By Jaweed Kaleem, Huff Post Religion…Nearly half of houses of worship in the United States now allow gay and lesbian members who are in long-term relationships to be members, while close to one in three now let gay and lesbian members hold voluntary leadership posts, according to a new study of more than a thousand American congregations. The statistics, which represent a sharp uptick in acceptance of gay and lesbians in religious communities, are part of Duke University’s latest National Congregations Study, which was previewed this week and will be released in full early next year.
By Jessica Valenti, Religion Dispatches….
As I watched Virgin Tales, a Swiss documentary about purity balls—dances where young girls pledge their virginities to their dads—I thought of my father often. Because the most compelling focus of the film wasn’t the events themselves, but the way in which one family’s dynamic can reveal so much about American culture and politics.
Filmmaker Mirjam von Arx follows the Colorado Springs-based Wilson family whose patriarch, Randy, invented purity balls. Von Arx focuses on one daughter in particular, Jordyn. (The Wilsons have five daughter and two sons.) Jordyn is college-aged but not in college. “I want to be a wife and a mother,” she says, “I would hate to go off and spend thousands of dollars on an education that I wouldn’t use.”
By Sherry Morton….
On June 28, 1969 the New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a mafia run basement bar in Greenwich Village known as a haven for homosexuals. In an effort to root out this “undesirable element,” Stonewall was a too often the target of police raids. On this particular sultry summer night, the desperation of a people oppressed for no reason other than their sexual orientation (the police seem to have no particular issue with mafia run establishments), boiled to the surface. Gay patrons and onlookers stood their ground, refusing to tolerate brutality and unjust treatment at the hands of the police. Patrons of Stonewall stopped dancing and started resisting; the police were trapped inside the Inn and days of rioting followed. Instead of containing the “social ill of homosexuality,” the Stonewall raid provided the necessary fuel to set the gay pride movement in motion.
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
Given the complex and sometimes sordid blending of religion and sexuality in this culture, the debate morphed significantly in late November 2010—just after the elections, be sure to note—from sex to religion. That is to say, from a debate about the virtues of exhibiting a show devoted to gay and lesbian sexuality, into a debate about obscenity, blasphemy, as well as varying perceptions of religious offense in a religiously diverse democracy such as our own.