Blogs Jun 17, 2011 at 8:51 am


I suggest reading this for more info on this douche bag:…
yes because it is literally impossible to be gay and religious in any way

goddamn you are dumb

>not just to embrace their true sexual identities but to question and ultimately abandon organized religion altogether.

>organized religion

you should try reading before you make silly comments, but I have a suspicion that that might ruin your need to make silly comments =)
While I agree with the gist of your comments, organized religions, taken on the whole, are often a powerful force for good in the world. It seems to me that a lot of problems stem from the fact that no matter their supposed focus, human institutions tend to include humans, and any sufficiently large group of them is going to include people who are substandard at being human. Given time, this will manifest itself as shameful portions of any institutions history.
Eh. Alabama. You don't need to say anything more.
Well, @3, when my sexuality brought me into conflict with the faith that my parents had raised me in, it didn't just prompt me to go find a less hateful faith tradition. It prompted me to question the whole idea of faith, the need for religion, etc. It that lead, in a little less than a year, to the conclusion that it was all bullshit.

I think the world would be a better place if more people came to that conclusion.

But I am dum. Never disputed it.
Alabama: We're first alphabetically!
Can someone summarize briefly what's going on here?
But they're gay by choice! Seattleblues told me so!
What completely baffles me is the "Click here to subscribe and watch videos of other gentle, loving Christians." on the bottom.
Not going to watch that. I really, REALLY don't have time to go on a killing spree right now.
Appalling. Even more appalling? The preacher is throwing "The Shocker" as he gesticulates.

I wish I hadn't eaten before watching this; I feel sick now.
People find that kind of thing convincing? Really?
@9, the guy pastor says some stuff about how God won't ask the devil to scoot over and make room for Him in you, so you need to evict the demons of homosexuality right now if you are serious about being free. He says nobody's here to judge you, come on up if you've struggled with same-sex desire. Kids come up and kneel, he continues blahblahblahing about the same stuff, and eventually the two women in the video take over the mic and blahblahblah about the same stuff, with that hot brunette at the end getting all screechy about the lies of the enemy and the truth of God, the truth of God, the truth of God....also, the truth of God!!1! I skipped through it, it was pretty repetitive.

It's gross and manipulative and scary in that way that only foaming-at-the-mouth fundamentalists can be scary. But other than the original sin of telling these kids they're broken in the first place, nothing outright abusive seems to happen, and the saddest part is all the kids who come forward look like they really believe all of this and are desperate to be "healed". I'm sure this experience will confirm, for the straight kids that were there, that gay people know how wrong they are.
BEG - a sociopath with a microphone and sweaty hair makes an altar call (the hardest one you are ever going to hear) for all the girls who like girls and the boys who like boys to come on up here, come on now, come on up, no shame here, come on up, you know you want to, get your asses up here. He's really creepy. When the first kid goes up the rest all start to clap. Then I had to stop watching. Sorry. I predict those god damn sinners will get saved or whatever, maybe levitate once the burden of their abomination is lifted by the creepy sociopath. For a few minutes at least, the poor deluded people.

I don't know how to express the creepiness of the strong accent, the commands, the microphone, the goddy-talk and the sweaty pacing. Creepy. Also not what I'd call "gentle."
I wish I could just grab those kids and teens, gay or not, and just take them away.

@11, all of his videos are actually of really creepy Christians doing ethically questionable things. That link at the bottom is sarcasm.
Okaaay... looks like the same guy has a "Becoming Christian Changes Your DNA" clip. Ook.

"This is Your Brain on Christianity"
Sometimes I just wonder what an itinerant Jewish preacher/activist living in Roman-occupied Judea in the first century C.E. would think if he could see video footage like this.

And any religion that tells people that they are made in god's image and then that they are perverted and evil and wrong, has major contradictions at its core. I don't understand how followers square that.

The irony is that the old testament god is a much more vengeful, wrathful, punitive, judgmental, asshole, while Jesus and the kind of god he talks about is more loving and accepting, yet these so-called Christians embrace some odd perversion of Jesus' fundamental message of acceptance and merge it with the worst possible old testament god.
WWJD? He'd be gob-smacked.
I know what you mean @17.. I wanted to hug them and tell them that the sweaty man is wrong, they are wonderful and fine people.
This video is so upsetting, but the comments so funny. Oddly conflicted right now.
@5 show me the evidence that organized religion has done more good than harm (Inquisition, Crusades, jihad, oppression of women, increasing teen pregnancy, worsening STD epidemics, tacitly approving the Holocaust, 9/11, honor killings, kiddie rape, prop 8, originating basically every systematic mode of oppressing gays, shall I go on?)
Leviticus 19:28 "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord"  nice going pastor asshat
All I can think is now the "gentle Christians" know who to target & harass.
@15, @16, @18 Thanks, y'all. Ugh. Those poor kids. Hell of a way to instill self-hatred, douchebag preacher & church...
This is called child abuse people. Or a better word, mental rape.
BTW, and apparently Jesus isn't into DP with Satan..something about there not being any room? (had to say it)
@23 Isn't that the wrong standard? Shouldn't I only have to prove that organized religion has been marginally better than other groupings of people around the time and place?

