Tag Archives: lgbt

Homophobia, An Efficient Killer

I guess it has been about 2 years since the Rev. Al Sharpton stood in the pulpit of Tabernacle Baptist church and gave this little gem concerning black clergy and the church:

“They preach homophobia from their pulpits Sunday morning and cruise the parks at night!”

I also remember after that service was over; this statement was stuck in my head.

Talking with some of my colleges and friends in the black community, I was informed not only was that statement true but also in fact there were any number of black clergy in the city of Atlanta who were an exact fit. “In fact Pastor Paul, there are some pretty big and powerful preachers in the black church for whom Rev. Sharpton hit the nail on the head.”
I was dumbfounded.

I am sometimes naïve when it comes to the real world. I know a lot of politicians who would sell their own mother if it meant them getting elected and then lie about the sale, but pastors are and should different right?

Apparently I am still somewhat of a sexiest. Sure there might be the whole hetro adultery thing going on. So why would these very conservative preachers really take the risk of doing what they so virulently preach against in such a small talkative community?

Do they not understand if you beat us up long enough eventually we will expose you for who you really are?

Further, why would this small talkative community simply turn and take on the persona of “don’t ask, don’t tell”?

I have come to believe it is because homophobia is alive and well and more dangerous than ever.

“Homophobia”, is the unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

Which is why, there is nothing worse than to be a homosexual or to practice homosexual behavior and the community seems to hold a different standard for black preachers as compared to white preachers.

One might survive if they use drugs, one might survive if they misuse church funds and they might even survive if they are caught playing with the deacon’s wife. One survives these transgressions because “we all sin and fall short of the glory of God!”

Remember the good Rev. Stanley of Peachtree Baptist? All was forgiven and forgotten. Bless his heart. Those who are part of the United Methodist Church know if a preacher is caught playing around in the congregation come annual conference time the preacher is simply moved to another church. There is a long list of black preachers who are divorced or were divorced during their time in the pulpit and have survived rather nicely.

Yet, to cross the homosexual line and express homosexual behavior is the sin of all sins. This sin is the worst thing a person can do. One’s career, calling and respect in the community will be lost if they dare cross this line and get caught.

There is nothing which will get the news Medias attention faster than a black male preacher who is caught having sex with another man. They jump on it with all the alleged details and leading statements of how horrific this person is. In very short order it becomes the subject of national news with powerful people weighing in with their knowledgeable (really lack of facts) opinions and attitudes.

Of course if the accused person is anti-gay and is rather famous for attacking the LGBTQ community, then this just adds fuel to an already hotly burning fire.

Bishop Eddie Long an ardent opponent of the LGBTQ community, even to the extent of having an “ex-gay” kind of ministry as a part of his mega church and who lead a huge march against gay marriage, has been accused not by one but three young men of stepping over the line into the sin or sins.

Now, I have to say for the sake of being honest, I have never been particularly impressed by the Bishop. Having Bentley’s parked in one’s drive way, owning one’s own private jet, etc has never struck me as the ministry of the gospel, but rather a ministry prosperity and over indulgence. The church claims 25,000 members! Damn, that is 9,000 more people than the town I grew up in.

If we do the math this also means conservatively speaking there are probably 1200 plus LGBTQ people associated with this ministry.

Anyway, I digress. As I mention a few blogs ago the “victims” are already being blasted by the Bishop’s supporters. They are being called everything in the book and I would imagine before it is all say and done they will be painted as the predators of a powerful preacher. As I said before, this simply is the roots of homophobia rising to the surface…cause; well you know all gays are criminals.

Reports on the story have not said if the three young men themselves are gay or not. Before people write me and say this is not important…yes it is. Why?

It would change the dynamics of the story from abuse of power to the possibility of a really messed up love triangle. There may be abuse of power but it would be a whole different animal at that point. A full day before the story broke, I got a heads up from a friend, “BTW, stay tune, a very prominent local Bishop is about to be outed by his secret lover in a lawsuit.”

Now, please if the way this story has been covered doesn’t prove how evil, how nasty, how un-repented, how vile and how dangereous homophobia is then we are asleep.

It is true the Bishop set himself for a huge fall and made himself a target of people just dying to prove he is the ultimate hypocrite.

Yet, the real problem here, the reason this story is so devastating is because of the homophobia that is intertwined all through it. This Bishop made a huge mark for himself with a ministry designed to destroy my (our) community. As a friend Craig Washington wrote in a column for The Root:

“Whether or not Long actually committed the acts of which he was recently accused, this much is true: He is assuredly guilty of engendering fear and hatred of LGBT people among thousands. He has convinced countless numbers of gays that they are sinners whose salvation rests on becoming “reconditioned” into heterosexuality. Such toxic teachings reinforce the stigma that compromises HIV-prevention efforts as well as our mental and physical health.”

If, the accusations are correct, there is a price to pay for such devastating hypocrisy. If, the facts turn out to be something else how will we deal with that?

While it is easy to be critical of how people live their lives, if this turns out to be factual, will anyone ask or see how homophobia drove the Bishop to this moment. How, even knowing he had a gift to preach, he had to hide who he really was to pursue his career and calling?

Will it ever be discuss in the black congregations their complicity in this drama, because the worst thing their preacher could do was be a homo? How the black church lives out “don’t ask and don’t tell” to the destruction of its young men every day.

