Lesbian/gay community in church?

#21

Just wondering... why do so many people use the terms "SSA" and "same sex attraction" instead of "homosexuality" when "SSA" doesn't appear anywhere in the Catechism? (Yes, I have seen the relevant paragraph, and it's not there.) I think if people insist on using terms like SSA, they should provide the source of such terms, since they don't originate from the Magisterium. The correct word, as it appears in the Catechism, is homosexuality. Not SSA. Homosexuality. Is there some unofficial campaign to get the term "SSA" in a future edition of the Catechism? I just don't get it... :shrug:

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#22

While the notice doesn't give any details about which way it rolls, the lack of information concerns me, and "benefit of the doubt" only works when you actually have the opportunity to test it out, or when the stakes aren't high if you're wrong.

If the people starting the group were committed to having a group that followed Church teaching and encouraged members to live chastely, the announcement would look like this:

Lesbian/Gay Community – We are exploring the possibility of a Lesbian/Gay Community here at __. Our goal would be to provide friendship and support for each other as we strive to live holy/chaste lives. In hopes of gauging interest & availability there will be an information meeting on _. Please come with questions, ideas and any suggestions. All are welcome (all ages, all orientations, all friends). Refreshments will be provided. RSVP to __ at __. Even if you cannot attend the meeting but are interested in participating drop __ a line and share your thoughts.

The only reason I can think of for not including the comment in red is that perhaps the organizers are hoping that they will get people interested and then either tell them once they're already hooked up with the group, or tell them privately after the fact, that they intend to be supportive of the Church's teaching. Frankly, based on my experience with church groups and this sort of wording, I think it's a long shot. It's worth not jumping to conclusions, but it's also worth further investigation. In addition to contacting the bishop's office and letting them look into it, you could also contact the organizer directly, since they did invite it in the bulletin and find out more information.

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#23

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:3, topic:214887"]
I agree. This might be an okay idea if the purpose is to help gays and lesbians cope with their disordered urges in light of Catholic teaching. However, there are plenty of very liberal parishes out there that might actually want to promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance. If that's the case, I would definitely start looking for another parish!

[/quote]

The only active, ongoing LGBT group I know about in a Catholic parish is one in which at least some of its members are living an actively sexual lifestyle. (I would know because I know someone from that group fairly well and she has shared that with me.) Now, obviously I do not have some exhaustive list, but I do visit lots of parishes, in a wide region, and have for years. (Not for that reason! In an effort, sometimes in the past, to find moving liturgies!:))

I have also read statements from bulletins of parishes not near me, which seem to imply that their LGBT parish organizations, as well, are not for support for the chaste lifestyle but for quite the opposite -- as well as for (legitimate) mutual support.

The simple answer is pastoral oversight. The pastor should be the one to approve or disapprove the existence of any groups officially connected with his parish, and I do mean any groups. It's up to him to review their statements of purpose and to be aware of what is being discussed in their meetings and events. If I were in the OP's position, I would write him a nice letter or email in a charitable (positive) tone regarding the possible formation of the group, but expressing your legitimate concern as a Catholic that the group's intention and message remain in conformity with Catholic teaching. This really is his responsibility.

There was a thread similar to this sometime in the last year. I might have been one of those on the thread who expressed some concern, not about the title or even the implication of scandal, but the "need" for such a group. In our parish, there are groups by age (youth, young people, seniors), and by interest (book groups, etc.). I would prefer any group that considers itself a "minority" find that church is the one place where they don't have to feel like a minority. I would rather see gays in a church setting assimilate themselves into the other groups (age, interest, function), as I think it would be way more Christian for all involved. We are supposed to be One Body, not a collection of fragmented groups. (The other groups mentioned contain a variety of types & lifestyles & personal histories.) There are plenty of support groups & political advocacy groups in secular environments. If it's to pray together, why not pray with straights? That would help to build community and acceptance.

I'm open to persuasive opposition.

