WaPo bombshell on Trump sharing classified intel bad for America, good for clicks, newsroom morale

President Donald Trump broke tradition by not attendingApril&8217;s White House Correspondents&8217; Association dinner, but reporters at the event were treated to a rare appearance by both Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein which the New York Post described &8220;like a Simon and Garfunkel reunion.&8221; It seems like nearly every reporter working today hopes to be the next Woodward or Bernstein, which was made obvious last week after President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey (his one-man &8220;Tuesday afternoon massacre&8221;) andincluded the word &8220;tapes&8221; (in quotation marks) in a follow-up tweet about his conversations with Comey.

Now, with the reportingthat Trump revealed highly classified information to his Russian visitors last week, it&8217;s time to celebrate?

Read more: http://twitchy.com/

Manchester police report ‘a number of confirmed fatalities’ after ‘serious incident’ at Ariana Grande concert

Greater Manchester Police in the U.K. warned the public to avoid the area around Monday night after people attending an reported hearing an of some sort.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/

Former FBI head Robert Mueller to oversee Trump-Russia investigation

Trump attacks single greatest witch hunt of a politician in US history as Mueller appointed special counsel to head federal inquiry

The Department of Justice has appointed the former director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged ties between the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump and Russian operatives. Mueller will also investigate questions of Russian intervention in the election generally.

Mueller, 72, was appointed FBI director by George W Bush and served 12 years, including for the majority of Barack Obamas presidency. He said in a statementon Wednesday: I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.

The move to appoint such a substantial figure, coming in a week of multiple reports that have rocked the White House, was welcomed by many Republicans and Democrats.

However, early Thursday, Donald Trump expressed displeasure on Twitter.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

May 18, 2017

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!

May 18, 2017

The tweets followed remarks he made at a public appearance on Wednesday at a coast guard academy in which he said no politician in history had been treated worse or more unfairly.

Special counsel is a position that exists under a statute that allows the attorney general or a deputy, if the attorney general is recused, to mount an independent investigation. This particular provision has been invoked only once before, in the Bill Clinton administration, when the former senator John Danforth was chosen to investigate the Branch Davidian siege outside Waco, Texas.

The position is different from an independent counsel, the role in which Ken Starr investigated Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s. The law authorising that position expired in 1999.

The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, made the decision to appoint Mueller. It was a letter from Rosenstein that the Trump administration initiallypresented last week as a central factor in the firing of James Comey as FBI director.

In an order announcing the appointment, Rosenstein explained he had taken the decision to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.

My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted, Rosenstein wrote in a separate letter. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.

In a statement released after Muellers appointment was announced, Trump said: As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the appointment.
There is nothing to comment on. It is an internal matter for the United States, he said.

James Comey speaks alongside Robert Mueller at the White House in 2013. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Also on Wednesday night, a 2016 exchange among members of the Republican House leadership surfaced in which majority leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putins payroll.

According to a transcript of the conversation, which was first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: Theres theres two people, I think, Putin pays: [the California representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump [laughter] swear to God. The House speaker, Paul Ryan, responded: This is an off the record [laughter] NO LEAKS [laughter] alright?!

After the Posts report was published online, McCarthy tweeted: This was an attempt at humor gone wrong.

Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader)

This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.

May 17, 2017

Ryans office also defended the remarks as a bad joke, saying in a statement: No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.

Later on Wednesday, a third bombshell report surfaced, alleging that Michael Flynn, Trumps now disgraced former national security adviser, had told the presidents transition team weeks before being appointed that he was under federal investigation for working, in secret, as a paid lobbyist for Turkey. The report from the New York Times shows that the Trump team was aware Flynn was being investigated much earlier than had been reported.

The White House was not aware of Rosensteins decision to appoint Mueller until after the order was signed, according to a justice department official. The news did not appear to have been shared on Capitol Hill either, with the House intelligence committee saying it had not been informed.

As special counsel, Mueller will command broad powers, including the power to subpoena documents and prosecute any crimes, independent of Congress. Calls on Capitol Hill for a special prosecutor in the investigation have percolated for months, but spiked after the firing of Comey, who was leading an FBI investigation into the matter. The independence of the investigation fell into question after the firing.