If it turns out these accusations are really about something else, will my community stand and say to Bishop Long, “Hey we are really sorry we jumped the gun, cause you know you are such a jerk when it comes to our issues…well we just wanted you to fall hard…sorry”.

Regardless of the outcome of this story, will we spend some time seeing how the devastating tentacles of homophobia wrapped themselves around the Bishop, the Bishop’s family, his friends, our community and as the outrage was expressed choked our any thought of compassion, understanding and love?

My friends this is a sad and heart breaking story, because it is really not about Bishop Long. The author of this story no matter how the facts turn out, no matter the drama unfolds is about homophobia. It is a killer, it kills those who practice it and it kills those who internalize it. It sometimes kills those who fight it.

I think that may be why Elder Tony Jones a very good friend of mine had this to say on his facebook status page:

“I reflect on Bishop Eddie Long and this recent matter, I am reminded of this one thing. Regardless to the outcome, unconditional love is still appropriate and necessary.”

My prayer is we all take heed; we all take a deep breath and take the Elder’s words to heart. For if we do, there is an opportunity here to begin to dismantle the destruction of homophobia and begin to heal.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

Defiantly Inclusive

Did you ever wonder why when something happens to one of our folks in the community it is almost always followed by stories that discredit the victim?

Remember Matthew Shepard? The child was not warm yet in the arms of God when the stories started circulating he may have set himself up for being tied to a fence tortured and murdered.

Remember the fella who got beat up leaving one of our gay watering holes? It didn’t take long for stories to get started that his behavior may have lead to his beating.

Let us not forget the murder, which took place in Piedmont Park. One could have set their watch by how long it took to be pointed out he was there cruising for sex.

Then of course we have the unsolved murder of Precious Armani, who in many accounts was described as a “cross-dresser” for hire.

Now most recently, we have the young man from Savannah hit so hard as to have his brain bruised by one of two US Marines because he may have winked at them?

Straight men better hope and pray women around the world don’t remember this story the next time they wink at the object of their desire!

Again, one could have set their watch by how long it took to publish stories that well maybe he did do something to deserve to be damn near killed.

Could someone please explain to me what an incident of “road rage” and an alleged racial slur have to do with an alleged wink, or squint that results in being knocked out cold in the middle of the street?

No, if the racial slur happened it is not cool…but damn people it is not even remotely connected to this “big tough Marine” having his manhood allegedly offended and his hysterical response.

For those who want to know more about this story, the police report has now been published and if it weren’t such a serious matter it would be “Saturday Night Live” funny.

The police officer found the two tough US Marines hiding in a vacant lot, saying they were waiting for a friend and had just been trying to get away from a homosexual who was harassing them. These two are trained to fight and kill terrorists…damn what power we little old homosexuals have!

Finally, while not as violent physically it certainly was violent emotionally. I got e-mail the other day at the office “demanding” I justify my position regarding homosexuality. Saying they were not trying to be argumentative but were trying to understand. Now mind you I do not know this person or ever had any contact with them until they jumped into my playground…

Well, I fell into the trap and spent 3 or 4 hours writing a response, which clearly stated where I was coming from, how our church operated and what we saw as the main work of the church to be. Here is the response:

“YES AND YOU STILL ARE TWISTING SCRIPTURE! G-D CONDEMNS SEXUALLY IMMORALS! JAMES EVE STATES: 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. [HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE, THE MOST ACCURATE IF YOU ARE SERIOUS OF ABOUT G-D’S WORD]. YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE! YOU MAY BE GENTLE BUT YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE! HEED THE WORDS OF THE MASTER HIMSELF IN MATTHEW 19: 4″Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” HE MAKES A DIRECT QUOTE FROM TORAH GENESIS 2: 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. AS I HAVE SAID I WAS RAISED JEWISH, I WAS ORTHODOX, I KNOW WHAT THE HEBREW SAYS, I ALSO STUDIED BIBLICAL GREEK AND YOU TWIST THE WORDS! THE ONLY RESPONSE I HAVE TO GIVE YOU IS THIS:

Yup, that is a response from a “concerned Christian” who felt they had the right not to just shout in this email but to scream at me, (like right in my face kind of thing) and threaten me with eternally death, not to mention set it up so if some wacko shoots me I deserve it.

I got to tell you it feels a whole lot like what happens to women at rape trials or in domestic violence situations. Well, if she hadn’t been where she was…if she hadn’t been wearing what she was wearing…well if she had not drank so much as to be inviting.

Of course usually by the time the defense attorney was done with the cross examination, one would think she had invited the rape or the beating because the victim was of not good character.

The sad truth of this is in our enlighten world is we know and acknowledge the act of rape or abuse is not about sex, but rather is a violent act of power and control.

There has been in our society a prevailing thought that says men are powerful and women are to be controlled, therefore they bear the responsibility for what happens to them. They should know how to conduct themselves so as to not put them in danger. Therefore, women should not smoke, drink, go out to clubs or dress in ways which are inviting or tempting for the male to loose control. Women are responsible for maintaining a “high moral standard”.

We know this phenomenon as “sexism”. Well, a dear college of mine coined a phrase years ago, which explains why those in our community who are victims of violence are so often discredited. Suzanne Pharr wrote a book about the subject entitled, “Homophobia, the Weapon of Sexism.”

