IRVING, Texas –On July 27, the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America is expected to ratify a new policy regarding adult leaders. If passed, it will clear the way for adults who identify as homosexual to volunteer in the organization at all levels — with significant exceptions carved out for religious objections. Such a move would bring the organization’s rules more in line with an underlying philosophy that the Boy Scouts is not an appropriate place to discuss, nor engage in, sexual activity. Back in 2013, the Boy Scouts agreed that sexual orientation should not be a barrier to participation by boys themselves. This most recent move was in response to pressure from both within and without, and a recognition that the current policy forbidding volunteers based on sexual orientation is not likely to survive all the court challenges it faces.
Pioneering gay activist and writer Arthur Evans died on Sunday, September 11th, from a massive heart-attack. In addition to being one of the first openly gay men to appear on national television, heavy involvement in the gay liberation movement, and early AIDS-related activism, Evans was also a pioneering figure in the development of gay Pagan spirituality, publishing “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture” in 1978 and “The God of Ecstasy: Sex-Roles and the Madness of Dionysos” in 1988. The latter featured his translation of Euripides’ play “The Bacchae” along with commentary on Dionysus as patron of homosexuality. Diagnosed with aortic aneurysm in 2010, Evans knew he didn’t have long to live and penned his own obituary. Here are excerpts describing his spiritual/religious work.
On Wednesday, California District Court judge Vaughn R. Walker issued a ruling that overturned California’s Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex marriages within the state. Reaction from across the political and religious spectrum was swift, and many are seeing this as just a first step in a battle that’s heading straight for the United States Supreme Court. Modern Pagan faiths, many of which acknowledge and solemnize same-sex marriage rites, have been on the front lines of these battles. Indeed, while mainstream coverage over same-sex marriage has largely focused on various Christian attitudes, Pagan clergy from a number of different faiths and traditions have been performing same-sex rites across the United States, and in the case of Kathryn and Jeani Kyair, were themselves legally married in California before Prop. 8 won passage in 2008.
In light of today’s groundbreaking ruling from Judge Vaughn Walker overturning California’s Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage, I’m putting together a lengthy piece highlighting reactions from Pagan organizations, Pagan clergy, and Pagan same-sex couples living in California. I’m hoping to have that finished and up by Friday. In the meantime, consider this an open thread on the issue. You may also want to peruse some of The Wild Hunt’s past coverage concerning modern Paganism and the fight over legalizing same-sex marriage.
Fellow Pagans, it looks like our efforts to slowly take over the nation through secularism have been laid bare by speculative fiction writer (and former House Speaker) Newt Gingrich. On Friday, Gingrich, while giving a three-hour long lecture on “Rediscovering God in America”, uttered this warning to the Rock Church congregation in Virginia. “I am not a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our creator. […] I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history.