Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for March, 2011

Crystal Cathedral Founder Denounces Anti-Gay “Covenant”

Jim Burroway

March 17th, 2011

Rev. Robert H. Schuller, who began his ministry by preaching a positive message at a 1950s drive-in theater, and who ultimately commissioned gay architect Phillip Johnson to build his Crystal Cathedral, has issued a statement denouncing an anti-gay covenant that his daughter and current Crystal Cathedral pastor, Sheila Schuller Coleman, is requiring all choir members to sign. The elder Schuller, who retired in 2006, contacted the Orange County Register to say that he didn’t know about the covenant and would not have approved it:

“I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views,” he said. “I’m too well-educated to criticize a certain religion or group of people for what they believe in. It’s called freedom.”

The covenant calls for signers to “understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.” Schuller says that theologically he agrees with the message of the covenant. However:

“That doesn’t mean that we are going to start a crusade against homosexuals,” he said. “But if my church members required covenants, they would no longer live up to the principles of being positive that marks the history of the ministry of Robert H. Schuller.”

…”We have never been for covenants or definitions,” Robert Schuller said. “We don’t test anyone who comes to our ministry. We don’t require them to be Christian. We would not demand that they be born-again Christians.”

Schuller’s daughter dismissed her father’s stance. Her response, I think, is telling, and goes to the root of some of the problems at Crystal Cathedral (and many of the megachurches generally):

There are going to be times when he might have done something differently,” she said. “As he is less and less involved in management, this is going to happen more. His personal views may not coincide with the management’s view.”

Management? That’s business talk, not ministry talk.

Crystal Cathedral Choir Asked to Sign Anti-Gay Statement

Jim Burroway

March 16th, 2011

There’s an old saying: If it weren’t for gays in the choir, church would get pretty quiet. Crystal Cathedral is about to put that to the test:

The “Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant,” recently handed out to members, states that members should commit to being Christians by following the Bible in every way.

Former and current choir members say they are particularly offended by a statement in the document that refers to homosexuality. Long-time church members say this is the first time they have seen the cathedral take a firm stand against homosexuality and are disturbed by it.

The covenant states: “I understand that in an era where images of family relationship and personal sexuality are often confused, Crystal Cathedral Ministries believes that it is important to teach and model the biblical view. I understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.”

Ann Moore Waltz, a long-time church member and the Cathedral’s first soloist to stand and sing on top the snack shack in Robert H. Schuller community church at the Orange drive-in said, she does not agree with the statement in the covenant. “If I were still in the choir and if that was presented to me, and if a gay person had walked out, I would have walked out with him or her,” she said. “If you are a Christian group and people come to you, you should be a good servant, love them and shine the light of Jesus on them – regardless of who they are.”

Longtime choir director Don Neuen resigned last October over earlier steps toward a purge of the choir:

But things ended on a sour note for the choir director. He said the “last straw” for him was when Gretchen Schuller Penner, who directs the “Hour of Power” programs, told him that she would be “vetting choir members” going forward and that she would make sure that they were “emotionally and spiritually fit for the Crystal Cathedral.”

“I found that to be terribly judgmental and couldn’t accept it,” Neuen said.

Crystal Cathedral founder Robert Schuller retired in 2006, placing his son, Robert A. Schuller at the helm. The younger Schuller was removed two years later due to a “lack of shared vision” — and amid controversy over salaries and housing allowances for family members. In 2009, the elder Schuller’s daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, was named pastor. Last year, Schuller Coleman announced that the church was going into bankruptcy after donations fell by 29% in 2009. It’s congregation has already shrunk in half over the past two years.

Prop 8 Rallies Planned

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

As Timothy mentioned yesterday afternoon, we received word that a decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is expected this afternoon between 1:00 and 3:00 pm (PDT). Already, Prop 8 supporters have already filed a request for stay of judgment pending appeal, in case Judge Walker strikes down Prop 8. If granted, this would prevent any marriages taking until the Court of Appeals hears the case.

Meanwhile, a large number of rallies are planned in California and across the U.S., forty so far and counting. Rex Wockner is keeping up to date with the latest additions.

What’s More Pathetic?

