Indian court ruling raises LGBT hopes + China continues crackdown on Christianity

China Continues the Crackdown on Christianity

EXCERPT: The Jinping regime has now focused on underground churches in their attack on Christianity. A statement published by China Aid, a United States headquartered group monitoring the state of religion inside China, Beijing has increased its crackdown on multiple Christian congregations all over the country. Authorities have taken a series of punitive measures to curb the rising influence of Christianity, including the shutting down of churches. The Chinese Government has also ordered religious followers to sign specific papers stating they have renounced all faith. For Beijing, this campaign corresponds with the aim to "Sinicize" all major religions....


Indian court ruling raises LGBT hopes of finding a home in traditional faiths

EXCERPT: It has been nine years since a Delhi High Court ruling decriminalized sex between consenting adults of the same gender. Sukhdeep Singh — today a 30-year-old software engineer from Kolkata — came out as a gay Sikh after that court decision. “The verdict gave me ammunition to assert my identity,” he said. “I could claim I’m Sikh and homosexual in the same breath.”

But four years later, India’s Supreme Court overturned the Delhi High Court order and reimposed the ban on homosexuality, legitimizing again the stigma associated with sexual orientation and gender identity. It was only last week, when the Supreme Court overturned Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, lifting a colonial-era ban on gay sex, that Singh felt he was free to claim his faith again.

[...] “This verdict will help us sensitize faith groups about the need for dialogue with sexual and gender minorities. More queers will come out as believers if there are inclusive spaces,” said Ankit Bhuptani, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association, a Hindu group in Mumbai. Bhuptani organizes meetups every month to sensitize LGBTQs about Hindu scriptures and discuss Hinduism and sexuality. He also spearheads interfaith conferences where queer groups talk to spiritual leaders about their faith dispositions.

[...] The ruling pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be in little rush to help. It essentially abdicated its position on Section 377 to the “wisdom of the court” — neither criticizing the decision nor particularly welcoming it. [...]

Conservative clerics and politicians disagreed broadly with the decision, in which Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the five-judge hearing, wrote: “Respect for individual choice is the essence of liberty; The LGBT community possesses equal rights under the constitution. Criminalizing gay sex is irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.”

Moulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, one of the leading Islamic organizations in India, said the verdict will lead to more sex crimes and push society into “sexual anarchy and moral decadence.”

Christian groups such as the Apostolic Alliance of Churches, Utkal Christian Council and Trust God Ministries also opposed the decision. They argued that the idea of a person being born with a specific gender orientation is not supported by science.

Yet the court clearly galvanized LGBTQ members of India’s kaleidoscope of religions to practice their faith more openly....


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