Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?’” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

Arlington man sentenced to 14 months for hate crime arson at mosque

Henry Clay Glaspell

U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means this week sentenced Henry Clay Glaspell, 34, of Arlington, to 14 months in prison after Gaspell pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge in connection with an arson fire at the children’s playground at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Education Center in Arlington in July 2010, according to this report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Means ordered Glaspell, who has been free on bond, to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 21.

Glaspell also admitted that he had stolen and damaged some of the mosque’s property, that he had thrown used cat litter at the mosque’s front door and that he had shouted racial and ethnic slurs at people at the mosque on several occasions. Glaspell said his actions were motivated by hatred for people of Arabic or Middle Eastern descent.

Texas legislators passed the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which allows enhanced penalties to be assessed to those convicted of hate crimes. But while hate crimes are frequently reported and labeled as such by law enforcement, prosecutors rarely take hate crimes charges to court for fear that it would be too hard to prove a perpetrator’s bias-based intent to a jury.

—  admin

MA: Holy Grounds Coffee House manager resigns; failed to register as a convicted sex offender

Anti-gay pastor Scott Lively was drawing young truants to his Springfield, MA coffeehouse, promising to bring his brand of homophobic spirituality to the town. One problem with pious, hateful “Christians” like Lively is the oh-too-hilarious ignorance/foolishness regarding background checks for employees, thinking anyone professing to be a believer is, ahem, honest and trustworthy. BZZZZT FAIL. On an epic scale.

Michael J. Frediani, 38, “has resigned from his volunteer position as a manager of the coffee house and we have accepted his resignation,” said Scott Lively, who is pastor of Redemption Gate Mission Society which owns and operates the coffee house. The site also serves as a church with worship services and Bible study, and visitors to the coffee house, since opening in October, have included students from the nearby High School of Commerce.

Frediani was convicted in 1996 of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl in New York state, and served more than two years in prison. He is listed as a Level 3 (high risk) sexual offender in that state and as a Level 2 (moderate risk) offender in Massachusetts.

Frediani had identified himself as Michael Free and as a born again Christian in an earlier interview by The Republican. Police said Michael Free is an alias.

The ministry’s board “is unanimous in supporting his claim to be a changed man,” Lively said.

Read up on this debacle:

  • Jan. 13: Lively says he didn’t know his manager is a convicted sex offender
  • Jan. 13: Police arrest manager of Holy Grounds Coffee House as unregistered sex offender
  • Jan. 10: Lively says students prohibited from coffee shop during school hours
  • Jan. 7: Springfield officials worry Holy Grounds coffee shop attracts truants
  • Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

    —  admin

    Convicted felon speaker at The Peter’s confab: gays lift weights because they don’t feel masculine

    I sh*t you not. And Arthur Abba Goldberg told the teeming crowd of 20-30 people at Peter LaBarbera’s Truth Academy that consensual same-sex relations leads to bestiality, and unintentionally confirms the fact that ex-gay “therapists” are nothing more than pervs, scam artists, and people of need of mental health services themselves. Wayne Besen:

    Convicted felon Arthur Abba Goldberg spoke at Peter LaBarbera’s poorly attended Truth Academy on Thursday. His speech is exactly what one would expect from an individual of low moral character and a penchant for extreme dishonest behavior.

    He began his talk answering whether “gays can change”, in which he flippantly replied “the simple answer is yes”, to the delight of the small crowd of under 30 people. Then he rhetorically asked, “is gay parenting good for kids?” Abba Goldberg bluntly replied “no”.

    In one of the more outrageous parts of his speech, Abba Goldberg made the bizarre claim that allowing consensual sex for LGBT people will lead to a “slippery slope” that will descend into bestiality.

    What do you do when you want to french kiss a dog?” asks Abba Goldberg. “Bark once if ‘yes’, and bark twice if ‘no’? Hello…where do we get this idea of consent from?”

    The fact that Abba Goldberg even had these wacky ideas as part of his presentation shows that he has more issues than a New York magazine stand. What kind of psychologically healthy person even dreams up these scenarios? Perhaps, this speech explains why Abba Goldberg sees nothing perverse about referring clients to therapists who get clients naked and have them touch their genitals in front of a mirror.

    Wayne, I have no idea how anyone takes a wackjob like Goldberg seriously. Blenders, this is the tip of the iceberg; surf over for more unhinged blather. Here’s audio of Goldberg’s wisdom.

     
    Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

    —  John Wright