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  POTS N PANNED

Homophobic Residents Cause Gay Canadian Couple To Close Restaurant, Leave Town

claringould-2A gay Canadian couple — tired of homophobic remarks from some of their fellow Morris, Manitoba residents — is shuttering their restaurant and leaving town.

Dave Claringould and his partner (who wasn’t interviewed) opened their restaurant Pots N Hands four months ago, after moving to the small town of Morris for what Claringould describes as a “quieter life.”

A few Morris residents, however, couldn’t keep their mouths shut and made some anti-gay comments to the couple. They not only lost “a lot” of business but also their patience.

“One such comment was for instance,” Claringould told CBC News, “we were asked if someone was going to catch something off the plate they were served.”

Jeremy Weibe, who frequents the restaurant with his mother, is sad to see Pots N Hands go, but having grown up in a small town, he can understand the couple’s decision.

“I was working at a restaurant as well, and I know I had served someone, and they made a big thing about it,” said Wiebe. “I could tell they weren’t happy I had served them their food.”

Mayor Gavin van der Linde said that only a handful of residents are responsible for the remarks and most of the town is supportive of Claringould and his partner.

“I think like any other restaurant it takes a long time to get going,” he told CBC. “I think if they were a little patient I think they’d find a lot more support.”

The mayor and the community have offered the couple resources to help their business, but for Claringould it’s not enough to convince him and his partner to stay — though they harbor no hard feelings.

“There’s many great people here,” he said. “We’ve been supported by a lot of local people and local businesses that don’t deserve any negative impact from this.”

By:           Les Fabian Brathwaite
On:           Apr 3, 2013
Tagged: ,

  • 61 Comments
    • Merv
      Merv

      Unfortunately, Christians are everywhere. For now. Hopefully, someday they’ll have gone the way of the dodo.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 10:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo
      2eo

      @Merv: They are, they’re losing on every front, and their only growth is from very, very high death rate population clusters.

      Education is growing, and religion is shrinking, the tie is complete. The better educated the less religious.

      We are winning Merv, the tide has turned.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfbeast
      sfbeast

      but unfortunately, even if we are rid of the christians, then we have to be rid of the muslims too

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Bigots are bigots.

      And the funny thing is, the bigots will be the first people complaining that there aren’t any good restaurants in the town.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B Damion
      B Damion

      Them we will have to get rid of the Homophobia within the gay community.

      We all know that gay men can be just as disgusting to each other. I think we need to address the route of these types of problems and it starts with the self-hating.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Spike
      Spike

      The christian taliban is alive and well.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fael
      Fael

      And I thought that Canada was one of the most friendly countries…

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fael
      Fael

      Here in Brazil the situation is quite different, it seems to have a lot more gays than straights in Scouts

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fael
      Fael

      Ignore the last comment, wrong post kk

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gigi Gee
      Gigi Gee

      I’m Canadian and yes, we have bigots and haters here as well. Just not as many as in the U.S. because we’re a country with a much smaller population. I found it interesting that the mayor chose to blame the owners of the restaurant instead of accepting that some of the residents of his town had been so outwardly nasty to the owners that they felt compelled to close their business. It would be nice if the town would rally behind them. It’s a small community in need of at least one good restaurant.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dustolio
      Dustolio

      I’m sorry, but I didn’t see anywhere in this story where it mentioned that the people harassing Pots N Hands were Christians. as a gay man and a Christian, I can say that homophobia is not the sole property of Christians. Homophobia can come from anywhere.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mediocrates
      Mediocrates

      @Dustolio: Thank you, I was just about to say something to this effect.

      Merv, you’ll note that the comment that the restauranteur mentions has to do with disease, i.e.: “catching something from a plate.” For many, many people, animus against gays and lesbians has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with the fact that they simply find the whole thing “gross.” Of course, you can’t just SAY that, so they use religion as a fig leaf, hiding behind self-contradictory passages and the social cover provided by our country’s tradition against religious persecution (as imperfect as that is).

      Bottom line, I’m tired of seeing gays denigrating religion and the religious out of hand. I have been gay-bashed (verbally) by an atheist and warmly supported by a priest over the course of my life.

