CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the Rev. Kay Albright moved to West Virginia about a year ago, something troubled her -- a problem she had never dealt with much before.
"My heart just hurts from how much abuse I hear about. Families disowning their own, a father telling his son he's going to hell -- those kinds of things. I get phones calls and emails almost every day," she said. "People are using the Bible as a weapon. They're hurting people with God's word."
Albright, pastor at Bridges of Grace United Church of Christ in Charleston, has heard endless accounts of members of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community being attacked by those who defend their actions with Christianity.
"Even Christians don't really know what the Bible exactly says -- they're just told homosexuality is a sin and they accept it," she said. "I want to empower people and give them the ability to study the Scripture for themselves. Stop accepting what other people say and understand what is really there."
That's why on Saturday, she wants everyone, regardless of religion or sexual orientation, to attend "Face to Faith: God & Gays" -- a workshop designed to answer questions about the Bible and its meaning.
"People are always searching for answers because answers are comfortable. Black or white, yes or no, right or wrong -- you don't have to think for yourself," Albright said. "That gray area is very uncomfortable for some. People often come to church for answers, but it's not that simple."
One of the biggest misconceptions of her faith that she hopes to debunk is that homosexuality is a sin, Albright said.
"The Bible doesn't say it's a sin -- it says it's an abomination, which literally translates as 'against tradition.' If you've ever worn a wool sweater and cotton pants or eaten shellfish -- those are abominations too, according to the Bible," she said. "I don't think it's fair to say one is more important than the other."
The Bible was written at a time when procreation was vital and the meaning of life was to reproduce, Albright said.
"They just didn't understand it. When you're in a culture that's trying to survive, and you need as many male children as possible, homosexuality was a threat to society because it didn't produce children," she said.