Also, much of your list includes items that certainly are a blight on organized religion, but if not the Crusades, something similar would have happened due to a confluence of vectors in European society and politics, jihad, depending on which eras practices were discussing, is as much political as religious, Holocaust approval, tacit and otherwise, wasn't the exclusive domain of the Catholic Church, women have also been oppressed in a disorganized fashion... In short, various organizations should be ashamed, and certainly the fact of organization and its supposed authority facilitated or increased these horrors, but it is hardly the cause you've implied it to be.
What is most appalling about this is that anyone would intentionally put their child through something like this. Sad, sad, sad. Kids, there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect just the way you are. Hang in there until you can get out of that environment. Things will get better, you'll see. We promise.
@24 - I love that phrasing. I always like to think it's God reporting on some story from the field.

"We turn now to The Lord, who has uncovered some interesting things at a local tattoo parlor. The Lord?"
"Hi, Tammy. It seems the sanitation standards at some local establishments aren't what they should be.
...and so authorities are recommending that ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you. Reporting from downtown Portland, I am the Lord. Back to you, Tammy."
@7 I realize organized religion deserves most of the scorn for damn good reasons, Dan, but disorganized religion is still just as fucking stupid, as exempting any beliefs from critical examination will always be. No sacred cows.
@32 Yes, but disorganized religion tends to be more private and not so much imposed on the rest of us. If people want to be irrational on their own time, I gots no problem with that.
I feel that @31 kind of wins this.
I expected that to make me angry, but it just made me sad and sick. Very sad and very sick. Fucking heartbreaking.
And that is why I’m Church Of England... high church. It's so much more pleasant and civilized. None of this yelling out of demons... that's strictly for the cocktail hour.
Man, that's a confusing thing to watch. I'll like to spank that pink, screechy chick's bare ass, though.
I went to things like this when I was young and stupid. They are great at raising the hysteria level to the roof and thinking it's a religious experience. Then you go home and think WTF? What was I thinking? (Kind of like a bad one night stand). Except there are those that live for this self righteous hysteria and work themselves up into a lather daily. Probably most of those poor kids kneeling and crying at the stage in front of the greasy haired guy who can't even put down his plastic water bottle to 'bless' them will wake up in the morning, realize they are still gay, religion is a fraud, this man and his ilk are assholes, and watch the IGB videos.
Those kids look so tortured, it makes me want to spend my Sundays outside of churches with large signs reassuring the kids that they're totally normal.

And what the hell, preacher? Straight kids get molested, too.
I can think of few jobs worse than one in which the goal is to make young people feel bad about themselves. Is there nothing people won't do for money?
I hope I hear your heart, Outercow. It is a good and passionate one. Not everyone experience life as you do, they don't see things as you do. Life is not as black and white. For some recognize that "all proofs" of the existence of God are flawed the ontological, the teleological, the cosmological every one of them. The question of God's existence is not unlike Kurt Godel's first incompleteness theorem, which states that any mathematical system of sufficient complexity contains statements that are neither provably false nor provably true. They recognize that there are no unassailable arguments about the universe that conclude that God must, out of necessity, exist, but the also recognize that their are no bullet-proof arguments that God doesn't exist. And, use the term very God very broadly, because I can recognize that some believe in a supernatural being that interacts with this world, and others see God as the universe itself a force that cannot be angered or pleased and does not intervene, it creates life and sometimes does it through destruction.

I'm glad for your convictions, just as I'm glad for Dan's and everyone else's here on Slog. I'm inclined to think that an honorable life is one lived with integrity and kindness. The path one takes to arrive at it will look different for each of us. Mine requires me to express my anger and disagreement at this individual, just as I did with that church in MA, and I do it for love. My heart ached to see those young people writhing on the floor. I believe no-one should despise something intrensic to who they are, there is nothing to heal there. In my opinion it is the millstone of guilt that needs to be evicted, nay hurled, from them. That flawed man with an inflated sense of himself and, in my opinion, hateful opinion has no right to claim he knows the mind of God, if one believes that God has a mind, or that he lives what he claims to live. He and his edgy and rebelious worship staff are a vicious joke who cherry pick. I see someone who wants his 15 minutes of fame and is emotionally assaulting young people emotionally to get there. I'm inclined to think that as struggle for equality comes to a close the viciousness will increase by those that oppose it. Some will shatter themselves on the changing tide, and believe during their final gasps that they martyring themselves for the truth as they believe it to be, and future generations will look at them with scorn and sadness. Some will survive and adapt, they will later have an 'enlightened' moment and will claim that changing their tune is according to God's (however they see God) will.

Thank you, as always, for sharing your opinions. I appreciate the glimps from your perspective, as I do others here.