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#24

[quote="havana1, post:21, topic:214887"]
Just wondering... why do so many people use the terms "SSA" and "same sex attraction" instead of "homosexuality" when "SSA" doesn't appear anywhere in the Catechism? (Yes, I have seen the relevant paragraph, and it's not there.) I think if people insist on using terms like SSA, they should provide the source of such terms, since they don't originate from the Magisterium. The correct word, as it appears in the Catechism, is homosexuality. Not SSA. Homosexuality. Is there some unofficial campaign to get the term "SSA" in a future edition of the Catechism? I just don't get it... :shrug:

[/quote]

There are a lot of terms used on this forum that are used for the sake of clarity, like "DH" for "dear husband" and EMHC for "extraordinary minister of Holy Communion", and so on, that aren't in the Catechism.

As used here, SSA is more of a blanket term that includes people who also have heterosexual attractions. More importantly, it is also usually used by those who want to make a distinction between having the attraction (SSA) and embracing the attraction as a part of one's essence that must be acted upon, or at least held in a place of pride as an unmitigated gift, in order to honor oneself as a person (homosexuality). Also, SSA might describe someone who does not have a deep-seated disorder. Having had an interest in what it would be like to have a genital relationship with someone of the same sex does not mean someone has deep-seated homosexual tendencies. A person might even have acted on that curiosity without having deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

This is why persons who have engaged in homosexual activity are not unequivocally barred from the priesthood and religious life. Homosexual activity is a sin that some people engage in in the absence of deep-seated homosexual tendencies. It is the difference between having abused alcohol and being an alcoholic. You are not morally bound to abstain from alcohol for life just because you have allowed yourself the habit of drinking to excess. Once you realize you have no control over your drinking once you start, however, that is a different matter. That is a true addiction, a deep-seated disorder of the passions. It has to be handled in a particular manner in order to avoid sin.

For the purpose of the group proposed, I would expect that many such groups dedicated to chastity self-identify as having same-sex attractions. This is not to deny that the group has homosexuals in it whose tendencies are deep-seated, but to distinguish the philosophy of the group from the prevailing secular view of homosexuality. They wouldn't have to do that, but clarity of purpose would be one reason to use that terminology. They aren't proposing that they are going to be "cured" of their orientation, nor that they are going to "embrace it" in the sense of being permissive of homosexual activity, but that they are going to learn to live with their orientation in a chaste manner.

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#25

I originally asked this question to understand the what the church approach and teaching to this is, and as usual with CAF, its really spiralled out of control.

To people who are accusing me of starting an anti homosexual thread,
WOW!! What a leap....

All I did was a question... once again, another reason to remove CAF from my bookmarks as a place of trying to learn and understand

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#26

[quote="jonobr, post:25, topic:214887"]
I originally asked this question to understand the what the church approach and teaching to this is, and as usual with CAF, its really spiralled out of control.

To people who are accusing me of starting an anti homosexual thread,
WOW!! What a leap....

All I did was a question... once again, another reason to remove CAF from my bookmarks as a place of trying to learn and understand

[/quote]

It was only one person that made an accusing comment from what I can see, and any internet forum is bound to be filled with varying posts and conflicts on any controversial issue, that is just the way things are. You can get good answers to questions here you just need to learn how to filter out everything else. I'm not saying this to imply that you should feel any obligation to stay, but just to state that there are a number of good people here who are very interested in having civil discussion and answering questions.

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#27

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:23, topic:214887"]
The only active, ongoing LGBT group I know about in a Catholic parish is one in which at least some of its members are living an actively sexual lifestyle. .

[/quote]

My parish has a singles group and I seriously doubt ALL of it's members are chaste individuals. What's your point?

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#28

[quote="yellowbird, post:27, topic:214887"]
My parish has a singles group and I seriously doubt ALL of it's members are chaste individuals. What's your point?

