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In the book of Isaiah in the Bible, the prophet wrote that his heavenly mission was to "bring good news to the afflicted" and "bind up the broken hearted."

Today, some of that good news goes out to the Christians who identify as LGBTQ, too: Online dating service Christian Mingle is now open to singles in search of same-sex soulmates.

This exciting change was the result of a California lawsuit filed by two gay men against the website's parent company, Spark Networks, back in 2013 that alleged the company was discriminating against them.


While Spark’s websites still aren’t facilitating same-sex relationships, they are now allowing gay and lesbian users to search for users of the same sex who may or may not be single and looking to mingle. Instead of specifying an orientation, users will just be able to search for matches in the gender of their choice.

Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images.

This inclusive change will apply across all 30+ niche dating websites owned and operated by Spark Networks.

With the exception of JDate, which has been helping nice Jewish boys find other nice Jewish boys since 2005, the change will roll out across Spark services such as Black Singles, Silver Singles, BBW Personals Plus, Military Singles Connection, and Deaf Singles Connection — which are all communities with LGBTQ members, too.

I'm still not sure why LDS Singles and LDS Mingle are separate sites or what makes them different. But I do know that everyone deserves the right to subject themselves to the rigors of online dating. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

As you can probably imagine, Christian leaders across the country had a few things to say about this news.

Rev. Marc van Bulck is a Presbyterian minister who currently serves as the lead pastor for a small congregation in Seville, Ohio. He's a heterosexual male who grew up in a church-going family in South Carolina, but he's also been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights for as long as he can remember.

"My church family growing up really was made up of all sorts of people with many different points of view," van Bulck said. "I think I sort of learned by example that being part of a community of faith often means being part of a larger conversation."

Photo provided by Rev. Marc van Bulck, used with permission.

While he couldn’t say for certain if any of his worshippers use Christian Mingle — I guess they don't ask their priest for dating advice? — van Bulck said this news is a big deal for the community.

"Our church is made up of folks from all over the political spectrum, and many of them are very diverse in their beliefs — including topics like this one," he said.

"But the one thing I’ve never seen them do is turn someone away. Becauseif the Gospel shows us anything, it’s that Jesus was willing to sit at table and break bread with anybody. Queer parishioners have always been here."

Photo by Greg Ness/Flickr.

Rev. Jeff Mello of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookline, Massachusetts, agreed with van Bulck.

"Those negative views of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church just aren’t the mainstream," he said. "They're loud, fringe voices, and we harm ourselves when we think of that negativity as a default."


Photo provided by Rev. Jeff Mello (center), used with permission.

Mello is openly gay and married. But he has never felt a conflict between his faith life, his emotional life, or his sexuality.

Still, he knows that that’s not the case for all LGBTQ Christians. "So many GLBT folks have been taught that they need to choose between being a Christian and being GLB or T, but it’s not either/or," he said. "It's about living an integrated life, which is what God calls us to do. Both parts of our identity are central to who we are."

And that’s one of the main reasons that he thinks this new shift for Christian Mingle is so important:

"It might seem like a trivial thing that this Christian website is opening up," Mello explained, "but that message is freeing people from that notion of having to choose between who God made you to be and following God. Because those should go hand-in-hand."

Rev. Susan Russell leads a Eucharist and prayer against homophobia and gun violence in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Christian Mingle’s new inclusive policy isn’t just a blessing for the LGBTQ community. It’s also a victory for straight Christians and the church as a whole.

Mello believes that this small change could actually drive more single Christians to mingle on one of Spark Network’s websites — especially if they’re straight.

"My straight colleagues and worshippers have felt that their relationships are strengthened and made more whole because marriage is made accessible to everyone," he said. "It feels less like a secret club and more of the cultural institution and support net that it's designed to be.”

In his seven years as rector at an inclusive church, Mello has also watched his church community double in size — a gain which he attributes directly to the larger social push for inclusion and equality.

"A lot of folks who aren't LGBTQI are now more drawn to a place where all are welcome," he said.


Austin Ellis of Metropolitan Community Church carries a cross in solidarity with the victims of the Pulse Night Club shooting at the Philadelphia Pride Parade. Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images.

So while Christian Mingle is probably not going to replace Grindr anytime soon, this little piece of progress is still a powerful testament to the winning power of love — in romance and in the eyes of God.

Sure, there will be always be a few detractors. But it's worth celebrating this tremendous changing in the tides, where Christianity and homosexuality are no longer seen as irreconcilable odds in our society.

"Gay and lesbian people should know that no matter how people might treat them, there's a God who loves them, who made them in God's image," Mello said. "The church is a place to remind people of that powerful message."

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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