      Is homophobic bigotry more common among the religious? Yes, of course, but that doesn’t make all religious people homophobic. Certain forms of drug use are highly common among gay men, but are all gay men drug addicts? Of course not, and we rightly push back when such absolutist claims are made.

      Grow some perspective, fellow queers.

      Oh, and I’m an atheist BTW.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @Merv: Please understand, these homophobes/haters are NOT Christians… they are christians who are members of he underground American christian Taliban (AcT)! Avoid them at all cost! Canada is not like this handful of knuckle dragger people. Best wishes to the town of good people of Morris and Dave and his partner all the best, although I would like to see them stay and make good at their business, and spit in the eyes of their detractors.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @Merv:

      I am gay AND a Christian. You made a very broad generalization in your comment that is both ignorant and offensive. There are thousands, if not millions of Christians who pray and work for equality, including marriage equality, for everyone. They are members of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Church and many others. My church has put their money and their mouth into the fray by taking part in local Pride events and hosting marriage equality demonstrations on our busy corner. I am sorry that Fundamentalists and gay-hating Christians dominate the news and are the ones most often quoted in the blogosphere. We are doing everything that we can to get the word out that we don’t hate gay people. But bloggers on the internet typically have an anti-religion bias and only want to report the negative things they hear from Christians. We are out there, in practically every town in America. Educate yourself before you make what amount to bigoted anti-religious comments.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      For everyone attacking Christians here, STOP. Some of the towns people supporting them probably ARE Christians, just like the HUGE number of Roman Catholics here in Washington that voted IN FAVOR of Referendum 74. One of the LARGEST demographics of people to DO so, especially on the religious front. WE NEED OUR ALLIES. We CANNOT win this fight without them. If ALL Christians just up and vanished, we would lose a HUGE chunk of our allies.

      @Bob: *Thunderous Applause

      @2eo: The tide IS turning. Thanks to our ALLIES. Many of whom happen to be CHRISTIANS.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Motlee
      Motlee

      I have been in the restauranr and franchising business for over 20 years and we are a gay couple as well doing our own business. The world is so beautiful out there to even try for a second to live in a horrible town like this. In our field, opportunities exist everywhere and I am sure they can open their business in a much better place.

      Just move on, it’s a wonderful world and lots of wonderful people out there…

      Apr 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      @Dustolio: @Mediocrates: @Bob: @DarkZephyr: Amen!

      Apr 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeMB
      MikeMB

      As a resident of Winnipeg, MB I know quite a bit about Morris, which about 70 om south if the city with a population of approximately 1800. Morris sits on the edge of southeastern Manitoba’s “Bible Belt”. The vast majority of its citizens are Mennonite. The townsfolk who were quoted making anti-gay remarks have Mennonite surnames. Last month, the provincial government tabled anti-bullying legislation that would require all schools, including private religious schools to allow Gay-Straight alliance clubs to be set up. The only public opposition came from the Mennonite city of Steinbach, which is about 100 kms due east of Morris.

      So, for those of you claiming that Christians aren’t to blame, you are wrong. In this case, they are specifically the problem. The rest of the province is largely secular and progressive when it comes to homosexuality, even in non-urban areas. I know a pair of lesbians who owned a restaurant in the French Catholic town of St.Pierre-Jolys, which is halfway between Steinbach and Morris and they were embraced by that community.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @MikeMB:
      No, CHRISTIANS are not to blame. MENNONITES in Morris MB are to blame. Mennonites are indeed Christians, but the Christian world is a diverse one and a group of Mennonites in Canada does not speak for all of us. Put the blame where the blame lies, on this small group. And yes, when one considers that there are about 2 billion people in the world who self-identify as Christian, these Mennonites are a teeny, tiny group.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gigi Gee
      Gigi Gee

      @Bob: Not all chrsitians are haters. These ones are. Next!