This book was written in 1988 and while there has been progress it still rings true.

Our community is truly caught in this trap of sexism. At the bottom of this snake pit of homophobia and sexism is the church…everything from blaming original sin on Eve and Old Testament teachings saying men should not behave like women to denominations saying women much less homosexuals have no place in the church or pulpits.

Yes, I know it is not every church and yes I know there are plenty of churches fighting this crap.

Yet, I got to tell you it is not enough and they are not loud enough. People are dying, being killed, committing suicide, falling into drug use and losing families over this crap not just once a week but every day, yes every day!

A pastor that I find myself working with often in the community who disagrees with me on almost every point concerning homosexuality said,

“All that said, those who engaged in homosexual behavior are people—who need love and forgiveness, and who need to understand the love of God. It is hard to engage in cultural battle and still have people feel that you love and accept them. Ugly rhetoric, inappropriate jokes, ridicule and violence of any kind should be off limits. And most importantly, we need to do a better job in our own marriages so we don’t lose the moral authority to talk about these issues. We obviously have a lot of work to do.”

No sir, with my brothers and sisters dead in the streets and parks, beat up and abused, fired from their jobs, told to not ask and not tell, our gathering places raided by the police on the smallest complaint around neighborhood values Where people feel they are justified in sending emails like the afore mentioned, where the church feels it can stop me from being married, passing on property, visiting my husband in the hospital, and having the right of raising a family and with heterosexual marriage experiencing a 50-60% divorce rate…you have already lost your “moral authority”.

It is time for a new team to step up and be heard.

It is time for the inclusive, affirming and progressive community to like Moses, like Gandhi and like Jesus to stand up to the arrogance of religious authority. Such arrogance presumes to know what is best for others, indeed, even to know what God thinks. Ultimately, such arrogance assumes that some should be excluded from the human community. The response of Moses, Gandhi and Jesus was a defiant reaching out in order to include the excluded. So my friends how defiantly inclusive will you be today?

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

The Hypocrisy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Well everyone is all in a twitter because it looks like the day of the homosexual not being able to serve in the military is coming to an end.

Those who are on the political and religious right have gotten especially hysterical over this fact. Here is a pretty good representation of their thought process:

“Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with G-d not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y. We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes. Once a disaster is unleashed, innocents are also victims just like in Chernobyl.

“We plead with saner heads in Congress and the Pentagon to stop sodomization of our military and our society. Enough is enough.”

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Spokesman, Rabbinical Alliance of America

“So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Storm troopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Storm troopers, the Browshirts, were male homosexuals.”

American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer

“Repealing the ban on open homosexuals serving in the U.S. military would be a mistake of historic proportions.

First, there would certainly be a mass exodus of normal men from a homosexualized military, leading to the reinstatement of compulsory service. The entire premise of a military system based on voluntary service is that young men will want to serve. But will normal men want to volunteer when they know they will share close quarters with other men for whom they will be objects of sexual interest? It is a recipe for deep and widespread moral and morale problems.

Then there’s the likelihood of physical conflict among the troops. Will proud young men being honed to become weapons of aggression against America’s enemies tolerate being ogled in the showers or touched inappropriately or bunking near sexually active “gays“? Undoubtedly blood will spill over such (inevitable) indignities.

But what will be the political consequence? Once homosexuals are invited to serve, the authorities will be committed to integrate them into the ranks, which means “sensitivity” training, anti-discrimination policies, and all of the other “politically correct” nonsense that has been such a disaster in the other spheres of our society. These policies have smacked of pro-“gay” fascism in the civilian world; how much worse would it be in the rigidly-controlled environment of the military?”

Dr. Scott Lively President, Defend the Family International

The talking points of the religious and political right only get more hysterical and patently ridiculous from what I have just quoted. Even going so far as to express the wild fantasy that sleeping soldiers would be in danger of experiencing force fellatio.

A closer read of the mentioned quotes will reveal what this is really all about: fear of sexuality. Ever since Augustine we have lived in a world where the act of sex has been thought to be some how the dark side of humanity not to be enjoyed and celebrated but done only out of duty to procreate. The end result of this thought process has turned sex into a “power and control” game, with homophobia being the ultimate weapon of sexism at it’s worst.

The “biblical” arguments against homosexuality for the most part have in fact been disproven or at minimum so open to question of what was actual being said they have become a mute point. In fact biblically speaking much stronger and pervasive arguments can be made for feeding the hungry, being merciful rather than justice seeking, loving one’s neighbor unconditionally and not bombing the world into a million pieces should be our priority rather than ones sexual orientation.

A little research will show most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members; of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, 22 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve; of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, three (United Kingdom, France, and Russia) do so. I might point out here most of these countries would consider themselves spiritual nations of one sort or another. If the reader wants to see the complete list of countries where this is a non-issue go to:


Steve Chapman points out this interesting little thought: “Israel, being small, surrounded by hostile powers, and obsessed with security, can’t afford to jeopardize its military strength for the sake of prissy ventures in political correctness. But its military not only accepts gays, it provides benefits to their same-sex partners, as it does with spouses. Has that policy sapped Israel’s military might? Its enemies don’t seem eager to test the proposition.

