By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Pick the battles: When will we in the gay community learn that not all churches and places of worship are willing to welcome us into their services, hearts and homes ["God Only Knows," by Margaret Downing, May 2]?
Right now we are at the midpoint of our rights movement, but for the Rickards to compare their struggle to attend an expressly unwelcoming church to the struggle of Rosa Parks is absurd at best and, at worst, disrespectful to the black and gay civil rights movements.
We in the community have got to learn that not every table has a place for us to sit. We have also got to learn that not every table is worth sitting at. Not every battle is worth fighting.
Trying to keep the city voters from passing a homophobic charter amendment is worth fighting for. Trying to make a church change its doctrine and teachings isn't.
Benefits without the sacrifice: Congratulations on a well-written article. However, you overlooked several important factors.
I am not an expert on the theology of Vineyard Church or of Michael Palandro. However, I do have a solid understanding of Episcopalian and Roman Catholic theology, and I believe that the article ignored many precepts of these faiths that I would assume Vineyard holds.
You make reference to the scarcity of so-called clobber passages in the Bible, degrade them with that cute nickname, and accept only that they "appear to condemn homosexuality." All of these passages are quite important, and no true Christian can afford to overlook them. You would be hard-pressed to find a well-respected theologian today who would claim that homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible.
Mr. Palandro was fully within his rights to withdraw the services of his church from the Rickards. These two were expecting to receive the benefits of the church without accepting the "price" to be members. The Rickards may feel called by God to change the church, but they should also examine the possibility that perhaps God is not speaking to them. If they find that they absolutely believe that he is, then they are most welcome to form their own church.
Not his fight: God only knows? Give me a break!
The more we try to cram our lifestyles down the throats of the Christian community, the more they are going to give us hell. I have no sympathy for Donna and Marti. They have basically asked for the fight they find themselves in now.
We are never going to change the minds of radical Christians, and why should we? Who needs them? I sure don't, and I don't care for other gays who can't seem to live without them.
As for gay conversion, what self-respecting heterosexual would want an ex-gay? Trust me, you would only be setting yourself up for grief. Donna and Marti, find a hobby, get a second job, do anything; just leave the gay community out of your fight. Most of us learned a long time ago to live and let live.
It's time straights realize not all gays give a shit about getting married, having children or praying with people who can't stand us.
The biblical stand: Christ does love everyone, unconditionally. However, Jesus never condoned sin. And like it or not, the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin -- as it does adultery, stealing, lying, etc. All of us sin, but we must recognize it as sin, ask forgiveness and go on. As for Rosa Parks, she was born black. She did not decide to become black, and discrimination based on the color of her skin -- something she had no control over -- was wrong.
It's a much different scenario with the lesbians. Regarding the church's stance, Ephesians 5:11 states, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Taking a biblical stand may not be popular in today's politically correct society, but God's word is not dependent on the political or social climate of the day.
Vineyard vinegar: Hats off to Donna and Marti for "coming out" with what most people allow to remain a secret. That's what I did when Vineyard Church condemned me for my private life. They liked me before they knew, and even allowed me to conduct a field day for the youths. Upon being honest with them, I was told that I was no longer welcome unless I changed who I was.
I had nothing to do with God or religion for many years after that, but I finally realized that God loved me exactly how I was -- after all, God made me. I strive to live a good, clean, God-centered life and at times even feel that God may be proud of me -- as I am. By the way, isn't it God's job to judge? Those who play God are who we should fear.
The unrepentant: Is it unconditional love that inspired the Catholic Church to cover up the sexual abuse of young boys by its own priests for fear of offending them? What if the Church instead confronted those who did wrong and kept them away from situations where these actions could be repeated?