      Apr 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • erasure25
      erasure25

      @DarkZephyr: Can’t be that tiny. They were enough to force a gay couple to uproot their lives, close their business and move.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @erasure25:
      The town had about 1800 people in it. Even if EVERYONE except the gay couple were Mennonite….1798 people is still a teeny tiny itsy bitsy portion of the 2 billion Christians in the world.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles175
      Charles175

      @Bob: You are very much correct. But the key wording so that everyone clearly knows the difference here is, that there is a profound difference between real spiritual loving Christians and the fundamentalists that call themselves “christian”. These are imposters that CLAIM to be godly yet in reality are raving wolves in sheep’s clothing. These are fear driven and have absolutely no spiritual Love in their hearts. It is the mindset of FUNDAMENTALISM that is the real evil, the real enemy here.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @Charles175:
      Bravo for knowing the difference! If you are so inclined here is a video from a non-fundamentalist Christian you might enjoy.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeMB
      MikeMB

      On a totally not-shallow topic, the mayor of Morris is sort of hot. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2013/04/03/mb-morris-apology-press-release-manitoba.html

      Apr 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MuscleModelBlog.com
      MuscleModelBlog.com

      @MikeMB:
      It sounds like this may be an isolated pocket of intolerance in an otherwise progressive area, then. When I first heard the story, I was sort of surprised…I’ve always thought of Canada as a more liberal, progressive place than a lot of the United States. I guess that Canada has it’s ignorant areas just like the United States does.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeMB
      MikeMB

      Every country does. Morris is in like the Appalachia of Manitoba. And to follow up on my last totally not-shallow post, I creeped the mayor’s facebook page and he has a few shirtless and/or bathing suit photos. And they are very nice.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob LaBlah
      Bob LaBlah

      I really do wish his partner had commented and a photo of him included in this story. Looking at this guys picture twice makes me really wonder if that was “ALL” there is to this story.
      *
      I wish success to ANYONE, especially a young gay person, in all of their business adventures. However, it is possible that a business can be started by someone whose personality simply does not fit in with “serving” people. In business your customers ARE your employers. You cant “read” them and expect them to tip and come back. That is an assumption of course but as I said, there is something about this guy that make me wish his partner had commented and had a picture included as well to get a better feeling for what DID happen. Strange how he(the partner) didn’t do either.

      *The Chamber of Commerce came out as did the mayor and they are still shutting down because of a few loudmouths? Strange indeed. What more did they want for the town to do?

      Apr 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi
    • Merv
      Merv

      @Dustolio: @Mediocrates: @Dakotahgeo: @DarkZephyr:

      Christianity is not a benign characteristic like race or sexual orientation, it’s an ideology, and that ideology is defined in the Bible. Among the things that Christians believe is that slavery and genocide are OK, and that gay people should be murdered. They also believe that the Earth is 6000 years old and that all the ancient languages of the world came about because people tried to build a tower to reach heaven. Of course, now there seem to be a few Christians that claim that not all Christians are like that, but when Christians that do believe these things are publicly stating Christian belief, the so-called moderate Christians are notably silent. Is it going to be different from now on, because that’s how it’s been for my whole life.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @Merv:
      Maybe you should tell blogs like Queerty, Joe My God, Towleroad and others too occasionally report on churches that are LGBT affirming. They NEVER post articles about the United Church of Christ and its work for marriage equality that has been going on since 2004. We have 4500 churches and over 2 million members in the US…ever read about us on a gay blog??? I didn’t think so.

      What about Minnesota and Washington where PASTORS from the Episcopal, Lutheran and United Church of Christ made commercials that ran hundreds of times and helped defeat the bigoted anti-gay ballot initiatives just last November???? Did you see those??? I guess not.

      If you are curious about where these LGBT affirming churches are I will help you find one. Maybe you’ve neber heard what they are saying because you have trained yourself to be so anti-christian that you just aren’t listening.

      My Pastor and 3 of his colleagues recently published an op-ed in our local paper (I am in a small city in Northern Illinois with about 300,000 in metro area) SUPPORTING marriage equality. Each of them received death threats. We had protesters outside our church and answered by having a Pride rally of our own on our busy corner. About 75% of those attending were straight members, some of them as old as 80.

      You know very little of Christianity except what you learn from the nutbags you see on the internet. The community of Christians is as diverse as the gay community. The practice of Christianity is as diverse as any Pride parade. All different kinds of people, worshipping in all different ways and just as many interpretations of the Bible.

