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Progressive Revival


Christian Leaders Reject Ugandan Anti-gay Bill

posted by Diana Butler Bass

On December 7, Faith in Public Life released a statement condemning the anti-gay bill in the Ugandan Parliament that submits homosexuals to draconian punishments for their “crimes.”  Sadly, many prominent Christians have refused to speak out against the human rights abuses enshrined in the legislation.  Faith in Public Life, however, produced an eloquent statement on Christian responsibility in the face of oppression–and gathered an impressive, inclusive, and diverse list of signers to support their plea to treat homosexual persons with dignity and respect.  Despite how fractured the faith community can be, this statement shows that Jesus’ call to love our neighbor as ourselves can unite Christians in the face of moral evil.  

Read the whole statement here.  


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ugandan

posted December 8, 2009 at 10:19 am


Western media that is so quick to berate all things African
Stop blaming Christians….Muslims, Hindus, African traditionalists…all support this law…In Africa life and fertility are sacred; anything that stunts or blocks them, such as unnatural acts, like homosexuality, are treated with contempt.
We, Ugandans know and believe that homosexuality involves practices that are dangerous and high risk to the human body which is designed for heterosexual functions.Uganda is willing to fight the spread of this abomination. Now if only the WEST would follow suit,we could rid ourselves of this vile filth.
It should be understood in the west that in black African cultures homosexuality, whether male or female, is very much taboo. Anti-gay sentiment is widespread and appears to have always been so. It is nothing to do with Western religion, neocolonialism or interference, it is simply a common theme in most African cultures.There is no need to seek out western Christian fundamentalists to explain thousands of years of African culture.
Like all complex behavioral and mental states, HOMOSEXUALITY is…neither exclusively biological nor exclusively psychological, BUT results from an as-yet-difficult-to-quantitate mixture of genetic factors, intrauterine influences…postnatal environment (such as parent, sibling and cultural behavior), and a complex series of repeatedly reinforced choices occurring at critical phases of development.
Seriously though, if you care so much about men who have anal sex with other men, why not invite them over and give them asylum. That way your headache will be cured and you will have helped remove an abomination from our midst.



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Rob the Rev

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:01 am


Here is an interesting blog by the Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge where she speaks to this issue. Sure wish Belef-net would invite her to blog on its site.
Common Ground on Gays? Like Hell – Christian conservatives won’t hear of it. By Candace Chellew-Hodge December 7, 2009
I sure hope Cody Sanders has thick skin. He’s in for one heck of a beating after publishing an op-ed over at the Associated Baptist Press asking if common ground can be found on the issue of homosexuality. Read entire blog here: http://www.religiondispatches.org/blog/religionandtheology/2082/common_ground_on_gays_like_hell
Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C. Her new book is Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008).



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Rob the Rev

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:05 am


Mr Ugandan. You and your human-rights violating culture is the abomination.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:13 am


I saw Candace’s comment–a really good piece.



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RJohnson

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:56 am


If this post over on Crunchy Con is any example, it seems that Beliefnet’s own Rod Dreher has joined in on the cover-up.

hlvanburen
December 8, 2009 11:45 AM
An interesting phenomenon is happening today. It seems that some posts of mine that mention a proposed law in Uganda that would result in the arrest and possible execution of gays, and the apparent connection of this initiative to the work of evangelical Christians in that country and in ours, have gone missing.
Either the CAPTCHA system has become very selective in its work or our host has decided that any mention of the murder of gays is off limits in this thread. If it is the latter I would sincerely appreciate an explanation. If the former I would suggest that Mr. Dreher advice tech support.
—-
I hate to inform the naive VanBuren fellow, but it isn’t CAPTCHA at work over there. All you need to do is read a few posts and the comments to know that.
http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/12/glsen-santa-has-gay-sex-with-g.html
As usual, Dreher is quite concerned about Christian homophobes keeping their job, but sweeps dead Ugandan gays under the carpet.



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RJohnson

posted December 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm


“Stop blaming Christians….”
But Christians were involved. Leaders from this country, Christian leaders, attended conferences where this policy was drafted. These same Christian leaders have refused to condemn the policy, saying that it is “not their calling” to get involved in such matters.



