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"Sexually Inclusive Christians" Celebrate Victories, Push for More
Institute on Religion and Democracy ^ | Mark Tooley

Posted on 08/30/2003 5:48:16 PM PDT by xzins

"Sexually Inclusive Christians" Celebrate Victories, Push for More

Mark Tooley August 22, 2003

When arguing for church acceptance of homosexuality, most advocates talk about monogamy. But others are bolder.

“I am a strong ally of those in healthy, polyamorous relationships,” declared Debra Kolodny. She argued that having multiple sexual partners can be “holy.” Kolodyn was leading a workshop at the WOW (Witness Our Welcome) 2003 convention, an ecumenical gathering for “sexually and gender inclusive Christians.”

Hundreds of homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual people gathered under the “queer” banner in Philadelphia August 14-17 to urge religious acceptance of non-traditional sexual behaviors.

According to WOW’s schedule brochure, it was sponsored by the homosexual caucus groups in most mainline Protestant denominations and Dignity USA (for Roman Catholics). Other supporting groups listed in the program included People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, McCormick Theological Seminary (Presbyterian), Episcopal Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ), and Wesley Theological Seminary (United Methodist).

According to the president of Wesley seminary, Wesley paid a fee for a table with promotional material at WOW 2003. But Wesley did not endorse or give financial support to WOW beyond this fee.

Kolodny, an author and former national coordinator for The National Bisexual Network, was leading a workshop called “Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith.” Although focusing mostly on bisexuality, Kolodny, who is Jewish, explained that she could not conclude the session without discussing polyamory.

“There can be fidelity in threesomes,” Kolodny said. “It can be just as sanctified as anything else if all parties are agreed.” But she was careful to stress that polyamory is unacceptable “if there is deceit.”

Kolodny said polyamory does not usually involve simultaneous group sex. But there are exceptions, she admitted, as she recalled a friend of hers who shares a bed with his wife and male partner. When asked by a workshop participant how polyamory was different from “recreational sex,” Kolodny responded that consensual recreational sex could be a part of polyamory. But polyamory usually involves some level of commitment and intimacy.

Noting she herself had never been polyamorous, Kolodny explained that as a busy attorney she simply did not have time to conduct the complicated “negotiations” necessary for “holy” polyamory. But she expressed admiration for persons with the time to organize.

Most of Kolodny’s talk was about bisexuality, not polyamory. “I disagree with the queer movement [when it claims] that sexual orientation is predetermined,” Kolodny said, asserting that the existence of bisexuality “challenges all that.”

“I know a lot of women who chose to become lesbian,” Kolodny said. “Love between two people is always beautiful,” she added, and should be regarded as part of free choice.

“I’m not sure we can make the case for genetic predetermination,” Kolodny stressed, saying sexual preference depends on opportunity, support, and spiritual experiences.

Kolodny lamented that the “queer” movement insists on the “party line” of genetic predetermination as part of a “political strategy.”

“The queer movement relies on, ‘We can’t help it. We’re born this way,’ Kolodny said. “It feels so safe. If you don’t say it you’re thrown to the lions and you’re evil.”

She contrasted the insistence on genetic predetermination with the teachings of Judaism and Christianity, which say: “God gives us choices.”

“Free will is essential to our humanity and essential to our being created in the image of God,” Kolodny said. She charged that denying free choice in sex preference was “perpetuating the hetero-patriarchy,” helping the “radical right,” ignoring bisexuality, and making it easier for “hate” to continue.

Rather than creating “absolute poles” of sexual preference, Kolodny said the world includes a wide spectrum of choices. She recalled the hostility of her “dyke” friends when she abandoned her strict lesbianism for bisexuality. Many homosexuals suspect bisexuals of trying to gain the “privileges” of the hetero-patriarchy by seeking sexual partners of the opposite gender.

Another workshop leader who addressed a sexual minority sometimes forgotten by the “queer” movement was the Rev. Erin Swenson, formerly Eric. Swenson is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and family counselor whose sex change operation made Swenson the first post-operative transsexual minister in a major denomination.

Swenson was married with children. But after suffering for years from a desire to be a woman, Swenson finally divorced and had the operation. “I don’t recommend that any one become transgender,” Swenson said. “It’s a very painful process.”

“Some people accuse me of not being a woman,” Swenson complained, citing “ultra-feminists.” Swenson prefers being called simply “Erin and a child of God” to any label. “High heels are very uncomfortable,” Swenson playfully admitted.

“Transgender people won’t come to your church unless they truly know they are safe there,” Swenson warned. Even ostensibly “gay” friendly congregations are sometimes not prepared for transgender people. “Get your church to be trans friendly,” Swenson urged. One need is for bathrooms not marked male or female.