You could argue that none of these experiences is relevant, since, being Americans, we are utterly unique. But our soldiers don’t seem to have any trouble fighting alongside gay soldiers from allied nations.”

Rabbi Steven Wernick, the Executive Vice President and CEO, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has this to say:

“The United States was founded on the principles that all people were created equal. We know that sexual orientation is innate, and it cannot be God’s will to give gay men and lesbians less dignity than God has given the rest of us. We believe strongly, therefore, that every American citizen, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, should have the right to serve our country. And no American citizen should have to lie about the person he or she most loves. The “don’t ask” part of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” equation is on target – it is no one’s business, ever. But the “don’t tell” part is a violation of every person’s right to seek love, and the right that Thomas Jefferson affirmed for us, the right to the pursuit of happiness.”

As for the hysterical fear stating if DADT goes away sexual assaults will suddenly become a problem…please! According to Marie Tesser a writer for womensnews,

“Sexual assault remains a pervasive problem for women in the military, including those currently deployed overseas. Experts say the military’s hierarchy is ill-equipped and unprepared to deal fairly with rape complaints.”

According to CBS news,

“Katie Couric asked Michael Dominguez, principal under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, how big a problem sexual assault is in the military.

“Sexual assault injures troops,” he said. “Injures readiness. So regardless of the numbers we have, it is by definition too much.

But how often does it happen?

The Pentagon only started a comprehensive program to track incidents in 2006, and only after Congress mandated it do so.

That year there were 2,974 cases of rape and sexual assault across the services. And of those, only 292 cases resulted in a military trial.

And in 2007 there were even fewer prosecutions.

“Of more than 2,200 servicemen investigated for sexual assault, only 181 were prosecuted?” Couric asked Dominguez.

“Yes, we absolutely have to get better,” he said. “[Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates himself is driving this initiative this year to improve our ability to investigate, to prosecute and convict. This is not where we want to be.”

And in a majority of cases, the punishment doesn’t seem to match the crime. Often most offenders only get a reduction in rank or reduced pay.”

Seems pretty clear to me gay folks are not the sexual problem of the military.

The hysterical right will never admit the TLGBQ folks have been serving in the military all along, standing in harms way as much for them as you and I, spilling their blood for the country they love and have taken an oath to defend…generally suffering in silence, being denied partner benefits and pensions, being forced to lie, hide and sneak around.

Yes, we have been in the military for a long long time. Denny Meyer writes:

“In 2003, at a summer Pride rally in a small park in the heart of New York City, I met an elderly couple who had strolled into the park to see what the festivities were all about. He wore a WWII VET baseball cap and had his arm around his wife’s shoulders. Seeing that I was wearing a veteran’s garrison cap, he asked me what was going on. I told him that it was a Gay Pride rally and that I was handing out leaflets advocating the right of gay people to serve in our armed forces. He nodded and told me that he’d been in the Normandy Invasion and that on that dreadful D-Day, as they stormed the beach under an incessant hail of machinegun fire and artillery, there were five men in his unit that everyone knew were homosexuals. He said, gravely, “The German bullets didn’t discriminate; we all took care of each other and covered each other.”

Our military leaders know our community has served and done it with distinction and true heroism, which is why DADT is so hypocritical especially in a country where we hold dear and the military exists to defend: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The religious and political right in the days ahead will grow even more resolute and hysterical in their fight to stop this “house of cards” from falling. Yet our community will continue to stand firm, continue to defend to the death the right of all people to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We will no longer hide in shameful silence.

We will always point out the hypocrisy of DADT until it is no longer the policy of deceit, hypocrisy and shame with these simple words placed on the gravesite of Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (1943–1988) who served his country with honor and distinction:

A Gay Vietnam Veteran
When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality & Transgenderism?

What does the bible say about homosexuality & transgenderism? This bible study is designed to be used in small group, Sunday school and interactive bible study formats, to help people fully understand the verses used by scriptural literalists to condemn gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.  The overarching thesis of the study is that these verses, when understood in their historical and cultural contexts, only describe exploitative and abusive forms of sexuality, not loving same-sex partnerships. Click here to get started.

This bible study was originally published by Open Door Communities and written by Micah and Katharine Royal, who hold the copyright for the information.  A special thanks to Micah and Katherine for allowing us to republish it here. In some parts of this study, where the authors reference handouts or online resources, we’ve attempted provided links to current online resources.  Please feel free to send us an email if you find a broken link. We’ve also made some minor edits for style and clarity.

What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism?

What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism?

Session 9 of Homosexuality & Transgenderism: A Bible Study.

Icebreaker: In every culture, there are stereotypes of what it means to be a “real man” or a “real woman”. In the one you grew up in, what is the stereotype for “manliness”? For “womanliness”? Do you think many people live up to these stereotypes well? Why or why not?

Explain that right now you are going to quickly discuss one aspect of the GLBT community which is often overlooked – the transgender community – and what messages the Bible has for them.

Continue reading What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism?

Missing the Forest for the Trees

Rev. Rick Warren as we know has been invited to offer the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration. The firestorm being raised by the LGBTQ community from my perspective is very sad, embarrassing and a whole lot of whining over something that will not matter in a year.

In fact I honestly think it is much hell raising over nothing. Further, as much as I love my community I wish they would just shut up.