[/quote]

Why would you "seriously doubt" that a Singles Group is not engaged in pre-marital sex? I've known of many, many singles groups in parishes, and absolutely known of them promote fornication among members. They exist for social reasons only. Have I had the audacity to invade their privacy and interview them? Of course not. But the stated purpose of the group (again, overseen by the pastor, not by you, not by me) is to gather together for social companionship. I was once a member of such a group at a parish, and there was no reason to "seriously doubt" that all were being chaste. We did activities as a group, not as couples.

"My point" is that I had apparently the temerity to respond on the thread to the OP's concern, without first obtaining Your Royal Highness' permission to participate. She asked a question; I offered a solution. I'll repeat, since you seemed to have some kind of trouble understanding the information I presented: as a parishioner she has a right to inquire about the intent of such a group, and to register her concern with the pastor. I have witnessed "gay/lesbian," etc. groups in both secular and parish environments discuss their "active love relationships with their significant others," their "rights to express their physical love for objects of affection," etc. From a secular environment they indeed have that right. In a Catholic environment, such intentions are incompatible with Catholic teachings. Any Catholic parishioner has a right to know how "being actively gay" relates to "being a member of a G/L parish organization."

...in the same way that a parish-sponsored group entitled Adulterers Group is ambiguous on its face, unless it is either renamed Adulterers' Anonymous (implying resistance & recovery) or Adulterers' Recovery (etc.) group, or their group description makes obvious what their purpose is.

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#29

The tone of the thread is degenerating at a high rate of speed. Not good.

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#30

[quote="EasterJoy, post:29, topic:214887"]
The tone of the thread is degenerating at a high rate of speed. Not good.

[/quote]

Sorry, EJ. Let me just say in support of the OP, that it is clear to me that the OP is not "anti-homosexual" (as she expressed her concerns most recently here). Nor do I think that people who express sincere misgivings about ambiguously named parish groups (and these exist outside of sexual areas, as well) should be condemned as prejudiced, making assumptions, or 'anti-gay.' The Church is clear in her teachings. By contrast, parishes vary in their apparent expression of that faith and level of fidelity to these teachings.

Any group that exists specifically to be actively opposed to Church teachings (or by its name, could be questioned to be), is a possible cause for scandal. What tends to be true more of gays than of other organized groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, such as groups in parishes for Divorced people, etc.) is that the context outside of parishes includes and assumes a sexually active lifestyle. So when the same kinds of titles to these groups, mission statements of these groups, and personal statements among these parish members links their parish associations with the mind-sets of those outside the parishes, legitimate questions can be raised by any parishioner. I wish the OP best and hope she gets her very unprejudiced and legitimate questions answered.
God bless,
E.

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#31

[quote="jonobr, post:25, topic:214887"]
To people who are accusing me of starting an anti homosexual thread,
WOW!! What a leap....

All I did was a question... once again, another reason to remove CAF from my bookmarks as a place of trying to learn and understand

[/quote]

Don't blame CAF. It happens everywhere. Television, radio, the supposed bastions of academic freedom known as universities. Evil doesn't play games or play by some silly principle of objectivity. Oppose homosexuality as the Bible does and you will be denounced as a hater. What is good will become bad and vice versa.

Anything to coddle sin and obscure moral clarity.

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#32

[quote="jonobr, post:25, topic:214887"]
To people who are accusing me of starting an anti homosexual thread,
WOW!! What a leap....

All I did was a question... once again, another reason to remove CAF from my bookmarks as a place of trying to learn and understand

[/quote]

Don't blame CAF. It happens everywhere. Television, radio, the supposed bastions of academic freedom known as universities. Evil doesn't play games or play by some silly principle of objectivity. Oppose homosexuality as the Bible does and you will be denounced as a hater. What is good will become bad and vice versa.

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#33

Nec is correct. That was reinforced on EWTN radio this last week -- about the pressure to conform to cultural expectations (or be called names like "bigot," "hater," etc.)

