Buttigieg making faith-based appeal to voters in 2020 bid

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ABOVE: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) | The question was about climate change. The answer soon turned to the Bible.

And Pete Buttigieg knew the verses.

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Franklin Graham tells Buttigieg to repent for being gay

By : James Wellemeyer OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Above:  (Photo by Anthony Correia; courtesy Bigstock)

Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham is calling on Pete Buttigieg to repent for being gay.

Graham tweeted on April 24 the Bible “defines homosexuality as a sin.”

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Oregon school district accused of forcing LGBTQ student to read Bible as punishment

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COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is accused of forcing students to read Bible passages as a form of punishment, among other accusations.

The Coos Bay World reported Tuesday that the North Bend School District initially denied the claim, but the building administrator later acknowledged in an interview with state education officials that he demanded Bible reading for punishment.

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Hawaii candidate fights off ‘anti-LGBT preacher’ claims

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HONOLULU (AP) — A well-known Democratic candidate for Congress who gained notoriety opposing President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting mostly Muslim countries is being forced to explain a decades-old rant perceived as intolerant of gay people.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Doug Chin said he won’t “quibble” about what’s on a recording posted on YouTube last year, or its context, and has apologized. But he hasn’t been able to put the issue entirely behind him.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: A Questionable Year

By : Michael Wanzie
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Since this is to be my final column of 2017, I’ve decided to look back over the year in the form of questions. I’ll begin back at the top of year: January 20, 2017—a day that will live in infamy.

So this guy, with his hand on the Bible, freely admitted that he routinely kissed women uninvited and pressed toward them in inappropriate ways. He boasted that when one is a star, as is he, he can get away with doing anything he wants to woman. He proclaimed that he grabs women by the pussy. In response to his admission of serial sexual assaults on women, Billy Bush stupidly laughed. How is it Billy Bush lost his job but that guy becomes president of the United States of America?

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Amid calls to step down, anti-LGBTQ Roy Moore finds refuge with his base

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JACKSON, Ala. (AP) – Taking the pulpit at a Baptist revival at a south Alabama church, Republican Roy Moore quoted lengthy Bible passages and made only passing reference to the allegations against him of sexual misconduct with teenagers.

The former judge found a brief refuge Nov. 14 from the political firestorm and the calls from national Republicans in elected office for him to drop out of the Alabama Senate race. Speaking in between hymns and sermons urging people to accept Jesus, the embattled Senate candidate dismissed the allegations as an effort to derail his rise to the Senate and end his political career that included an effort to halt same-sex marriage in the state and install a granite Ten Commandments monument in the lobby of the state appellate courthouse.

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Peterson Toscano’s Everything is Connected An Evening of Stories. Most weird, Many True.

By : Alex Storer
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An Early Easter Gift From SunCoast Cathedral MCC to You!

Experience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano. Connecting issues and ideas to bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson takes his audience on an off-beat mental mind trip.  A shapeshifter, he transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion, and environmental justice. His unique personal journey led him into performance art.

After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay himself through gay conversion therapy, he came to his senses and came out a quirky queer Quaker concerned with human rights and comedy. He asks himself and his audiences unusual and stimulating questions: Who are the gender outlaws in the Bible? What is a queer response to climate change? and How can comedy help us better understand our most tragic losses? Peterson is on a mission to connect with his audiences in deeply personal ways stirring up hope and purpose in a rapidly changing world. Come to laugh, think deeply, and feel more human.

Kentucky Senate advances bill that would allow religious expression in public schools

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky Senators voted Feb. 10 for the measure that defends the rights of students to express religious beliefs in public schools and allows the Bible to be used for the study of religion.

Senate Bill (SB) 17 passed with a vote of 31-3. It now moves to the House.

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Judge proposes Oregon bakery pay $135,000 to lesbian couple

By : Wire Report
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An administrative law judge proposed April 24 that the owners of a suburban Portland bakery pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who were refused service more than two years ago.

The judge, Alan McCullough, ruled in January that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer by refusing to bake them a wedding cake. The bakers cited their religious beliefs in a case that has been cited in the national debate over religious freedom and discrimination against gays.

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8.14.14 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185When I was a child, enjoying one of many sleepovers with my cousin, we’d often get a bedtime story from his mother, my aunt. Her husband, my uncle, was the pastor of our church, so it wasn’t surprising that most of these stories had a spiritual or fable-like lesson attached to them.

Her story-telling abilities were mesmerizing to my 8-year-old self and my 9-year-old cousin. While I have no idea if these tales were of her own creation or if she found them in books, I was always fascinated. One story in particular remains with me.