Why? Let’s start with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The religious and political right tried to make a big deal out of this preacher because he said some things that did not set well with them. He was called every name in the book, except a child of God. It was said this was reason enough to be suspect of the presidential candidate. Sean Hannity a voracious right-winger raise the question of how could one be in the pews for 20 years and not have this alleged hate rube off-not hate America too?

I said then and many in my community agreed it was not right or appropriate to be going after then Senator Obama’s pastor. What is said from the pulpit by a preacher does not reflect on the policy or positions taken by a particular candidate. My goodness if it did adultery and divorce by our leaders would be cut in half! Homelessness and hunger would be a thing of the past. Our weapons of destruction would have been beaten into plowshares long ago!

So where do we get off throwing this idea aside just because we do not like the preacher who has been asked to pray?

Come on folks let’s get real. Years ago when I first came to Toledo I was invited to give the opening invocation for the city council. Now you know damn well there were people on that council that knew I was gay, from a gay church and had nothing but a headache to offer them. Yet other then private comments, nothing was said or done to try and stop it.

There was no outcry of outrage: Why? Because I was there as a PASTOR to PRAY. I was not there to make policy, carry out an agenda, or speak on behalf of the LGBTQ community. I was there to ask for God’s blessing on that meeting, nothing more and nothing less. Rev. Rick Warren is a PASTOR who has been asked to PRAY, nothing more and nothing less.

Further more President-elect Obama is keeping his word to reach across the lines that divide us. We know and understand this Pastor and the President-elect do not agree on any number of issues. In fact we are pretty sure this Pastor worked pretty hard at defeating the President-elect. So for Obama to reach out and say “would you pray for me” is an act of grace, a courageous act of inclusion.

Have we forgotten how Jesus, called the tax collector out of a tree to have lunch with him? There was no one in Jesus time more hated then a tax collector. Yet, Jesus reached across a line to begin the process of healing.

Have we forgotten how Jesus spent time talking with Nicodemus the Pharisee, answering his questions concerning his teaching?

I am fully aware that at this moment in time the Rev. Rick Warren is not our friend. I am aware that he has gone out of his way to stop our community from obtaining marriage rights. Yet even with this awareness I dare say most pastors who could have been asked, would be controversial to some group or another for various and sundry reasons.

This is not the fight we want to have folks…this is not where we spend political capital… bitching about who has been asked to pray. My goodness could you imagine what would have happen had he ask an Imam to pray? The firestorm, which would have ensued from that, would be just as stupid and ignorant as this controversy is.

My sisters and brothers we have far more important issues to be concerned about.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” being over turned is far more critical then who prays at the inauguration.

“ENDA” which includes the T is far more critical then who prays at the inauguration.

By the way Joe Solmonese of the HRC doesn’t have a whole lot of room to be throwing rocks here…

Homeless gay kids and what happens to them is far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

The treatment of Transgender veterans is far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

Kids being bullied in school because they are perceived to be gay are far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

Adoption rights for the LGBTQ community are far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

HIV and the black community is far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

A solid “hate crimes” bill is far more important then who prays at the inauguration.

Our community is small, our resources and allies are limited, so let us spend our time our resources and gathering our allies on that which will really make a difference for our community. Let us spend our time, our resources and gathering our allies on that which will save our lives. Let us spend our time, our resources and gathering our allies on that which will give us the dignity that is our birthright. So, please in the name of all that is holy, take a deep breath and chill.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.


Just when I think things cannot get worse…the 2 stories come across my desk.

Now mind you over the last couple of months there have been more then our fair share of really bad things happening to our community, but these two set up tonight’s soapbox.

“Gay teen couple made to sit apart on bus
Posted by: “Thomas Jackson” tcjackson2005@sbcglobal.net tomjackson2008
Mon Nov 5, 2007 9:58 am (PST)

Two gay teenagers from Scotland are considering legal action after being
humiliated on a late-night bus journey.

Steven Black, 16, and Mark Craig, 19, were told to get off the bus by the
driver and then forced to sit in separate seats, according to the Sunday

“If we had been all over each other, I could understand – because that
behavior in public is not appropriate whatever your sexuality. But Mark
just had his arm around my shoulder,” Steven told the paper.

“I have never been so humiliated in my life. I just can’t believe we are
still made to feel like second-class citizens.”

In 2000 Mr. Souter, an evangelical Christian, donated half a million pounds to a campaign in Scotland to uphold Section 28, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools.

He cited his religious beliefs as justification for his actions, insisting he is not homophobic.

Mr. Souter is a member of the Church of the Nazarene, a Methodist denomination.

The couple chose to sit separately because they had no other way to get

Indicted in beating of gay couple
Saturday, November 03, 2007
UNION CITY – Two former employees of a Burger King on Bergenline Avenue have
been indicted on hate crime charges in connection with the vicious beating of a
same-sex couple outside the restaurant earlier this year, officials said yesterday.

Angel Caraballo, 28, of Duncan Avenue, and Christopher Soto of Prospect
Street, both of Jersey City, were charged with aggravated assault and a first-degree hate
crime in connection with the July 22 beating, officials said. The hate crime offense
carries a possible sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.

The two victims, Union City men in their early 40s, were in the Burger King,
on the 3500 block of Bergenline, when they asked someone behind the counter for a refund for an item that was not available, officials said.

