Featured Article: Top 10 Ways We know God Loves Gays

NuWine Press has just released a new articles section on its website – to give all of you literary minds some brain food. You’ll find light-hearted, timely and scholarly articles written by our staff and friends to keep you reading and conversing while you’re waiting for the next NuWine Press book to be released. Check in to the website, read an article, leave a comment and enjoy!

Our current featured article is: “Top 10 Ways We Know God Loves Gay People.” Check it out!

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A Call to Action for Uganda (via MCC)

My Sisters and Brothers

A Call to Prayer and Action
As the people of Uganda prepare to go to the polls to vote on Friday, I urge you to offer up a prayer for justice. I also ask that you contact the White House, Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama and ask them to remind the Authorities in Uganda that we as a nation are watching!

The bill put forth by David Bahati  on the advice and funding of The Family is still on the ballot. The bill calls for death to those who are LGBT.

The White House Switchboard is 202-456-1414 or you can send an email.

The State Department can be reached via   email or by calling 202-647-4000.

Peace,
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
MCC

For David Kato Part 2 – Redeemed Silence

“I opened my mouth to the Lord/And I won’t turn back/I will go/I shall go/To see what the end is going to be” – Negro Spiritual

Frank Mugisha, Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), worked alongside David Kato, fighting for the rights of LGBT individuals, until Kato was bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

He told the audience at Harlem’s legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church that Kato was the one that welcomed him home from the airports and bailed him out of jail when just being became a crime. He didn’t know who he would call now, Mugisha said, to welcome him when he got home to Uganda. He told of Kato’s bravery in eloquent words and then stopped. He wanted to cut his comments short he said, because it had been so long since he’d had an opportunity to be in a church, and to be reflective and meditate. A gay man like him wouldn’t be welcome in a church in Uganda.

 

Rev. Dr. Michael Walrond Jr. challenged the insanity of being requested to make comments at Kato’s memorial under the heading “A call to a new understanding.” Fully aware that Kato’s murder was spawned in part by some Christian’s hatred of LGBT people, he suggested that all Christians need to be called back to the “old understanding” that Jesus is love and love does not incite people to kill. Reverend Walrus referred us back to the Prophet Mica’s Old Testament iteration of the Christian requirement to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

 

Elder Joseph Tolton’s call to social action caused us to consider the theory of evolution as the blueprint for a “survivor of the fittest” mentality that prompts constant power-hungry grabs for dominance over those considered to be “lesser” evolved. The phenomena seeded the evils of racism, especially as expressed by the southern white Christian evangelical church, which has never been apologized for, Elder Tolton said. The phenomena was also the seed used to pit black conservatives against gay people to the benefit of the Defense of Marriage crowd during recent political elections. Last but not least, the phenomena was a seed to the hatred that took the life of David Kato.

 

It was a powerful night. And seeing clergy from so many open and affirming churches gathered in one of Harlem’s oldest and most respected churches memorializing the life of an African LGBT activist helped put another brick in the bridge between transnational issues of oppression for the benefit of all. But still to me, one of the most poignant moments was Mr. Mugisha’s time of redeemed silence. That silence represented the value Mugisha placed on being within the four walls of a house of worship, in a church, in a pew, in Harlem and in his gay skin. He priced it as being worth one – dare I presume even two – fewer precious words at the memorial of a dear friend. And although many in the U.S. would still argue that Mugisha was somehow unworthy of that time in the divine, and although many of us in the U.S. struggle to find gay-friendly churches, Mr. Mugisha’s golden opportunity for reflection will make me and perhaps all of us LGBT believers who have made their peace with their God and their chosen house of worship sit a little humbler in our congregations this Sunday morning.

For David Kato Part 1

Live video from the memorial service (please excuse the quality).

NuWine Press is not just concerned about equality movements, in particular, the equality movement for people with disabilities for LGBT individuals, for women, and people of all races and socio-economic standings, it is also particularly concerned about where these equality movements intersect with faith, and especially the Christian faith.

Consequentially, the murder of David Kato affects us deeply and honestly, should affect and change everyone in this country. Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato was not just bludgeoned to death with a hammer because he was gay, he was also the victim of a fire stoked by an influential Evangelical Christian group based here in the U.S. (see “From CNN” below).

Too often, the church of the God who said He: “So loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” is on the side of haters and the killers.

To those who continue to be responsible for spreading hatred of LGBT people whether from the pulpit or in High School locker rooms, or on the streets, I can only say as Pastor Calvin Butts did at Kato’s NY Memorial Service (see “Obituary” below): “There is room at the cross for you.”

