FW: HRC Religion & Faith News: Apr. 3, 2007
US: Newsletter: Religion & Faith
Clergy Call for Justice and Equality
We are honored and moved by the response to our April 17 Call for Justice and Equality in Washington, D.C. More than 220 people have registered from every state in the country to let Congress know how important it is that they act now to pass legislation combating hate-motivated violence and ending workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.
As a taste of what you can expect, we have now finalized our lineup of speakers for our morning press conference. These are some of the most impressive religious voices in the country.
- Peggy Campolo, renowned evangelical Christian leader
- Father Charles Bouchard, president of the Aquinas Institute
- Rabbi Denise Eger, rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami
- The Rev. William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association
- The Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson, transgender Presbyterian minister
- The Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator for the Metropolitan Community Church
- The Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre, Southern Baptist minister and professor of ethics and religion at Iliff School of Theology
- Bishop Carlton Pearson, leading authority of the modern Pentecostal church and pastor of New Dimensions Worship Center
The clergy who have registered reflect the best of our country’s deep religious pluralism. They include Buddhist priests, Native American spiritual leaders, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and clergy from most Christian denominations. The clergy also reflect our country’s rich diversity in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender expression.
The presence of faith leaders advocating for GLBT equality will dramatically change perceptions about religious advocacy on Capitol Hill. Congress is so used to hearing clergy from the radical right that, for many, religion has become synonymous with discrimination against the GLBT community. We know differently. And now, Congress will see that in every part of our country — from Massachusetts to Mississippi — brave religious leaders are standing with those who have been denied basic human rights. They are preaching a faith message of care for the marginalized and ostracized and an expansive love that welcomes all of us to the table.
It is still not too late to sign up and take part in this historic day, but you’ll need to do so quickly as transportation prices rise and our hotel blocks sell out. To learn more about the schedule for the Clergy Call for Justice and Equality and to register, please visit our website.
In The News
Applause for Episcopal Bishops
Religion and Faith Program Director Harry Knox and the Rev. Susan Russell, a member of HRC’s Religion Council, applauded the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA, who resoundingly rejected the anti-gay demands of international Anglican leaders. Said Knox, “The bishops calmly and prayerfully reiterated their firmly held beliefs in principles that have developed over time.” Read Knox’s full comments on The Huffington Post. Also read Russell’s blog for The Washington Post and Newsweek’s On Faith. Russell argues that the Bishops’ decision moved the Episcopal Church one step further “Out of the Closet.”
Former Anti-Gay Columnist Speaks Out for Equality
Blogger Pam Spaulding interviewed former American Family Association columnist Joe Murray, who is now taking a stand against hypocrisy and the anti-gay movement.
Harry Knox Deplores Southern Baptist Leader’s Recent Comments
The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. recently wrote a column supporting the idea of genetically modifying fetuses in order to make them heterosexual. Harry Knox has been speaking out about these comments and his response has been circulating through the news media. In a CNN interview, Knox said, “Being gay is an immutable, unchangeable gift from God. And to act as if we can throw that gift back by using hormone treatments on fetuses in the womb is just reprehensible.” See his MSNBC interview. Knox was also quoted in The Washington Post. You can also read Knox’s comments in an interview with the Christian Century and, most recently, Religion News Service and Beliefnet.
Jewish Theological Seminary Accepting Gay and Lesbian Students
After months of deliberation, the Jewish Theological Seminary decided to accept qualified gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical and cantorial schools. This is an important step in Conservative Judaism and was enabled by the December decision of the Conservative movement's legal authorities to reverse the movement's ban on the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis and to allow for gay and lesbian marriage ceremonies. Religion Council member Rabbi Denise Eger was a strong public advocate in bringing this critical change to Conservative Judaism. We are all delighted to see this important concrete step in opening the doors to GLBT people within Conservative Judaism.
New Website and Conference on Surviving Ex-gay Movement
Beyondexgay.com, an online community for those who are healing from ex-gay experiences, has just launched. Online registration is also available for “The Survivor’s Conference: Beyond Ex-gay.” The conference runs from June 29-July 1 and is sponsored by beyondexgay.com and Soulforce.
Hear Bishop Robinson’s Recent Presentation
Religion Council Member the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson recently spoke at American University on “Faith Matters: Covering Religion in a Multicultural Society.” The event, sponsored by Washington Region for Justice and Inclusion, was meaningful for all who attended. Listen to Robinson’s address.
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion is launching its schedule for next year’s OutFront conferences. HRC’s Religion and Faith Program is a cosponsor of these events. Coming up is an OutFront conference at Hampshire College in Massachusetts from April 27-29, 2007, followed by an OutFront conference in Phoenix on June 1-2, 2007. Go to their website to learn more.
On Thursday, May 3rd, LGBT Religious Archives Network will honor their recent accomplishments and present the 2006-07 LGBT Religious History Award to Dr. Kathryn Lofton. This event is part of the annual Castaneda Lecture Series at the Chicago Theological Seminary that recognizes LGBT religious scholarship. A reception begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Cloisters at 5757 S. University Avenue in Chicago, followed by presentations in Graham Taylor Hall at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome.
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
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Religion & Faith Resources
All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington, DC.
Home of the Clergy Call for Justice and Equality's Interfaith Celebration on April 16.
New from the Religion and Faith Program
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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