One employee allegedly asked the other who was asking for the refund and he
replied with a derogatory term for a homosexual, according to a news release issued by
the gay rights advocacy group Garden State Equality.

The couple left the restaurant, but a group of Burger King employees followed them outside, where “they beat them mercilessly,” while repeating anti-gay slurs,
the news release, says.

There is the 21 year old who was executed in Iran (we don’t have any homosexuals as stated by Iran’s Dictator) for being gay.

There was the drive by shooting in front of a gay club in Atlanta.

There was the transgender person who was murdered down in Savannah Georgia.

There was this headline: “Gay-bashings up in 2006”

The African Episcopal Bishop continues to say all kinds of nasty things about us as if we are not in the room.

This is followed by an entire section of the Episcopal Church leaving the denomination because a man who is tremendously gifted but gay and in a long-term relationship is made a Bishop.

“The Diocese of San Joaquin, a conservative fold that serves California’s Central Valley and has long chafed under what it considers the increasing liberalism of its fellow Episcopal, on Saturday became the first in the nation to separate from the U.S. Episcopal Church, voting overwhelmingly to take a strong and definitive stance against how the church deals with homosexuality and other controversial issues.

The vote capped a dispute that had been sweeping through the Episcopal Church in the United States for decades, one that was highlighted in 2003, when the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, was ordained as bishop in New Hampshire.

“We were interested in seeking leadership that held to a traditional interpretation of Christianity,” said the Rev. Van McCalister, a spokesman for the Diocese of San Joaquin.”

We have a democrat who wants to be President of the US and thinks it is perfectly OK to have a lying, self-absorbed internalized homophobe sing for his campaign. I wonder if a former grand wizard of the KKK who suddenly got religion would be ok to sing for the campaign too?

Of course there is the radio talk show host by the name of Michael Savage who gets in his dig:

“CNN is a bear trap. CNN is a bear trap for anybody conservative. Look what they did the other night, last week rather, with the YouTube/CNN debate, when they put a planted, gay, phony general in the audience to throw out a question, and then Anderson Cooper followed up with intelligible, ‘Did you get the question answered adequately?’ That’s your idea of a fair debate? It’s like a Stalinist show trial.” “I don’t care about this old queen, frankly. He disgusts me to make — my flesh crawls from the old queen. That was a general? Now you wonder why we’re still in Iraq five years later. General — with General Keith Kerr, you know why we’re still in Iraq five years later.”

Think the craziness is over? Hell no…we get a National League football coach with this gem:

“During an interview with Bob Costas on HBO’s Costas Now, Colts coach Tony Dungy seemed taken aback when asked what he would do if he had an openly gay player on his team.

After a pause in which Dungy smiled and looked as though he wanted to choose his words carefully, Dungy said, “I’m sure I would talk to him about my views on it, what the Bible says about it.”

So why is the afore mentioned stuff so bad? Why do I want to just sit in a room and beat my head against a wall?

Because it shows just how fundamentally flawed the whole damn issue around LGBT folks really is.

People in the LGBT community have to fight for full and legal recognition of their relationships, job protection, protection from being hunted down like animals and killed. We have to fight for the ability to be contributing members of the church, to be a pastor, a bishop, to get communion.

We have to fight to visit our partner in the hospital, get health insurance for our partner, or just live in peace where we want too.

To make matters worse we are told that because of whom we love, we don’t meet biblical standards for being included equally in God’s creation. Yet when these same biblical standards are applied to these zealots the hypocrisy could not be more obvious.

Anybody with more then a 6th grade education knows to claim the Bible, as the inerrant word of God is as ridicules as it is foolhardy. I am sorry if I offend people’s faith here, but God and the Holy Spirit did not go out of business 2,000 years ago.

Hey wait a second…let’s take the Bible at its word…let’s suppose for a moment we have exact quotes from Jesus. Let us suppose there is a heaven or a burning hell for which people are heading. Let us suppose God is going to sit in judgment and one by one will decide who is in and who is out.

How will God make the determination? By what standard will we be held accountable? In the very words of Jesus I found an answer.

31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25 (New International Version)

Damn, apparently those whom think the battle to stop homosexuality is the end of the world have missed God’s agenda all together.

Tell you what, I will make a deal with all the traditionalists, fundamentalists, conservative family value folks. When y’all begin spending your time, energy and resources living up to God’s agenda for who is in and who is out as stated by Jesus, then and only then can we talk about homosexuals and how we are supposedly destroying the world. It seems to me we are the least of the problems with the coming judgement.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.


Today is a day of mourning. It is not a day that is on the national calendar. In fact with the exception of a small percentage of people in this country this day of mourning will pass completely unnoticed.

Those who remember on this day will find themselves swinging between tears of grief and deep waves of anger not to mention a certain amount of fear of further attacks.

The devastating images of those viciously killed in 2007 for simply trying to be themselves is something we should remember, something that should burn in our souls.

The people we mourn for this day are apart of the community most would just as soon not deal with. Oh we go to watch the drag shows and tell our jokes and we have added a “T” to the GLB_Q but don’t really take seriously folks in the transgender community live in a very dangerous and un-supportive world.

We do not take seriously they find it extremely difficult to get jobs, get health care or any kind of support and dignity.

