Church Or Child: Evangelical Pastor Susan Cottrell Talks About The Time Her Daughter Came Out As Bi

Susan Cottrell is a religious woman. She is a devoted Christian who believes in the words of the bible. As such, she became an evangelical pastor. That said, even the Christian congregation can’t tell her how to treat her bisexual daughter.

When Cottrell’s daughter came out to her as bisexual, she was surprised.

“Mom, I’ve got something to tell you,” said her daughter Annie. “I’m attracted to girls. I think I’m bisexual. I prayed about it, Mom – I resisted, but it won’t go away.’”

Even worse, she took it badly. After all, her religious upbringing taught her that homosexuality was a sin. But in time, Cottrell’s thoughts began to change.

“I realized I was being asked to choose between the two most important parts of my life: my child and my church,” said Susan Cottrell in a recent TED Talk. “I chose my child.”

Related: Connecticut Woman Offers Advice To Parents Of Gay Youth After Son Commits Suicide

Eventually, Cottrell decided to leave the church that she once led and separate herself from the religious community around it. But she then found a new community to preach to and serve. The gay community.

Together with her husband Rob, who’s also a pastor, Susan Cottrell started a new ministry called FreedHearts. FreedHearts is centered on bridging the gap between parents and their LGBTQ children. They provide trainings, free hugs during pride events, and perform same-sex weddings.

If you want to hear more of Cottrell’s story, you can watch the video of her TED Talk down below.

Related: Oklahoma Woman Created An Organization That Provides Hugs And Parent Substitutes For Rejected Gay People

Pope Francis Says No Gay Clergy Men (After Saying He Won't Judge Gay Men)

Pope Francis is at it again with the mixed and hurtful signals.

After Pope Francis allegedly told a gay man that God created him this way earlier this year, there was hope of a change within the man towards gay issues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

According to the Guardian, Pope Francis is now saying that he’s concerned about the growing “trend” of homosexuality.

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates,” the Pope said when speaking of new priests joining the clergy.

A new book written by the Pope called the Strength of Vocation was released in Italy on Saturday. In this book, Pope Francis speaks on his thoughts towards homosexuality and the church.

“In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church,” he says in the book The Strength of a Vocation, released in Italy on Saturday.

“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he said.

The Catholic faith sees homosexual activity as a sin, and the Pope has vocally condemned gay men for years now.

“It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out,” Francis continues in the book.

“In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.

“The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”

But it seems to us Pope Francis is tripping over his words. After all, let’s not forget what he said in 2013….

“If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”

Who indeed?

h/t: The Guardian

The Vatican Censored Pope Francis's Commentary On Psychiatric Help For Gay Kids

While the Vatican continues to push against gender identity and other factors of LGBTQ life, the center of Christianity is slowly changing it’s mind in terms of homosexuality.

According to Cruxnow, the Vatican has decided to do away with a comment by Pope Francis that gay children should seek psychiatric help.

The Pope was expected to make this comment while giving an in-flight press conference. On Sunday, the plan was to ask the Pope for his advice to a father whose child came out as gay.

The official transcript of this future conversation included the Pope saying that the father should seek counsel prayer, dialogue, and space. But on top of that, the Pope also wanted to comment that the father’s response really depended on the child’s age when “this turmoil” manifested itself.

“Because it means something if it shows when you are still a child, when there are a lot of things to be done, either with psychiatric help, or to see how things are. While it is something else when it shows 20 years later.”

Later, it appears that the Vatican chose to edit Francis’s remarks and remove the line “either with psychiatric help.”

While it appears that Pope Francis still has misgivings around homosexuality, despite saying earlier this year that God made gay people "like this," it also seems that the Vatican is trying to steer away from commentary on conversion therapy.

We're not quite sure that's a win, but it's at least a small step in a positive direction.

LGBTQ-Inclusive Groups Celebrated Hong Kong Pride With Parade Marchers

The Hong Kong Pride Parade is underway and we’ve got photos as well as a story of two great groups participating.

While it’s become fairly common to see Christian-based groups openly protesting Pride parades and events, there’s often also Christian groups participating in them too.




A post shared by Asif Khan (@khan2705) on





A post shared by Jeff (@jeffphory) on





A post shared by Asif Khan (@khan2705) on


One such group that’s out participating in the parade is an LGBT-inclusive Christian church run by Joe Pang.

