Sunday, September 30, 2012

Parelli and Ortiz featured in September 22, 2012, Martinique newspaper around gay marriage debate

"God loves gays!"("Dieu aime les homosexuels! »)
L.V. (Louvinia Valat) / France-Antilles Martinique 22 Sept 2012

To be Christians while remaining free to live one's sexual orientation: that is the credo of Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz.

FRANCE-ANTILLES MARTINIQUE
NEWSPAPER, Saturday, September 22, 2012, issue
FRANCE-ANTILLES MARTINIQUE NEWSPAPER, Saturday, September 22, 2012, issueArticle (originally in French) by Louvinia Valat, Journalist, France-Antilles Martinique
Translated to English by Stanley Hanks


TESTIMONIAL. Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz serve as director and coordinator, respectively, of the association "Other Sheep", a group which defends the idea that one can be Christian and gay at the same time, without betraying God or one's faith. This is the battle they have been fighting for over 15 years, both as a couple and as Protestant Christians. This is currently of particular relevance for us in view of the parliamentary debate over gay marriage.

Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz visited us in August for a few days before going to St. Lucia to hold a series of workshops on controversial subjects such as: Can one be both Christian and gay? What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Doesn't it treat it as a perversion, an abomination?

Stephen and Jose are, above all, a couple - and they have been together for fifteen years. They are Christians, and they have been legally married since 2008. We would never have had the chance of meeting them if their homosexuality hadn't made it necessary for them to reconsider their faith in the light of their sexual orientation.

In the US, their home country, and everywhere else in the world where Christians await their visit, Stephen Parelli
(Director of Other Sheep) and Jose Ortiz (Coordinator for Asia and Africa) do their best to show that "God is love"
(1 John 4). It is a love which is not exclusive or sectarian.

To prove this, they support their case with the Bible. But without flights of fantasy or extrapolation: instead, they
apply a scholarly approach. Both Steve and Jose have concluded Bible studies at bachelor's degree level; Stephen,
who also holds a Masters in theology, served as a pastor for approximately twenty years. They base their
arguments on the text - or, to be more specific, on a reading of the text in light of the evolution undergone by
society.


IMPOSSIBLE TO BE "EX-GAY"For these two men, their battle necessarily possesses a very personal component. For years, formerly convinced
that their faith was incompatible with their love, they had attempted to stop being gay! They had tried, for instance,
by attending support groups for "Christians who are trying to overcome their attraction for people of the same sex",
praying constantly and waiting for a miracle which was not to occur - until they finally had to give up. "We finally
came to realize that it is impossible to be 'ex-gay'."

However, their mission is not a crusade for homosexuality. Rather, they are fighting for the fundamental right to be a Christian. Neither are they defending a Protestant approach as opposed to Catholic "certitudes", for, in their view,
"all Churches are concerned".

That is what inspires the two to take up their pilgrim's rod and travel the world to meet with Christians everywhere.

Their goal is to exchange views with them in a series of workshops, using materials edited and published by Other
Sheep, in the hope that these Christians will grow to understand that "God accepts gays, lesbians, bisexuals and
transgender people".

To contact Steve and Jose, or to find further information, you can visit the website www.othersheepexecsite.com
.


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