Take care.
@39 YES. I think that's a fantastic idea. first stop, mars hill. I'm in!
Anyone who is THAT obsessed with homosexuality is obviously struggling with it himself. Why else would he spend so much time and energy thinking about it?

THIS GUY is trolling for young Christian gays.

He's looking for boys to hit on who are just as conflicted, closeted, & Christian about there queerness as he is.
Safer than rentboys probably for someone in his position.

Somebody OUT the mofo, please.

Dan, you've called on the Christians to take care of there
own on this one. Well, homos - take care of your own here.
THEIR. THEIR, their, their.

I get your point, Dan, but I'm having a harder time seeing the upside. What kind of hell are these kids going to go through before they realize that they can't be "cured" of gay? How many are going to think it's their fault that they can't be "cured"?

Maybe I'm underestimating their resiliancy. After all, I had a religious upbringing and never thought being gay was a sin or tried not to be gay. But we're Lutheran. Pencostal shit like this will fuck you up and I fear for the kind of hold this church already have on these kids.

I stand corrected ... their.

Wonder what kind of "counseling" this pastor
offered to the young men in this vid ...?

@17, why not? Just picket the church with bullhorns and signs that say, "You are loved" and "You are welcomed here!" (insert local unitarian or lgbt-friendly church).
I'm puzzled why so many Christians (mainly conservative ones, I'd guess) seemed obsessed with homosexuality. Why don't they focus on people who hurt other people...people who are violent, or molest kids, or beat their spouses? Or focus on hunger and poverty? Or on conservation?
So many came forward. I hope they are okay.
Religious hucksters have always understood that if you can whip a crowd into a frenzy (of any sort), you can sell the adrenaline rush as a spiritual experience. It’s human to crave a palpable sense of communication with the spiritual; it gives a quality of realness to faith. (“I not only BELIEVE it, I FEEL it, and if I can FEEL it, it must be real!”) What’s really happening here is a snake oil show. (It’s that “old-time” religion… the traveling salvation show.) It’s sort of like mainlining a “spiritual” experience to enforce a religious belief more likely than not based on cultural assimilation and traditional, generational dogmatic belief structures than a contemplative search for truth.

I think of it as the difference between going to the movie and reading the book. One is more cerebral and the other is more visceral. Sitting here in Seattle with a college education, a great job and endless social options and opportunities, it’s easier to craft an individual spiritual belief system based on the quiet contemplation of a wide variety of available theologies. And that belief system is supported by scaffolding constructed as part of its formation. It has less need of a palpable (visceral) spiritual experience to prop it up. On the other hand, if you’re stuck in a West Virginia coal town, with a rudimentary education, a crap job and very limited social options, you may have less opportunity to build a well constructed spirituality (and arguably more need for spirituality) and therefore be more likely to blindly adhere to the “family brand” and cling to it like a raft at sea in hope of coming into something better somehow someday. In that case, a palpable (visceral) spiritual experience is practically essential to prop up a belief system opted into without understanding it’s foundations and supports.

I knew these people growing up, it’s sad. It’s like worshiping the sun because you can’t understand it, but you can feel its heat.
Anyone who wants to abandon organized religion should be encouraged to do so, just as anyone who wants to find a faith community to nurture their spirituality should be free to do so.

Organized religion is a disorganized collection of permutations upon permutations of beliefs, usually in a higher power, sometimes just in the power of the human spirit and a desire to band together. I'm particularly fond of the Quaker (The Religious Society of Friends) Meeting I fell into decades after swearing off all religion as fraud. Perhaps I like it because it isn't organized in the sense of a dogma, it's not patriarchal, and the members have an abiding sense of equality, respect and fairness.

Meetings explore and define their own understanding of faith. New York Yearly Meeting has made wonderful strides in welcoming and acceptance, although there is still struggle within. This was a "minute" from the annual Meeting in 2004. Bear in mind, that in the Quaker business meeting process, minutes are only adopted if no one objects, so these statements are issued in unanimity.
New York Yearly Meeting supports YouthQuake's invitation to build a spiritual community based on love, respect, truth and understanding across the breadth of Friends. We understand and support the focus of YouthQuake as a corporate exploration and experience of Christ-centered Quaker spirituality. We recognize that even among Christian Quakers there is diversity in our practices and core beliefs. There are Christians who believe that Christ has come to teach his people himself (continuing revelation) and those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. There are Christians who believe in eternal damnation and those who believe God's grace is a gift for all. There are Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin and those who believe it is part of God's creation and yet another expression of the infinite love that is Christ's. We call upon the YouthQuake Planning Committee to be open to leadership from across this breadth of Christian Quaker practices and beliefs, including leadership in the form of gifted youth workers who are homosexual as well as heterosexual.

Building upon this, the Senior High group met at our religious conference center in retreat the following year, and issued this very adult and loving statement on sexuality and religion.

New York Yearly Meeting has a page devoted to sexual orientation and gender issues.