      Don’t be so blinded by hatred for your enemies that you fail to recognize your friends.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @Bob: Two million UCC vs 16 million SBC and 70 million RCC. Christians are pretty much the only organized opposition left to gay rights in the US. The suggestion we should refrain from defending ourselves against the vast majority of Christians for the sake of a silent few is ridiculous. Especially since the haters are the real Christians, since they’re the ones actually following the Bible instead of apologizing and making excuses for it.

      Oh, and why is it that it’s only gays and atheists that hear from the so-called moderate Christians? Why are mainstream Christians are never confronted by moderates at ecumenical gatherings? Why is it that if you go to online Christian forums the moderate Christians never speak out? I have been looking for years and years for some sign of change, and I’ve never seen it. Oh, they’ll tell gay people how moderate they are, but never their fellow Christians. And most of them are gay themselves, so it doesn’t really count for much. Where are the straight Christians? I count maybe two: Desmond Tutu and John Shore. That’s pretty much it. All other Christian leaders are either silent or haters. That just doesn’t cut it.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 7:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      @erasure25: I never said anything about anything being “tiny”.

      @Merv: Without our straight allies, many of whom were Christian here in WA, Referendum 74 would NEVER have passed. Cold hard fact. Many of them march in parades tirelessly. Sorry your experiences have been so bad, but stereotyping is never good. We need our allies. You may consider tirelessly marching in parades and voting for gay rights “silent”, but many happily married same sex couples here in the state of Washington say otherwise. I would support or buy into your prejudice. Have a good night.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr
      DarkZephyr

      @DarkZephyr: And that would be “won’t” and not “would”.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      It happened in Manitoba…cue the surprise…

      Apr 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @DarkZephyr: With Christian allies R74 passed by 6 percentage points. Without Christians at all, it would have passed by 60 percentage points.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      Sounds more like mismanagement occured at the restaurant…and they’re using homophobia for the excuse….

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gsingjane
      gsingjane

      @ Merv – you may not want to believe it, but some of the very best and most compelling action being taken right now, to bring GLBT acceptance to the straight world, is being done through the moderate churches. Many denominations in the U.S. have undergone rapid and amazing change towards gay acceptance. Hearts are changing in the churches, including my own, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

      There are many folks on the internet, purporting to represent the GLBT community, who have a strong anti-religious bias. There is a giant tendency to only point out the most extreme, crazy and vicious religious news, and to typecast and vilify Christians specifically. And, the assumption (what they’re selling and you’re buying) is that “all Christians are the same.” It’s the same as if someone picked out the craziest and most extreme side of any movement, and said, oh, this is what everybody is about. Like SCUM and the feminist movement, for example. It’s a time-honored technique to discredit someone or something you dislike.

      What I object to is the attempt to conflate being anti-gay and being Christian. There is no logical reason why anybody can’t be religious and pro-gay – it’s when you have a separate atheist agenda to push, that somehow this becomes a requirement.

      And, no, as a Christian I am no more responsible for the actions of the extreme radical fringe, than anyone is for any group to which he or she belongs.

      Check out the book “Faitheist.” It’s written by a gay, atheist former fundamentalist Christian who works for interfaith cooperation. I think you would enjoy it and even if you never change one of your beliefs, you will see that there is a lot more to the issue than you think right now.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @gsingjane: I reject the contention that the gay hating Christians are extremists (in the sense of extreme being rare and on the fringe). Here is a little experiment you can do. Go to your favorite search engine and type “why do Christians hate gay people site:answers.yahoo.com” (without the quotes). You’ll see that this question has been asked repeatedly of Christians going back almost ten years, and hundreds of Christians have replied. Leaving aside gay Christians, the most common answers are either “we don’t hate gay people, we hate their sin” or they quote Leviticus or Romans or some such (both of which refer to killing gay people). What you will find only very very rarely is “I am a Christian and I accept and support gay people and homosexuality without reservation. The other Christians are wrong.” If the so-called sea change were happening in the Christian community, you would find some sign of it online. There is no sign of it.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @gsingjane: Regarding the fringe, is the Roman Catholic Church the fringe? Is the Southern Baptist Convention the fringe? Those two are BY FAR the largest denominations in the US, and they are rabidly, virulently, pathologically anti-gay. It’s the moderate denominations who are on the fringe, and mostly shrinking in size. After 2000 years of homophobia, give me one good reason gay people should not give up on Christianity? It has been, is, and always will be the number one enemy of gay people.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sweet Boy
      Sweet Boy

      Canada is more open and progressive about the GLBT community compared to the US…they´ve had gay marriage for almost a decade, with all the rights hets have…a bunch of redneck Mennonites in Manitoba doesn´t make the whole nation homophobic…now it happens that the US is a gay paradise

      LMAO !!!