Jim Burroway

September 10th, 2009

California Assemblyman Mike DuvalFormer California Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who resigned following revelations that he bragged to a fellow unidentified Assemblyman about a couple of dripping-wet affairs with women who were not his wife and one of whom might have been a lobbyist regulated by his committee, is now claiming that he didn’t have any affairs after all. In a strangely headlined statement on his web site — “Assemblyman Duvall Denies Reports that he Had Affair,” even though those “reports” came from his own mouth — the Orange County Republican writes:

“I want to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs. My offense was engaging in inappropriate story-telling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state.”

Whether anyone believes any of this now is utterly beside the point. I mean think about it: what’s more pathetic? A “pro-family” anti-gay politician bragging to colleagues about all the juicy affairs he’s had? Or a “pro-family” anti-gay politician bragging to colleagues about all the juicy affairs he didn’t have?

Mounting Protests Against Prop 8

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2008

Protests continue to mushroom across California in the wake of last week’s passage of Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

In Los Angeles:

Police estimated that 12,500 boisterous marchers converged about 6 p.m. at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay rights movement.  Police guided the demonstrators through the streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No arrests were reported.

…Steering the crowds, several hundred officers were on scene, riding horses, motorcycles and bicycles. Others on foot were sprinkled through the crowd. Mario Mariscal, 20, and his mother, Delia Perez, a 45-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, stood on the Sunset Boulevard sidewalk. Mariscal came out to his mother as gay when he was 16. She held a sign saying, “Give my son his rights.”

In San Diego:

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people marched from Hillcrest to North Park behind a giant rainbow flag in protest of Proposition 8. The measure, approved Tuesday by 52 percent of voters, overturns the state Supreme Court ruling in May that legalized gay marriage.

“I don’t want anyone to take away my right to marry,” said Ken Hagen, a University City newlywed who marched down University Avenue alongside his partner, John Young. Chants for equality were sometimes drowned out by drivers honking their horns in support of the passing crowd. Signs waved and bobbed in the air with slogans such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Not Gay, Love You Anyway.”

In San Francisco:

Thousands of demonstrators marched down Market Street in San Francisco on Friday night to protest the passage earlier this week of Proposition 8, which effectively bans same-sex marriage in California.

The march began around 5:30 p.m., as the group worked its way west toward its final destination of Dolores Park. A large group remained around Ninth and Market streets, holding signs, chanting and jamming traffic. About a dozen Muni buses were stuck in the traffic mess.

In Oakland:

Backlash to the passage of an anti-gay-marriage law continued to sweep across California on Sunday, with hundreds of protesters rallying outside the Mormon Temple on Lincoln Avenue in the Oakland Hills. Same-sex marriage supporters carried signs, blew whistles, and passing cars honked in support outside the largest temple in the Bay Area. The Mormon church was among the top contributors to the effort to pass Proposition 8.

…The California Highway Patrol was forced to shut down the nearby Joaquin Miller and Lincoln on and off-ramps to the freeway due to the Oakland protest. A CHP dispatcher said the highway ramps were closed to protect pedestrians from traffic.

In Orange County:

About 300 people gathered in front of Saddleback Church protesting the recently-passed gay marriage ban this morning. Holding signs reading “Shame on Rick Warren” and “Preach Love not Discrimination,” the crowd chanted “Equal rights now.”

…In Orange County, hundreds protested without incident in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach yesterday. Protests were planned in Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita today.

In Sacramento:

Thousands of Prop 8 opponents demonstrated at the State Capitol Sunday for the latest rally against the measure banning same-sex marriage in California.

By 2:00 p.m., thousands of people had massed in front of the California statehouse. The event was the latest demonstration in Sacramento and across the state since the passage of Proposition 8 Tuesday, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In Santa Barbara:

Many people at a rally in Santa Barbara Friday night not only oppose Proposition 8, they oppose the fact that it was on the ballot to begin with. “This should not have been a ballot measure, the basic fundamental human rights shouldn’t be voted on by the electorate,” said David Selberg with Pacific Pride Foundation.

In Long Beach:

More than 2,000 demonstrators marched through Long Beach on Friday night, protesting the passage of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage in California. Fifteen people were arrested.

The march started about 7:30 p.m. and within an hour had taken over Broadway, with protesters shouting and holding signs with such messages as “Did we vote on your marriage?”

See also:
LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple
Thousands Protest In Salt Lake City’s Temple Square
Protesters Target Mormon Temple in Westwood