Sexy photos in Church? What is the world coming to.

The Catholic Church has asked the Irish Police to investigate photos apparently showing a man in priest’s vestments performing a sex act with another man on the altar of an Irish church. The diocese declined to comment further for legal reasons.

The photos show two men engaged in sexual activity across what appears to be the altar of a small country church, or in intimate poses. They have been described as deeply sacrilegious in their depiction of a priest, or man dressed as a priest. Any investigation will examine whether the images were faked, and identify the church where the act is alleged to have taken place.


Billy Graham



Billy Graham | Undated file photo | Getty Images | 18307

The American evangelist preacher Billy Graham KBE – yes, he was an honorary recipient of the British award “Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” – died on 21 February 2018, aged 99 years.

You could describe him as a “Marmite” type of person – some people liked him and others did not. He toured the world preaching in large venues on his “crusades” from 1947 to 2005 – a total of 417 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. And you thought Mormons were a problem.

John Paul Brammer for NBC summarises his career and its effect in a sentence:

For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, however, Graham was a crusader against them, one whose efforts shaped the religious right into an anti-LGBTQ political force.

That force continues to challenge advances such as employment rights, the right to foster children, to hold down a job, to marry your partner, to this day.

Graham himself had few specific words on LGBTQ people, compared with the rest of society, but his disapproval of homosexuality was unequivocal. “Let me say this loud and clear! We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare.” Homosexuality was a “sinister form of perversion” that was contributing to the decay of civilization.

Advocates argue that he may not have been extremely outspoken on LGBTQ people, but he left behind an institutional apparatus that has done structural damage to the gay community.


The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence



Christopher Street Day parade, Fulda, Germany, 1993 | Sir James | 14050

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a colourful and distinctive charity, protest, and street performance organization of Queer Nuns who fight sexual intolerance with drag and religious imagery. They also satirize gender and morality issues.

The movement started in 1979 when a group of gay men in San Francisco began wearing habits in visible situations to draw attention to social conflicts and problems in the Castro District. The original three men procured habits from a convent in Iowa pretending to be putting on a a performance of The Sound of Music!

They are an international organisation, and there are around 600 Nuns in Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

It was a time when religious participation in politics was growing, and Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell were crusading against the acceptance of the gay life style. The Castro District as a major gay neighborhood was targeted by several dozen church members who took to its streets to preach about the immorality of homosexuality.

The name of the group became familiar in 1980. The nuns held their first fundraiser, and a write-up in The San Francisco Chronicle by Herb Caen printed their organization name, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The benefit was for San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church Cuban Refugee Program.

The community was then hit with the AIDS crisis and the Nuns played a major part in organising awareness, and are thought to have produced the world’s very first Aids awareness literature.

Members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who have died are referred by the Sisters as “Nuns of the Above”.


Maris Sants and the mob



Kasjauns | 14127

Maris Sants, pictured, who now lives in London, was excommunicated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia in 2002 because of his sexuality. His case was highlighted by Amnesty International after he was attacked by anti-gay thugs.

In the years after he came out as gay, the 45-year-old found himself the focus of much attention in the media. Crowds gathered outside his church in Riga, and skinhead protesters held placards condemning homosexuality. Some even threw excrement or violently attacked him. Mr Sants wisely decided to emigrate.

Gay relationships were illegal in Latvia until the early 1990s, and homophobia remains widespread.

“There was a time in around 2005 when, possibly for a year or two, I was one of only two publicly known gay guys in the whole country,” said Mr Sants. “Those who came out, most of them had to immediately emigrate. By the time I came out at the age of 36 I had been through different healing programmes. I had been to psychiatrists and psychotherapists and had gone to ‘ex-gay’ ministries with evangelical Christians who believe homosexuality can be cured. When I turned 33 a serious thing happened and I understood – and this was really like a revelation – that actually it was completely OK. I understood then that hiding my homosexuality was a sin.”

Following his excommunication from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, Mr Sants founded a congregation that was open to all, regardless of sexual orientation.

It hosted the inaugural LGBT Pride march in Riga, an event marred by violence from anti-gay protesters.


