Tag Archives: religion

Clément Beaune Denied Access to Poland's LGBT Free Zone

Gay French Prime Minister Clément Beaune Denied Access to Poland’s LGBT Free Zone

Openly gay French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune  was denied access to an “LGBT-free” zone by Polish authorities in the town of Kraśnik during an official visit to the country that began Monday.

Beaune’s visit included meetings with LGBT NGOs, as well as Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, an opposition leader.

“Polish authorities recently indicated to me that they weren’t capable of planning this visit, and I profoundly regret it. It is a decision that I deplore,” Beaune told French publication l’Obs. ” In my eyes, that is not how you one should behave with an EU member state,”

Beaune said he had considered three options: canceling his visit to Poland, postponing it, or following through on his promise to visit the area but without authorization from the government.

“If I decided to maintain my visit to Poland, it’s because another topic — just as important in my eyes — has emerged: that of women’s right to abortion,” he said. Poland has one of the EU’s most restrictive abortion laws, after a top court ruled that abortions in the event of fetal deformities are unconstitutional. The verdict sparked large public protests, and more demonstrations were planned for Monday evening.

Patryk Jaki, an MEP with the governing nationalist coalition, told Polish media that the idea there are LGBT-free zones in Poland is a “lie” fostered by gay rights campaigners. “In our country, there is no place where LGBT people can’t go,” he said, adding: “The only thing that exists are declarations by local governments talking about affirming families and traditional values.”

In December 2020, Beaune came out as gay in an interview with the French LGBT lifestyle magazine Têtu. Beaune said he wanted to show that being gay was “not an obstacle” to becoming a government minister, and condemned homophobia in other European countries. “I wouldn’t want people to say I am fighting against ‘LGBT-free’ zones because I am gay,” he said. “It would be insulting to say I am leading that fight for myself. … However, as European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance.” 

Beaune said he had not given up on his pledge to visit one of the Polish LGBT free “zones.”

Source: Politico

Trump's Department of Justice Department Backs Catholic Church's Firing of Gay Teacher

Trump’s Department of Justice Department Backs Catholic Church’s Firing of Gay Teacher

The Trump Administration’s U.S. Justice Department is supporting Catholic Church leaders in Indianapolis who are being sued over the firing of a teacher in a same-sex marriage.

The government filed a statement Friday in Marion County court stating that the First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion and gives faith-based schools the right to associate with some people and not others.

“If the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses stand for anything, it is that secular courts cannot entangle themselves in questions of religious law,” United States Attorney Josh Minkler said.

The lawsuit was filed by Joshua Payne-Elliott who says that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis illegally interfered in his contract with Cathedral High School where he had worked for 13 years. 

In an interesting twist in this case Payne-Elliott’s spouse, Layton Payne-Elliott, teaches at the Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. Brebeuf refused to fire Layton. The archdiocese said it no longer recognizes Brebeuf as a Catholic institution, a decision that has been suspended during the school’s appeal.

Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson has maintained that the church is not targeting anyone.

Rather, Thompson said, the archdiocese has a right to set whatever rules it wants for its schools and employees, like that they must live according to Catholic church doctrine. The archdiocese began requiring a morality clause in teacher, administrator and counselor contracts at some of its schools four years ago, and at all Catholic schools two years ago.

It was not clear how binding the DOJ’s statement is, or what impact it will have on Payne-Elliott’s lawsuit.

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Bans 'Avengers' Comic Over Gay Kiss

Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Bans ‘Avengers’ Comic Over Gay Kiss

Anti-LGBT Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella has announced that the translated edition of the Marvel comic book series Avengers: The Children’s Crusade would be removed from the literary festival Riocentro Bienal do Livro so as to protect the city’s children from what he described as “sexual content for minors.”

The so-called “sexual content”? A one-panel kiss between two male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in committed relationship. Both characters are clothed in the scene.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

Crivella made the announcement on Twitter, in a video where he says, “Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside.” In ordering the removal of the title, he claims that the city’s authorities are “protecting the minors of our city.” In the text of the tweet itself, he describes the contents of the comic as “content that is unsuitable for minors.”