A special counsel is very much needed in this situation, the Republican senator Susan Collins said in a statement, calling Mueller exactly the right kind of individual for this job.

Good move, Senator Tim Kaine, the former vice-presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter. Now lets get some answers. Fellow Democrats Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, echoed the sentiment, with Pelosi calling Mueller a respected public servant of the highest integrity.

Trump has vehemently opposed the appointment of a special counsel, calling the investigation a waste of taxpayer money. White House press representatives were criticized for dismissing the need for a special prosecutor a move seen as potentially encroaching on the justice departments terrain.

The top officials from both parties on the House oversight and government reform committee, which had scheduled a hearing for next week at which Comey was invited to testify, praised the move.

Mueller is a great selection, the committee chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz, tweeted. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.

The committees ranking member, Elijah Cummings, said Rosenstein had made a solid choice in Mr Mueller, and I commend him for putting our country and justice system first. I urge Mr Mueller to follow the facts wherever they may lead with integrity and independence.

Prior to becoming FBI director, Mueller held a number of positions in the justice department under presidents of both parties. These included being appointed to serve as US attorney for the northern district of California under Bill Clinton in 1998, and overseeing the criminal division of the justice department as an assistant attorney general under George HW Bush.

After his time at the FBI, Mueller worked for the Washington-based private law firm WilmerHale, a position he has resigned.

A spokesperson for the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whose ties in Ukraine and Russia have come under scrutiny, declined to comment to the Guardian on the Mueller appointment.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Top Republican was recorded suggesting that Putin pays Trump

In exchange first reported by the Washington Post, House majority leader suggested to members that Trump was in Putins payroll but claims it was a joke

In a 2016 conversation with fellow members of House leadership, the majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, suggested that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putins payroll.

In an exchange first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: Theres theres two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump [laughter] swear to God.

According to the transcript, speaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: This is an off-the-record [laughter] NO LEAKS [laughter] alright?!

On Wednesday night, Ryans spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement to the Guardian: This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.

He added: Whats more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russias interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.

Both Buck and a spokesman for McCarthy initially denied the remarks; the Washington Post listened to and verified an audio recording of the conversation. McCarthys spokesman did not respond to the Guardians request for comment. However, he tweeted: This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.

Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader)

This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.

May 17, 2017

Trumps ties to have been the subject of bipartisan concern and, on Wednesday, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter as well as Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The McCarthy conversation came shortly after both McCarthy and Ryan had been briefed by the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, about Russian attempts to undermine democratic institutions in eastern Europe, and a day after it was reported that Russia had successfully hacked the DNC.

At the time, Ryan had still not endorsed Trump but McCarthy had already signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed the real estate developers campaign.

At least some Democrats raised concerns about the statement. The California congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House intelligence committee, said the remark raised questions about whether the majority leader had additional information on the relationship the president had with President Putin.

If it was said they had their own concerns and so far they have done nothing to address concerns about the presidents ties to Russia, Swalwell told reporters. So I just want to know, were these concerns based on separate information that the majority leader had or had been told?

Rohrabacher, who has a history of expressing support for the Putin regime and has been described as Putins favorite congressman, told the Guardian on Wednesday night that McCarthy had reassured him it was a joke.

He said that the majority leader approached him on the floor during votes on Wednesday evening to ensure that he knew that the remark was intended as a joke.

Kevin didnt mean any harm, Im sure, said Rohrabacher told reporters.

You have to be very careful when youre using humor, he said, recalling a joke he made during a hearing.

I remember I was trying to make fun of the scientist who claimed that cow farts make global warming, Rohrabacher said. And so at a hearing I said, Oh, do you think maybe the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?

To this day, he said environmentalists still fault him for believing that dinosaur flatulence killed the dinosaurs.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Roger Ailes, former Fox News chairman and CEO, dies age 77

Family announces death of channels ousted founder and former presidential adviser, a key force in shaping contemporary and politics

Roger Ailes, the controversial, visionary founder of Fox News who was forced out of the company amid a sexual harassment scandal, has died aged 77.

