which we believe to be a path to healing & reconciliation. We also intend to cultivate a safe space for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, non-Americans, and all other groups & individuals experiencing oppression.