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On Eve of March, Faith Drives Activism for Gay Rights Supporters

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) As thousands of gays and lesbians prepare to march on the nation’s capital to push for equal rights, leaders from a range of faiths say it’s time to stop using religion as a weapon to oppose same-sex marriage.
What’s more, advocates for gay rights say their faith and a sacred belief in justice are what actually form the foundation of their support for gay and lesbian unions.
Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian, said he once used religious tenets to support prejudice toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but “I realized those attitudes were not in keeping with my religious values by causing harm using religious teaching.”
He said supporting same-sex marriage is in keeping with his faith because “what’s essential is those core principals of love, compassion and respect for others.”
Now, as executive director of Faith in America, Childers leads a group whose mission statement embraces the goal of “emancipat(ing) lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from bigotry as disguised by religious truth.”
Childers is among the more than 100 religious leaders who have endorsed the Oct. 11 National Equality March on behalf of gay rights.
Several faith groups are planning religious events in the Washington area Oct. 9-11, including an interfaith service before the march.
The two-mile march on the afternoon of Oct. 11 will culminate in a rally outside the U.S. Capitol.
Speakers will include Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was killed in a hate crime in 1998; lawmakers from New York City and Los Angeles; and veteran gay activists Clive Jones and David Mixner. Regional groups around the country are organizing trips to Washington, a well as events in their own cities on Oct. 11.
The march is preceded by two days of events that include workshops on lobbying tactics and media training. On Oct. 10, there will be a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to honor gay service members discharged under the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
“We believe all people are created in God’s image. Doing anything less than fighting for equality for all is not living into our calling,” said Kareem Murphy, one of the members of Washington’s predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church, which is helping organize members of various Christian denominations to attend the march and related events.
“Christ ministered to people who are considered outsiders, and we want to continue that ministry,” he said.
Robin McGehee, co-director of the march, said it took years to reconcile her Baptist faith with her lesbian sexual orientation. “I finally understood I could have both uniquely and effectively and not have to choose one over the other,” she said.
Another march supporter, Faith in America founder and furniture magnate Mitchell Gold, said, “There’s been a real mobilization of faith groups saying faith is equal to justice.”
Several Jewish leaders also have endorsed the march, including Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Denise Eger, president of the Pacific Association for Reform Rabbis. Eger said Jewish history, from slavery in ancient Egypt to the horror of the Holocaust, has colored Jewish activism on behalf of gay rights since the 1960s.
“We’ve had the ultimate experience of dehumanization,” she said.
“What’s happening now, that’s alarm bells. What’s next?”
The Rev. Irene Monroe, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School, likened the same-sex marriage debate to the 1960s struggle for African-American civil rights. She said there were religious teachings that supported slavery as well as a ban on interracial marriage that are now considered shameful.
“A lot of the bigotry that we as LGBT people face is based on religion,” she said.
Molly Kropp, 35, who attended a recent fundraiser for the march, said her support for same-sex marriage got down to a question of morality. “It should just be about common respect,” she said, “and spreading awareness of the idea of equality.”
By MICHELLE MINKOFF
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • Henrietta22

    The two-mile walk for “equality for GLBT” on Oct. 11 will be a spectecular! They are coming from all over America, and even other countries, I would imagine. Happy to hear that Evangelical Brent Childers has changed his view on the people and their lives.

  • pagansister

    It is so good to see that those of all faiths are coming together to help get rights for GLBT. Excellent!

  • Scott

    Henrietta22 and pagansister you give me hope for humanity. In my daily life I deal with a lot of hate from those around me at work and in my community and it’s utterly depressing. I’m glad to see there are people who are tolerant and truly concerned for the well-being of others. From a gay kid who has literally and figuratively been beaten up and feels he has no place in this country other than second-class citizen, from the bottom of my heart…thank you.

  • pagansister

    Scott, don’t be a stranger!
    Henrietta22 is a great woman, who has been posting on this site longer than I have.
    I’m very sorry that you have had problems with acceptance in your job and community. That shouldn’t happen. This is the USA. Equality is the right of all citizens.