Ailes, a former presidential adviser, joined the network in 1996, building it into the major conservative force in American politics, a profits powerhouse for Rupert Murdochs 21st Century Fox and a company now mired in scandal.

Fox News (@FoxNews)

Breaking News: Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, his family announced. pic.twitter.com/AksPdNSZaI

May 18, 2017

I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning, said his wife, Elizabeth Ailes, in a statement published on the Drudge Report.

Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise and to give back.

Arguably no contemporary figure has shaped media and politics as profoundly as Ailes. A successful local TV producer who went on to become a key adviser to a succession of Republican presidents, he jumped at the chance to lead Fox News when the service was launched in 1996.

In a statement Murdoch called Ailes a brilliant broadcaster. Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs. At we will always be enormously grateful for the great he built. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Elizabeth and son Zachary.

Ailes advised presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, with whom he once plotted to bring Republican news to television. After his exit from Fox last year he was briefly an adviser to Donald Trumps election campaign.

David Folkenflik, NPRs media correspondent and author of Murdochs World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, called Ailes a a towering and twisty figure with a very complicated legacy.

Ailess intentional collision of politics and TV redefined broadcast journalism. He had a willful disregard of where lines should be drawn, and he denigrated the work of others in the same field, Folkenflik said. There has been real journalism at Fox News, he said, but that was never the point of the network.

Ailes provided the mirror for the distorted image that many conservatives had of how the mainstream media worked. This was enormously successful financially; it was enormously successful at morphing Republican party politics. His successes allowed for his excesses. … You cannot understand this scandal [that led to his ousting] without understanding the paranoid and punitive atmosphere he created inside Fox News, said Folkenflik.

His shocking departure from Fox News in July 2016, after two decades of leadership, signaled the end of an era for the network, which has been in turmoil ever since.

Ailes was forced out following allegations that he sexually harassed employees including the former host Gretchen Carlson, who alleged in a lawsuit that Ailes fired her after she refused to have sex with him. She worked at the network for 11 years, and said during that time, Ailes subjected her to severe and pervasive sexual harassment.

He denied all allegations.

Ailes reportedly received a $40m payout for his departure and was to remain as a consultant to the network through 2018.

The departure of Ailes was followed later by that of his star presenter Bill OReilly, also forced out over claims of sexual harassment, which he denies.

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer representing 21 alleged victims of racial and sexual harassment at 21st Century Fox, said that Ailes passing would not affect the legal process.

In terms of our cases, I dont see his sudden passing having any impact as, to the extent relevant, our clients will still be able to testify about his conduct, which presumably will be more difficult for Fox News to counter given that his testimony was not secured by sworn testimony to date.

The harassment scandal cast a shadow over Murdochs 11.7bn takeover bid for Sky, the British television network. His attempt to acquire Sky in 2011 was thwarted amid the phone hacking scandal.

Wigdor travelled to London last week to meet with the British media regulator, Ofcom, which is investigating whether Murdoch and 21st Century Fox are fit and proper owners of Sky.

Wigdor said that Ofcom could only properly consider the companys fitness if Fox waived gagging orders on victims and allowed them to speak to the UK media regulator.

Though Ailes left Fox in disgrace, network hosts honored the former chairman on-air through the morning broadcasts.

Many people out there would say that he saved this country by starting the Fox News channel, said the Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt, who cried as she paid tribute to Ailes.

Roger gave every single one of us on this couch an opportunity. He put food on our table, and you know, he went out in such a sad way but who doesnt have sins? We all have our sins, we all have our cross to bear, and Roger, I will love you forever.

Shortly after Ailess death was announced, the Fox News host Bill Hemmer said: This is not an easy day.

