Posts Tagged ‘church’

Church cites Scripture in barring gay musician from performing

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Chad Graber loved everything connected to church.

Especially the Tuesday night classes at CrossPoint Church called Celebrate Recovery. The prayer groups and Bible studies were his anchor after his substance abuse treatment ended.

“My goal was to put more good things in my life, and church was it,” he remembers.

Sometime around 2007 he joined the six-piece worship team for Celebrate Recovery, playing keyboards, learning Christian songs and practicing chord changes.

He belonged.

His playing caught the ear of other worship leaders at CrossPoint, the largest church in Hutchinson, boasting some 1,400 members.

It wasn’t long before Graber joined the Saturday worship band. For nearly four years he played in both worship groups.

But last November, before a rehearsal, two church leaders pulled him aside. With a serious look and hushed tone, senior pastor Andy Addis had one question: Are you gay?

Graber had told few people that he is gay. He is not an effeminate man. He had no partner. But the gay inside him, the feelings that first emerged in elementary school, refused to go away. Despite all his boyhood and adult prayers. Despite all the partying and drugs later as he tried to ignore who he was.

He’d prayed for healing from all of it. He is clean and sober.

But the gay stayed.

Graber learned a fellow member complained. Addis told him homosexuals couldn’t be leaders in church, even playing keyboards as a volunteer sideman. The minister worried too that his presence might prompt a troubled Christian to do something to hurt him.

“But he told me he’d love for me to keep going to church services,” says Graber. And other gays do attend there.

To Graber, it felt like a demotion and a shunning. If he kept attending but wasn’t playing, others would want to know why. He would either have to out himself or lie.

There’s no such thing as partial acceptance in my view, he thought.

He left.

“I could have easily started abusing again. My life was at stake, and they didn’t have a clue. Nor did they care.”

But he didn’t go back to his old ways. And he credits God.

He wonders why the church leaders focused so much on his gayness while ignoring those who are sleeping with others outside marriage. Or are divorced. Or are gluttons, gossips or any of the other myriad of sinners, because no one is perfect. Didn’t Jesus Christ pay for them all?

More than a year has passed since his rebuke. He plays piano only at home.

But now he has a partner. A serious relationship. They’re talking about starting a family.

He has found another place to worship, the Unitarian Universalist Church, he says, “where people of all faiths come together to celebrate and respect each other’s spiritual journeys.”

His prayers continue, too. But he no longer asks God to purge the gay.

Now it’s about forgiving Addis. “It’s been a struggle,” he admits.

Gay Christians ask him which churches are friendly to them. Avoid CrossPoint, he advises.

“It’s really an injustice. But I want to protect my gay friends from getting hurt.”

Addis first told The Star he didn’t want to talk about Graber. The incident had created hard feelings in the church. Some members left over it. Others are angry over Addis’ speech at a forum on Hutchinson’s proposed anti-discrimination protections for gays.

Former member Claudia Delgado called Addis “a silver-tongued snake.”

I’ve been called worse, Addis says, such as “the pastor of hate, the Fred Phelps of western Kansas.”

“We are not a church of hate. We do stand on Scripture. We love God. We love our neighbors as ourselves. No matter what you hear or read, that’s what we practice here.”

Addis, 41, says he had to correct the problem of a homosexual leading the worship.

“If it was a heterosexual practicing adultery, it would be the same. … Everyone sins. But the issue is whether you see it’s a sin and make changes as a response to what you see in Scripture. The difference with Chad is that he switched from struggling with his sin to embracing it.

“I need to stand on Scripture.”

There is no middle ground with God’s word, he says.

“I want to be a peacemaker. … People on both sides of the aisle need to be willing to forgive, understand and accept their differences. When I say ‘accept,’ I can still believe that I’m 100 percent right and that you may be wrong, but I still have to accept you as a person.

“The bullying, hating and ostracizing and anything along those lines is anything but Christ-like.”

Christ-like is not how Graber describes Addis. He scoffs at the rhetoric of “let’s agree to disagree” middle ground.

“He is talking about the very essence of who I am,” says Graber. “That’s like someone saying they love black people but believe in slavery. Or they love women, but they fight to their dying breath to deny them the right to vote. Or they’re with the Nazi party and work in the Holocaust, but they say they love Jews.”

When it comes to discrimination, he says: “There is no compromising my life.”

Episcopal bishop cleared of charges over gays in church

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011


The national Episcopal Church cleared a South Carolina diocese bishop of accusations that he abandoned the church’s principles by opposing the denomination’s acceptance of homosexuality.

Bishop Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence was accused in October of abandonment of the church’s doctrine, discipline and worship. Lawrence and many in the diocese that covers the lower and coastal parts of South Carolina disagree with the tolerance of the national denomination for gays in the church.

In 2003, the Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay man as bishop in New Hampshire, prompting several churches in South Carolina to leave the national denomination and join Anglican organizations.

Lawrence accused the national church of preaching a “false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity … that has suffocated the mission of the Church,” according to the charges leveled against him.

But in a statement on Monday, church leaders said the bishop’s actions did not constitute abandonment.

“Bishop Lawrence has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church — that he only seeks a safe place within the church to live the Christian faith as that diocese perceives it,” said the Right Reverend Dorsey Henderson Jr, president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops.

“I presently take the bishop at his word,” Henderson said.

The South Carolina diocese is one of the conservative Episcopal groups distancing themselves or leaving the national church. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled last week that an historic church building in Savannah belongs to the national Episcopal Church, not its breakaway congregation that voted to move under the leadership of an Anglican diocese in Uganda.

The Episcopal Church is not the only Protestant denomination struggling with the issue of gays in the church.

