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The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, December 18

Jim Burroway

December 18th, 2012

New York Court of Appeals Strikes Down Sodomy Law: 1980. New York became the twenty-fourth state in the nation to legalize homosexuality when the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, struck down the New York’s consensual sodomy law. In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled that the law violated Constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection, noting that the law banned anal and oral sex only when those acts were performed by unmarried couples. Married couples were exempt under the law. Writing for the majority, Judge Hugh Jones wrote:

“We express no view as to any theological, moral or psychological evaluations of consensual sodomy. It is not the function of the Penal Law or our governmental policy to provide for the enforcement of moral or theological values. …the People have failed to demonstrate how government interference with the practice of personal choice in matters of intimate sexual behavior out of view of the public and with no commercial component will serve to advance the cause of public morality or do anything other than restrict individual conduct and impose a concept of private morality chosen by the State.”

Jay Bakker: 1975. Having grown up in front of television cameras as the  son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker at their Christian theme park home in Charlotte, North Carolina, he was deeply affected when his father’s empire came crashing down. His father was sent to prison for financial irregularities and mail fraud, and his family was subsequently ostracized by fellow Evangelicals. For Jay, that led to a downward spiral of rebellion and drug abuse. But he eventually turned his life around and committed himself to a different vision of Christianity, one with God as a loving and accepting being rather than a God of judgment and wrath. In the process, he became a very different kind of minister, an “evangelical punk preacher,” as he describes himself. Jay’s experience of being outcast informed his own philosophy of inclusiveness which extends to LGBT people. In the 2006 documentary One Punk Under God, Jay is seen explaining why he supports same-sex marriage to a congregation that is not ready to accept that message:

In 2011, Jay Bakker released his book, Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society, in which he says that it’s grace, not religion, that he believes in. “Religion can be a very dangerous thing,” he told NPR. “It’s a constant reminder to me to be careful.” He co-founded Revolution Church in 1994, and preaches at the New York branch which meets every Sunday afternoon at a bar in Brooklyn.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?



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