Swenson described the United Church of Christ as “miles ahead of anybody” in making itself open to transgender people. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in contrast, declined Swenson’s offer to volunteer in the creation of church resource materials for transgender church members.

“Transgendered people threaten communities because they threaten our assumptions,” Swenson concluded. “It is threatening but also freeing.”

Leading a workshop on “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Issues in the Roman Catholic Church,” Mary Louise Cervone complained that tolerance rather than justice” is the norm in America today. A former president of Dignity USA, Cervone, with her same-sex partner at her side, wondered how many “nameless men and women” must die before this country moves beyond tolerance to freedom for all people.

“Our best hope for change rests not with bishops and the pope but with Catholic people,” Cervone insisted. “Change won’t come form the top down. The Catholic people must demand freedom.

Cervone affirmed her lesbianism as a “gift of God.” She confessed she has a hard time attending the Catholic Church, because the “church is not where we find freedom. It’s where we go to hide.”

“But you can’t kick me out,” Cervone declared defiantly. “Where in religion did we get the idea that some people are more worthy than others?” she wondered.

The Rev. Jorge Lockwood, who is Global Praise Coordinator for the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries, led a workshop called “Redeeming Our Bodies, Congregational Song as a Path of Liberation.”

“As queer people, we have another way of looking at the body,” Lockwood said. He complained that churches too often are uncomfortable with the human body and suffer from “liturgical constipation.” He observed that too often people think the “desire of a 25 year old gay man for another 25 year old man is a beautiful thing,” but the desire of a 65 year old for a 25 year is “dirty.”

“We have all learned to challenge Romans,” said the Rev. Mari Castellanos, referring to St. Paul’s letter that, among other Scriptures, is critical of homosexual behavior. Castellanos leads the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ. “We must do likewise with all texts that go against our brothers and sisters that are being claimed as the unerring Word of God.”

But Castellanos also urged the WOW 2003 audience to embrace “justice” issues beyond their own. “When we leave this earth, queer bishops won’t matter as much as whether the hungry are fed,” she insisted, to applause.

“This president and this Congress have systematically torn down the social net that sustained all of us,” Castellanos mourned. “We must lobby our government on behalf of the poor of the world. Our experience of exile has taught us compassion.”

Castellanos promised that “we will take on scary proposals such as the Marriage Protection Act. We will turn the tide that threatens to obliterate the social contract.” Echoing the name of a radical homosexual group, she insisted: “We must continue to act-up!”

Rev. Yvette Flunder, a United Church of Christ pastor from San Francisco, celebrated a string of political victories for pro-homosexuality advocates, including the election of an Episcopal Church homosexual bishop, the arrival of legalized same-sex unions in Canada, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against anti-sodomy laws.

“The Holy Ghost can break loose in an atmosphere of injustice and give us more justice in three weeks than many years!” Flunder enthused. “These wouldn’t have been miracles under Bill Clinton!” she exclaimed, citing the irony of pro-homosexuality strides under a conservative government.

The Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the predominantly homosexual Metropolitan Community Churches, asked all the heterosexuals at WOW 2003 to stand and receive applause. “Thank you!!... I know what people do to you,” he told them, saying they pay a price for solidarity with homosexuals.

Perry said he “just got married” to his male partner of 18 years, who has had AIDS for several years. He likened the plight of homosexuals who cannot legally marry to slaves who also had no legal right to marriage.

“I will not give up until every one of us can marry,” Perry insisted, comparing Heaven to attending the WOW 2003 conference.

A brief skit produced for the WOW 2003 audience showed three troubled disciples in a storm-tossed boat. One, a young woman, declares: “I am bisexual and can’t find acceptance in the gay community.” A man says, “I am a 19 year old gay. Or am I queer? And I’m Presbyterian. But I’m not sure what that means!” A third person complains she is age 22 but cannot “find a voice” in the gay community.

Then a figure representing Jesus appears, played by a young woman wrapped in the rainbow flag, which is the emblem of the homosexual movement. “Take heart, it is I,” she says. “Do not be afraid.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abortion; activistcourts; activistsupremecourt; ageofconsent; ageofconsentlaws; antireligion; bisexuality; bisexuals; catholiclist; christianity; christians; churchofsatan; crowley; culturewar; doasthouwill; downourthroats; gaymenschorus; gaytrolldolls; gomorah; groupsex; hedonists; homosexualagenda; homosexuality; homosexuals; ifitfeelsgooddoit; insanity; lawrence; lawrencevtexas; libertines; losttheirway; makeachoice; marriagelaws; mockeryofreligion; offthepath; orgies; orgy; pedophile; permissivesociety; polyamorous; polyamory; polygamy; prisoners; privacylaws; promiscuity; prositutionlaws; religion; religiousleft; samesexmarriage; satan; satanisstrong; serpentinthegarden; sexlaws; sexuality; sin; sinandsinners; sodom; sodomites; sodomy; sodomylaws; teensex; temptation; unrepentantsinners; usualsuspects
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To: drstevej
I prefer to remain in fellowship with God through our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. I've found Robert Thieme to be an outstanding pastor-teacher and an incredible number of Bible believing ministers to have come from his Classes over the years.

