Local Gay Church Joins UCC

This is a great article about Holy Trinity Community Church, a
predominately GLBT church here in Nashville, joining the United
Church of Christ:

United Church of Christ offers 'home'

At least four-dozen congregations have left the United Church of
Christ, or U.C.C., between July 2005 — when the resolution was passed — and last January, according to Barb Powell, a denomination
spokeswoman. That has helped drive a 10.7% dip in the denomination's overall membership and 4.9% drop in its number of churches over the past five years.

But in the Bible Belt, the United Church of Christ's stance is
resulting in something of a growth spurt, attracting not only
churches withpredominantly gay and lesbian members, but also others leaving their denominations because of disagreements over their positions on gay and lesbian issues.

Membership is up 79% in the denomination's Southeast Conference —encompassing Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and the Florida Panhandle — where three churches have joined in the past two months and other churches have contacted the denomination to begin the process of joining, according to the Rev. Tim Downs, of the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ.


The 10-year-old church began in an east Nashville living room and has grown to a congregation of 250, moving to a new building in January. Most of the church members are gay or lesbian, but about 10% are not, said Andrews-Looper, who does not generally preach about gay issues from the pulpit.

Many congregation members have left other churches that did not
accept their sexual orientation, she said.

Angie Smith, 36, said she had left one of Nashville's largest
nondenominational churches after letting the pastor know she was gay. His response, she said: "you're welcome to worship here, but you can't be involved in church life or hold any leadership positions."

"I was looking for a place to serve," said Smith. "If I'm led into a leadership position I want to be able to do that." Smith said joining a national denomination will give her that chance.

"I always felt worse when I left church than when I went in," said Phillip Haynes, 46, who said he grew up Southern Baptist and tried the Catholic Church before turning to Holy Trinity about six years ago. "I left because of the prejudice."

"I could not be myself at church and I always thought that God hated gay people," said his life partner, Steve Deasy, who was raised in a Church of Christ. "This is the first church that's opened its arms and accepted me for who I am."•


Glimmer of Hope in TN

It appears Gov. Bredesen may be eating some crow when Tennesseans go to the polls to vote on marriage equality. His prediction that the anti-gay marriage amendment will pass by either 85% or 95% could be terribly off-base.

Out & About Nashville, a local gay and lesbian newspaper, released the findings of a recent Zogby poll showing that “59% of Tennessee voters agree that gays and lesbians should have the same rights under [the] law as other Americans.”

The poll questioned Tennesseans on the upcoming change to the Tennessee Constitution and their voting plans. Surprisingly, only 60% of respondents supported the amendment while 33% didn’t. A significant portion (6%) had yet to make up their minds. With other states passing these amendments by margins as great as 86% in Mississippi, gay Tennesseans see a reason to hope that eventually their fellow citizens will treat them as equals.

Randy Tarkington, campaign manager for the Vote No on 1 effort to defeat the amendment, said, “We are happy with these polling numbers as a starting point for our campaign because what they show is that the voters of Tennessee support fairness and they have serious misgivings about adding discrimination to our state’s constitution.”

The survey also found that as many as 55% of Tennessee citizens are weary of changing the Constitution.

Out of Sorts

Yes, I've been absent for a while. New job, long trip, and basically tired of the crap. I've found that there are few places to go in the blogosphere where my opinion is respected. The DNC...well, after the crap that Dean pulled by showing up on the 700 Club, it's been downhill for the party from there. It's like it opened a door for any other Dem who is chickenshit to jump in behind him. Hillary is doing it. Our own reps here in TN are doing it (Bredesen and Ford). They're chickening out on being a REAL Dem and standing up for all oppressed groups, so they cower to the religious fanatics on the right.

I got tired of reading about it, hearing about it, and trying to fight against it. If the Democratic party wants to sell its soul for a handful of votes (MAYBE, if that), then go for it. They won't get my vote or my money.