From CNN:

  • “In an interview last year, Kato told CNN he feared for his life after a local Ugandan tabloid listed him as one of the country’s “top homosexuals.” Kato was also a strong advocate for gay rights in a country where homosexual acts are considered crimes.
  • Prior to his murder, he fought against proposed legislation that would potentially increase the maximum punishment from life in prison to death.
  • Demonstrators in Washington said that the Fellowship Foundation, the Christian organizers behind the National Prayer Breakfast, have supported that legislation. David Bahati, the Ugandan parliamentary member who introduced the anti-gay bill, is associated with the Christian group.
  • The Fellowship Foundation is also known as the Family, after a book by that name that was published about the group several years ago.” (Gay rights advocates question Obama’s prayer breakfast appearance By Padmananda Rama, CNN)

Obituary for David Kato

This is an obituary for David Kato, as printed in the program for David Kato’s NY Memorial Service,  held February, 2011 at Abyssinian Baptist Church. The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III Pastor. On the program were Min. Andrea Vassell and Rev. Vanessa Brown, Pastor Rivers of Living Waters and Family of Faith Churches; Rev. Stacey Latimer, Pastor, Love Alive International Ministry; Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church, New York; Frank Mugisha, Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda; Charles Radcliffe, Sr. Advisor to the High Commissioner on LGBT Human Rights; Rev. Dr. Michael Walrond Jr. Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church; Elder Joseph W. Tolton, Pastor, Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church, Consultant, The Global Justice Institute.

Obituary Text:

“Born to the Kisule clan in its ancestral village of Nakawala, Namataba Town Council, Mukono district, Kato received the name “Kato” from the fact that he was the younger twin brother of another sibling, John Malumba Wasswa. He came out to his family members before he left to spend a few years in Johannesburg, South Africa during its transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy, becoming influenced by the end of the apartheid-era ban on sodomy and the growth of LGBT rights in the country. He came back to Uganda in 1998 and, not long afterward, was held in police custody for a week due to his activism. He became highly involved with the underground LGBT rights movement in Uganda, eventually becoming one of the founding members of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda). By 2010, he had quit his job as a school teacher in order to focus on his work with SMUG in light of the events surrounding the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Kato was among the 100 people whose names and photographs were published in October 2010 by the Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone in an article which called for their execution as homosexuals. Kato and two other SMUG members who were also listed in the article, Kasha Jacqueline and Onziema Patience, sued the newspaper to force it to stop publishing the names and pictures of people it believed were gay or lesbian. The photos were published under a headline of “Hang Them” and were accompanied by the individual’s addresses. The petition was granted on November 2, 2010, effectively ruling for the end of Rolling Stone. Giles Muhame, the paper’s managing editor, commented, “I haven’t seen the court injunction but the war against gays will and must continue. We have to protect our children from this dirty homosexual affront.” On January 3, 2011, High Court Justice V.F. Kibuuka Musoke ruled that Rolling Stone’s publication of the lists, and the accompanying incitation to violence, threatened Kato’s and the others “fundamental rights and freedoms,” attacked the right to human dignity, and violated their constitutional right to privacy. The court ordered the newspaper to pay Kato and the other two plaintiffs 1.5 million Ugandan shillings each ($646.50 US).

On January 26, 2011, while talking on the phone with SMUG member Julian Pepe Onziema, Kato was assaulted in his home in Mukono Town by at least one unknown male assailant who hit him twice in the head with a hammer before fleeing on foot. Kato later died en route to the Kawolo Hospital.”

Dear Joel Osteen

Dear Pastor Osteen:

Hold up your bible and repeat this after me: “This is OUR bible: lesbians, gays, straight people, transgender, bisexual, queers and questioning folk. This bible does NOT say that healthy homosexual relationships are sinful. I will no longer use incorrect and antiquated interpretations of scripture to deny the power of  Christ’s love and acceptance to people who need it the most.”

Now I’d like to tell a joke: What do you call a preacher who condemns people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Wrong.

It’s not funny Pastor Osteen.

A Poem for You – Video

http://www.tinyurl.com/held1

Somebody’s missing from the pulpit!

Imagine this, paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident as a teen, a life confined to a wheelchair and a calling to preach the gospel. It happens, God uses whomever He chooses. This is the story of Joni Eareckson Tada, but she’s not alone. Nick Vucijic is a young man with no arms or legs who has one of the most powerful ministries in the world.

How many times have you seen a person with physical challenges in the pulpit? Ministry to the deaf has grown somewhat but what about those with visual challenges, those who use wheelchairs, those who have  mental illnesses or cognitive disabilities?

There’s a whole community missing from our pulpits  – and that means the body of Christ is not yet whole. God is a healer, but healing doesn’t always take the most obvious forms. Sometimes we need healing so that we can accept people as they are, and receive the word of God no matter what vessel He uses to deliver it.

I encourage individuals with disabilities to share their stories with us via our poetry contest. I don’t know enough about how to reach out to this community or  how we can position ourselves to receive what God has given them for us. Educate me. Share this post with people who you think may be able to help. We need to hear from you and we need to respond.

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