Talking to the South China Morning Post before the event, Pang, a Malaysian-Chinese pastor, said that he was looking forward to participating in the parade. Joe Pang will be leading the event’s first worship service and holy communion in the 10 years that the event's been running.




A post shared by Asif Khan (@khan2705) on





A post shared by Anagha Parekh (@anagha.parekh) on





A post shared by Ste_文 (@ste_leee) on


As for Joe Pang himself, he knows what it’s like to be rejected by religious folk. He was once kicked out of his Kuala Lumpur-based church after coming out as gay. This spurred him on to become a force of love and acceptance in the Christian community.

“All the voices against [LGBT people], they come from religion, they come from the Christian religion. We are the gay Christians, we know how to respond to them and we know why they are so loud,” Pang says. “That’s why we need to be there.”




A post shared by I∆N TAN (@iantan_) on





A post shared by @gradschoolhoney on





A post shared by 蔡遨雪 Ashley Choi (@c.ngosuet) on


Sadly, Hong Kong is still developing when it comes to LGBTQ rights. In fact, there are no anti-discrimination laws concerning LGBTQ people, and Christian-based groups have fought advocacy for such laws at every turn.

“Not all Christians are like that,” says Jason Ho, a representative of the LGBTQ-inclusive Christian coalition called the Covenant of the Rainbow, “That’s why the LGBT-inclusive and affirming groups of Christians must come out and balance [the conservative] voice – because their voice is not the only attitude, their voice is not the only voice of Christians.”

While there is an ongoing fight for LGBTQ-rights in Hong Kong, it’s good to see that there are Christian groups on our side and that they are present during the bad times as well as the good.




A post shared by Eric Chan (@chan__eric) on





A post shared by Amélia C. (@ameliachieu) on





A post shared by stephan oberreit (@stef_oberreit) on


Biblical-Themed Ark Park is Just As Homophobic as You Would Imagine

Yeah, there is a Noah's Ark theme park that's here in the same plane of existence that you and I share. Fellow Instinct writer Adam Dupuis has written about it in his post "New Noah's Ark Encounter - It's Got Everything. Even Dinosaurs and Unicorns." According to Vice, visiting Ark Encounter, created by Ken Ham, will not flood you with good times and positive memories, but instead, you'll be inundated with a deluge of homophobia and banal but plentiful ecclesiastical signs.

The fake Ark was created to entertain and reach Christians and non-Christians in order to educate them on the story of the Great Flood and introduce Creationism to people who don't believe in it. Some of the attractions are an animal exhibit with non-animatronic animals in wooden boxes, three displays that depict the pre-flood era which, apparently, had epic human and dinosaur battles (?) and a bunch of text, signs that shoot down the theory of evolution and how Noah's family disposed of their waste (which is what every theme park should have in my opinion), a room in which a video plays on a loop that inaccurately depicts atheists as being mean-spirited, and, finally, bigoted, homophobic literature. 

Anyone who works at Ark Encounter has to sign a statement of faith (for your own sanity, please don't click on the link) in which people have to agree that marriage is between one man and one woman, that LGBT people are abominations, that sex should only be had between a heterosexual married couple, watching porn is a sin against God, and that being pro-life is the only way to live. So basically, LGBT people, people who have a normal sex drive, or people who watch porn need not apply. No thanks! There are also advertisements for the Ark-hosted event “Sacred: Embracing God’s Design for Sexuality” which closely resembles conversion therapy

My takeaway from reading about this... thing... is that there is no way that I will ever attend this excuse for an attraction. Considering the fact that gay rights activists have made so many positive advancements, maybe homophobia would not be the best selling point. Perhaps Mr. Ham should try to reach non-Christians in a less bigoted way. 

But that's just me. 

h/t: Vice, Arkencounter.com, Answersingenesis.com

Man Fighting A Drag Reading Pleaded Guilty To Stalking A Singer And Sending Him Nudes

A man who’s trying to stop his local library from hosting a Drag Queen Story Time has also been connected to stalking and sending nude pics to another man.

Christopher Sevier is currently the lead activist against the city of Lafayette hosting a Drag Queen Story Time at the city library. He does so in the name of the antigay hate group called the Warriors For Christ and Special Forces of Liberty, according to The Daily Advisor.

But, it looks like Sevier shouldn’t be the lead figure in any kind of movement, especially an antigay one, considering his legal past.