In many ways I very much sympathize with people who have SSA but are practicing Catholics. In their shoes I would not necessarily want to call myself "gay" or join a group in a parish with that name in it, for the reasons I stated previously. I mean it should be assumed that if a person has SSA (and has made that known somehow) and is receiving Sacraments, and participating in the life of the church, that he or she is NOT engaged in sexual activity, because otherwise why would they be living a double life? I get that, and I understand why none of us should jump to conclusions. Unfortunately, however, fairly recent history substantiates a reason for suspicion -- not only examples I, for one, have already provided, but in a more extreme example, the same parish I referred to had a priest on staff who militantly stated that he was an open homosexual, was practicing that with a lover (complete with certain details provided during certain homilies :eek:), was glad about his "gay identity," and naturally was strongly supportive of the aforementioned LGBT group. This may be an exception, but unfortunately it is not a solitary example, as there have been other parishes infected with such open scandals in the recent past.

We come to Church and join parishes to share our common identity in Christ, all of us, not to parade around our alternate personal 'identities.' That's why I said earlier, it seems more appropriate to have interest-based or age-based groups which include singles, married, gay/SSA -- than to engage in the artificial 'identity politics' which characterizes the modern secular world. I say that because it's a parish, and a parish is a community. A parish should be a place where you're not setting up barriers against others, or excessive protection against others, but joining with others based on common bonds. If I wanted to join a group of Catholic businesswomen, I would seek an umbrella group that goes beyond parishes -- an independent group that was regional; I wouldn't form one inside a parish.

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#34

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:3, topic:214887"]
I agree. This might be an okay idea if the purpose is to help gays and lesbians cope with their disordered urges in light of Catholic teaching. However, there are plenty of very liberal parishes out there that might actually want to promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance. If that's the case, I would definitely start looking for another parish!

[/quote]

I'd like you to show me a couple . . . . because I've never come across a Catholic Parish that would "promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance."

I keep hearing all about these "liberal parishes," but I've never actually identified a specific one.

Pax,
OA

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#35

[quote="Julian0404, post:5, topic:214887"]
Forward the newsletter to your Bishops office to ensure he is on board with this activity and is not surprised.

[/quote]

Why don't people just talk to their Pastor anymore?

Pax,
OA

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#36

[quote="Orleans_Attny, post:34, topic:214887"]
I'd like you to show me a couple . . . . because I've never come across a Catholic Parish that would "promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance."

I keep hearing all about these "liberal parishes," but I've never actually identified a specific one.

Pax,
OA

[/quote]

There are a select few that seem to be inoculated against correction by other clergy - for a vareity of reasons (some of them practical). I think it's perhaps more common (at least this is my experience) that from time to time, depending on the pastor and parish leadership, particular parishes may be susceptible to secular fads & language, while other parishes are not (are more stable, more consistent). However, usually the exceptions return to an identity that is more recognizably Catholic, which is why it may be difficult to "find" them in some kind of obvious way. For example, the very liberal parish of which I spoke has returned to much more "normalcy" now. The edgy, controversial LGBT group is now much more subdued. Not a single priest is parading around in an "actively gay" lifestyle, and there is even -- shock of shocks -- adoration now, although infrequently.

There are vestiges of extreme liberalism there, such as regular lay preaching. And there are still the lamentably infrequently scheduled confessions. But I'd say the circus atmosphere is gone and a certain reverence has returned.

I think most of the "extremely liberal" ones self-destuct, or will eventually, due to waning interest in attendance and affiliation.

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#37

[quote="Orleans_Attny, post:34, topic:214887"]
I'd like you to show me a couple . . . . because I've never come across a Catholic Parish that would "promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance."

I keep hearing all about these "liberal parishes," but I've never actually identified a specific one.