Crivella’s tweet followed an Instagram post from Rio de Janeiro councilman Alexandre Isquierdo, decrying the book and complaining that it was “spread[ing] homosexuality to CHILDREN!” (Emphasis his.) The sale of the book, he complained, was “an absurd crime.”

Officials at the Riocentro Bienal do Livro festival have refused to comply  with the Crivella ‘order. Turns out the majority of outlets didn’t have the comic in stock in the first place, and the one that did reporting that copies had already sold out two days earlier.

Before being elected mayor the out-spoken and vehemently anti-gay Crivella was a bishop of the controversial Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which is regarded by some as a “cult” and believes in exorcisms was founded by his uncle, Edir Macedo.

Youth Minister at Anti-Gay Illinois Church Charged With Sexually Exploiting Teen Boy

Youth Minister at Anti-Gay Illinois Church Charged With Sexually Exploiting Teen Boy

Authorities claim Paxton Singer, a youth pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Aurora, Illinois, asked a 16-year-old for nude photos, inquired about the teen’s sexual habits and requested the two spend the weekend alone together.

Prosecutors says Singer, “knowingly enticed a person under 17 years of age to remove their clothing for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the defendant or the child.” He faces a misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and sexual exploitation of a child.

Singer also worked at the Harvest Bible Chapel campus in Rolling Meadows, about 40 miles away. Church officials disclosed there were also allegations of inappropriate actions between Singer and three different male teens there also.

Harvest Bible Chapel is a large anti-gay evangelical organization with congregations across the metro Chicago area. In its bylaws, Harvest asserts that God “is the sole authority in matters of marriage and sexuality for all people, and that marriage involves the sacred joining together of one man and one woman in faithful, permanent union.” and also condemns sex outside of heterosexual marriage and prohibits “‘sexual immorality’ activities related to: lustful thoughts, adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, bisexuality or polygamy.”

Via NEWSWEEK

Let Us PREY – 22 Evangelical Christian Scandals That Rocked The World

Let us revisit some of the worst  “Evangelical Christian” scandals of our time which according to the right-wing’s own their own logic would prove that every “Christian” is an adulterous, drug crazed, satanic felon, and murderer.

Hallelujah! 

Aimee Semple McPherson, 1920s–40s

One of the most famous evangelist scandals involved Canadian-born Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920s, who allegedly had an extramarital relationship and faked her own death as a cover. She later claimed that she had been kidnapped, but a grand jury could neither prove that a kidnapping occurred, nor that she had faked it. Roberta Semple Salter, her daughter from her first marriage, became estranged from Semple McPherson and successfully sued her mother’s attorney for slander during the 1930s. As a result of this she was cut out of her mother’s will. Aimee Semple McPherson died in 1944 from an “accidental” overdose of barbiturates.

Billy James Hargis, Early 1970s

Hargis was a prolific author and radio evangelist. Hargis formed American Christian College in 1971 in order to teach fundamentalist Christian principles. However, a sex scandal erupted at the College, involving claims that Hargis had had sex with male and female students. Hargis was forced out of American Christian College’s presidency as a result. Further scandals erupted when members of Hargis’ youth choir, the “All American Kids”, accused Hargis of sexual misconduct as well. The college eventually closed down in the mid-1970s. Hargis denied the allegations publicly.

Marjoe Gortner, Early 1970s

Gortner rose to fame in the late 1940s as a child preacher, but he had simply been trained to do this by his parents and he had no personal faith. He was able to perform “miracles” and received large amounts of money in donations. After suffering a crisis of conscience, he invited a film crew to accompany him on a final preaching tour. The resulting film, Marjoe, mixes footage of revival meetings with Gortner’s explanations of how evangelists manipulate their audiences. It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, but was never screened in the Southern United States due to fears that it would cause outrage in the Bible Belt.

Jim & Tammy Bakker And Jimmy Swaggart, 1986 And 1991

Swaggart’s confession where he declared to his congregation on television, “I have sinned against you, my Lord”, became an iconic image of the 1980s.