Organized religion is a problem when it's suffered rigor mortis. When it's alive and full of people of open mind and good will, it can be kinda fun.
52/Brooklyn Reader: Perhaps I like it because it isn't organized in the sense of a dogma, it's not patriarchal, and the members have an abiding sense of equality, respect and fairness.

I didn't know much about Susan B. Anthony until I watched Ken Burns' documentary Not For Ourselves Alone when it aired on PBS about ten years ago. I discovered that she was a Quaker and the program said that how she had been raised, being taught that women were equal to men, was what largely fueled her drive to obtain the right to vote for women.

I couldn't finish this video. I did read the 2 depressing religion vs gay articles in the NYTimes yesterday, though. Now I'm going outside and buy some flowers and sit with my partner in the near-summer-solstice sun...

Therapists who help people stay in the closet

My ex gay friend
@33 I’m certainly a proponent of free exercise of religion & freedom of thought, but if Dan’s going to use his pulpit to disparage religion (which is awesome) I think a point that should be stressed, along with how organized religion is used to make good people do horrible things and so forth, is that believing something w/o good reason is the root from which all the evils of religion ultimately springs.

@41 You hear my mind, Kim, when you see me heap hate on respect for blind faith. Blind faith is not a virtue, it deserves only scorn. To be clear, I define a religion as any set of beliefs with unassailable axioms. All my beliefs and convictions are, to the best of my ability, provisional. I could be much better at this, I’m sure. I have very little scientific training, and have only amateur knowledge of psychology and neuroscience and the many ways we humans can deceive ourselves (though I am fascinated by the topic). While it may seem to you that I view the world in black and white, if I do it’s a view where all the blacks are only provisionally black, the whites only provisionally white. My strongest personal conviction, one I’ve yet to see challenged in any ultimately non-superficial way, is that everything should be open to question.

And so it follows for me, human history being so replete with the horrors caused by closed minds, that at this time I’m confident the world would be a far more just and good place if the common view of exempting any idea from critical examination was anathema to a well run society.
Religions are no better nor worse than the people who follow and lead them... and obviously people can be very stupid.

There are other ways to come together in a community for mutual support and care, but they are just as potentially dangerous as religion. People are vulnerable to bad ideas when they are in emotionally charged big groups.... a condition not monopolized by religions. Look at Vancouver's hockey riots... can't blame that on religion.

The real danger lies in the exodus of everyone who is thoughtful and questioning from the world's religions. That just leaves the people like this asshole in control, and reinforces their power.
Apparently that guy does not realize that tattoos are considered a sin in the bible.

Yelling and screaming something as loud as you can does not make it true. It is almost as if (and I believe this to be the case) that they are trying to convince themselves of what they are saying.

At least these kids now know who the other gay kids in their church are. Maybe they can get some support that way. One can only hope.
Thank you, Outercow.

We agree that critical thinking and questioning is exceedingly important. Blind faith is not to be encouraged, it is to be stamped out in my opinion. Sorry, if you thought by using the phrase "black and white" sounded like a simplification of how you thought. It was not my intent, but I can see that my phrasing could be improved.

Enjoy your weekend.
I see faith in your eyes
Never your hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail
Follow the god that failed
@ 29. Shut the fuck up and take your stupid religious bullshit somewhere else. It's impossible to argue with you brainwashed douchebags. Logic doesn't work on you. God is a lie that you fucktards refuse to admit. Stop trying to make your case, we don't give a fuck!
That is terrifying.

"no-one here to judge you...except Jesus"

So you're being judged then.
@58 Always a pleasure, Kim. Will do and same to you, my friend.

@56 "The real danger lies in the exodus of everyone who is thoughtful and questioning from the world's religions. That just leaves the people like this asshole in control, and reinforces their power."

It also leaves the cult with fewer numbers & less public support, giving their unfounded-in-evidence ideas less purchase in society. While attrition whittles down the flocks, It may indeed get worse for those who stay, but it gets better for everyone else, until hopefully someday the cults are reduced to lone kooks harming no one but themselves.

And of course religions don't have a monopoly on filing people's heads with bad ideas, but they're clearly one, if not the largest, source at the moment. Like, for one example, I'm pretty sure there's been roughly 3290481894723520934857289047524204.485x more riots over religion than over sports.
@24: The interpretation of that has always been against tattoos as a sign of faith, since many pagan peoples around the Israelites tattooed marks of their deities on their skin. I bet that at least one of those tats is of Jesus...
The really sad thing for the young people is that they unwittingly volunteered to be targets and scapegoats in perpetuity. Maybe they weren't demonized then, but they will be.
Speed-dating for paedophiles.
I think that was the most disgusting thing that I have learned about on here.
As I told a gay friend of mine who was wondering if his parents really were right, that gay people do go to hell for no other reason than being gay: Jesus surrounded himself with criminals, prostitutes, lepers-- whose disease was, at the time, considered punishment for their sins-- and all sorts of other members of the underclass, and told them he loves and forgives them, regardless of who they are. If Jesus came back today, I'd be willing to bet everything I have that the first places he'd go are the AIDS clinics, the needle exchanges, the ex-gay camps-- all the places the people who are ostracized by the rest of society congregate.

