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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 18, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 3
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Letters

RAISE OUR FLAG!
I am writing this because I saw that you published an article over the summer about the Space Needle here in Seattle refusing to raise the rainbow flag during Pride month ['Flag flap: Space Needle says no to Pride flag this year,' June 22]. The Space Needle spokespeople stated that they would not be hoisting any flags besides the American flag on a regular basis and that is why they would not be raising the rainbow flag during the most joyous time of the year.

The problem I am having is that they have raised the Seahawks' '12th Man' flag on the Space Needle, as of last week. They invited several famous Seattle musicians to the event, which indicates that they planned it well in advance, rather than it just being some spur-of-the-moment thing they decided to do because our team is doing so well this season.

Since I can't possibly see how football is more important than human rights, I see this as a direct affront to the LGBT community and everyone who supports the fact that LGBT people are allowed to be out and proud in our city. I appreciate that the Seahawks are doing so well, but I just don't get why no one has said anything publicly about what is happening. I e-mailed the Space Needle when I heard that they raised the flag, but have not heard back to date.

Chelsea Alexander
Seattle



ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Several recent editions of SGN have featured articles about Roman Catholic officials and so-called evangelical Christian groups in such a way that it is easy to assume that all Christians are rabidly anti-Gay. This is regretful because several mainline Protestant church pastors and leaders have put themselves on the line in support of the GLBT community.

While I am a retired United Methodist pastor and cannot speak authoritatively about other denominations, I can point to many times in my own denomination where courageous stands have been taken by my colleagues. In 1991 my Annual Conference (similar to a Catholic diocese) supported the establishment of 'Strength for the Journey,' whereby persons with full-blown AIDS can spend several days in a retreat setting where they are completely free to be who they are. Their language is not censored nor are they confronted with attempts to 'convert' them. While daily worship is offered, there is no attempt to coerce retreaters to participate. And most don't. Workshops are offered that help retreaters talk about AIDS with medical professionals. And they are staffed by men and women who are chosen for their ability to listen and to love.

Unfortunately, the United Methodist Church Quadrennial Conference delegates have continued to vote to retain a clause in the Discipline which states that 'homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching' and until recently forbid the use of funds, buildings, and pastors to support anything that might be interpreted as supporting homosexuality. However, change is coming. At the most recent General Conference in Tampa, 15 bishops stepped out of line and told pastors and laity that the anti-Gay use of scripture does not support mention in the Discipline and that pastors who wish to marry, use church facilities, and promote the full inclusion of GLBT folk in the life and ministry of the church will be supported by them and defended in case we are put on trial.

Recently a TV ad supporting Referendum [74] featured the Seattle-area UMC bishop among other religious leaders. His letter to the churches is a strong condemnation of anti-Gay feelings of church members. Over 20 congregations have voted to be fully reconciling with and fully accepting of GLBT people in membership and leadership in their churches. One congregation, Tacoma First United Methodist Church, has actively supported the GLBT community and the inclusion of GLBT persons in church leadership.

There are many more examples I could mention, but suffice it to say that one among many reasons the United Methodist Church has seriously declined in membership is our mandate from founder John Wesley that 'there is no holiness but social holiness.'

I urge SGN to give recognition to not only those actions in Christian churches that deny the full humanity of GLBTs, but also to the actions by congregations and pastors who stand alongside our GLBT sisters and brothers in the drive for full equality.

The Rev. Thomas Martin
Tacoma

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