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James

posted December 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm


But Christians were involved. Leaders from this country, Christian leaders, attended conferences where this policy was drafted. These same Christian leaders have refused to condemn the policy, saying that it is “not their calling” to get involved in such matters.
Let’s name names, publicly. Rick Warren has a moral imperative to speak out loudly against this proposed law. He has a moral imperative to declare that this law is incompatible with Christianity. He has a moral imperative to vociferously denounce anyone who supports this law and counts his influence as meaningful.
If he does not, then the blood of LGBT Ugandans is on his hands, and he will be called to account for that before the Lord. Like the servant who buried his talent in the ground rather than using it to enrich the master, Warren will have to explain to God why he didn’t use the power he was given to stop this heinous law.
In the name of Jesus Christ I call on Rick Warren to do the right thing: denounce this law, repent of the sin of hatred against his LGBT brothers and sisters, and work for equality everywhere – starting in Uganda and then in his very own state of California.



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hlvanburen

posted December 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm


The National Catholic Review offers an interesting take on this controversy. It seems that, according to them, pressure from the West may actually make the situation worse.
http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/anti-gay-bill-uganda-challenges-catholics-take-stand
“In some ways, the bishops are between a rock and a hard place. They may not like the harsher elements of the bill, but they also share the suspicion that Western forces are trying to cram a liberal social agenda down Africa’s throat, and they don’t want to discourage efforts to defend African values. (In truth, bishops across Africa feel this way, including many seen in the West as “liberal” on matters such as the environment, trading relationships and armed conflict. Assertion of a Western campaign to subvert Africa’s family values loomed large during the recent Synod for Africa in Rome.)”
Given the Anglican leadership reaction within that country I have to wonder if this might not be an accurate assessment.
However, there is absolutely NO reason not to call American and European religious leaders to oppose this heinous bill. I would especially push those conservative Episcopal congregations in the US that have turned their allegiance to African Anglican leadership. Will they stand silent in the wake of this proposed bill, or will they speak out to their new masters?



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Kira

posted December 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm


It’s good to see that some Christians actually live and advocate the values of Christ. So few of them–at least the vocal and visible ones–do that these days.



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A108

posted December 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm


It is appalling that those who call themselves Christian are actually advocating this legislation.
To do nothing is to stand with the murderers.
To insist that this is an “African” or “Ugandan” internal decision and we must not interfere is to have learned nothing from the atrocities of Nazi Germany.
I very much doubt, by the way, that “ugandan” is, actually, anything but a Far-Right American Christian.
Once we permit a fellow Christian country to strip humans of their civil rights, to imprison, torture and murder them for being gay, this will lead to other countries doing the same.
Yes, I know that many Christians are uncomfortable with homosexuals, I know that many Christians reject what science and medicine say on the matter of choice. Chosing murder to “solve” the problem is not justified for Christians, ever.
This is a clear, bright line. Who steps over it, is not of God, is not a Christian.
It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Rod Dreher were avoiding the topic. He is probably having spasms of joy at the thought of seeing the first homosexuals swing from the gallows.