Have you found some other similarily outstanding pastors, you'd like to share?
341 posted on 09/04/2003 7:05:08 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: Cvengr; drstevej
The site CV posted has the following in their publication policy
No publication can ever replace the function of a Pastor-Teacher and face-to-face teaching in a local church. If there is a doctrinal church in your area, you should attend that church. Anyone living in an area without a doctrinal church has two options.

Set up a local church in your area.

Move to an area where there is a doctrinal church.

That certainly doesn't sound like someone trying to brainwash the saints.

342 posted on 09/04/2003 7:07:05 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: CARepubGal
I don't care to much for Calvin's black undies.
343 posted on 09/04/2003 7:11:11 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: Cvengr; lockeliberty; CCWoody; Dr. Eckleburg; drstevej; Wrigley; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; CARepubGal; ..
You know what the right thing to do is. Will you do it?

344 posted on 09/04/2003 7:23:40 PM PDT by nobdysfool (All men are born Arminians...the Christian ones that grow up become Calvinists...)
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To: Cvengr
***Have you found some other similarily outstanding pastors, you'd like to share?***

S. Lewis Johnson comes to mind.
345 posted on 09/04/2003 7:25:54 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Thanks, I look forward to studying some in fellowship with God and hope his guidance is fruitful. Does he publish or have an Internet ministry or is his ministry directed elsewhere?
346 posted on 09/04/2003 7:34:45 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: xzins; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ...
347 posted on 09/04/2003 7:41:26 PM PDT by narses ("The do-it-yourself Mass is ended. Go in peace" Francis Carindal Arinze of Nigeria)
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To: Cvengr; lockeliberty; CCWoody; Dr. Eckleburg; drstevej; Wrigley; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; CARepubGal; ..
***Then perhaps you aren't saved yet.***

395 posted on 08/17/2003 11:11 PM EDT by Cvengr (0:^))


***Now study it after returning to righteous relationship with Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you where one's soul may have been previously scarred.***

401 posted on 08/17/2003 11:59 PM EDT by Cvengr (0:^))


***then perhaps you are not in fellowship with Him. Man is originally born with only soul and body, so those unsaved will not understand these things.***

402 posted on 08/18/2003 12:02 AM EDT by Cvengr (0:^))


***No, I'm not arrogant, I am deeply offended. To a level you have no way of understanding. You were challenging my salvation, and you haven't got the decency to admit it.***

540 posted on 08/19/2003 3:36 AM EDT by nobdysfool (All men are born Arminians...the Christian ones that grow up become Calvinists...)



542 posted on 08/19/2003 3:42 AM EDT by Cvengr (0:^))


***The Great Commission mandated such communication. If you are insulted. Tough.***

777 posted on 08/21/2003 3:11 AM EDT by Cvengr (0:^))


Sound familiar? What do you have to say?

348 posted on 09/04/2003 7:42:13 PM PDT by nobdysfool (All men are born Arminians...the Christian ones that grow up become Calvinists...)
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To: Cvengr
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Charleston, S.C., graduating from College of Charleston with an A. B. degree in 1937. He was converted in Birmingham, while in the insurance business, through the teaching of Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse. He left the insurance business in 1943 to enter Dallas Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1946, Th.M. degree and in 1949, Th. D. degree. Dr. Johnson was Professor of New Testament from 1950 to 1972 and Professor of Systematic Theology from 1972 to 1977 at Dallas Theological Seminary. He served as Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at Deerfield, Illinois and is now Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Amsterdam, Netherlands. He has done graduate work at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, SMU, Dallas and in the University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr. Johnson has now been engaged in pastoral ministry for about forty five years.


He has published a number of academic articles. His sermon tapes and manuscripts have been distributed widely through Believer's Chapel.

Here is a sampler that is available on line...

349 posted on 09/04/2003 7:43:06 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: nobdysfool
Post 777 is accurate, concise, and succinct.

The rest of it is between you and God. Any hurt you sense or imply as an offense indicates Post 777 is true. Any lack of hurt indicates the argument is contrived.

Any encouragement or apology by any other person, including myself to the contrary merely would condone judging you and interfere between your relationship with Him.