Hemmer, with his co-host Shannon Bream, discussed how much Ailes loved this country and recalled how Ailes would invite Fox News employees to his house in the Hudson Valley. And we would stand and salute the flag, and that is how the evenings began at Rogers house, he said.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Sheriff David Clarke, accused of allowing inmates to be tortured to death, hit by plagiarism charge

After reports that President Trump would like to seeMichael Flynn eventuallyrejoin the White House in some capacity,it&8217;s pretty clear by now that he&8217;s going to surround himself with whomever he chooses, ignoring the advice of Democrats and often Republicans as well. Still, it was a shock to many this week whenMilwaukee Co. told WISN he was acceptingan appointment tothe Department ofHomeland Security. Clarke&8217;s officeis being investigated after aninmatedied of dehydration, and the man&8217;s sons have filed suit, claiming their father was &8220;subjected to a form of torture&8221; while in solitary confinement.

It wouldn&8217;t seem as though the case against Clarke could be more damning, and yet

Read more: http://twitchy.com/

Roger Ailes, Former CEO Of Fox News, Is Dead at 77

Former Fox News chairman and founding CEO Roger Ailes died on Thursday morning at 77 years old, a statement from his family says.

In the statement, his wife, Elizabeth, said,

I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning.Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise and to give back.

No cause of death was specified in the statement, which was read live during Thursday mornings broadcast of Fox and Friends, the video of which can be seen below.

Ailes is most known for leading Fox News from an upstart network to the nations highest ratedcable news channel.

His journey with the network began in mid-90s, when 21st Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch hiredAiles, who at the time was an executive at NBC.

At NBC, Ailes led CNBC and Americas Talking, a channel that eventually became MSNBC.

Since Fox News debut in October 1996, Ailes has been credited with shaping conservative politics and changing the style cable news networks applied to their broadcasts.

After two decades, though, his journey ended last summer, after former Fox and Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes, alleging sexual harassment.

The suit prompted at least six other women to come forward with similar allegations, including former primetime show host Megyn Kelly, who reportedly told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances.

Kelly eventually left the network and signed a contract in January with NBC. Meanwhile, Carlson settled with the network for an amount reported to be around $20 million.

Ailes, for his part, eventually resigned from his position at Fox News, and left the network with a payoff reportedly worth around $40 million.

His death comes nearly a year after that resignation.

Read more: http://www.elitedaily.com

UPDATE: Sen. Thom Tillis was ‘overheated’, no CPR

Breaking news out of D.C. where we&8217;re seeing reports that Sen. (R-NC) has collapsed during a race and was taken away in an ambulance:

Read more: http://twitchy.com/

Roger Ailes, Fox News founder, dead at 77

Fox News founder Roger Ailes has died.

He was 77.

The Drudge Report,which first broke the news, posted an alert on Thursday morning with a statement from Ailes&8217; wife, Elizabeth Ailes.

I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning, she wrote. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to riseand to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life.

No cause of death was given in the statement.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News, said in a statement that everyone at the channel is shocked and grieved by Ailes death. Murdoch called Ailes a brilliant broadcaster, adding that he had a huge role in shaping American media during his career.

Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have, Murdoch said.

Ailes founded and served as the chairman and CEO of Fox News. He resigned in July 2016 amid allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. Ailes also served as an adviser to President Donald Trumps campaign.

Ailes built Fox News into a cable-TV giant that routinely lead the major news networks in ratings. The channel was founded in 1996 and has since become a bastion of conservative media.

The powerful media executivelost his job when Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, sued him for sexual harassment and several other women supported the claims. Ailes denied the allegations.

Update 10:15am CT, May 18: Added statement from Rupert Murdoch.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/

15 Times Queer Christians And Their Allies Fought The Good Fight For Equality

It is a testament to the incredible vitality of queer spirituality that, despite centuries of both physical persecution and theological abuse,many queer people still have faith.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, about 59 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans report being affiliated with a religious tradition. Forty-eight percent identified as Christian, while a significant number identified with non-Christian faiths like Judaism and Buddhism.

Those affiliations arent easy to maintain. Overwhelming majorities of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans say major American Christian traditionsare unwelcoming to their community.Seventy-nine percent of the LGBT adults Pew surveyed described the Catholic church (79 percent) as unfriendly towards people who are LGBT, while 73 percent said the same about evangelical churches. Queer Americans are also much less likely to be Christian than the general public.