And moreover, why would Jesus call any kind of genuine love a sin? As the story goes, he loved his disciples-- and, indeed, everyone-- as much as anyone has ever loved anyone else, enough to die for them, albeit not sexually. I have no doubt that he would much rather two men love each other than kill each other. And, as someone who hopes to be a minister someday, I just want to get up on that stage and ask that preacher why he thinks that God's love is conditional. What about not just John 3:16-- which doesn't specify that you also have to be straight to be a believer, by the way, just that you have to be a believer-- but John 3:17: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him"?

And of course he'd say that he's saving these kids from sin, not condemning them, that this is exactly what Jesus did: asking them to come into the light and thereby cleansing them of their evils, but all of us here know that when those kids come back after a day, a week, a month, a year of thinking of God at every possible moment, of wearing WWJD wristbands, volunteering at church, never missing a single Sunday, asking, "I've done everything I can to let Jesus into my heart; why am I still gay?" he'll be the first one to say, "Because you're not trying hard enough, because the devil is still so deep in your heart that you can't be saved." Makes me absolutely sick.
to question and ultimately abandon organized religion altogether.

Nah, here's hoping they are able to find more accepting and uplifting organized communities of friendship, love and commitment. It doesn't have to be a church, but in my experience, such communities usually are. For all that atheists bitch about the bad churches out there (and generally ignore and dismiss the good churches out there) they do a piss poor job of building replacement organizations to do the good things that churches do. It's worse than failing, it's not even trying.

I need to take a break from Slog. I've spent all week watching religion and Christianity as broad categories get attacked, and Dan's clearly not off the bender yet. I don't stand with the anti-gay bigots, but I also can't stand with this bullshit. You clearly don't want the gay Christians around. Have fun polarizing our rights against Christianity, but I don't think that helps.

@68 "It's worse than failing, it's not even trying."

Fuck you. We're trying. For one thing we have a lot less money to buy buildings and sponsor events since it's a little harder to raise money when you're the most distrusted group in America and we generally don't guilt people into giving all they can manage each time they show up at a meeting.

But we are growing, we are building communities, and best of all? They're communities not based on lies and coercive brainwashing in moronic assumptions.

I'd love for The Stranger to do a series on churches that actually have struggled with this and have come to accept gays. They do exist.

The reason for this is not to prop up religion. I'm an atheist myself and believe we are better off w/o organized dogma of any kind.

However, there are a lot of gay kids out there who do believe in God and would benefit from knowing where they can turn to if they want to have a religious community around them AND be true to their own sexuality. It's not just a LOSS OF FAITH that slips away, it's a loss of a community...and some people want and need this.

The Society of Friends (i.e., Quakers), the Episcopal Church (USA), the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the United Methodist Church are all either going through the struggle or have been through it. Many churches in these denominations welcome gay members, perform weddings/commitment ceremonies, and even *gasp* ordain gay clergy.

There are, for example, the More Light Presbyterians ( who are working from the inside to change their church to be true to it's own principles, not true to the haters among the presbytery.
This is spiritual and emotional abuse...violent and manipulative. Those poor kids.
@49, conservative, fundamentalist Christians obsess over homosexuality (rather than performing good works and doing the actual mission Jesus preached) for two reasons: 1) it costs them nothing. They don't have to do anything except condemn and hate, while at the same time they get to feel a surge of "righteousness." Plus, casting those aberrant gays as sinners and abominations allows them to overlook whatever is sinful about themselves--dwelling on the "godless perverts" sets them up as angels by comparison; 2) the closet-cases in the churches hide behind their virulent homophobia to hide who they truly are.
oh god those poor kids...
OuterCow, if you are still reading this thread....

There's nothing that special about religion as a social institution; it is neither basically good nor evil. Organized religion has been around a lot longer than most kinds of human organization (like sports team fandom), so people have had a lot more time to use it as an excuse to do awful things. Good things too, although admittedly soup kitchens and charity hospitals are not as impressive as massacres and systematic persecution.

Religion is also not necessarily tied to blind faith... many religions include strong traditions of questioning and doubt. Christian theology is diverse, and includes pantheism and empiricism as well as theism and diesm.

Attrition of thoughtful people who can challenge popular assumption does not improve things for anyone. Too many people are not all that thoughtful. They were raised to value tradition and trust the church, and those who claim to represent it, unquestioningly. These basically good people are the power behind the religion, and they are not going to leave any time soon.

For their sake as well as our own, those of us who value religious traditions and community while continuing to question and challenge blind assumptions need to remain in the church. We can provide alternatives, ask questions, and challenge what we do not agree, even when it is a bit uncomfortable.