In fact just this past month Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and the HRC made it clear they were not even worth naming in a piece of legislation design to give us job protection. The political spin was that it could not pass if the transgender community was part of it.

In fact, the leaders of HRC told me they were nothing more then a “political calculation”

So the message went out loud and clear…it is still open season on those who would dare to transition from one gender to another.

Of course what we forget is it was these folks who started the whole “gay rights” movement we know today when they stood toe to high heal with the New York City police department at Stonewall.

We forget they have been with us every step of this bloody fight for our rights, our self worth and our very souls.

We forget that each day when they get out of bed and step into the world it may in fact be their last day.

So on this day I want us to remember the transgender community…to pay attention to the day that has become known as “Transgender Day of Remembrance”

May we who mourn and remember today take some comfort in these words of scripture:

“God is King, despite the chaos that may be roaring around us.” (Ps 93)

“If one member suffers, the whole body suffers…” (I Cor 12)

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8)

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

“The Lord takes care of me as his sheep; I will not be without any good thing. He makes a resting-place for me in the green fields: he is my guide by the quiet waters. He gives new life to my soul: he is my guide in the ways of righteousness because of his name. Yes, though I go through the valley of deep shade, I will have no fear of evil; for you are with me, your rod and your support are my comfort. You make ready a table for me in front of my haters: you put oil on my head; my cup is overflowing. Truly, blessing and mercy will be with me all the days of my life; and I will have a place in the house of the Lord all my days.” Psalm 23

Today may we find ourselves moved to pray. May these prayers be for all of the victims, their family and friends.

May we pray for our government to have wisdom, courage and a Christ like response to this insanity. Let us pray for God’s protection and a calming of their and our fears.

And may our prayers be accompanied by expressions of our faith – that we are not conformed to the ways the world and how they will respond to children of God, but to the way the Christ would respond. May we be in our speech and actions the love of God.

Let us remember the words of Gwendolyn Ann Smith,

We have lost so many people in our community to the hand of hatred and prejudice, yet we still are not seemingly willing to fight back. Meanwhile, we die at the hands of a lover, of police, of medical practitioners, and even parents, while the news media calls us “freaks” — and worse.

In fact, the media’s reluctance to cover our deaths lies near the heart of this project. It can be all-but-impossible to find honest, reliable media on the death of a transgender person: It either does not exist (which is how one can cover thirty years of cases and still only have as many as I have to present), or it uses names that the deceased did not own, and pronouns that did not fit their reality.

There is no “safe way” to be transgender: as you look at the many names collected here, note that some of these people may have identified as drag queens, some as heterosexual cross dressers, and some as transsexuals. Some were living very out lives, and some were living fully “stealth” lives. Some were identifying as male, and some, as female. Some lived in small towns, and some in major metropolitan areas.

Today we remember:

Nakia Ladelle Baker
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Blunt force trauma to the head
Date of Death: January 7, 2007

Keittirat Longnawa
Location: Rassada, Thailand
Cause of Death: Beaten by 9 Youths who then slit her throat
Date of Death: January 31, 2007

Moira Donaire
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
Cause of Death: Stabbed 5 times by a street vendor
Date of Death: March 5, 2007

Michelle Carrasco “Chela”
Location: Santiago, Chile
Cause of Death: She was found in a pit with her face completely disfigured.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

Ruby Rodriguez
Location: San Francisco, California
Cause of Death: She had been strangled and was found naked in the street.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

Erica Keel
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death: A car repeatedly struck her
Date of Death: March 23, 2007

Bret T. Turner
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds
Date of Death: April 2, 2007

Unidentified Male Clad in Female Attire
Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Cause of Death: Gunshot wounds to the chest and lower back
Date of Death: July 7, 2007

Victoria Arellano
Location: San Pedro, California
Cause of Death: Denied necessary medications to treat HIV-related side effects.
Date of Death: July 20, 2007

Oscar Mosqueda
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Cause of Death: Shot to death
Date of Death: July 29, 2007

Maribelle Reyes
Location: Houston, Texas
Cause of Death: AIDS; Reyes was turned away from several treatment centers due to her transgender status.
Date of Death: August 30, 2007

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

Pardon Me if I’m a Bit Tired of Pandering to Bigots

Well all the bluster of the Episcopal Bishops meeting is now over. It was suppose to be the great show down between the hysterical right and the progressives of the Anglican Church. Here is what the New York Times said:


In a voice vote, all but one bishop supported a resolution, called “A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by Our Anglican Communion Partners.” Several conservative bishops who are considering leaving the Episcopal Church were not in attendance. The resolution affirmed the status quo of the Episcopal Church, both theological conservatives and liberals said.

It states, for example, that it “reconfirms” a call to bishops “to exercise restraint” by not consenting to the consecration of a partnered gay bishop. It also says the bishops promise not to authorize “any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions.”




“I think it lessens the possibility of schism,” said Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of Massachusetts. “I think this is going to meet the needs of the archbishop of Canterbury, and it shows how much we want to be part of the Anglican Communion.”

(Boston Globe: Episcopal leaders act to avert a schism from Gay Religion: news of religion and GLBT folks by Thomas c Jackson)

REALLY, and what about the needs of the LGBTQ folks who are apart of the community…these people talk like we are not even in the room.

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, referred to the statement as a clarification of positions already articulated by the US bishops, but said she hopes that “our sacrificial actions and united actions” will help stave off schism.

