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Faith group talks gay marriage amendment during ‘Faith Action Week’

Published 11:29am Friday, September 14, 2012

On Thursday night, spirited and passionate discussion filled the rustic home of Carol Pagel in rural Vining. Approximately 15 people gathered at the home, some life-long churchgoers and others not overtly religious, but the event was reported around the state as a gathering of people from the Vining Lutheran Church.

The informal gathering was promoted by pro-gay marriage group Minnesotans United for All Families as part of “Faith Action Week.”

During the week, religious groups from around the state are gathering together to express their opposition to the state constitutional amendment referendum that, if approved, would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

However, the gathering at Pagel’s home was not an official church event.

“It’s a little touchy as far as an issue at church,” acknowledged Gail Froslee, a Vining parishioner and the discussion leader of the evening’s event. Because she and Pagel weren’t fully comfortable broaching the topic at their church, they contacted church friends and others in various social circles by phone to come to the event.

When the guests arrived, they quickly determined that all of them were going to be voting against the amendment. They then discussed their personal experiences, with many discussing gay and lesbian friends or family members who want to make their marriages as legal as those of their straight counterparts.

Key to the discussion was Froslee, a former Henning elementary school teacher whose son, Brad Froslee, is the pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Brad came out to his parents while he was in college, and he and his partner have a young son named Torin.

“They’re not asking for something that’s different than what we want when we find someone (who) we love,” said Froslee.

A big conversation piece was how to win over people who are voting for the amendment or who are unsure, particularly on biblical grounds. Several group members acknowledged that verses in the Bible prohibit homosexual behavior, although Pagel said that many of those laws are in the Old Testament.

“We drop a lot of the rules from the Old Testament,” said Barbara Olson. “Jesus changed all that!”

However, there still are New Testament verses that appear to prohibit homosexual behavior, including several of the letters believed by Christians to be written by the Apostle Paul. Pagel encouraged people to view parts of the Bible as written in the context of different times, saying that some decrees were cultural, temporary, or made for distinctive reasons.

“(The Bible) talks about slavery and it talks about many, many issues that we don’t believe in today,” she said.

Jan Wally, a political science major who attended the gathering, said that the amendment doesn’t make sense to her because it does the reverse of what most constitutional amendments are designed to do.

“Amendments have traditionally been to give people rights,” she said, adding her belief that allowing gay marriage will not affect the religious freedom of churchgoers.

Earlier this year, the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to oppose the constitutional amendment. The three Vining Lutheran Parish churches, including the Vining Lutheran Church, are part of the synod.

Parish Pastor Carl Andersen was not at the meeting, but he did provide one of the attendees with information about the synod’s decision prior to the event. He confirmed that the event was not an official church event but said that the topic of gay marriage does not come up very often, if at all, in official church discussion or sermons.

He added that he’s had private discussions with people in the church about gay marriage, but he would not say what he believed on the topic.

“Each person has his or her own opinion about it, and we respect each other,” he said.

Froslee recalled at the meeting a conversation she had had with another pastor on the topic. The two could not find common ground on the morality of the issue, but Froslee said it didn’t deter her from seeking legal rights for gay people.

“We are not the ones to judge,” she said. “Our judgment will come from God on the final day.”

  • camobabe

    The argument that there was a different context when God forbade homosexuality in the Old Testament, and that there were also other considerations when Jesus repeated those bans on homosexual behavior, are assertions that the modern promoters of homosexual marriage know better than God and his Son, Jesus. In other words, when you reject God’s teachings, you are placing yourself above God on a scale of knowledge. Are there actually 15 people in Vining who have taken it upon themselves to teach us all that God didn’t know what He was talking about, so they, in their superior state of consciousness are correcting Him for us?

    What next to be scoffed at in the Old and New Testaments, the Divine Word of God? “Thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not Steal, bear false witnesss, commit adultery, covet thy neighbor’s goods, spouse? Once you begin to select which of the commandments you will obey (because, in an example quoted here, someone’s precious son is homosexual, and her son couldn’t ever do anything wrong) you have renounced God’s word and laws, and you are taking an anti-God stance.