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ds0490

posted December 8, 2009 at 9:53 pm


Well, VanBuren, it looks like you called old Rod out on this issue. Let’s see if he has the guts to respond, or goes silent like so many other “Christians”.
——————————————————————-
hlvanburen
December 8, 2009 9:42 PM
“But if the country in question was, say, Libya instead of Uganda, and if U.S. Islamic leaders were promoting a law there that said anyone caught practicing Christianity would be imprisoned or put to death, you’d be reporting on it daily, no?”
I’m not sure that is an entirely fair comparison, but as they say it is close enough for government work.
I’ve learned much about Mr. Dreher over the past few weeks of reading this blog. The archives reveal him to be a passionate fellow with deep convictions. There are times when, on the same day, he can be extremely thoughtful as he delves into the particulars on an issue, and then just a few short minutes later offer a post that is as full of anger and (dare I say it) vitriol as any I see elsewhere.
One pattern I have seen in his posts. He seems quite capable of making the case that the speech of others (whether it be liberals, Muslims, gay activists, etc.) is connected to the actions of the more extreme elements of those groups. For example, I have seen him mention the gay activist group ACT UP several times in posts regarding more outspoken (but not necessarily violent) gay personalities. And his posts regarding the connection between the words of Muslim clerics and the terrorists within that religion are legion.
But when it comes to gays and his own words he seems myopic, unable to discuss how his words (such as these recent posts) might contribute to an environment that would support more violent elements of the Christian fringe. For example, in several stories concerning the proposed legislation in Uganda, the Christian leaders in that country who support it point to the work of groups like Exodus and NARTH as justification for their actions. They mention leaders such as Rick Warren, Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Lee Brundidge, and point to Catholic doctrinal statements (and Anglican, and Baptist, and those of other conservative religious denominations) that describe homosexuals as “inherently disordered”. These items are often cited here as “evidence” for the conservative case against homosexuality.
And as we have seen in the past few days the tone of both the posts and comments on this topic can get pretty coarse. Spambalaya, your comment about the response to such an outburst from a Muslim group is apt, given how Mr. Dreher has taken CAIR to task any time they remotely suggest that there may be a bias against Muslims in this country. His blatant disregard for their comments, and clear belief that they are implicated in terrorist actions makes your hypothetical case pretty much a slam dunk. I have no doubt that we would have numerous posts condemning such statements from Muslim or any other religious group, and rightly so.
It disappoints me that Mr. Dreher does not seem to be able to connect the dots regarding heated rhetoric against gays (even on a small blog such as this) with actions taken by extremists (or in the case of Uganda, by governments). It disappoints me that he does not join the (unfortunately) small but growing group of Christians speaking out against this bill and against those US Christian leaders who were involved in helping to craft it.
Michael Sean Winters in the National Catholic Reporter offers this challenge to the US Catholic Bishops regarding the proposed legislation in Uganda.
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/fighting-anti-homosexuality-law-uganda
Mr. Dreher, I know that you have warned me against posting this subject here on this thread, and that you see it as only tangentially related to your post. In the most respectful manner that I know, I must offer my disagreement with that position, and offer this post as a simple form of “civil disobedience”, so to speak, in response. Delete it or not as you choose. Ban me or not as you choose. It is your right to do either.
I appeal to your Christian nature to do neither. I appeal to you to demonstrate the truth of your statement that you do not hate gays nor wish them harm, but simply oppose their actions. Here is your chance to demonstrate that. I sincerely hope you will.
——————————————————————-
VanBuren, if he doesn’t blow your post off the blog so hard that your monitor flies across the room, I will be surprised. For that matter, if you get anything other than a rebuke from him for daring to challenge his position, I will buy you package of prime rib from Omaha Steaks.



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hlvanburen

posted December 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm


*sigh* Give the man half a chance, folks! He is packing for a move, preparing to change jobs, and trying to keep the holiday season from being completely destroyed for his family.
I would respectfully ask that no more of my comments from his blog be added here if the purpose is to harangue or disrespect Mr. Dreher. I meant my post to be a piece of civil disobedience in hopes to speak to his better nature, not to provide a club to beat him down.
Please…a little patience and respect! I am hopeful he will come around. I can’t imagine him being that heartless.



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hlvanburen

posted December 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm


*sigh* Give the man half a chance, folks! He is packing for a move, preparing to change jobs, and trying to keep the holiday season from being completely destroyed for his family.
I would respectfully ask that no more of my comments from his blog be added here if the purpose is to harangue or disrespect Mr. Dreher. I meant my post to be a piece of civil disobedience in hopes to speak to his better nature, not to provide a club to beat him down.
Please…a little patience and respect!



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A108

posted December 9, 2009 at 3:31 am


Oh, right, so, we should tolerate just exactly how many murdered gays and people denounced as being gay until it suits those Christians and Republicans who brought this upon us?
No, hlvanburen, if we learned anything at all from Prime Minister Chamberlain, it is that “peace in our time” is only to be bought at the cost of human life.
As Christians, we are not permitted the ease of only caring about evil in this world when we can work it into our calendars. Or, when it happens to be the type of sin which appeals to us.
The simple fact of the matter is, this is government organized and orchestrated murder. In the name of God. By Christians who were placed in power to do exactly this. Supported and financed by American Far-Right Christians who clearly desire these murders and very clearly hope to build upon the death of homosexuals in Africa.
It can happen here is about to come true for many gay people in Uganda.
This is the true face of conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity – murder and torture, justified through the firm belief that God mandates it.
Dreher consorts directly with the Republicans and Far-Right Christians who are behind this, he is just as guilty for these deaths as are any of us who have the ability to speak out against them and yet remain silent.



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hlvanburen

posted December 9, 2009 at 8:51 am


“Oh, right, so, we should tolerate just exactly how many murdered gays and people denounced as being gay until it suits those Christians and Republicans who brought this upon us?”
*sigh* No, I was merely suggesting that we give him until sunrise to respond before we take him out and shoot him. For goodness’ sake! Do you think he has an electrode planted in his brain and can respond instantaneously to requests and questions?
Mr. Dreher is not a national Christian leader, in spite of how widespread his few dozen regular readers appear to be. However, when it comes to an atrocity like what is happening in Uganda, ALL people of good will need to speak out, no matter how large their sphere of influence.
I made a request of Mr. Dreher. Give him a legitimate chance to respond before you take your pitchfork to him. In the mean time contact your state senator and representative and encourage them to support a resolution condemning the Ugandan proposal.