Pax,
OA

[/quote]

Actually, there are organizations such as New Ways Ministry (newwaysministry.org/) that publishes lists of "gay friendly" parishes.
newwaysministry.org/GFP.html

If you read New Ways Ministry's publications, they tread this odd line of thought where defeats of legal enshrinement of gay marriage are referred to as "victories", and yet those victories are lamented as being too costly in terms of divisions caused with Catholics who favor gay marriage. (newwaysministry.org/pastissues/Bondings%20Vol29,_4,winter09-10.pdf)

To be fair, you have the same odd sort of thinking on the far other side of the question, where homosexual activity is so strongly decried that the cost of marginalizing people who are tempted to it seems to be taken as the cost of doing business. No one ever comes out and says that, and yet it is hard not to get that impression. So to be fair, you probably have the range of opinions hidden in there somewhere in both groups: people who are in line with the Church, people who think the Church is at least partly off the mark but who rarely come out and say that in so many words, and people who either fully embrace the sin or who want to fully exclude someone who would even consider that sin and say so quite openly.

Why is there no list of "Adultery Friendly" parishes? Because let's face it: People who divorce and remarry outside the Church without troubling themselves for an annulment have gone from being pariahs (which was a bad thing) to having little difficulty in finding places where they will never hear that their choice is morally unacceptable. You want a parish that is tolerant of that? Throw a dart at the map, choose a parish, and you're probably in luck. If you don't think gay couples see divorced and illegitimately "remarried" couples sending their kids to Catholic schools without a hitch and say, "Heyyyyy, what's with that!?!", then you have another thing coming. It is human nature to say, "adultery gets a pass, but not sodomy?!? It must be me that you can't take, not my sin!" Then you find the people who think a wife who's being beaten ought to "offer it up to God", who never admit any situation where civil divorce is morally permissible, which the Church also doesn't teach.

I think there is a true and honest difficulty in reconciling how you unequivocally love a person who strongly identifies with a particular temptation from repugnance with the act of giving in to the temptation. If you think it is hard for other Catholics, think how hard it must be if you're the Catholic with the temptation. We, unfortunately, live in times where you are not counted as compassionate if you are caught saying that moral law requires other people to do hard things that you are not personally expected to do. That, too, is a difficult position to be put into, but there isn't any more wiggle room there. Sins are deadly to the soul, and you don't have to try them all to know what things are in fact deadly. (Heaven forbid!) Yet in our times, this is the morality of some: a) don't ever condemn anything you personally have not been tempted to try yourself and b) don't condemn anyone for doing something that you've either done or come close to doing. IOW: don't condemn anything, because either you've done it yourself or else you have no clue what you're talking about. It's a Catch-22 of Morality if there ever was one. (Not that *"Condemn the Sin, Condemn the Sinner, Condemn Thinking About the Sin, Condemn Even THINKING about thinking about the sin, Condemn, Condemn, Condemn, and You are over the age of 15 and can comprehend your sinfulness so What are YOU smiling about?!" * would be better.)

By the You're Safest if You Never Condemn Anything way of thinking, Jesus himself would not bluntly forbid us from committing any sin, as he was tempted and yet did none of them. What could he know? People remember he said, "Then neither do I condemn you" but they forget that he also said, "Now go, and sin no more." Those are the two things that have to be kept in the mix, and it is not easy to do.

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#38

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:28, topic:214887"]
Why would you "seriously doubt" that a Singles Group is not engaged in pre-marital sex? I've known of many, many singles groups in parishes, and absolutely known of them promote fornication among members. They exist for social reasons only. Have I had the audacity to invade their privacy and interview them? Of course not. But the stated purpose of the group (again, overseen by the pastor, not by you, not by me) is to gather together for social companionship. I was once a member of such a group at a parish, and there was no reason to "seriously doubt" that all were being chaste. We did activities as a group, not as couples.

"My point" is that I had apparently the temerity to respond on the thread to the OP's concern, without first obtaining Your Royal Highness' permission to participate. She asked a question; I offered a solution. I'll repeat, since you seemed to have some kind of trouble understanding the information I presented: as a parishioner she has a right to inquire about the intent of such a group, and to register her concern with the pastor. I have witnessed "gay/lesbian," etc. groups in both secular and parish environments discuss their "active love relationships with their significant others," their "rights to express their physical love for objects of affection," etc. From a secular environment they indeed have that right. In a Catholic environment, such intentions are incompatible with Catholic teachings. Any Catholic parishioner has a right to know how "being actively gay" relates to "being a member of a G/L parish organization."