Court records from the last decade show that Sevier has a problem with stalking people.

The first incident happened back in 2008 when Sevier got into legal troubles with country singer John Rich. It first started out as a fight over song rights, but the situation soon escalated thanks to Sevier.

Rich later filed for a restraining order on Sevier after noticing the man was stalking him. Unfortunately for Rich, Sevier blatantly ignored that restraining order.

Allegedly, Sevier messaged Rich about private information such as conversations about Rich’s young children. In addition, Sevier even sent Rich a seemingly-naked picture of himself draped in a blood-soaked American Flag, according to the Tennessean back in 2014.

In that same year, Sevier was also accused of stalking a 17-year-old girl. Sevier then confronted the girl at a coffee/ice cream shop in the Nashville-area. During that confrontation, Sevier mentioned information about conversations the girl had previously.

“He knew the conversations that I had had,” she said. “So I was scared.”

Initially, Sevier claimed that his interactions with the two were legal. Sevier says that he was legitimately attempting to end the song rights litigation by reaching out to Rich. Meanwhile, Sevier says the interaction with the girl was his attempt at being “friendly” and helping her get modeling work.

That said, Sevier later pleaded guilty after the chargers were reduced to misdemeanors.

And those are just two of allegedly numerous other criminal issues involving Sevier, according to the Daily Beast. This includes not paying child support, failure to show up to court hearings, violating his restraining order, and assaulting his father-in-law (a fight that resulted in the injury of his then-7-month-old baby).

So again, we must say that the Warriors For Christ and Special Forces of Liberty might want to leave this Drag Story Time alone and instead focus on who fights with them. We think these Christians should be very concerned with the legal history of their outspoken comrade.

h/t: The Daily Advisor, The Tennessean

Catholic Pastor Who Burned A Rainbow Flag Was Removed From Service

Last week, we shared with you the story of Pastor Fr. Paul Kalchik.

Kalchik, who presides over the Resurrection Catholic Church in Chicago, discovered a rainbow flag in his church building. He then announced that he would be burning the flag as sacrilege later this month.

As he wrote in the initial church message:

"We cannot let the current troubles keep us from our mission to go make more disciples for the Lord, nor should modern day distractions like global warming, LGBT 'rights' or even immigration issues ever take precedence over that mission.”

Thankfully, the Archidose of Chicago stepped in and told Kalchik that he couldn’t go through with the burning. At the time, Kalchick regretfully followed the orders.

Though, he didn’t follow them for long.

We now learn that Kalchik later went through with the burning despite the orders placed upon him.

After he did so, Kalchik’s life took a drastic change, according to the Chicago Tribune. He allegedly received multiple hate messages and even death threats from the community around him. These threats became so bad that Kalchik had to start using police escort to travel to and from the church and his home.

In addition, the Alchidose of Chicago has decided to remove Kalchik from his position at the Resurrection Catholic Church effective immediately. He was then replaced with Monsignor James Kaczorowski.

“For some weeks now, I have become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish,” read a letter by Chicago’s Archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich. “It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed.”

“I do not take this step lightly,” the note read further. “Rather, I act out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish. I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects.”

That said, Annel Maselli, the spokeswoman for the archdiocese, says that this removal of Kalchik was not based on the burning of the rainbow flag.

“He is taking some time away from the parish,” Maselli said in an email on Saturday. “This has been in the works for some time and is not directly due to the flag burning.”

There’s currently no word on whether this removal is permanent or not.

As for Kalchik, who says he was sexually abused by a Chicago priest while he was a seminarian, his only words on the issue are that he doesn’t hate gay people. He says he only has hate for homosexuality itself.

“I’m about as much of a ‘gay basher’ as Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” the 56-year-old said in an interview with the Tribune on Friday. “Love the sinner, hate the sin — that’s as harsh as I get.”

h/t: Chicago Tribune

Catholic Priest Thwarted From Burning A Rainbow Flag As Sacrilege By Chicago's Archdioceses

A Chicago priest was stopped from burning a rainbow flag in front of his church members.

According to the Windy City Times, Resurrection Catholic Church Pastor Fr. Paul Kalchik posted earlier this month that he would be burning a rainbow flag.

Kalchick shared this message in the post-script of his Homily message on September 2. The message then spread to news sources like the Windy City Times, the Conservative Christian-based Church Militant, and more.