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A108

posted December 9, 2009 at 10:42 am


I would have more patience about that matter, had he not know about this and dodged the affair for several weeks now.
You are right, we need to call our representatives and write to them and make a stink.
Interesting (in a horrible way) is how many Far-Right Christians are seeing this as the best way to deal with homosexuality. I read several conservative Christian blogs as well as those written by genuine Christians, as the basic feeling on the Far-Right is: Good for the Ugandans, pity we can’t do it over here in America, too.
This may well be the straw which breaks the camel’s back. The culture wars have simmered and occasionally exploded into minor battles and skirmishes. Murdering people for being gay is a new dimension. There is no way to pretend that the root of this hatred is to be found in the American Far-Right and Republican party, especially “The Family” in Washington. If real Christians, independents and those of us on the left do not now react, the Republicans and the Far-Right Christians will win through our silence. Goodwin’s Law doesn’t anticipate an occasion arising when comparisons to the N a z i regime are apt and accurate. This is one.
Qui tacet, consentiret.
Don’t anyone think for one second that God is going to buy your personal disgust/distaste/conviction it’s “a choice” as an excuse for letting homosexuals be murdered.



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A108

posted December 9, 2009 at 10:44 am


Sigh.
To pretend the root is to be found anywhere but in the American Far-Right and Republican party, especially “The Family” in Washington.
I shouldn’t try to type, drink coffee and pet the cats at the same time.



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Heather H

posted December 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm


Although I absolutely believe that homosexuality is sin in the sight of God- a true perversion of who God has created a man or woman to be- their whole person- their spirituality- their sexuality- it’s not separate- it’s all part of the whole- I DO believe that homosexuality is SIN- I DO NOT believe that sin such as this, which is NOT directly taking away someone ELSE’S (other than the homosexual) rights to life and freedom- I DO NOT support ANY bill or political move to take away freedom from a person- righteous or not- in the name of God!
Call a sin a sin- and speak about it in church, confront those who are “in sin” with Scripture in love- BUT MURDER them or sentence them to prison??!!!!! THAT is absurd, and I, as a conservative Christian, do NOT support this Ugandan bill.
How about putting those who practice human trafficking, of all kinds, in Africa- horrifically abusing those they kidnap and “sell-” throwing them away to be used and tortured and treated as so much less than a person of worth- how about proposing a bill to put those sickos away? And how about spending the money and time it is taking for all of this political mumbo jumbo to bring clean water to Ugandans- to find homes for all the orphans and those ravaged by AIDS- to perhaps give scholarships to men and women here in the US who wish to adopt one of the MANY MANY children in Uganda, that have no home, no parent, no love- the ones who have been “forgotten,” who do not know the Savior who LOVES them- who know NO love at all- how about spending some time and money on that?
Yes, call out the sin of homosexuality- please- but DON’T propose an absurd law against a particular sin, in the name of God! Will we begin to kill all fornicators, as well? B/c that also is a perversion of God’s design for humanity? And adulterers? And alcoholics? And all sorts of other sinners- living in sin? They may be apart from Christ- but they are NOT without hope! Kill them and the chance to lead them to Jesus is gone!
This is absurd!!!!!



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bigdogdad78

posted December 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm


“Christian Leaders” is a bit mis-leading as the signers are not leaders, they are simply activists who constantly trample upon and reinterpret Holy Scripture to invent theological positions that are consistent with their ungodly, pagan world-view. Having said that, no homosexual should be put to death or receive a prison sentence unless they, of course, commit crimes that warrant this kind of punishment: murder, sodomy, rape, etc.



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hlvanburen

posted December 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm


Pastor Rick Warren finally speaks out.
http://ow.ly/KJs6
Will other Christian voices do likewise?



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ds0490

posted December 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm


“”Christian Leaders” is a bit mis-leading as the signers are not leaders, they are simply activists who constantly trample upon and reinterpret Holy Scripture to invent theological positions that are consistent with their ungodly, pagan world-view.”
As opposed to those godly Christian activists who stand silent as this bill is considered. No doubt they are upholding the Word:
Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.