...in the same way that a parish-sponsored group entitled Adulterers Group is ambiguous on its face, unless it is either renamed Adulterers' Anonymous (implying resistance & recovery) or Adulterers' Recovery (etc.) group, or their group description makes obvious what their purpose is.

[/quote]

So now you're saying you actually "witnessed" gay/lesbaian groups in a variety of parishes that promoting sexual relationships? Interesting. In your previous post to which I responded you claimed that you had a friend who told you "some" of the members were engaging in sex. How she knew that, and why she felt the need to gossip to you about it remains to be seen. You are correct - I have trouble following you when your stories change.

And you owe me an apology. Name calling is a big :tsktsk:

To the OP - I agree - check with your Priest. Hopefully the group has been formed to encourage healthy, God honoring relationships with people who share the same struggles. So long as that is the focus of the group - whether or not some of it's members "appear" to be engaging in sin is none of our business and certainly not something other parishioners should be gossiping about.

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#39

[quote="Orleans_Attny, post:34, topic:214887"]
I'd like you to show me a couple . . . . because I've never come across a Catholic Parish that would "promote the gay lifestyle in the name of tolerance and acceptance."

I keep hearing all about these "liberal parishes," but I've never actually identified a specific one.

Pax,
OA

[/quote]

The parish I grew up in was on the list of "gay friendly" parishes. It was not that way when I was a child (that just wasn't a big issue then), but I am certain that it was in the last 10-15 years, because my parents attended this church, were friends with people in the gay community that met there, and told me details about the group (including the fact that the group was supportive of the "active gay lifestyle" and including discussion of certain women and their partners). I'm not going to mention names, because I don't want to disclose my location that specifically. That particular parish was closed about 2 years ago, as part of a diocesan reconfiguration process, and from what my parents tell me, the gay community has now moved to another church close by. While this may be difficult to believe for Catholics who are used to their parishes having a semblance of respect for Church teaching, it is not at all hard for me to believe. The parish that I grew up at is a notorious dissenter of all of the "controversial" Church teachings. It was riddled with married priests, members of call to action (about 1/2 of the parishioners), etc... Since they reject all of the other teachings of the Church about gender and sexuality, naturally they reject those pertaining to homosexuality. Unfortunately, these parishes exist all over the country. I live far from Denver, but when I visited there with my parents, I attended one such church. I haven't sought them out in any of my other travels, but I'm confident I'd be able to find them most places.

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#40

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:39, topic:214887"]
The parish I grew up in was on the list of "gay friendly" parishes. It was not that way when I was a child (that just wasn't a big issue then), but I am certain that it was in the last 10-15 years, because my parents attended this church, were friends with people in the gay community that met there, and told me details about the group (including the fact that the group was supportive of the "active gay lifestyle" and including discussion of certain women and their partners). I'm not going to mention names, because I don't want to disclose my location that specifically. That particular parish was closed about 2 years ago, as part of a diocesan reconfiguration process, and from what my parents tell me, the gay community has now moved to another church close by. While this may be difficult to believe for Catholics who are used to their parishes having a semblance of respect for Church teaching, it is not at all hard for me to believe. The parish that I grew up at is a notorious dissenter of all of the "controversial" Church teachings. It was riddled with married priests, members of call to action (about 1/2 of the parishioners), etc... Since they reject all of the other teachings of the Church about gender and sexuality, naturally they reject those pertaining to homosexuality. Unfortunately, these parishes exist all over the country. I live far from Denver, but when I visited there with my parents, I attended one such church. I haven't sought them out in any of my other travels, but I'm confident I'd be able to find them most places.

[/quote]

I think this is the downside of what is in most ways a good thing: That is, living in a country where it is expected that each person has something to say in running things. Unfortunately, this has lead to an atmosphere in which moral relativism is considered a positive good. Or, as the serpent described the fruit of the independently-discerned "knowledge" of good and evil, ""You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad." (Gen 3:4-5)

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