In the message, Kalchick said that he had found a Rainbow flag inside the Resurrection Church, which is in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. He planned to burn the flag, and parishoners’ pledge cards mixed with incense, in front of the church as sacrilege during a prayer service later this month.

In addition to that announcement, Kalchick shared the message that the teachings of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Church needed to be restored.

"We cannot let the current troubles keep us from our mission to go make more disciples for the Lord, nor should modern day distractions like global warming, LGBT 'rights' or even immigration issues ever take precedence over that mission,” he wrote.

Thankfully, the Archdiocese of Chicago stepped in and told Kalchik that he couldn’t go through with the burning. Kalchik, regretfully, agreed not to do it.

According to the Windy City Times, DignityUSA President Chris Pett shared his thanks to the Chicago Archdiocese for stopping Kalchik.

"It appears that this pastor was hijacking the parish to promote an extreme, ultra-conservative agenda promoted by the Church Militant group which is not officially recognized by the Church and is rejected by most Catholics. National polling over the past number of years consistently shows that a majority of Catholics support LBGTQ people and our issues. While we continue to challenge the institutional Church to reject its harmful and incorrect teachings about homosexuality, we are glad to see this decisive action on behalf of all LGBTQ Catholics."

h/t: Windy City Times

Viral Instagram Post Shows Church Goers Giving Hugs To Austin Pride Paraders Who Need It

Austin Pride may have finished up, but Instagram users are still talking about it thanks to a heartfelt post from a Texas church member.

According to Pink News, Jen Hatmarker, a religious writer who has faced backlash for her support of LGBTQ people and her opposition to President Donald Trump, organized a free hug “giveaway.” This “giveaway” saw church goers attend the Pride parade and offered hugs to anyone who wanted them.

She then created an Instagram post about the event, shared several photos of these now famous huggers, and shared an endearing message about the moment.


A post shared by Jen Hatmaker (@jenhatmaker) on

“Our arms were never empty. We ‘happy hugged’ a ton of folks, but dozens of times, I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and RACE into our arms. These were the dear hearts who said:”

‘I miss this.’
‘My mom doesn’t love me anymore.’
‘My Dad hasn’t spoken to me in three years.’
‘Please just one more hug.’

“You can only imagine what ‘Pastor Hugs’ did to folks. So we told them over and over that they were impossibly loved and needed and precious. And we hugged until our arms fell off. This is what we are doing here, what we are here for.”

There are plenty of wonderful moments that happen at Pride parades across the globe, but its good to focus on a specific sweet one like this every now and then.

h/t: Pink News

Religious Scholar Says An Original Draft Of The Bible Allowed Gay Sex

What would the world have looked like if the Bible never called homosexuality an “abomination?” That’s the question many will be asking after a recent statement from a Bible scholar.

Harvard fellow and Biblical scholar Idan Dershowitz recently wrote an article through the New York Times that shares the idea that the infamous Leviticus 18:22, which states: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination,” wasn’t in the first draft of the bible.

Dershowitz claims that this section, that has altered history greatly, was a later edition to the religious text.

“Like many ancient texts, Leviticus was created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than one writer.”

“Many scholars believe that the section in which Leviticus 18 appears was added by a comparatively late editor, perhaps one who worked more than a century after the oldest material in the book was composed.”

He added: “There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men.

“In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible.”

What makes Dershowitz believe this? He says there are clues of a shift in the incest laws of Leviticus or a  “strong evidence of editorial intervention.”

According to Pink News, Dershowitz believes there are signs that the passages used to refer to banning incest between female and male relatives.

The idea is that the existence of a ban on incest between men implies that sex between two non-related men would be legal.

As Dershowitz explained:

“Now, apply this principle to Leviticus 18: A law declaring that homosexual incest is prohibited could reasonably be taken to indicate that non-incestuous homosexual intercourse is permitted.

“A lawmaker is unlikely to specify that murdering one’s father is against the law if there is already a blanket injunction against murder.

“By the same token, it’s not necessary to stipulate that sex between two specific men is forbidden if a categorical prohibition against sex between men is already on the books.”

As he simplifies, “that made sense when sex between men was otherwise allowed.”

Certainly, Dershowitz has led the door to a very interesting conversation about homosexuality and the bible. Hopefully, other scholars and religious leaders will pick up on the topic and not chastise it.

Only time will tell.

h/t: New York Times, PinkNews