In 1986, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart began on-screen attacks against fellow televangelists Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker. He uncovered Gorman’s affair with a member of Gorman’s congregation, and also helped expose Bakker’s infidelity (which was arranged by a colleague while on an out-of-state trip). These exposures received widespread media coverage. Gorman retaliated in kind by hiring a private investigator to uncover Swaggart’s own adulterous indiscretions with a prostitute. Swaggart was subsequently forced to step down from his pulpit for a year and made a tearful televised apology in February 1988 to his congregation, saying “I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgiveness.”

Swaggart was caught again by California police three years later in 1991 with another prostitute, Rosemary Garcia, who was riding with him in his car when he was stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road. When asked why she was with Swaggart, she replied, “He asked me for sex. I mean, that’s why he stopped me. That’s what I do. I’m a prostitute.”

Peter Popoff, 1987

A self-proclaimed prophet and faith healer in the 1980s, Popoff’s ministry went bankrupt in 1987 after magician and skeptic James Randi and Steve Shaw debunked his methods by showing that instead of receiving information about audience members from supernatural sources, he received it through an in-ear receiver.

Morris Cerullo, 1990s

A number of incidents involving California-based televangelist Morris Cerullo caused outrage in the United Kingdom during the 1990s. Cerullo’s claims of faith healing were the focus of particular concern. At a London crusade in 1992, he pronounced a child cancer sufferer to be healed, yet the girl died two months later. Multiple complaints were upheld against satellite television channels transmitting Cerullo’s claims of faith-healing, and a panel of doctors concluded that Cerullo’s claims of miraculous healing powers could not be substantiated. Cerullo also produced fund-raising material, which was condemned as unethical by a number of religious leaders, as it implied that giving money to his organization would result in family members becoming Christians.

Mike Warnke, 1991

Warnke was a popular Christian evangelist and comedian during the 1970s and 1980s. He claimed in his autobiography, The Satan Seller (1973), that he had once been deeply involved in a Satanic cult and was a Satanic priest before converting to Christianity. In 1991, Cornerstone magazine launched an investigation into Warnke’s life and testimony. It investigated Warnke’s life, from interviews with over one hundred personal friends and acquaintances, to his ministry’s tax receipts. Its investigation turned up damaging evidence of fraud and deceit. The investigation also revealed the unflattering circumstances surrounding Warnke’s multiple marriages, affairs, and divorces. Most critically, however, the investigation showed how Warnke could not possibly have done the many things he claimed to have done throughout his nine-month tenure as a Satanist, much less become a drug-addicted dealer or become a Satanic high priest.

Robert Tilton, 1991

Tilton is an American televangelist who achieved notoriety in the 1980s and early 1990s through his paid television program Success-N-Life. At its peak, it aired in all 235 American TV markets. In 1991, Diane Sawyer and ABC News conducted an investigation of Tilton. The investigation, broadcast on ABC’s Primetime Live on November 21, 1991, found that Tilton’s ministry threw away prayer requests without reading them, keeping only the money or valuables sent to them by viewers, garnering his ministry an estimated $80 million USD a year. In the original investigation, one of Tilton’s former prayer hotline operators claimed that the ministry cared little for desperate followers who called for prayer, saying that Tilton had a computer installed in July 1989 to make sure that the phone operators were off the line in seven minutes. Tilton sued ABC for libel in 1992, but the case was dismissed in 1993, and Tilton’s show was off the air by October 30, 1993.

W. V. Grant,  2003

Like Peter Popoff, Grant was investigated by James Randi regarding his faith healing claims. He was then imprisoned for tax evasion in 1996. After restarting his ministry upon release, a TV investigation found that claims of healing he made at a 2003 revival in Atlanta were false.

Paul Crouch, 2004

Paul Crouch is the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world’s largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN’s flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times published a series of articles raising questions about the fundraising practices and financial transparency of TBN, as well as the allegations of a former ministry employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, that he had a homosexual affair with Crouch during the 1990s. The Times spoke with several sources that claimed that other evangelists such as Benny Hinn, Jack Hayford, and Paul’s son Matthew were aware that an affair had taken place. TBN denied the allegations, claiming that Ford’s claims were part of an extortion scheme and that the Times was a “left-wing and anti-Christian newspaper” for publishing the articles. In 2005, Ford submitted to and passed a lie detector test on the ION Television program Lie Detector.

