Breaking Down Barriers - RELIGION


For many heterosexual couples, marriage and religion are inextricable linked. Many religions define marriage as between one man and one woman. That theology has left lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered couples and individuals feeling alienated or even shunned by their chosen faith. Peggy Pacely, who identifies herself as lesbian, attended a Baptist Church as a child.  Pacely says her church sent messages suggesting love of neighbor only went so far…
They taught some very bigoted types of teachings. [...] They would teach to love your neighbor and help the needy. But if you were gay, you were going to hell. If you were gay, you can turn away from that kind of “lifestyle”—air quotes, since we’re on the radio. “Lifestyle,” hate that word, but whatever.  That’s another story. There was a lot of that. I didn’t deal with much of that until I was a teenager. But that was something that was taught throughout my time there—unfortunately.

Best takes are 4:34 or 55:3

Pacely’s experience is not unique. But some LGBT individuals also found that religion could have a positive influence on their lives. Lesley and Lori Millar-Nicholson say some denominations and congregations are welcoming of gay couples and individuals.
[Nicholson and Millar]
Time: 40:40
[Lori:] [...] We do go to church. We go to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana on Green Street. I think part of coming to terms with being gay for me was shunning the religion I was brought up in, which I felt like was a hypocritical religion, a “You’re gonna be damned to hell” religion. So I stepped away from organized religion for many, many, many years. It wasn’t until after 9/11, right?
[Lesley:] Mm-hmm.
[Lori:] That we as a couple felt like we needed a religious community. So our idea was to do the Baskin-Robbins of religions and just to sample the 32 flavors in town. We happened to go the Unitarian Universalist Church first and that was the end of that. We didn’t sample any more. It is a very open, welcoming religion. It’s never that I lost faith in God, I think I lost faith in organized religion.


There are a wide range of views towards same-sex relationships within various religions—and even within specific denominations. Still, many congregations are pushing back against denomination dogma to welcome gays to their churches. Leah Roberts-Mosser is a reverend at the Unitarian Universalist church in Champaign….
Time: 1:21:03
So I always have to remember what it means for me to be an ally, and that it’s not up to the gay people in my congregation to explain themselves. It’s not a safe thing for them to do. It’s a perfectly safe thing for me to do and so when it is appropriate I engage in that conversation. I’ve also figured out that some folks—they don’t actually wanna have the conversation. They just wanna use their Bible as a weapon and I don’t have the conversation with those people. What I would like to do, though, with people who just cannot understand that being gay is not a sin, is invite them to come to church and meet these beautiful, wonderful, normal, everyday people who are part of my congregation. And I really think that’s where the most change happens—is when we’re able to look each other in the eye and see another human being staring at us and figure out that we all care and hope and hurt and love just like everybody else.

Best takes are 11:50 (includes soq I think) or 12:02 (w/o soq?)  I had him do it separately as well below

People like Leah Robberts-Mosser are a part of why gay and lesbian people are beginning to feel more and comfortable with their religions. But gays say there is still a lot of work to do before ALL religions marry same-sex couples….

This is Vinay Koshy…

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide later this month on two key legal questions related to same-sex marriage.  Ahead of that ruling, students from University Laboratory High School in Urbana have prepared a series of stories on the experiences of people who have fought for the right to marry. In part one of Breaking Barriers we hear from several LGBTQ residents in central Illinois about their experiences with religion. Series producer Vinay Koshy has the story.

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