That said, religion isn't for everyone.... and I fully support your mission of building communities of the non-religious. If society can provide enough community, stability, and support, religion could become less necessary. I love and appreciate my church, but I'd rather do away with the divisive labels.

My own biblical cherry-picking tells me this is what Jesus was going for. ;)
If I knew about this sort of thing happening around here, I'd protest it. I've protested similar revivals in the past just on the basis of their attempts to brainwash and exploit kids (they were not centered on homosexuality at the time).

I've confronted local churches and pastors for bigoted signs and stood up in other ways, and if I knew of a revival like this one I'd be there.

They could be happening around here... I'm not sure how I'd find out about them though since it isn't the sort of thing my church supports.
@ 70 has the answers you want.

-International directory of gay affirming churches around the world

-Directory of Affirming Denominations and Support Groups…

The 2010 affirming church report states there are presently over 6,000 churches. Basic break down, not all denominations listed:

19% Episcopal
18% UCC
13% Presbyterian
12% Lutheran
11% United Methodist Church
06% Non-denominational (Charasmatic)
05% Other*
05% Catholic (other)**
04% Roman Catholic
03% MCC
02% Anglican
02% American Baptist

* Includes non Catholic denominations (e.g Mennonite, Community of Christ, Brethern).

** Catholic denominations not associated with RC (e.g. Independent Catholic, Old Catholic, American Catholic).

Additional organizations:

Affirmation (Mormon):
al-Fatiha (Muslim):
Salaam Canada (Muslim):
A Common Bond (Jehovah's Witness):
The Gay & Lesbian Vaishnava Association (Hindu):
JQ Youth (Orthodox Jews):
Keshet Ga'avah (GLBT Jews):
@74 Yup, still here! And I appreciate this back and forth. So now if I may challenge some of your assumptions there...

There is something special about religion as social institution that does make it fundamentally evil, and that is that all religions at their core, have precepts you're not supposed to question. Being taught that blind faith in authority is a virtue is a corrosive force and evil force in society.

And granted people have done good things in the name of religion, but none of those things, the food drives, the soup kitchens, the hospitals, the orphanages, require religion. And while some don't, many churches use their good works as advertising for recruitment, making people sit through sermons if they want their food, using money to ship bibles that could've been used for food and medicine, and condemning hospitals that break their misogynist moral codes. It's not always this way, but combining something good with lies NEVER makes it better in the long run.

Religion IS necessarily tied to blind faith. If it's not, then it's not a religion. 99.999999999% of all Christian theology posits that God exists, that Jesus existed, and that "dying for someone's sins" is somehow a concept that makes sense, and is just apologetics for trying to quiet their own nagging doubts. The burden of proof is on the theologians to show there's good evidence that God exists in the first place, or the entirety of the field is just as equally relevant as the study of the works of Tolkien.

Religions contain strong traditions of doubt because thankfully not all humans are dumb. While religions are vastly powerful institutions, in the past they were even more so, so if you were going to doubt, you still had to do it in the context of the current cult running things, else you could be declared a heretic and burned.

"Attrition of thoughtful people who can challenge popular assumption does not improve things for anyone." It improves things for the people who are no longer having their heads filled with lies and unproven assumptions, and it improves the society where such thinking now has less sway.

And if you honestly recognize that you cherry-pick your religion from the Bible, then you must recognize it's a fallible document, and everything in it is potentially fallible. Like the Jesus dying for your sins part, the original sin part, the god creating the world part. And outside of an institution demanding that you just accept these things as true, they just don't make any fucking sense.
I'm inclined to think that there are too many examples of "evolution" within Christianity to not consider it and its texts to be incredibly fallible. Or dismiss that the idea that its formation may at one time been primarily about faith and community, I'm inclined to think that it has always suffered under the human need to assert power and control. Take the subjects of same-sex unions, there are Catholic and Orthodox liturgies, some which the Pope resided at, and the history of those unions can be traced from Platonic Greece all the way into Christianized pre-Modern Europe, that is significant chunk of time for something to be okay and even celebrated. Or how about that the Bible containing 8 different types of marriage: single man and single woman aka "traditional marriage": polygynous; levirate; slave as property and substitute womb; concubine; male soldier and female prisoner of war, reward; male rapist and his victim for 50 shekels of silver; male slave given a female slave (female slave and offspring remain property of the slave owner, male slaves could be set free). Or that marriage didn't become a sacrament until the 1200s. One could even take the evolving history of the subject of Atonement in Christianity as evidence:

A)The Bargain Theory also know as the "Classic Theory" or "Ransom Theory" was the dominant belief in the early Christian church. It was developed by the early church father Origen (185-254 CE) who was a leader of the Alexandrian School in Egypt. It was accepted by church leaders and was the dominant theory of the atonement for a thousand years, until it was removed in the West by the eleventh-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, and replaced with his "satisfaction" model