      Apr 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric Auerbach
      Eric Auerbach

      I think you got the name of the country wrong, Queerty. Everyone knows there’s no homophobia in Canada. T

      Apr 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lab
      lab

      @balehead: what article did you read to say that??? nothing indicated mismanagement. however, why did they move there? I am a chef and to operate a restaurant requires many many hours a week…you live for the restaurant so what quiet life were they seeking…you are working in the kitchen in the middle of nowhere and you are working in the kitchen in the middle of toronto. you live for for and AT the restaurant

      Apr 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      @Merv: How about getting off your computer and relying on your own eyes and experience rather than on a search engine or what you read on a blog. Go visit a UCC church. Visit with the Pastor and let him or her express their frustration at not being heard. Let them tell stories about how they try to get in the media and are denied because extremists dominate the headlines because extreme statements get more viewers. You can point out the millions more members the SBC has, but I guarantee that means a lot less when you find a few hundred Christians that care about you and welcome you into their community. You express such extreme frustration at the Christian right, but fail to acknowledge that they are losing the war. Even with our smaller numbers, progressive Christians are winning the battle for equal marriage. I am sorry that you feel hurt by the most Conservative members of my faith. Yes, even though I disagree with Fundamentalist Christians about almost everything, they are still members of the same faith as me. I can’t fix what they did to you. I wish I could. But please stop blaming us, the good kind of Christians, for what someone else did to you. We ARE trying to be heard. We are marching and shouting and begging to be heard. And contrary to what you find on a search engine, we ARE growing in number. I see it with my own eyes every Sunday and I experience it at every gathering. Give us, and yourself a break. No one in my church has EVER done anything to hurt you. Ever.

      Apr 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DOFEK
      DOFEK

      What is it to say? YOU GOT CHRISTIAN! YOU GOT PROBLEM!.. I heat Christian long before it came cool. AdamHomo

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DOFEK
      DOFEK

      So many Christian, so many IDIOTS! AdamHomo

      Apr 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RSun
      RSun

      I am sympathetic to Merv as I too find moderate Christians silent compared to their more extreme and vocal brethren. We are all prejudiced in our own way and I must admit that mine is against religious people. I am very aware of it and I do my best to judge each person as an individual (as I would hope others would judge me).
      I personally find the entire concept of a “God” silly, but many of my dearest friends and family believe and that is what keeps me in check.
      We can’t bunch our allies into a group with our enemies or the battle is lost.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 12:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      An amazing experience it was reading all the comments here.

      Wow…..really neat to know how much everybody knows about this subject.

      So many things revealed on all sides.

      What a neat bunch here at Queerty.

      What a shame that so many in this world have a hard time realizing how great we all are.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 5:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      oh merv why don’t you fuck off and take your antitheism with you

      Apr 4, 2013 at 6:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gsingjane
      gsingjane

      Again, I am no more responsible for the actions of “all” Christians than any given GLBT individual is of the entire GLBT community.

      With that said, though, if you investigated what’s actually happening “on the ground” as it were in many Catholic and Baptist churches, you’d find a much greater diversity and multiplicity of belief and attitudes towards GLBT than you think. It may be that the leadership is, or appears to be, monolithic, but individual congregations, and certainly the people in them, are anything but. Just for one example… there is a GLBT-friendly Catholic parish in Hartford, CT, where many gay people have joined and feel welcome. They may be flying a bit “under the radar” at the moment, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t coming. Maybe not as fast as we would want, but certainly incremental change is happening, pretty much everywhere. I don’t know that I have a single Catholic friend who buys the church’s official position on homosexuality – they’re in the church for other reasons and who am I to tell them, no, you have to leave?