  • cknuck

    The churches involved have completely discredited the bible or maybe some of them are like some of the so-call Christians who sometimes post here and have dissected the bible for their own purposes. God’s word is very clear on homosexuality and there is no way that cutting off penises, building up skin to look like penises and pumping the body full of hormones and other drug to obtain the appearance of another sex is certainly not biblical. It’s curious all of those separation of church and state persons quickly jump on this.

  • My Name

    cknuck I think your obvious contempt for these people does a much more efficient job at discrediting the bible than those churches. I guess your stance is something like how dare they preach understanding when they could be preaching hate. I didn’t see anywhere in the article where the church representatives said homosexuality wasn’t a sin, they just prefer to welcome them to God’s word instead of chastising them, as you would prefer. I hope one day you realize the error of your methods. Your style is exclusionary. You are working against God’s goal of bringing people to Him. You are casting people out when you should be welcoming them in.

  • nnmns

    The people in the article make religion look good. People like cknuck, as far as his attitude toward our homosexual brothers and sisters, makes it look bad. I hope the good people get activated and take back the image of Christianity from those who use it to abuse people.

  • cknuck

    YN do you know anything about how God feels about sin? Or do you know anything about phrases in the bible like “go and sin no more” or What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Romans 6:1. Should we let the abounding of grace pass away so that we can sin? …
    A church that embraces sin is a church that mocks Christ’s sacrifice. The church has mistaken grace with the right to follow our fetishes instead of discipleship. Sure all sinners are welcome in the church but not to practice sin but to learn to resist sin.

  • My Name

    cknuck, do you know anything about God’s love…or about God at all?? You basically made up your diatribe from nothing. You concocted it to try and prove a point we weren’t even debating. cknuck you’re a troll…but I’ll indulge you. First of all, you seem to be speaking from a place where you don’t believe you are a sinner. Congratulations, you’re the first human to not be a sinner…or maybe you’re just self-righteous. I believe the latter.
    Second, you are really vehement about your gay-bashing. You say it’s because they are living in sin. Do you attack the divorcees that attend church as violently as you do the gays? After all God says there is no such thing as divorce except maybe in the case of infidelity. So when someone who has divorced their spouse starts a new relationship or gets remarried they are adulterers in God’s eyes and are living in sin right? Do you seek to expel them from the church or do you tolerate their existence? Okay cknuck either tell us yes you attack them and we’ll know you’re lying or tell us you don’t attack them and you’re a bigot. What about rich people? God says they have pretty much no chance of getting into heaven just like the gays right? Matthew 19:24, Luke 18:25, Mark 10:25. So they must be huge sinners!! Do you feel people with wealth should be excluded from God? Say yes and you’re lying, say no and you’re a bigot. God was also pretty clear that women and men shouldn’t wear each other’s clothes and no one should use fabric made of 2 different threads. So by your stupidity women who wear pants and men who wear suits made of wool and silk should be barred from the church.
    You’re a troll with no understanding of Christianity and I’m a fool to give you this much of my time and effort because you are clearly undeserving and lack critical thinking skills. I won’t waste effort on you again. God forgive you for what you’re doing in His name.

  • Nav i G8

    It is so easy to misunderstand attitudes when they are so coldly represented in these emotionless symbols. It’s my prayer that my comment is not misconstrued to be anything beyond a sincere statement from someone who is doing his best.
    I believe the media has, to some extent, exaggerated positions of this issue. True, you have your extremist in everything, and, in most cases, extremes should be avoided. However, what seems to be most widely represented is the extreme of both sides. Depending on the desired spin, those opposed to homosexual marriages, etc. are ALL pictured as those, sadly ignorant, “God hates F&#S” protestors (whose ATTITUDE, by the way, I know God hates). On the other hand, supporters of homosexuality are pictured at the opposite extreme. Some see them evilly tapping their fingers together as they plan to take away heterosexual’s rights and inundate the elementary schools with “how to become homosexual” guides. Sadly, both extremes exist, but for the most part they become targets that take our effort of civil discussion of the topic off of the majority who lay somewhere in the middle. Perhaps, if we (me included) stop beating up these straw dolls of media hype, we will be able to see the point the other is trying to make, and, using reason, come to a conclusion.
    I humbly submit this for your consideration. That’s all I’m going to say until I see how it is received.