  • Richard Olson

    Here’s chapter and verse on a more-or-less comprehensive list of things banned in the Leviticus book of the bible. We are all very happy to learn that Camilla Ryan follows these dictates to the letter of the ancient law. A decent number of them are punishable by death.
    1.Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11)
    2.Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)
    3.Eating fat (3:17)
    4.Eating blood (3:17)
    5.Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)
    6.Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)
    7.Touching an unclean animal (5:2)
    8.Carelessly making an oath (5:4)
    9.Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)
    10.Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)
    11.Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)
    12.Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)
    13.Tearing your clothes (10:6)
    14.Drinking alcohol in holy places (10:9)
    15.Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (11:4-7)
    16.Touching the carcass of any of the above (11:8)
    17.Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12)
    18.Eating – or touching the carcass of -eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,the red kite, any kind of black kite,any kind of raven,the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk,the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl,the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey,the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)
    19.Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22)
    20.Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (11:27)
    21.Eating – or touching the carcass of – theweasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard,the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon(11:29)
    22.Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42)
    23.Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)
    24.Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)
    25.Having sex with your mother (18:7)
    26.Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8)
    27.Having sex with your sister (18:9)
    28.Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)
    29.Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)
    30.Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)
    31.Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)
    32.Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)
    33.Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)
    34.Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (18:17)
    35.Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)
    36.Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)
    37.Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)
    38.Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)
    39.Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)
    40.Having sex with an animal (18:23)
    41.Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)
    42.Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)
    43.Picking up grapes that have fallen in yourvineyard (19:10)
    44.Stealing (19:11)
    45.Lying (19:11)
    46.Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)
    47.Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)
    48.Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (19:13)
    49.Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)
    50.Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich (19:15)
    51.Spreading slander (19:16)
    52.Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)
    53.Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)
    54.Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)
    55.Cross-breeding animals (19:19)
    56.Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)
    57.Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)
    58.Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)
    59.Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)
    60.Trimming your beard (19:27)
    61.Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)
    62.Getting tattoos (19:28)
    63.Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)
    64.Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)
    65.Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)
    66.Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born”(19:33-34)
    67.Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)
    68.Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)
    69.Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7,13)
    70.Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)
    71.Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)
    72.Working on the Sabbath (23:3)
    73.Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)
    74.Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22)
    75.Selling land permanently (25:23)
    76. Selling an Israelite as a slave (25:42)

    • John

      This is my first comment ever. Im not an overly political man. I determine who I cast my vote for by who I feel is the best candidate. Republican or Democrat I could really care less. I do have one thing to say about someone I see that has to put his two cents in on every article posted on the Daily Journal’s website, Richard Olson. Now dont get my wrong I am stooping to your level now by posting this but I have read your rants over and over and I am just in awe at what you come up with. What is the deal man? Were you picked on as a child and now feel that you need to put your two cents on every issue that you dont agree with? Do you just sit at home waiting for someone to say something that pisses you off then you spend the next hour researching what you can to make an intelligent argument? An old girlfriend of mine used to say, there are Democrats who make fellow democrats look like idiots, there are also Republicans who make fellow Republicans look like idiots. You sir are making your fellow Democrats look like a bunch of idiots. Get a life man. I’ll be patiently waiting for a nice clever comment back from you. You have to forgive me for my lack of intellect in my comment as I am a very tired person who works full time, goes to college full time, and still squeezes in time for the National Guard not to mention I volunteer every chance I get to help the less fortunate. And yes I will be voting for Governor Romney so feel free to send personal insults at me for that as well.

