Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Oct 08, 2014 12:06 PM
Religion news in brief

Methodist clergy escape sanctions over gay wedding

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A complaint against 36 United Methodist ministers who blessed a same-sex wedding in Philadelphia in defiance of church law has been resolved.

The clergy will face no discipline, but released a statement acknowledging they could be punished if they do it again.

The pastors blessed the Nov. 9 ceremony at Philadelphia's Arch Street United Methodist Church to show support for the Rev. Frank Schaefer, a colleague who faced church discipline for presiding at his gay son's wedding. That case is before the Methodist church's highest court.

The rebellious clergy and the Methodists who filed a complaint against them have agreed to meet to discuss their differences over gay marriage.

The denomination accepts gay members but bans "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" from becoming clergy and forbid ministers from performing same-sex marriages. The issue has caused a split within the church.


Supreme Court gay marriage punt draws mixed Baptist reaction

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Baptists have mixed reactions to the Supreme Court's refusal to stop the legalization of gay marriage.

The Rev. Russell Moore, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says courts can't change what the Bible teaches.

He says Christians who oppose gay marriage, instead of retreating in anger, should love their gay and lesbian neighbors and demonstrate the unique value of traditional marriage in their homes and churches.

But the Rev. Nancy Petty, whose Baptist church belongs to a more liberal denomination, says she and her same-sex partner now look forward to getting married in North Carolina. Petty had refused to sign any marriage licenses until gay and lesbian couples could marry in her state.


Pope and prelates get crash course in joys of sex

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis, cardinals and bishops from around the world have received an unexpected lecture on the joy of sex from a Catholic couple brought in to talk about what makes a marriage last.

Ron and Mavis Pirola, parents of four from Sydney, Australia, told a Vatican gathering of some 200 prelates that sexual attraction brought them together and that sex has helped keep them married for 55 years.

The Pirolas were applauded when they told the bishops about the son of a Catholic couple who was welcomed into a family Christmas gathering with his gay partner.

In an indication, though, that opposition to such a welcoming position remains high, conservative Catholic groups blasted the Pirola's example as "damaging" to the church.


DC rabbi tells congregation 'I am a gay man'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The rabbi of a prominent synagogue in Washington D.C. is telling his congregants that he's gay, and that he and his wife of 20 years are divorcing.

The Washington Post reports Rabbi Gil Steinlauf sent an email Monday to the 1,400 households of Adas Israel Congregation, saying he could no longer deny his homosexuality. He wrote that the dissonance between his inside and outside became intolerable.

Steinlauf says he and his wife, who is also a rabbi, spent three years trying to hold on to their marriage. The father of three teenagers concluded that he's gay, and that it isn't going to change.

Steinlauf has led Conservative Judaism in embracing same-sex couples. He made news in 2012 when he officiated at the synagogue's first same-sex wedding.


Hillsong United the big winner at Christian music Dove Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hillsong United has been named Artist of the Year at the Christian music Dove Awards.

The Australian worship band also won four top song honors at the Gospel Music Association awards ceremony Tuesday night in Nashville.

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" received Dove Awards for Song of the Year, Worship Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year. Hillsong United's recording of "Oceans" also was named the Contemporary Christian Performance of the Year.

Hillsong United worship leader Jonathon Douglass, known as J.D., said the song was written to help non-Christians "connect with Jesus," and to give assurance to Christians coping with life's "ups and downs."

The Dove Awards show will be broadcast Sunday on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.