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GLBT acceptance and equality

Group facilitator says opposition to
organized religion is not the answer

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One gay's journey towards inner acceptance:

James Parker is a facilitator of the EnCourage group in London, England. His family of origin is Christian and gave him unconditional love. However, he notes that many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual [GLBT} community. He originally agreed with the predominate mood in the community that religious groups in the UK preached division and rejection of sexual minorities. He origially set out to change this.

The following excerpt is from his essay in the Times Online on 2010-MAR-12:

"... My life calling, I wholeheartedly believed, was to challenge the leaders of religion that homosexuals should be treated with the same dignity and rights as everyone else. This was especially true of the Christian community in which I had been raised. The more senior the religious leader’s role, the more I rose to the challenge."

"Along the journey of acrimonious engagement with different expressions of Christianity I came across some startling, dare I say life-changing, revelations. In short, I came to understand that some of the people and organisations that I had consistently learned to blame and finger-wag for my despair were in fact conduits of my discovering an equal standing with others. This in turn led to a deeper sense of self-acceptance and my despair metamorphosing into a rich hope. ..."

" For the past five years I have facilitated a group for men and women with homosexual attraction in the heart of London. Although authentically Catholic in both name and nature, it attracts a wide ethnicity and is attended by those of other Christian expressions, other faiths and unusually by those of no faith. It is the last thing I ever imagined doing when I first came out as a gay man in my late teens, especially as I saw the Catholic Church’s teaching as being the most archaic of all."

"The group’s policy is to refuse to diminish anyone by using labels, and especially restrictive terms such as gay and lesbian, while honestly facing the reality of thoughts, feelings and actions. We seek to meet each other on our unique life journeys with authenticity and to bring them to the cross. It is here we have made sense of our sufferings and pain, and where crippling shame can be left behind."

"Once stripped of a socio-sexual identity, which by its very nature can bring about feelings of inequality and exclusion, many report over time experiencing a deeper sense of integration within themselves and with those around them, and a new-found sense of equality irrespective of any homosexual feelings."

"Many today call for increased legislation to rid our society of its seemingly draconian inequalities. And yet equality for one sector will always diminish the equality for another and thereby fail in the goal it seeks to attain."

"Concern shared by some homosexual men and women is that pockets of society, including the so-called gay community and other minority groups, are looking for deep inner resolution merely through external means."

"We have discovered, much to our surprise, that legislation will not, because it cannot, eradicate the deep sense of injustice that so many face. In fact, legislation can often further blind and hinder us from making the necessary inner journey we all have to take to bring about greater social equality."

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Original posting on this website: 2010-MAR-13
Latest update: 2010-MAR-13

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