      • Walt Henry

        John—the 1960’s are part of my past. I remember using a bathroom at LAX and seeing a uniformed soldier changing out of his uniform for his flight home. (Military personnel flew free between stations if in uniform.) He didn’t want the “peace” protesters to throw things at him which some did at almost every major airport. I was never in the service, that was a choice I had the freedom to make but what was disgraceful was the fact I never intervened; I stood silently and watched young people attack young service men for no other reason than fighting a war to which they were called. Thank you for your service.
        You are responding to a post that says two things—one is this comment is addressed to a specific person and the second is the list of rules in the old book of law we don’t follow. There are lots of old law we don’t follow. A valid question might be, “Why do we think we need to follow other such laws?” You must admit it seems odd. I would love to be part of that discussion but unfortunately some can’t seem to stick to the subject, to look at our God and the Christian religion with open eyes so the conversation never really reaches a conclusion. It does in fact often fall to name calling and grade school playground levels of “so’s your old man.” Sad.
        Now, concerning addressing a comment to a specific person; I have addressed my comment to you in response to your comment. I see nothing wrong with that if the comments are based on math, facts or an accurate understanding of history. But there is a new phenomenon I have lots of trouble with, the “if you can’t attack the facts directly attack the person who wrote them”. (Sarah Palin, the reason I didn’t vote for the Republican candidate in 2008, is a master at this and many people who comment here are following in her footsteps.)
        So John, welcome to the poster club. I hope this is not your only post. It is important both sides of an issue state their case, not so much by politicians but by those of us who are attempting to reach the promise of the American Dream of a better life for ourselves and for our children.

      • Richard Olson

        John, with no last name. There are so many things I could say but most of them would get me banned.

        Suffice it to say, I think you should vote for Willard Romney for precisely the reasons you describe as your “lack of intellect”, in your second to the last sentence.

  • crucified

    Romans 1:18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

    19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

    20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],

    21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

    22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

    23 And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],

    25 Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it).

    26 For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,

    27 And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another—men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own [b]bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution.

    28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,

    29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

    30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.

    31 [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.

    32 Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.

    • Ron Mexico

      I can’t imagine living my life as a hypocritical hate mongering bigot. Having to rely on a 2000 year old book of fables as my “laws” to live by. Of course I could do what most “good christian’s” do and pick and choose which ones to follow.

  • Walt Henry

    Question: “Is there any place in the New Testament where Jesus actually condemned homosexuality? If so, I have not been able to find it. …It seems to me that if the Savior didn’t say it was wrong, then neither should we.”

    Answer: While it is true that there is no NT record of where Jesus explicitly stated that homosexuality is wrong, He did in fact condemn the behavior.

    (He didn’t condemn the behavior and only if you pick and choose pieces from here and stick them there can you create a theology where you can condenm what Jesus did not.) Facts matter, sometimes even more than others.

    • crucified

      2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
      17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

      John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

      • Walt Henry

        I think I should try and clear up something that has plagued the world of religion and clouded God’s true narrative almost since Christ’s ascension. We have a post that contains verses from the Book of Romans.
        It is part of being human to be afraid of things that are not our own experiences. A person might not be familiar with someone with a different sexual understanding. They then tend to be afraid of that lifestyle maybe even to the point of condenming it and calling it a sin. In making that determination they are, in fact, taking on the role of God for themselves. Then to support their position they misapply God’s words as written in the Bible and the purpose for which they were intended.
        To make it simple the commenter begins with the belief homosexuality is a sin. He then lists verses from the Bible that deal with some of the consequences of sin. However, his base belief is likely wrong. Christ’s purpose was not to change the law but to return it to its true meaning, at least in respect to the law. It might be homosexuality that is not the sin but the fact someone might be taking their focus off the greatness of God that is the sin. It is this misplaced focus on “earthly things” that Paul was talking about in the book of Romans and not the act themselves. And yes, heterosexuals can also misplace their focus. We humans often focus on many “ungodly and unnecessary” distractions, such as making comments to newspapers if it causes our lives to become unbalanced. :)

  • Matthew

    For many of us, a same-sex relationship is an abstract idea. It is normal to fear what we do not know.

    My name is Matthew Handegaard, and I am a young gay man from Underwood. I offer all of you the opportunity to get to know me.

    Many of you may know me and my family. My mom, Laura, is a teacher at Underwood and my dad, Stephen, was the county 4-H leader for many years. I grew up in our community, visit frequently and will always call it home.

    Instead of propagating stereotypes and referencing books, I would like to extend my experiences to anyone who is interested in learning something new. Email me at hand0103@d.umn.edu, if you would like, and we can talk. I promise that if you get to know someone who is bi, gay or lesbian, you will find that we are just like everyone else, and we have great things to offer this world.

    We all live here on Earth until we pass away, and it is our duty to treat one another as we wish to be treated.

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