B)"The Satisfaction (or Commercial) theory of the atonement was formulated by the medieval theologian Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) in his book, Cur Deus Homo (lit. ‘Why the God Man’). In his view, God’s offended honor and dignity could only be satisfied by the sacrifice of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
Anslem believed that humans could not render to God more than what was due to him. The satisfaction due to God was greater than what all created beings are capable of doing, since they can only do what is already required of them. Therefore, God had to make satisfaction for himself. Yet if this satisfaction was going to avail for humans, it had to be made by a human. Therefore only a being that was both God and man could satisfy God and give him the honor that is due him.
The classic Anselmian formulation of the Satisfaction View needs to be distinguished from Penal Substitution. Penal Substitution states that Christ bore the penalty for sin, in place of those sinners united to him by faith. Anselm, by contrast, regarded human sin as defrauding God of the honour he is due. Christ's death, the ultimate act of obedience, gives God great honour. As it was beyond the call of duty for Christ, it is more honour than he was obliged to give. Christ's surplus can therefore repay our deficit. Hence Christ's death is substitutionary in this sense: he pays the honour instead of us. But that substitution is not penal; his death pays our honour not our penalty.
The Protestant reformers shifted the focus of this satisfaction theory to concentrate not merely on divine offense but on divine justice. God's righteousness demands punishment for human sin. God in his grace both exacts punishment and supplies the one to bear it.
This is an important difference. For Anselm, Christ obeyed where we should have obeyed; for John Calvin, he was punished where we should have been punished.

C)The Penal-Substitution Theory of the atonement was formulated by the 16th century Reformers as an extension of Anselm's Satisfaction theory. Anselm's theory was correct in introducing the satisfaction aspect of Christ's work and its necessity; however the Reformers saw it as insufficient because it was referenced to God's honor rather than his justice and holiness and was couched more in terms of a commercial transaction than a penal substitution. This Reformed view says simply that Christ died for man, in man's place, taking his sins and bearing them for him. The bearing of man's sins takes the punishment for them and sets the believer free from the penal demands of the law: The righteousness of the law and the holiness of God are satisfied by this substitution.

God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard."
@ 80: It doesn't, Ken. I wish to be responsible for my actions. I aspire to treat people as I wish to be treated, not because some outside source tells me that I must, but because my my conscience, ethical compass, tells me that it is the content of a person's character that matters. I do draw warmth and inspiration from any person who finds within themselves the courage and conviction to put the needs of others before themselves and to push back against the domination system of their society, especially as it seems many of those individuals die violent deaths.

My whole point of quoting the "evolution" of Atonement, was to point out that things change and nothing stays the same. It isn't two thousands years of continued tradition, new "revelations" arrive and the theology is altered to match it. I sometimes wonder how the socio-political times of these "revelations", informed their authors, such as Anslem, and helped formed the theories now accepted as doctrines. After all, Anslem's appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury would have followed the Norman conquest. How heavily does his theory (Satisfaction) rely on the feudal system of his day, in which serfs worked on an estate for an overlord. The overlord - a knight - protected the estate from attack. Knights in turn had to honor the King. Serfs owed their overlord - a knight - a debt of honor for their protection and livelihood. It doesn't take much creativity to see how his theory would help to make controlling and obligating the serfs easier. Plus, it doesn't take much to then also wonder why it to the church didn't grasp until the Reformation in 16th century that Jesus had to die as " a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard", which seems like a pretty important thing for the church to be teaching from the start, in my opinion. These are fascinating things to meditate on, in my opinion.

Thank you for asking.
@1 Those who deal in fear often do.
Does anything good ever come out of Alabama?
This breaks my heart. It makes me grieve for the kids in the video and for the person I was at 15 years old.
Two more links for @70. These are camps/organization specifically for teenagers who identify as LGBTQ and their allies, who are also people of faith. They simultaneously affirm sexuality and spirituality. I'm sure there are more organizations like this (OK...I hope there are) but these are the ones I'm familiar with.

The Naming Project (this was the first of its kind, and the ones all others were modeled on. They did a documentary about this camp a few years ago: Camp Out):

And in Texas, there is the Spiritual Pride Project.…

Organized religion is the problem? Wonderful idea. Let's get rid of every church and organization ever, throwing out all the good works they have done and still do. I'm sure that will erase the part of human nature that makes us vilify people for stupid reasons. OH WAIT, WE'VE BEEN DOING THAT SINCE BEFORE CIVILIZATION.

Put the blame where it belongs, Mr. Savage.
You want to break free, right?…
There is something special about religion as social institution that does make it fundamentally evil,

The notion that anything is "fundamentally evil" is patently orthodoxical. Most orthodoxies are, to one degree or another, faith-based because most people don't have the time or resources to investigate their beliefs to a fully reasoned conclusion. At some point, pretty much everyone just picks a side without necessarily understanding most, or even very many, of the underlying issues. And in that respect, most people on both sides of this debate are standing on pretty much equal footing.

Reminds me of a story. About 10 years ago I was at this Baptist church in the deep South, and the pastor made this crack about evolution: "Believing in evolution is like believing that tornado could hit a junk yard and, just by pure chance, assemble a brand new car out a bunch of loose parts."

