Clinton's D.C. UM Church Celebrates Homosexuality and WitchcraftUM Seminary Admissions Director Featured Speaker
CLINTONS' CHURCH SHARES "RAINBOW" WITH GAY GROUPS
Foundry United Methodist Church, home church of President and Mrs. Clinton, hosted a conference November 11th to "celebrate and affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons." The conference, dubbed "Sharing Our Rainbow of Light," was sponsored by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and featured a number of prominent speakers in the gay activist community.
The Keynote Address was given by Rev. Dr. Alvin O. Jackson, senior minister of National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, D.C. Rev. Jackson proclaimed that a congregation "should be open and accepting of all church members - including gays. He told the conference attendees "not to repent of your uniqueness . . . be what you are . . . don't hide your feelings. Ask [God] for strength from frustration in love. The hardest part of love is waiting; let love be free."
A workshop entitled The Bible and Homosexuality was led by five clergy/theologians representing several Christian denominations and Judaism. Dr. J. Philip Wogaman, Pastor of Foundry UM Church and Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary hosted a discussion which attempted to affirm homosexual behavior in the light of seemingly unequivocal Biblical condemnation.
Rev. Booth of the United Church of Christ lamented how the selected use of Scripture has been used to support racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, exploitation of women, male chauvinism, and homophobia. Today, "we have had an increase in the knowledge of human behavior . . . In the UCC we have a number of openly gay and lesbian ministers."
Rabbi Saks opined that "The sin of Sodom was inhospitality, but certain Genesis texts do imply that God designed a male/female relationship . . . Leviticus 18:23 and 20:13 appear to clearly condemn homosexual acts." He suggested, however, that the patriarchs did not have a complete picture of sexuality.
The rabbi explained that homosexual acts were not Biblically condemned as a perversion, but rather for "spilling of the seed" in a culture that coveted population growth. He contends "the Bible only knows or understands of homosexual acts, not sexual orientation . . . although the Bible describes the act as an 'abomination,' it's really not the right word; it's better translated as 'degrading' . . . a matter of dignity. So the issue is really a matter of ethics or 'taste.' We don't have to agree [concerning matters of taste] - it is not a matter of Biblical condemnation."
Reverend Moore, a lesbian clergywoman, said the writings of the Apostle Paul were "written to a specific people, at a specific time, for a specific reason. Paul was not writing to homosexuals in 1999."
Reverend Wogaman said "The Biblical issues are still a struggle and there isn't closure on the scientific issues . . . but what is the real, deep meaning of the Biblical message?" Referencing Romans Chapter 1, he reasoned that "idolatry took hold and they substituted sheer pleasures for God." He believes Paul was not talking about "loving" homosexual relationships.
Chip Aldridge, a United Methodist clergyman and Director of Admissions at Wesley Theological Seminary, gave a talk about supporting the gay and lesbian agenda. He indicated that he is very active in the United Methodist gay affirming movement, including Reconciling Congregations.
Meg Riley, a lesbian activist and Unitarian Universalist, spoke of her work with various groups including the Interfaith Alliance. She was pleased to note that the Interfaith Alliance now has a person from the predominantly homosexual Metropolitan Community Fellowship of Churches on its Board.
The afternoon plenary session, Building Coalitions, featured Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Author and Educator and Professor of English at William Patterson College. She was introduced together with her lesbian partner.
Dr. Mollenkott's views were pantheistic claiming that God, the mother, was in everything. She suggested, "We must move to an omni-gender paradigm . . . a binary gender construct is not adequate to describe the human family . . . sexuality is a continuum of gender presentations . . . we must give up distinct sexual categories . . . and our coalition should include Wiccans [witches] and pagan groups."
In response to a question concerning reaching out to wiccans, she replied, "Wiccans are not witches or Satanists . . . they worship the rocks and trees . . ." Her comments were met with approving applause by the conferees.
More on the Sharing Our Rainbow of Light Conference will be reported in a later issue of Culture Facts.
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