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A108

posted December 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm


hlvanburen, I am afraid several already have. In support of murdering gays.
This is one of those defining moments in Christianity. The gloves are off, the masks are removed – either one truly wants to return to the Nazi era or one opposes it.
If one stands in opposition, then the question quickly arises: How shall we, as Christians proceed from here.
It is useful to remember that over 2/3 of those who self-identified as evangelical, conservative Christians in the US answered “yes” when specifically, directly and unequivocally asked “Do you support torture for our country’s enemies?”
This is exactly the reason the founders opposed any religious interference in government. We now have the direct proof that many Christians would resome the 1000 year Reich, if only they could.
I see that Dreher is still taking down every reference to his pusillanimous behaviour. Either he applauds the murder of gays or he opposes it. There is no middle ground here.
By the way, bigdogdad78, the Biblical definition of sodomy is not merely anal intercourse between men. Your argument that sodomy should be punished with death applies to married, heterosexual couples who have any form of sex whatsoever, at any time of the month when-soever when pregnancy is not likely to result. French kissing and mutual masturbation are equally examples of sodomy as is a man ejaculating during sexual intercourse with his already pregnant wife, as is a man having intercourse with his wife during a time of the month when they may reasonable expect her not to become pregnant as a result.
Are you sure you meant that?



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hlvanburen

posted December 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm


“I see that Dreher is still taking down every reference to his pusillanimous behaviour. Either he applauds the murder of gays or he opposes it. There is no middle ground here.”
He has posted on the matter, and I would encourage you to read what he has to say.



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BobN

posted December 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm


As others have pointed out, this statement does not come from “Christian leaders”. It comes from a few individuals with minor positions in minor organizations. That’s not to detract from their statement but to bring clarity to what is happening. America’s “Christian leaders” are silent. Many on the “conservative” side have been funding and encouraging anti-gay sentiment in Africa for decades. Their work is bearing fruit.
As for Rick Warren’s little bit of YouTube propaganda, it is aimed at American audiences and is just an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for his own words, actions, and associations. Six minutes do not counter years of influence, and anyone who thinks they do is either duplicitous or stupid or both.



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ds0490

posted December 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm


“Many on the “conservative” side have been funding and encouraging anti-gay sentiment in Africa for decades. Their work is bearing fruit.”
A little thought experiment here. If you hear of a Muslim Cleric preaching how evil America is, and then a few weeks or months later you hear those words coming from an Islamic terrorist as he shoots down innocent people, is it logical to make the connection that the Cleric’s words contributed to the violence?
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/12/02/if-uganda-executes-gays-will-american-christians-be-complicit/

A key episode in the trail of evidence was an event in March 2009 in the capital, Kampala, that drew three well-known conservative Christian activists from the United States who are prominent in the so-called ex-gay movement that seeks to “convert” homosexuals to make them straight.
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The three men, Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries, Don Schmierer of Exodus International and the International Healing Foundation, and Lee Brundidge, who often works with a group called Extreme Prophetic, were invited to the conference of the Family Life Network of Uganda to help organize what Lively called “an effective social and political force” to combat “anti-family Western agitators.” Those agitators, he said, are led by gay activists in Europe and the United States who “plan to spread sexual anarchy throughout the world under the guise of ‘human rights’ and ‘family planning.’ ”
If that message sounds over-the-top to American ears, it plays well in places like Uganda, where grass-roots sentiment against gays and anti-gay (and anti-Western) rhetoric from hardline Muslims can set the tone of the discourse.
In their talks to the conference of parents, politicians and educators, the trio provided a host of other anti-gay talking points as well. They said homosexuals are “out to destroy the country,” according to reports from the scene, and they said that legalizing homosexuality is akin to legalizing “the molestation of children or having sex with animals.” Lively, who has gained notoriety for arguing that homosexuals were the real force behind the rise of Nazism, was also invited to address the Ugandan Parliament. By his own account, his hosts “were very pleased.”
Soon after the conference, the Family Life Network and its political allies got to work and on Oct. 15 introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which aims to “protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.”

Connect the dots. Draw your own conclusions.



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K

posted December 12, 2009 at 10:51 am


Yes, let’s follow Leviticus…by the way, when are the executions for those who worked on Saturdays? Given that it’s December I am assuming it would be in an stadium big enough to hold all those salespeople working in department stores selling toys to devoted Christians fighting the great war of keeping the “Merry Christmas” salute instead of the evil “Happy Holidays”….



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Mere_Christian

posted December 14, 2009 at 10:45 am


Homosexuals and homosexuality are still to be opposed within The Church community.
Not wanting homosexuals executed should never be seen as celebrating and condoning gay sex or gay culture.



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