      Even in evangelical communities, the focus really isn’t so much on GLBT people as you might think. In the six years that I spent affiliated with an evangelical church, I heard the word “gay” mentioned exactly twice, once in a small group setting on a women’s retreat and once in the kitchen at VBS. I’m not sure everybody there was super-GLBT-positive, but it’s not like that’s all they talked about – again, the rhetoric of “professional anti-gays” would make you think it is, but it really isn’t.

      I do understand that people who aren’t part of a faith tradition feel “put upon” and may have a wish to do away with religion altogether. That’s their right, but it isn’t their right to claim it is a sine qua non of being GLBT-positive, to also be an atheist. To put it another way, if the idea is that we can’t have a truly GLBT-friendly society until we’re all atheists, we’re all going to be waiting a really long time… for no reason.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 11:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • toronto416
      toronto416

      The thing is, those who think that Canada is a gay paradise and full of this tolerance and acceptance need to realize you’re basing this on four of our largest cities that are no different in culture and attitudes than the four largest gay-populated cities in the United States. The rest of the country here, and it’s a HUGE country, contains towns and cities that are a four day drive from a large city. Many people never leave these towns, and these are the places not seen on the Canadian tourism websites along with Banff and Niagara Falls and all that. Homophobia is wildly rampant in the far north because being gay isn’t talked about.

      What has happened over the last five years is that Toronto and Vancouver have become so unaffordable for young gay people that, as much as we love these cities, we’re having to move home to our families or hometowns in order to find affordable housing and another job. It’s great when gay communities gentrify a place, but not so much when the rents double or triple so the only people who can live there are rich gay people and their friends. So in the spirit of inclusion, there needs to be a discussion WITHIN the gay community that it is not fair to price each other out just because some of us have money and some of us don’t – doesn’t mean that those who are rich and successful are more deserving to be surrounded by a gay community and the rest of us should just deal with being poor and alone and fending for ourselves.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @Tom: Unlike you, I refuse to overlook the fact that the Bible condones slavery and genocide, and calls for the murder of gay people. Do you find those things acceptable?

      Apr 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @Bob: I’ll make you a deal. I’ll shut up about Christians when the public face of Christianity changes significantly for the better. But watching the video of public testimony from the Bisbee city council meetings shows just how far we have to go. Speaker after speaker called gay people abominations, with no visible opposition from other Christians.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gsingjane
      gsingjane

      Interesting. Where did you get the idea that every Christian is a Biblical literalist?

      The pastor at my church says, and I quote “in our church we don’t take the Bible literally, we take it seriously.”

      There is a great deal more, and in some ways less, to the Bible than meets the eye. One would think, if one’s only view of Christians came from people pushing an atheist agenda, that every Christian endorses and believes every word of the Bible as if it were literally, 2 + 2 = 4 truth. That way, at least by this analysis, every Christian can be held accountable, literally, for every word in the Bible that is anachronistic, odd, or even cruel.

      There are many, many much more sophisticated and nuanced ways of approaching Scripture, other than stating, it’s all true as in “what is the capital of Alabama?” true. Many modern-day Christians perceive the Bible and its teachings in a metaphorical or inspirational way, recognizing cultural and social context, and considering the tremendous scholarship and learning that has accumulated, especially in the past 20 years. Many of us take the wisdom of the Bible to heart, without simultaneously arguing that it should dictate science, politics or history. To my knowledge, none of the mainstream seminaries require or even teach prospective clergy that Biblical literalism is an intellectually defensible exercise.

      What really springs to mind, here, is a view of Christians and Christianity that is quite narrow and refuses to accommodate the reality and diversity of Christians as people. One that says, “I know what I know and don’t confuse me with the facts.” Remind you of anybody?

      Apr 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      As a non-Christian, it’s not my responsibility to go to churches and seminaries and seek out all the various obscure and irrelevant forms of theology. It just doesn’t interest me. I take Christianity as the public face that is presented to me, and that’s a rigid socio-political movement determined to impose its regressive ideology on people who don’t want it. If they didn’t keep trying to impose themselves on me, I would have no opinion of them. The Christians who are out there in the real world talking to non-Christians, effectively the PR people for Christianity, are overwhelmingly Biblical literalists, believe the Earth is 6000 years old, reflexively quote Leviticus against gay people, etc., etc.