(Boston Globe: Episcopal leaders act to avert a schism from Gay Religion: news of religion and LGBTQ folks by Thomas c Jackson)

Oh, I see it is far more important to keep bigots, homophobes and flat out liars in the communion then to tend to the concerns of the sheep. How hypocritical, what crap…what brand of Christianity are these folks following?


The bishops also called for the archbishop of Canterbury, who met with them on Thursday and Friday, to find a way for Robinson to attend next summer’s Lambeth Conference, a decennial conference of Anglican bishops who gather from around the world in Canterbury, even though some conservative bishops do not want him to attend. The bishops also said, “we call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.”

(Boston Globe: Episcopal leaders act to avert a schism from Gay Religion: news of religion and LGBTQ folks by Thomas c Jackson)

Right and I say, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:23-24 New International Version)

Civil rights? They won’t marry us! They won’t allow us the same respect, rights and support that straight people get, who by the way are the ones who have made a mockery of marriage and they say they are committed to our civil rights?

Commitment to our dignity? The have allowed the ridicule of the rightfully call of another Bishop and they are committed to our dignity? They want to “find a way” for Bishop Robinson to attend a gathering? Are they kidding? He is a Bishop, called by God and his people to serve. If they had any dignity or integrity they would demand the good Bishop be there. They ripe our hearts out, call us not worthy to be married or attain the Bishop’s staff and they are committed to our dignity…please I am going to vomit…

Here’s another quote from Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawai’i, who agreed.

“It was non-adversarial and it was holy,” he said of the efforts of the bishops to craft a statement that all could accept with integrity.”


How is denying the people of God their place in ministry holy? How in God’s name does this Bishop believe they have done something akin to acting with integrity?

I have spent the last week reading everything I could about this great debate and all the hard work that was done…sweat, tears and emotional shouting (at least as emotional as Anglicans get). This was such a monumentus meeting even the Bishop from England showed up…wow!

This is it folks, the earth is going to move and with the ensuing rapture the Anglican Church might just fall apart.

I have read from both sides of the aisle where progressives and foe alike have been saying what happened was a good thing, something to celebrate. This was a step in the right direction. The church is still standing for now.

All though the Bishop “wanna be the pope” from Nigeria said this wasn’t enough…he wants the Americans to repent.

Repent from what? Isn’t this the guy who when he shook the hand of a gay man repelled away like he had been hit with a cattle prod? He wants the American Bishops to repent? Maybe they need to but not because this power hungry sexiest homophobia demands it.

Folks what kind of spin job are these folks doing? Does the world recognize that we as the people of God have been played again?

What crap, there is nothing to celebrate…in fact what we all witnessed was an act of cowardice.

We witnessed a bunch of old fools saying their jobs and the institution are more important then God’s people. We witness what concern for money, property and power will do. Yes I said that…cause we know that is what it is really about.

We watched a bunch of people in the Bishop’s house say in so many words while God may have created us gay but by damn we are not going to let you have sex, make covenant with the one you love and we damn sure are not going let you be a Bishop…a priest maybe but no more Bishops! We are not going to loose any property over this, people yea but what the hell the church property will be safe!

The American Bishops had the opportunity to be heroic, prophetic…to be the Isaiah of our time, but instead chose to whine and pat themselves on the back for keeping a hypocritical institution intact. If this is the best they can do in the face of God’s people dying, broken apart and set aside then maybe they have come to a time in which they should just close their doors and go home.

My comments sounds angry? Damn right I am angry. My God, look how much time and effort has been spent on this…and as a woman once said to Jesus: “Even the dogs get the crumbs from the table”.

Harry Knox a good friend of mine maybe said it better then I when he said,

“This decision is a profound disappointment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere,” said the director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program. “The bishops are in danger of succumbing to the temptation to bow before an idol called church unity when God demands justice.”

“We stand solidly behind the efforts of Integrity to overturn the moratorium at General Convention 2009 and pledge ourselves to redouble our supportive efforts. We will not go away; we will not be silent. Our faith and our lives depend on it.”

If there are those who don’t like treating people as the full people of God…then let them leave and do their own thing elsewhere.

This very point was made when,

“the leader of a Toronto gay Anglican group says he would be sorry to see a split in the church but thinks his own life might be made easier if a conservative wing were to break away.

“I’m getting to the stage where I’m not sure that I want to be perpetually justifying my existence in the church as a gay man,” Chris Ambidge of Integrity Canada said yesterday.”

(Gay Religion: news of religion and GLBT folks by Thomas Jackson)

Amen, So to the Bishop of Nigeria and all who would follow him, if you are that unhappy just leave…walk out the door and don’t let it hit you where the good Lord split you!

All right, I am done with my rant and about to leave for Phoenix Arizona where for the next week I will be one of 50 umpires at the “Gay World Series” of the Amateur Softball Association.

With over 4,000 participants and fans from 56 cities in North America. This Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) is the world’s largest annual Gay and Lesbian sporting event. These players from 150 plus teams will be playing their hearts out to bring back some pride and glory to their respective communities and I dare say I will come back with 4,000 stories as to why the Bishops are so wrong, so very, very wrong.

There will be thousands of stories of challenge, love, sacrifice, integrity, faith and dignity. I wonder if anyone will care?

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.