And with vehemently anti-queer religious conservatives filling out the ranks of President Donald Trumps administration, its clear that the complicated relationship between Christianity and the LGBTQ community will get even more tense.

Still,because the relentless work of queer Christian activists and theologians, there is much to be thankful for. Their activism has revitalized and challenged Americas faith community in important, history-altering ways that must not be forgotten.

And the victories certainly arent contained to Christianity there have been advances in Judaism, Islam, and other faiths.

In honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17 every year, HuffPost has gathered together these 15 iconic moments of hope in queer Christianity from around the world.From evangelical churches embracing their LGBTQ members to Christian musicians making the choice to come out, these moments from the past five years are reminders of how far weve come, and how much more we need to accomplish.

Special thanks to Brandan Robertson, a queer Christian activist, John Gustav-Wrathall,of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Rev. Broderick Greer, an Episcopal priest and queer theologian, and Ross Murray,GLAADs lead on faith matters, for offering their suggestions for this list.

  • Christian Musicians Came Out As Queer
    PA Archive/PA Images

    Being out in the Christian music industry could cost you your career. But over the past five years, a number of queer Christian artists have taken that difficult step — British rock star Vicky Beeching (pictured here), Everyday Sunday’s Trey Pearson, and country singer Ty Herndon are a few.

  • Christians Rallied With Other Faith Groups For Transgender Rights
    Carlo Allegri / Reuters

    In 2016, progressive religious activists strongly opposed North Carolina’s HB2 bill, which tried to force people to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth. And this year, more than 1,800 religious leaders from a variety of denominations signed an amicus brief in support of Gavin Grimm (pictured here), a transgender boy who was banned from using the boys’ restroom at his school.

  • Some Evangelical Churches Pledge To Wholeheartedly Embrace Queer Christians

    In January 2015, Tennessee pastor Stan Mitchell announced that his congregation, GracePointe Church, would from fully embrace LGBTQ members into its fold, welcoming them to take up leadership roles and celebrate the sacraments. Other evangelical mega-churches have done the same — including Highlands Church in Colorado and EastLake Community Church in Washington state. Although some churches have faced financial repercussions and a drop in membership, that hasn’t always been the case. When Denver Community Church, an evangelical megachurch in Colorado publicly affirmed their pro-queer stance earlier this year, its pastor Michael Hidalgo claimed that only a handful of people decided to leave the church as a result. And some evangelical pastor who were kicked out of their denominations for supporting queer Christians now have thriving new congregations. Rev. Danny Cortez (pictured here, left) is one of those pastors. After the former Southern Baptist pastor’s son came out as gay, Cortez expressed his love for his son in front of his congregation. Cortez later went on to form a new, queer-inclusive church. 

  • A New, Inclusive Christian College Campus Ministry Is Born
    Niklas Emmoth via Getty Images

    In May 2016, Christian activists formed a new campus ministry called Incarnation. The group is founded on principles of racial equality and LGBTQ inclusion. So far, Incarnation has chapters at five campuses across the country, and has partnered with four other organizations.

  • The Episcopal Church Refused To Back Down On Equality
    Philip Dumas via Getty Images

    In 2015, the bishops of the Episcopal Church decided to allow clergy members to perform same-sex weddings. The church defended that decision in 2016 in front of its international umbrella organization, the Anglican Communion. That resulted in a three-year suspension from the Anglican Communion — but the Episcopalians aren’t backing down. 
    Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, said after the suspension that “Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, [where] all are truly welcome.”

  • The Gay Christian Network’s Annual Conference Continued To Grow

    Since 2005, the Gay Christian Network Conference has brought hundreds of queer Christians and their allies together to share stories and renew their faith. Today, the conference bills itself as the “world’s largest annual LGBTQ Christian event.”

  • The Rev. Karen Oliveto Became The Methodist Church’s First Openly Gay Bishop
    RJ Sangosti via Getty Images

    Bishop Karen Oliveto became The United Methodist Church’s first married lesbian bishop in 2016. The denomination’s top court recently found that she was in violation of a church law that bars clergy who are “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” but decided not to remove her from her post. Although she may be suspended or forced to retire in the future, Oliveto remains sure that her presence “changes the conversation.”
    “It’s no longer an issue. It’s about people,” she told Religion News Service.