The Chymorvah Affair



Peter and Hazelmary Bull | Apex | 14131

Hazelmary and Peter Bull run the Chymorvah Hotel in Marazion, Cornwall, a guest house, which they run on “religious principles”. The couple refused to let a gay male couple, Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall, share a double bedroom, in 2008. Mr and Mrs Bull regard any sex outside marriage as a “sin”.

Mr Preddy and Mr Hall sued. A judge at Bristol County Court ruled that they acted unlawfully when they turned the couple away, and awarded Mr Preddy and Mr Hall damages of £3,600.

The Christian pressure group The Christian Institute, which had financed legal cases for other professionals who would not work with or conduct ceremonies for gay couples, took up the Bull’s case.

In February 2013, Mr and Mrs Bull took their case to the Court of Appeal; however they lost their appeal against a ruling they had acted unlawfully, but were given permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

The UK Supreme Court heard their case in October 2013. The UK Supreme Court announced its ruling on 27 November 2013. Five Supreme Court justices ruled against them.

Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said: “Sexual orientation is a core component of a person’s identity which requires fulfilment through relationships with others of the same orientation.”


Quakers celebrate 50th anniversary of ground breaking pro-gay publication



Amazon | 14152

Quakers in the UK celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking book “Towards a Quaker View of Sex” which was a pioneering and hugely controversial book.

It provided the very first faith-based affirmation of gay equality and went on to sell 500,000 copies. The book focussed most closely on homosexuality, which was then still illegal, and took decidedly liberal attitudes towards premarital sex and adultery. The News of the World was shocked.

Keith Wedmore is the sole survivor of the original group behind the book. Now 81 and a retired barrister living in California, in 1957 he was among a group of 11 Quaker authors from different disciplines gathered together by zoologist Anna Bidder to consider issues surrounding homosexuality. Wedmore, then 25, was bisexual and deeply aware of the pressures facing gay people; a few years earlier he discovered the body of a fellow undergraduate who had taken his own life.

Just meeting was a big Secret Squirrel. The group spent seven years meeting once every two months in the comfortable surroundings of the University Women’s Club in central London.

“JK Rowling would have loved it. We would go into the library, and if you go to the right bookcase and touch it, it opens up and there’s a room behind. You shut it again and no one would know you were there. So we could say anything we liked. We’d come out for this gorgeous lunch and then go back in again. We took the food and water out of Quaker expenses but we paid for our own wine. We examined each issue completely freely, and you don’t often get a chance to do that.”

The book concluded: “Surely it is the nature and quality of a relationship that matters: one must not judge it by its outward appearance but by its inner worth. Homosexual affection can be as selfless as heterosexual affection, and therefore we cannot see that it is in some way morally worse.”

The Quakers formally adopted gay marriage as an aim in 2009.


Jack Baker and Michael McConnell



Jack Baker and Michael McConnell | Minnesota Historical Society | 14182

In 1973, gay rights activist Jack Baker and his partner, Michael McConnell, used subterfuge to get married.

Baker was a law student and McConnell a librarian. They’d been together for four years when they first applied for a marriage licence in 1970. This was rejected because they were both men, but the couple decided to fight. They appealed, and kept on appealing until the case reached the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case “for want of a substantial federal question”.

Undeterred, they tried again. Baker changed his name to the gender-neutral “Pat Lyn”. The licence was issued and they began to plan a wedding. They asked a Methodist minister to perform the ceremony and went through weeks of pre-marital counselling like any heterosexual couple preparing for a Methodist wedding. But with 24 hours to go, the minister changed his mind.


Pastor Roger Lynn | BBC | 14183

Pastor Roger Lynn, pictured, holding the men’s wedding licence, stepped forward. “It wasn’t just a marriage… it was a social event in the gay community,” says Lynn. Lynn pronounced the couple ‘husband and husband’” and jumped at the chance to conduct the ceremony. His church then had no rules against marrying people of the same sex. “The Methodist church has always taken a strong stand on social issues… I expected that the progressive side of the church would support me.” At the end of the ceremony, when many of the congregation came up to the pastor in tears, he says he knew he’d done the right thing. “It was very clear that these two people were in love with each other, and they were a good balance,” he says.

And the happy couple – are still together after all this time. They still live together in Minneapolis and consider themselves legally married as their licence has never been revoked!

Our previous article about Jack Baker and Michael McConnell