The Presbyterian Church ordained its first openly gay minister last month in Wisconsin, and an openly gay Methodist minister in the same state was sanctioned earlier this year for performing a same-sex marriage.

NBC Ties Penn State Scandal to Catholic Church

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


It was inevitable the connection would be made. When Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky (pictured at left) was arrested on November 4, after years of allegedly molesting boys with the knowledge of superiors who didn’t stop him, everyone knew what was coming. It wouldn’t be long before the media brought up the Catholic Church and its tribulations with homosexual molesters.

Sure enough, as Newsbusters reported on Friday, NBC and the New York Times obliged, linking the two scandals.

Problem is, the media again got the story wrong, fixating on powerful institutions trying to protect themselves instead of the obvious: predatory homosexual behavior.

As Newsbusters’ Kyle Drennan reported, NBC’s Brian Williams captured what many Americans, particularly Catholics, had to have been thinking when the Sandusky scandal broke: “A lot of people watching this scandal unfold at Penn State, watching the human damage pile up, watching an institution get badly soiled, can’t help but think of the scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in America. There are a lot of parallels.”

Drennan also noted a line in The New York Times that also made the parallel:

A better comparison would be the sexual molestation scandals that rocked another insular, all-male institution, the Roman Catholic Church. The parallels are too striking to ignore. A suspected predator who exploits his position to take advantage of his young charges. The trusting colleagues who don’t want to believe it — and so don’t. Even confronted with convincing proof, they choose to protect their institution’s reputation…. This was the dynamic that pervaded the Catholic clerical culture during its sexual abuse scandals, and it seems to have been no less pervasive at Penn State.

Examining the fact that trusted authorities refused to report crimes to the police in both cases, NBC interviewed David Clohessy, the national director of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Said Clohessy, “We, as a society, have to learn that we must come down like a ton of bricks on men who hide and ignore child sex crimes. Quiet resignations, sudden retirements, that doesn’t cut it.”

As Drennan and others have noted, Clohessy probably isn’t the best person to criticize others for not reporting heinous sex crimes to police. As the Associated Press reported in 2002, David Clohessy did not report to police sex crimes of which he was aware. That is because the sex predator in question was his brother, a Catholic priest. As well, the Times reported, Clohessy warned his brother that the Boston Globe would soon call him to comment for one of its stories on molester priests.

Clohessy’s background aside, no one would disagree with him.

Problem is, both news reports focus on the wrong similarity between the two cases.

“Almost ten years ago, the Boston Globe broke the story of priests abusing minors and the cover-up by Church officials,” as NBC’s Ann Thompson reported, “shattering the Archdiocese and the faith of many American Catholics. One of its reporters sees parallels in the Penn State case…. Critics say these are institutions of power, secrecy, mythology, dominated by men who circled the wagons in a crisis.”

Williams overstated the matter when he said “there are a lot of parallels.” But even if he is right, the media missed one big parallel.

Yes, Penn State and the Catholic Church are institutions “dominated by men who circled the wagons in a crisis.” But those institutions also protected homosexual molesters. Sandusky allegedly molested boys of all ages. Catholic priests sodomized older boys almost exclusively.

While normal men apparently protected Sandusky to protect themselves, the problem in the Catholic Church differed. It wasn’t just the authorities in an institution trying to protect themselves and the institution. It wasn’t just “power, secrecy, mythology dominated by men who circled the wagons in a crisis,” as Thompson termed it. Problem was, the men circling the wagons in the Catholic Church were in some cases homosexuals attempting to protect not only their power and privilege but also the sodomite network they created.

As The New American reported earlier this month, sexual perversion among priests may well be the most pressing problem facing the Catholic Church today.

In this rumination on the revelation that German bishops own a publishing house that markets pornography, Steve Jalsevac, writing at LifeSiteNews, reported: “Active homosexuality and acceptance of homosexuality among the clergy, including bishops and even cardinals and among religious, and in Catholic colleges and schools, and in the literature and programs in these institutions, has to a large degree still not been faced and firmly dealt with.”

This reality is massively related to all the problems in the Church in the West. Scratch under the surface of many unexplainable, disturbing actions and neglects of clergy, and frequently, as I have personally found over the years, homosexuality is involved. In a smaller number of cases, other violations of sexual chastity are found. I have been amazed how accurate this rule of thumb has turned out to be.

Wildly dissident, rebellious educational institutions, such as Washington’s Georgetown University or Loyola U, are still not remotely held accountable by Church officials, as these colleges continue to form and spew out more fundamentally anti-Christian and sexually disordered graduates.

Jalsevac also reported that faithful priests and bishops who try to rectify the problem are “subject to harsh retributions.”

The German porn situation, from all the evidence I have seen over the years, was likely allowed to continue because a fair number of influential German clergy at all levels and their bureaucrats and other advisers possibly have no problem with this kind of porn and may use it themselves. Such is the degree of moral corruption that appears to exist in some parts of the Church, especially in the affluent, very comfortable and increasingly faithless West.

In 2009, LifeSiteNews also reported about a study the Catholic Church commissioned on the molestations that have cost it billions of dollars, bankrupting parishes across the world. It concluded that the problem was not pedophilia, but ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescents.

Eighty-one percent of the cases of the abuse within the Catholic Church involved homosexual priests who preyed upon boys aged 11 to 17.

Another study denied the obvious, preferring instead to claim homosexual acts do not equate to homosexual orientation and that many of the abusers were not homosexual. The report concluded that homosexual priests are no more likely to molest boys than heterosexual priests and instead, as the  New York Times put it, claims “the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.”

Whatever the case, Sandusky allegedly molested boys of all ages, indicating that he is not only a homosexual but also a child molester.

But again, the stories have one thing in common: homosexual predation. Somehow, the media missed that one.