And I remember thinking at the time, "Wow. What a great metaphor! If I was someone who didn't have a lot of time in my life to think about or investigate stuff like this -- and I was kind of stupid -- I'd think that was a really compelling argument. Well done charismatic nutjob preacher!"

But then the atheists come up with something like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and it's basically the same kind of deal.

On the other hand, Dan took a whole year to decide that he knew -- not just believed, but knew -- the answer to a question that has been the lifelong focus of inquiry for some of the greatest minds in human history. So, you know, I'm sure he's speaking about all this from a position of pure rationality and reason. Maybe OuterCow is too.
Re 77 (Outercow):

I do not belong to a faith that discourages questioning, or even doubt, even of our most elemental documents and common beliefs. There is more heterodoxy among religious people--especially serious ones, in my experience--than you are acknowledging.

At the root of any philosophy or ideology are things that are treated as given. Something is treated as being of elemental importance or truth, and other things are based on or judged against that as being true. In that sense, religion, like these other things, as its fundamental premises. You are welcome to accept or reject them, as much as you may accept or reject the fundamental premises of other ideologies or philosophies.
One more thing: The idea that Jesus died for the sins of people and that the death was required by God is not universally accepted among Christians. It certainly is the orthodox view, of course.
OuterCow, I really want to continue this conversation and add to what Kim and others have said, but it is late here in the Midwest and I work early. I'll be back tomorrow. :)
The sooner people stop believing in ancient mythology, the better. The Bible was written by people who thought lightening was caused by an angry God, and the universe revolved around a flat Earth in the center. The Bible is full of flaws, contradictions, silly notions, and horrible moral codes. It needs to be put in the same section as Greek and Roman mythology.
The Bible may be full of flaws but that doesn't mean that there's nothing good in there or that we should throw all of organized religion out.

Take ANY large book and you will find things in it that nutjobs and bigots will use to support their preconceived views. This kind of stupid is waaaaaaay older than writing.

Yeah... the thing about that argument is, those people are stupid. Not a little bit stupid -- REALLY stupid. And if they didn't believe that the King James Bible is absolute Truth, they'd believe something else just as stupid and dangerous; that every word in The Wealth of Nations is gospel, or something by Marx or Hegel or Friedman or Hitler. Those people are always dangerous, and pretending the reason they're dangerous is religion is mistaking symptom for cause.
Why hello Judah. Up to your old, "You people are arguing incorrectly" tricks again I see.
Not that your point isn't a good one, because it is, but where you go off the rails is your false comparison of political philosophy as a basis of governance with the mythology of ancient goat herders as a basis of governance.
but where you go off the rails is your false comparison of political philosophy as a basis of governance with the mythology of ancient goat herders as a basis of governance

If the people who are supposedly "following" the philosophy or using a given document as a guide for their orthodoxy don't have a complete understanding of the material -- or interpret it selectively -- I don't see what the difference is. In those cases, the followers are basically consumers of a customized orthodoxy created by an organization or group of individuals, which vets its own membership to weed out heterodoxy in favor of long-term ideological consistency. And, of course, organizations with poor information hygiene protocols will mutate more quickly over time (see, the Republican Party as compared to, say, the Catholic Church), but at the end of the day most of the consumers are buying a values package from a corporation that specializes in ideology. All the source material does is give the values package historical and social legitimacy. What the source material is makes about as much difference as where the water in various brands of soda pop comes from.

A good marketer can turn the Constitution into a bible, or the Bible into a secular constitution, and it doesn't make a whit of difference to the consumers.
By the way...

. Up to your old, "You people are arguing incorrectly" tricks again I see.

The reason I do this is that, in my experience, it's the only thing worth arguing about on the internet. I have had comment wars with people on the internet about issues as basic and provable as whether the earth is round or flat and I could spend weeks on it and post physics equations and photographs taken from space and the whole nine, and still have people arguing with me. Not that I make any better progress arguing about arguing, but it's less frustrating to me to have people disagree with me about debating tactics than it is to have them disagree with me about sort of basic, provable questions of fact.
having been raised in a very fundy sort of church with cool, scraggly-haired pastors and alter calls and electric guitars and hand raising and emotional manipulation and such...

I find that video sickening, and somewhat triggering.
Dan, why do you say one day that you're not opposed to religious people, and the next day you encourage the rejection of all organized religion? One day, you acknowledge the existence of pro-gay, open, affirming churches and religious believers, and the next day all organized religion is bad? One day, you say the problem is merely that the pro-gay churches and churchgoers aren't vocal enough in protesting the intolerant religious groups. But what you're saying today, I think, is your real belief on the subject, and it is indeed anti-religious bigotry. So the next time you give a speech and someone asks you if you're an anti-religious bigot, just go ahead and own up to it already. The self-contradicting, bs statements just make things worse. Just be a full Dawkins or Hitchens about it and get it over with.

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