Douglas Goodman, 2004

Douglas Goodman, an evangelical preacher, and his wife Erica were pastors of Victory Christian Centre in London, England. The church was one of the largest in the United Kingdom. He came into notoriety when he was jailed for three and a half years for the sexual assault of four members of his congregation in 2004. VCC was closed by the Charity Commission, but his wife Erica started a new church, Victory to Victory, in Wembley. Douglas has upon his release resumed full pastoral ministry alongside his wife

Kent Hovind, 2006

Kent Hovind is an American Baptist minister and Young Earth creationist. He is most famous for creation science seminars, in which he argues for Young Earth creationism, using his self-formulated “Hovind Theory.” He has been criticized by both the mainstream scientific community and other creationists. In 2006, Hovind who also has a reputation as a tax protestor had been charged with falsely declaring bankruptcy, making threats against federal officials, filing false complaints, failing to get necessary building permits, and various tax-related charges. He was convicted of 58 federal tax offenses and related charges, for which he is currently serving a ten-year sentence.[16]

Ted Haggard, 2006

Ted Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006. Haggard’s position allowed him occasional access to President George W. Bush. In 2006 it was alleged that Haggard had been regularly visiting a male prostitute who also provided him with methamphetamine. Haggard admitted his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church and as president of the NAE. The high-profile case was significant also because it immediately preceded the 2006 mid-term elections and may have even affected national voting patterns[citation needed]. In January 2009, Haggard admitted to a second homosexual relationship with a male church member on CNN-TV and other national media, and when asked, would not directly answer a question about his other possible homosexual relationships.

Gilbert Deya, 2006

Kenyan-born Deya moved to the United Kingdom in the 1990s and started a number of churches. He claims to have supernatural powers that allow him to make infertile women become pregnant and give birth. However, police investigations in the UK and Kenya concluded that Deya and his wife were stealing Kenyan babies. Deya was arrested in London during December 2006 and as of April 2010 he is currently fighting extradition to Kenya.[20]

Richard Roberts, 2007

In October 2007, televangelist Richard Roberts (son of the late televangelist Oral Roberts), was president of Oral Roberts University until his forced resignation on November 23, 2007. Roberts was named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging improper use of university funds for political and personal purposes and improper use of university resources.[21]

Earl Paulk, 2007

Earl Paulk (no relation to John Paulk) was the founder and head pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, Georgia from 1960 until the 1990s. A number of women from the congregation came forward during the 1990s claiming that Paulk had sexual relations with them. Some of these claims have subsequently been proven correct. Moreover, Donnie Earl Paulk, the current senior pastor of the church and nephew of Earl Paulk, had a court-ordered DNA test in 2007 which showed that he was Earl’s son, not his nephew, which means that Earl and his sister-in-law had had a sexual relationship which led to Donnie’s birth.

Coy Privette, 2007

Privette is a Baptist pastor, conservative activist, and politician in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Privette was president of the Christian Action League and a prominent figure in North Carolina moral battles. In 2007, Privette resigned as president of North Carolina’s Christian Action League and from the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, following revelations on July 19 that he had been charged with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution.

Michael Reid, 2008

Bishop Michael Reid (born 1944) is a Christian evangelist in Essex, England and founder of Michael Reid Ministries who resigned from the role of pastor at Peniel Church in April 2008, after admitting to an eight-year extra-marital sexual relationship. The scandal was widely reported online and in UK newspapers. He has since re-developed an itinerant evangelistic ministry and has been speaking at a number of churches in the UK and overseas.

Joe Barron, 2008

Joe Barron, one of the 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the United States with 26,000 members, was arrested on May 15, 2008 for solicitation of a minor after driving from the Dallas area to Bryan, Texas, in order to allegedly engage in sexual relations with what he thought to be a 13 year-old girl he had met online. The “girl” turned out to be an undercover law enforcement official.