  • A Pastor Who Conducted His Gay Son’s Wedding Is ‘Refrocked’
    The Washington Post via Getty Images

    Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist Church minister, had his ministerial credentials revoked in 2013 after he presided over his gay son’s wedding. Schaefer continued to speak out and in 2014, an appeals committee reinstated him as a minister.

  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Embraces LGBT-Inclusive Definition Of Marriage
    Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc via Getty Images

    Since 2014, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), America’s largest Presbyterian denomination, has allowed its pastors to officiate same-sex ceremonies. In March 2015, the church adopted a more inclusive definition of marriage in its constitution, describing it as a union “between two people.”

  • Ex-Gay Ministry Exodus International Shuts Down
    studioportosabbia via Getty Images

    Exodus International was a Christian ministry that promoted conversion therapy, which attempts to alter a person’s sexuality or gender identity to fit with heterosexual or cisgender norms. The harmful practice has been thoroughly discredited by psychologists and medical experts, but it was peddled by Exodus International for 37 years. In 2013, the organization’s president issued an apology for the harm its caused to queer people, and announced that the ministry was shutting down. Although other conversion therapy groups pledged to take up the mantle, Exodus International’s closure was a pivotal moment for conservative Christians in America, and since then, many conservative leaders have actually denounced conversion therapy.

  • America’s First Catholic Vice President Blessed A Gay Wedding

    In 2016, former vice president Joe Biden presided over the nuptials of his White House staffers Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie. Biden was America’s first Catholic vice president, and his blessing of this marriage was a reminder of the incredible shift that American Catholicism has experienced over the past few years on the topic. Although top Catholic bishops have consistently denounced marriage equality, 58 percent of American Catholics support same-sex marriage. And the future is bright — 85 percent of self-identified Catholic millennials believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

  • The Chicago Consultation Met In Africa
    ChristianChan via Getty Images

    The Chicago Consultation is a group of Episcopal and Anglican clergy and lay people who work toward full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Anglican Communion. In 2015, the group had its third meeting in Africa, this time in Elmina, Ghana. The Rev. Broderick Greer, an Episcopal priest and queer theologian, described the important work of this group in an email to HuffPost. 
    “Every day, I heard a new story about the ingenious ways they were resisting stigma around HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ visibility, and equitable access to health care. People from five different countries told stories of courage and resilience motivated by a nagging sense that their full humanity should and will be affirmed. The small scale and quiet setting of the gathering is indicative of the manner in which social transformation often takes place: over a drink, in a huddle, or elbow-to-elbow.”

  • Mormons March At Pride
    Jim Urquhart / Reuters

    Mormons Building Bridges brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who want to show support for the queer community. In 2012, this group marched at Utah Pride for the first time. For John Gustav-Wrathal, a gay Mormon activist, this was an iconic moment. 
    “Since then, there have been some crushing, traumatizing moments as well… Most of the hope has come from queer Mormons themselves. Attendance at Affirmation conferences has quadrupled since 2012,” he told HuffPost. “LGBT Mormons are coming together in a spectacular way and finding new ways to provide mutual support and engage with their faith.”

  • A Gay Couple Became The Pastors Of A Historic DC Church
    skynesher via Getty Images

    The Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC hired Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen as the leaders of their 155-year-old congregation this year. The Baptist ministers told HuffPost their mission is “to sit at bedsides, to march for justice, to proclaim ‘belovedness’ when the world (sometimes even the religious world) proclaims ‘otherness,’ and to set the table of hospitality for those who need it most.”

  • Transgender Pastors Celebrate Mass In Cuba
    Pekic via Getty Images

    As part of a conference on queer theology earlier this year, three pastors from Brazil, Canada and the United States flew into Cuba to lead an LGBTQ-friendly worship service. The mass is believed to be a first for Cuba. 
    One participant, a 26-year-old Cuban trans woman named Malu Duardo, told Reuters, “I leave with having learnt a lot of things I can share with other trans, in particular that there is a God for everyone.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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