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10.25.12 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot“A sin, is a sin, is a sin.”

That’s what I was taught as a child in my Sunday school class. In other words, no other sin is above any other. So telling a lie, for example, is no different than committing an act of mass murder.
Even then that comparison didn’t make sense to me, but then again, neither did the story about the creation of a human being out of one man’s rib.

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Preaching to the Converted: Confessions of the Jew-Adjacent

By : Ken Kundis
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KenKundisHeadshotAnyone who knows me knows that I don't really have a spiritual side. I am one of those wretched â┚¬Ëœsouls' who believes that, upon death, our bodies are putting into pine boxes and buried 72 inches below ground and that's pretty much it. No, I don't believe in Heaven or Hell (how stupid would I be to believe in Hell but not Heaven? One of my favorite all time non-sequiturs is the time a woman who was a friend of my born-again Christian sister asked me if I was afraid that being an agnostic would result in me going to Hell. Uh, no, I don't believe humans have souls that are tangible, definable things.

Of course, I have no issue with anyone believing anything they like. If it gives you a moral center that prevents you from killing me or taking my stuff, I'm all for it. But for me, I could just never separate the veracity of contemporary Christian teachings from Greek Mythology, or the stories of the Quran or the Talmud. At the risk of offending the virtuous out there, I stopped believing in Jesus at roughly the same time I stopped believing in Santa Claus.

I'm prepared to be wrong. Actually I'd really like to be wrong. It's a lovely idea that we don't really die when we die. And I don't have another answer. Truthfully, I've never regarded myself as smart enough to figure out exactly how the world came to be or what, if anything, comes after. And I have yet to find anyone else I regarded as smart enough to explain it to me in a way that makes sense.

Phil doesn't agree. My partner of two years is a practicing Jew. In short, he believes. And I see the sense of peace, comfort and connection to his world, his family and his friends his belief in Judaism provides him. I'm a little envious, frankly. I would love to believe in something, anything. But my analytical mind just won't let me go there.

However, whatever you believe about spirituality, contemporary organized religions aren't just about standing behind a version of creationism. They're also about ritual, community, and practices. In the two years Phil and I have been together, I've had the opportunity to attend a number of Jewish ceremonies â┚¬â€œ Rosh Hashanah services with 1000s of gay and lesbian Jews at Town Hall in NYC, Phil's niece's Bat Mitzvah, Sader dinner for Passover. I've immensely enjoyed each of these events, even without being a true believer. And this is by no means my first exposure to Judaism.

Tulane University of Louisiana, entrenched in the firmament of New Orleans, had a large population of Jewish students from around the country. So many in fact, that it acquired the regrettable, and possibly mildly anti-Semitic, nickname of â┚¬ËœJewlane.'

At that time in my life, I was in the throes of the final struggle for my spirituality. I had been raised Russian Orthodox, and had even been an altar boy. But it never took hold in me. While living in New Orleans, I had the chance to attend Catholic mass with my friend, Evan. I went to Southern Baptist services with my friend, Gwen. And my friend Lesli took me to Temple more than once. I also took a class called â┚¬Å”Science and the Christian Experiment,â┚¬Â which approached creationism from a scientific perspective. In the process of coming out at the time, I was desperate to find some answer to the seemingly unanswerable questions swirling in my head at the time, and sought answers in all those places.

While none of them permeating my sub-conscious, I feel I got a very well-rounded religious education. (It's always fun for me when a Christian quotes the Bible to me like I've never read it. Their expression as I reference Bible verses is priceless to me.) And at the end of the day, if I had to pick a religion without having to buy into the ultimate â┚¬Ëœfaith' all religions require, I'd be a Jew. There is something very common-sensical, thoughtful and uplifting about Jewish traditions and services, that contemporary Christian teachings don't hold for me. In fact, my favorite wedding I've ever attended was my friend Lesli's to her husband Todd. Instead of mystical pronouncements and language about obeying, their service was a wonderful, warm celebration of love and family.

People have asked me if it's difficult to be in a relationship where one person believes, and the other doesn't. In my experience, being Jew-adjacent â┚¬â€œ as I like to say â┚¬â€œ doesn't make me a Jew. But it does make me see the world in a more holistic way.

Many equate agnosticism with being jaded. I don't think that is the case for me at all. I believe in the good in people and the poetry of life. I think that true believers contribute to every part of that. I can live alongside a believer, literally in the bed next to him every night, and not have it say anything about what either of us believes.