Todd Bentley, 2008

Canadian Todd Bentley rose to prominence as the evangelist at the Lakeland Revival in Florida, which began in April 2008. Bentley claimed that tens of thousands of people were healed at the revival, but a June 2008 investigation by ABC Nightline could not find a single confirmed case. Bentley took a short break after the program was broadcast, but returned to leading the meetings. However, in August 2008, he stepped down permanently when it was revealed he was separating from his wife, Shonnah, and was in a relationship with Jessa Hasbrook, a member of his staff.

Tony Alamo, 2008

On September 20, 2008, FBI agents raided Tony Alamo Christian Ministries headquarters as part of a child pornography investigation. This investigation involved allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse and allegations of polygamy and underage marriage. According to Terry Purvis, mayor of Fouke, Arkansas, his office has received complaints from former ministry members about allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse and polygamy since the ministry established itself in the area, and in turn, Purvis turned over information about the allegations to the FBI.  Investigators at the scene plan to conduct a search of ministry headquarters and the home of Alamo and interview children present on the compound. In late July 2009, Alamo (who had a previous conviction for tax evasion in the 1990s) was convicted on ten counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes, sexual assault and other crimes. On November 13, 2009, he was sentenced to the maximum punishment of 175 years in prison.

Iran Sentences Gay Couple to Death

Egypt Introduces Law To Criminalize Homosexuality

 

MP Ryad Abdel Sattar  on Wednesday introduced to the parliament’s speaker Ali Abdel Aal a draft law entailing five main articles of the criminalisation of homosexuality.

The draft law would pave the way for strict punitive measures against the LGBT community in Egypt, in addition to restricting the presence of LGBT People inside Egyptian society, Abdel Sattar said in media statements dedicated to local outlets.

The ‘Criminalisation of Homosexuality’ law has received approval from a number of the parliament’s members who asserted their readiness to approve it — the draft law is expected to be discussed inside the parliament after being reviewed by the speaker Ali Abdel Aal. – Pink Sixty

The “Arab Spring” uprising that toppled Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2010 brought some respite for the city’s embattled LGBT community, whose members were able to socialize more openly at house parties and bars.  And while  homosexuality is not at this time a criminal offense in Egypt gay men and lesbians have been arrested at an alarming rate and charged with the crime of “Debauchery” at an alarming rate over the past year.

The Egypt Independent explains the five articles

The first article defines homosexuality as any person engaging in sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex.

The second article clarified that any person engaging in homosexuality in a public or private place should be subjected to punitive action that should be no less than one-year and not exceeding three years in jail. It added that in case those jailed homosexual people repeated having sex after being freed, then the punitive action should be five years in jail.

The third article highlighted that any “supporter” of homosexuality or someone who calls for the acceptance of homosexuality, even if he or she is not a “practitioner of homosexuality,” should be jailed for no less than one year or no more than three years.

The fourth article paid attention to media coverage to parties organized by homosexual people, stipulating that any representatives of the media that “promotes” LGBT parties would be jailed for three years.

The United Nations has said it is worried over the growing trend of arrests of LGBT people across the Muslim world.

“We are deeply concerned about a wave of arrests in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Indonesia of more than 180 people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

But other than that they have done nothing.

Church Of England Declares Ex-Gay Torture Therapy “Has No Place In The Modern World”

 

The Church of England has called on the government to ban conversion therapy and has condemned the practice, which aims to change sexual orientation, as unethical and potentially harmful.

At the end of an emotional debate in which two members of the C of E synod described their experiences as spiritual abuse, the church’s governing body overwhelmingly backed a motion saying the practice had “no place in the modern world”.

Proposing the motion, Jayne Ozanne – who underwent conversion therapy resulting in two breakdowns and two spells in hospital – said conversion therapy was “abuse from which vulnerable adults need protecting”.

