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Houston Voice, No. 1053, December 29, 2000
File 009
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Houston Voice, No. 1053, December 29, 2000 - File 009. 2000-12-29. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 19, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/7361/show/7340.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2000-12-29). Houston Voice, No. 1053, December 29, 2000 - File 009. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/7361/show/7340

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1053, December 29, 2000 - File 009, 2000-12-29, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 19, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/7361/show/7340.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1053, December 29, 2000
Contributor
  • Mohon, Wendy K.
Publisher Window Media
Date December 29, 2000
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript VOICES & ECHOES DECEMBER 29, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE STAFF General Manager Mike Fleming mike@houstonvoice.com Editor Wendy K. Mohon edrtor©houstonvoice.com Production Senior Graphic Designer-Natasha Marquez Graphic Designer-Deborah Ouplant Contributors Rkh Arenschieldt, Kay Y. Dayus. Trayce Diskin, Earl Dittman, D.L. Groover, Robert B Henderson, Kathreen Lee, Maria E. Minicucci, D.L. Murphy, Gip Plaster, Ella Tyler Photographers Dalton DeHart, Terry Sullivan Advertising Sales Ken Burd Tom Robbins Kyle Cooke-Classitied & Directory Administration & Sales Support Carolyn A. Roberts National Advertising Representative Rivendell Marketing Company, Inc. 212-242-6863 A WindowMedia Publication President- William Waybourn Editorial Director- Chris Crain Financial Director- Kelly Smink Internet Director- Joel Lawson ■*<■*■» J Guild MEMBER rj CHARTER MEMBER GREATER HOUSTON GAY & LESBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Established 1974 as the Montrose Star 500 Lovett Blvd.. Suite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 (713) 529-8490 (800) 729-8490 Fax: (713) 529-9531 Contents copyright 2000 Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays To submit a letter Letters should be fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. We will withhold names upon request, but you must include your name and phone number for verification. Please send mail to Houston Voice, 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77006; fax (713) 529-9531 or e-mail to editor©houstonvoice.com. Opinions expressed therein do not reflect those of the Houston Voice. VIEWPOINT Time for gays to break the faith? by CHRIS CRAIN The media frenzy this year may have focused on presidential politics and pregnant chads, but the story that most impacted gay and lesbian lives was unfolding at church, of all places. One after the other, mainstream Christian and Jewish faiths debated whether to perform weddings, or some second-tier alternative, for same-sex couples, and whether to ordain openly gay ministers or even permit the election of out lay leaders. The results were often evenly split, and in all case reflected deep divisions that sometimes threatened schism, or at least significant splintering of mainline denominations. The most important development was also the most promising: Reform Jewish rabbis overwhelmingly approved a resolution allowing individual congregations to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples. The 1.8 million-member branch of Judaism—the country's largest—was by far the largest yet to embrace gay relationships as the moral equivalent of straight married couples. Conservative and orthodox Jews maintained their adamant opposition to approval of gays, joined by their more vocal brethren from Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestant traditions, who threw their financial and political weight behind anti-gay efforts in the secular world as well. The Mormon Church, which considers itself Christian even as Evangelicals balk at the idea, contributed heavily toward passage of the Knight Initiative, a ballot measure that added California to the list of states refusing to recognize gay marriages. But it was the mainline Protestants where the culture wars waged the most furiously. At each successive denomination's annual convention, voices were raised and protests disrupted the proceedings. And at each gathering, the traditional church hostility toward gay relationships and leaders was reaffirmed in one way or another. At issue isn't just the resolution of liturgical issues like gay weddings and ordinations, but the underlying moral questions about homosexuality. Most lay Christians and plenty of religious leaders start with their own discomfort about homosexuality and work their way backward looking for scriptural support. Of course, many gay and gay-friendly Christians follow a remarkably similar path. For many fair-minded Christians in the mushy middle, the question of homosexuality raises basic theological issues: How literally should the Bible be taken, in its proscriptions against homosexuality and on other subjects as well? Gay Christian apologists are too quick to dismiss this dilemma as a false one, unwilling to face the uncomfortable reality that, even under the most liberal and loose interpretation, the Bible is at best neutral and at worst, disapproving, of gay sex acts. Of course the Bible is a product of its historical times, and as our snapshot history of the last millennium suggests, gay people—much less gay "relationships"—didn't even exist in a form that could be judged fairly thousands of years ago. White and his Soulforce troops have done a tremendous job of rallying support for better treatment of gay congregants, but his call is off the mark. At this critical juncture, it is more important than ever that gays remain in their mainstream faith groups, so long as they come out and join in the struggle. Too many gays sit comfortably in church pews, pretending their significant others are only friends, following the unspoken rules of the polite Christian closet—that's especially true in the South. Every congregation, even conservative and evangelical ones, can claim some fair-minded members. Gay Gay Christian apologists are too quick to dismiss this dilemma as a false one, unwilling to face the uncomfortable reality that, even under the most liberal and loose interpretation, the Bible is at best neutral and at worst, disapproving, of gay sex acts. Like most divisive social issues, the church's position on homosexuality also doesn't admit easily of compromise or middle ground. The VS. Catholic Conference of Bishops took a stab at finding the center: approving homosexuality as a morally neutral orientation difficult to change. But wedded to the Biblical condemnation of gay sex acts, the bishops insisted gay sex acts were sinful. That left the bishops to conclude gay people could stay in good graces with God so long as they remain celibate, something the Vatican isn't particularly successful at demanding of its own priests, despite their greater spiritual motivation to remain chaste. Don't expect real progress to emerge from the Catholic Church, which only recently rescinded Galileo's 15th century ex-communication for insisting the earth revolved around the sun. Or from the Southern Baptists, who only months ago finally apologized to African-Americans for supporting slavery and Jim Crow as Biblically permissible. But the sleepy mainline Protestant denominations have been awakened by this debate over homosexuality and appear to be sincerely struggling with the issues. Weary with the struggle and frustrated by the continued retrenchment, gay spiritual leader Rev. Mel White has urged gay Christians to withdraw from mainstream faiths, especially mainline Protestant denominations, until they forgo their history of "spiritual violence" against us. parishioners should be open about their lives with those members, even if full-throated activism is not a role they feel comfortable playing. We all know how differently people view gay issues when they know that someone close to them is gay. That's especially true of most Christians, if they remain true to Jesus' central message of love and hope. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that Sundays are the most segregated day of the week. It's just as true that so many gays venture "out" as far as possible when socializing Saturday night, only to return to the familiar confines of the closet on Sunday morning. Even if you don't consider yourself a religious person, this spiritual debate has an important impact on your life. As more and more mainstream religious faiths permit gay marriage and alter their view on the morality of homosexuality, our • Christian-dominated culture will move accordingly. And just as important, the political and legal debate over gay civil rights will be drawn in even sharper relief. Even Americans uncomfortable with homosexuality don't like the idea of government picking and choosing among religious beliefs to enshrine into law. As the consensus over the immorality of homosexuality crumbles, so does the facade that unfair laws are anything more than the establishment of a particular religious belief, in violation of the separation between church and state.
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