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Monday, March 18,2013

God and sexuality

MSU panel to discuss the “perceived” conflict between religion and sexuality

by Alyssa Gienapp

Wednesday, Feb. 23 — Being gay and Christian is not an oxymoron. At least that’s what a panel discussion will address Thursday at Michigan State University.


The Canterbury MSU, an Episcopal student ministry, and West Circle PRIDE, an LGBT residence hall caucus, have partnered to bring panelists to discuss “God and Sexuality” Thursday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Gilchrist Pub in MSU’s West Circle.


“We are trying to counter what we feel are inappropriate and incorrect statements,” said Robert Vankirk, a member of Canterbury MSU. “We want to show that many denominations are accepting and that Christianity and Judaism are not characterized by the conservative voices.”


The discussion will include panelist introductions, a question and answer period and a breakout into small discussion groups.


“The main goal is not to see a student take a swan dive off of Beaumont Tower because some conservative pastor told them a lie,” Vankirk said.


The Rev. Deon K. Johnson, an Episcopal priest, will share the story of how he came to accept his sexual orientation and how the church came to accept him.


Amanda Highben, a Lutheran seminarian and pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Rabbi Michael Zimmerman, a reconstructionist rabbi from the Congregation of Kehillat Israel in Lansing, will also speak. Zimmerman has been a long-time advocate for the LGBT community.


“We want people to leave with a greater understanding of how different denominations view the LGBT community,” Vankirk said. “We want them to be empowered and realize many churches celebrate them in their entire identity.”


The discussion will address biblical passages that are often used against the LGBT community and how the Bible is meant to save everyone, not be used against certain people, Vankirk said.


The event will be held at the Gilchrist Pub in West Circle on the campus of MSU and is free and open to the public.

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