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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Renegade pastor of evangelical church in Denver opens doors fully to gays

The auditorium lights turned low, the service begins with the familiar rhythms of church: children singing, hugs and handshakes of greeting, a plea for donations to fix the boiler. Then the 55-year-old pastor with spiked gray hair and blue jeans launches into his weekly welcome, a poem-like litany that includes the line "queer or straight here, there's no hate here." The Rev. Mark Tidd (pictured) initially used the word "gay." But he changed it to "queer" because it's the preferred term of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people invited to participate fully at Highlands Church, reports MSNBC.com.

Tidd is an outlaw pastor of sorts. His community, less than a year old, is an evangelical Christian church guided both by the Apostle's Creed and the belief that gay people can embrace their sexual orientation as God-given and seek fulfillment in committed same-sex relationships. Disagreements over homosexuality and the Bible have divided mainline Protestant churches for years. In evangelical churches, though, the majority view has held firm — the Bible clearly condemns homosexual acts. The common refrain at evangelical churches: "love the sinner, hate the sin." But with younger evangelicals and broader society showing greater acceptance of homosexuality, many evangelical churches can expect, at the least, a deeper exploration of the issue. READ MORE.

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