It was “discredited by the government, the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners and many other senior health care bodies,” she said. – The Guardian

Mistrial Declared In Case of Minister Who Tried To Beat The Gay Out Of Parishioner

Mistrial Declared In Case of Minister Who Tried To Beat The Gay Out Of Parishioner

 

A North Carolina superior court judge on Tuesday declared mistrial in case of North Carolina minister charged in beating of gay church member.

Citing misbehavior by a juror, an angry Gary Gavenus ordered juror Perry Shade be arrested in the courtroom.

The judge said Shade conducted his own independent research on the case, then handed it out to other jurors.

Gavenus then ordered Shade to 30 days in jail and pay a $500 fine.

Gavenus also issued a gag order in the case, which extends to jurors, law enforcement and witnesses.

The case involves “Pastor” Brooke Covington, of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina who is charged with the kidnapping and assaulting former member, the then 19 year old Matthew Fenner in January 2013.

Fenner, was slapped, punched, choked and screamed at for two hours as they tried to expel his “homosexual demons.”

Linda Reider, Fenner’s aunt, said her nephew is hurt and disappointed.

“He’s disgusted at the jury. It took a lot of courage for him to come forward in the first place. There were so many roadblocks put in place. Now this. But his family and friends will stick behind him. We won’t give up.”

Alabama Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill H.B. 24 Into Law

 

Gov. Kay Ivey has signed into law Alabama’s patently anti-LGBT bill H.B. 24.

The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” enshrines discrimination into Alabama law by allowing some state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. An amendment was added in the Senate and agreed to by the House that limits that discriminatory exemption to agencies that do not receive state or federal funding.

the state from discriminating against child placing agencies on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child placement that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the provider.

The bill would prohibit the state from refusing to license or otherwise discriminate or take an adverse action against any child placing agency that is licensed by or required to be licensed by the state for child placing services on the basis that the child placing agency declines to make, provide, facilitate, or refer for a placement in a manner that conflicts with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the sincerely held religious beliefs of the child placing agency.

The bill describes “adverse action” as any of the following:

  • Taking an enforcement action against the entity;
  • Refusing to issue a license;
  • Refusing to renew a license;
  • Revoking a license; or
  • Suspending a license.

The bill’s exceptions for religiously motivated prejudice are baseless, discriminatory, and dangerous.

Approximately 30 percent of child placement agencies in Alabama are faith-based organizations, and HB 24 would prohibit the state from withholding funding or licenses if those organizations discriminate.

Kentucky Presbyterian Church Faces Eviction Over Refusal To Accept Gay Marriage Tenant

Kentucky Prysbeterian Church Faces Eviction Over Refusal To Accept Gay Marriage Tenant

A Calvert City, Kentucky Presbyterian church has been ordered to vacate its premises  after refusing to accept the changed description of marriage issued by the Presbyterian Church (USA)

 The First Presbyterian Church of Calvert City,., asked to be dismissed from the denomination after its national governing body,changed its description of marriage in 2015.

 The new description reads in part: “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives,” according to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s website.

 In response, the Calvert City church’s 27 congregants voted 22-5 in May 2015 to pursue a gracious dismissal,

 In response, the Presbytery of Western Kentucky, which serves as the regional governing body, has asked the congregation to vacate the church primness by April 19.

 Clerk of session Paul Ambler, whose wife is the pastor, said that the congregation supports civil rights but does not wish to bring secular practices into a church context.

 “I’m a real strong believer in the civil rights of people. They can enter into any sort of civil agreement that they want, but I don’t see the need to pull that into the church context when the Bible says it is specifically against that,” Ambler said.

The presbytery has retained Thomas Miller, a Paducah attorney, to represent it in legal proceedings; Greg Northcutt is representing the Calvert City congregation. So far no legal actions have been filed, Miller said.

“The church and its assets are ultimately owned and controlled by the denomination, which is the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the matter is being handled in accordance with the denomination’s constitution and its internal process,” Miller said.

Ambler emphasized that his church’s opinion is not necessarily meant to be taken as a condemnation of what he calls “alternative lifestyles.”

“This is a land built on freedom of religion, and that includes the right to repudiate secular practices within the church context.”