      If you want to change the perception of Christianity, more power to you, but you have a lot of work to do. You can start by confronting the literalists directly, instead of just sheepishly apologizing to non-Christians after every outrage and saying “we’re not all like that.” One problem might be that moderates such as UCC seem to value ecumenicalism (aka, playing footsie with bigots) more than gay rights. I see that the mainstream Christians are fond of picketing gay-friendly churches, but never the other way around. Why is that? Why are mainstream Christians never confronted by gay-friendly Christians when they publicly call gay people abominations? Remember, these people are presenting themselves as Christians, not just Southern Baptists or whatever, so they are purporting to speak for you. I would think that would make you angry AT THEM, not at me.

      Apr 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @Merv: 55

      You presented with your several posts some serious issues that prove that “Christianity has a dark side” and that there appears little anybody can do about it.

      But, we can thank the Christian-God that He uses secularism as a way to control or escape from religious excess.

      And we all can breath fresh air because of this.

      The process ain’t perfect but it has allowed, according to His will, all of us in the GLTB community to experience remarkable acceptance and tolerance. I’ve been a keen watcher of this divine work for 40 years so far.

      @gsingjane: 54

      Your commentary is also excellent as it presents a differing yet truthful view.
      —————————————————-
      Here’s what I think we must continue to do —

      As the Book says, overcome evil with good.

      A better way to say that is — overcome hate with love.

      God knows it gonna take a long time to accomplish this.

      Until things become ideal, let’s always hope that all of us “His children” may be loved and respected.

      One day, hate will realize that “compassion is a better attitude to express publicly than being judgmental in word and deed.”

      Apr 5, 2013 at 1:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeMB
      MikeMB

      Getting back to the actual topic, the Premier of Manitoba is now getting involved. Total PR move but still nice. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/premier-to-lunch-at-eatery-hit-by-taunts-201575791.html

      Apr 5, 2013 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      Canada is very progressive for LGBT rights…..Plus Packing up after just 4 months? Sound like wusses to me…

      Apr 5, 2013 at 11:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead
      balehead

      To anyone who has endured “years” of abuse for being gay ….4 months is nothing…They sound like whiners more than victims…and now they get to be famous to boot…

      Apr 5, 2013 at 11:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gsingjane
      gsingjane

      @ Merv – just so we’re clear, I’m not angry at you – I wrote and re-wrote my comments several times, to make sure there was no trace of emotion – and, actually, I’m not.

      What I’m disappointed with is the attitude, on so many sides, that there is no use trying to understand any other point of view. I’m certainly not trying to convert you to Christianity; what I had hoped to do, and I see that I failed at it, was to spread awareness that (a) not all Christians share the exact same theological and social viewpoints; (b) that some great and ground-breaking work is going on in the progressive churches around GLBT issues; and (c) that there really is no reason to require that someone conform to the atheist viewpoint, in order to say they are supportive of GLBT rights. I had hoped to highlight that many sources of news about Christianity, that are presented in the gay blogosphere as being entirely representative of the faith, are instead being “cherry-picked” by people with an atheist agenda. It does matter where you get your news!

      (Just as a quick aside, non-literal ways of looking at the Bible are hardly “arcane” or “hidden.” In fact, it is Biblical literalism that is way out of the mainstream in Biblical scholarship, not that you’d know it from most of what you read.)

      I feel a bit as if the major complaint is, “liberal Christians are at fault because conservative Christians exist.” Hmmmm. If you would put that into any other social context, perhaps it might seem unfair, which it is.

      As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I’d strongly urge you to pick up “Faitheist” by Chris Steadman. He is a gay atheist who is interested in constructive interfaith dialogue; the book is a quick read and not heavy at all. Chris makes a very persuasive case (more persuasive to many, I’m sure, than one coming from a Christian) that we’ll all do better when we pull in the same direction, find our common values and organize and work around them, rather than focusing on the things that divide us. So, best of luck to you!

      Apr 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @gsingjane: 60

      “I feel a bit as if the major complaint is, “liberal Christians are at fault because conservative Christians exist.” Hmmmm. If you would put that into any other social context, perhaps it might seem unfair, which it is.”

      Good comment this is.

      Apr 6, 2013 at 4:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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