Where love has been offered you otherwise, it has been rejected.

Here is a basic which every Christian should intuitively understand and not argue over but rejoice regardless. I provide it not to insult, nor to make myself higher, but as the only guidance I know as infallible if I am to act at all.

God Bless
350 posted on 09/04/2003 8:44:06 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: drstevej
Great bio. I look forward to studying some of his work.

Funny how when I quoted some DGBarnhouse doctrine on evil elsewhere, I was attacked for it not being true or Scriptural. Not to worry though, I find Him to be an outstanding minister and pastor and study by his guidance while in feloowship with Him.
351 posted on 09/04/2003 8:47:47 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: Cvengr
The basic doctrine series is outstanding. The first few are a bit academic.

The current pastor-teacher at Believer's Chapel, Dan Duncan, was a seminary classmate and is a friend. He is an excellent teacher.

BTW, I like Barnhouse and his successor at Tenth Presbyterian in Philly, James Boice.
352 posted on 09/04/2003 8:53:39 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
I enjoy Boice's Radio Ministry immensely, at least when I can hear it. I just wish his Bible Study Hour lasted more than 5 minutes to 30 minutes.
353 posted on 09/04/2003 9:09:35 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: drstevej
BTW, FWIW Boice's voice sounds just like Thieme's, interesting parallel.
354 posted on 09/04/2003 9:10:42 PM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: Cvengr
Boice's commentaries are worthwhile.
355 posted on 09/04/2003 9:25:21 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: Cvengr; lockeliberty; CCWoody; Dr. Eckleburg; drstevej; Wrigley; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; CARepubGal; ..
It is truly sad that you are unable to see that questioning someone's salvation because he has the courage of his convictions to stand up to what he perceives as error, is itself an error, and an insult to fellow believer in Christ. For some reason, you seem to equate an apology with capitulation and admitting that your entire system of theology is equally in error. The apology is for one thing and one thing only: Questioning the salvation of someone for whom Christ has died and bought with His own Blood, based on that person's opposition to you in several points of doctrine. Conformity of theology is not an indicator of any person's standing with God, except in the areas of heresy against the Atonement, the Person of Jesus Christ, or the Godhead. You seem to think otherwise. If you thought I didn't understand what you were saying, then it was your responsibility to clear that up with clear language, not to turn around and question my standing before God, and doing so publicly. If you had approached me privately, we could have solved it privately. You took it public, made public statements injurious and libelous to me, and now you adopt the attitude that you were "only doing your Christian duty". Poppycock!

I think you have made it quite plain that you feel you did me no injury, and it is equally plain to others here that you, in fact, did. If you will not apologize, your sin is on your own head. Posting charts and acting superior does not shine a flattering light on you, and it is clear that you are very concerned with how you are perceived by others. Unfortunately you do not accord to others what you hold so dear for yourself.

356 posted on 09/04/2003 9:30:53 PM PDT by nobdysfool (All men are born Arminians...the Christian ones that grow up become Calvinists...)
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To: EdReform
357 posted on 09/04/2003 9:31:25 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight & gave us an innate predisposition for self-preservation and protection)
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To: drstevej
Gee, a son taking over a fathers ministry, how 'cultish' can you get!

Sought of like Bob Jones University?

What are they on there, Bob Jones the 5th ?

What is this thing you have about Thieme?

He believes what you do about the Bible, that we do not have one.

Just various 'opinions'.

358 posted on 09/05/2003 1:49:33 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration
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To: fortheDeclaration
***He believes what you do about the Bible, that we do not have one. ****

Hope you shared that with PAstor Thiene while you attended his church.

***Sought of like Bob Jones University? What are they on there, Bob Jones the 5th ?***

I don't think you are supposed to use Bob Jones and 5th in the same sentence. Repent.
359 posted on 09/05/2003 4:42:49 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: fortheDeclaration
I believe his son is a Marine or Naval Aviator, probably field grade by now and retired. I believe he also has theological training. If I understand correctly, a search was performed for others initially and not fulfilled. In addition, I understand there was no lack of skepticism in allowing his son to even speak there, let alone becoming more involved. The quote of the tape ministry I suspect provides some testimony to this.

I suspect the deacons, elders, and body of that congregation is just as critical if not moreso of having any sibling associated with the ministry than any outside critic. If he is able to oversome that hurdle, remain in fellowship with God and continue to advance in God's plan, I remain open minded enough to consider he's not only the right man for the job, qualified and best linked to the ministry, but perhaps foreordained by a higher power to have been placed in that situation.

Disciplined doesn't imply lack of justification.
360 posted on 09/05/2003 5:44:21 AM PDT by Cvengr (0:^))
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