  • Husband

    “God’s word is very clear on homosexuality”
    If it were “clear”, this ‘debate’ wouldn’t be happening., Not that I consider what you post to be a debate anyway. As in …
    “and there is no way that cutting off penises, building up skin to look like penises and pumping the body full of hormones and other drug to obtain the appearance of another sex”
    What on earth does any kind of surgery, let alone what you have imagined above, got to do with a march for equality?
    Care to join us in what is actually being discussed?

  • Husband

    ck confuses same sex love and committment with “the right to follow our fetishes”. No wonder he turns people off Christ’s message of love. He doesn’t understand what love is.

  • Your Name

    Cknuck,
    Even as a Pagan I know that your Christian God sacrificed his only son for the sins of mankind, so is it alright to mock your God sacrifice? As a fifth generation Witch and Gay I can tell you first hand about hatred and intolerance that people of difference have suffered at the hands of people who don’t believe that their God is in control of the world.
    Your God tells you to not “Judge” since you will bring judgment upon yourself, whether from other people or from your God. The line goes, “judge not lest yea shall be judged.” Too many people in this world are taking charge of being judge, jury and executioner for a God who many must believe no longer exists.
    In our religions Goddess made everything just as it should be and bless her heart she decided that if all her children were to go forth and multiply that this world would be wall to wall people. So rather than decide to reduce the world population through war and pestilence (both of which tends to caused by large numbers of people) she saw that a non-populating group would do this much neater! Wow, a deity who has a few brains! She also didn’t have a problem with abortion since she knew that not every woman and man could or should be a parent. Check the abuse statistics of children, women and men and then think about this. The Christian world is too protective of its image to understand that one set of rules just doesn’t cut it. There are too many individuals.

  • Henrietta22

    Husband, Ck is speaking of transgendered operations. We’ve tried telling him about why people want these operations, but he won’t listen. Abnormalities happen sometimes as the fetus grows in the womb, and many of them can be corrected later, such as: Harelips, Huge noses, Huge ears, crossed eyes, hearts growing on the outside of chests, etc. When it comes to sexual organs people like Ck, explode with indignation and threats they see in Bible passages, I know it’s sad, but there you are.

  • pagansister

    YN at 12:38 PM Oct. 1:
    Your last paragraph is priceless…and makes so much sense…thanks for the explanation to those who really don’t get us.

  • cknuck

    Your Name it stands to reason that a fifth generation Witch and homosexual (I had no idea that homosexuality is sequential generational)that you would know that one scripture and not know “judge with righteous judgment” command. I am also glad that you take credit for your goddess made homosexuality and abortion because I am confident that my God did not. So thanks for clearing up a few things for me.
    H22 you amaze me, you compare penises and vagina’s with, “Harelips, Huge noses, Huge ears, crossed eyes, hearts growing on the outside of chests, etc.” That’s just amazing and humorous too in a wacky weird sort of way.

  • Henrietta22

    Scott, thanks for letting us know you care how we care for you. The March for Equality will continue until equality is reached.
    PS, thanks but not great, just persistent.

  • pagansister

    Henrietta:
    You are great AND persistent, how about that? ;o)

  • GodsCountry

    Making evil good and good evil is perhaps the ultimate way to destroy any hope that humanity will ever get anything right.
    Homosexual behavior is evil, not “good”.
    Promoting marriage of one man to one woman is good, not “evil”.
    There is but one God and one way to live this life so that you please your Creator.
    There is hope, even for those who go so far as to actually promote evil and who militate against good. You can be washed clean, given a new life and a hope that will not disappoint. God offers this to anyone who chooses it.
    Life is full of choices, but this one is essential.
    Don’t get it wrong.

  • Your Name

    Man’s very nature is one of sin, sexism and racism. The entire history of the bible is one of man’s struggling against these base tendencies with God constantly having to smack and then hold our hand every time we mess up. I am so passionate about this whole issue that it just makes me very angry and upset. And all I really have to say to fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Jews or whoever, is to grow the hell up already.
    For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant — To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
    Isaiah 56:4-5

  • pagansister

    Gee! GC, Ain’t love grand?? It is grand in all it’s proper parts….M/F, M/M, F/F, parent/child. Only wrong love is tha kind that is done with malice, those of child molesters, rapists, abusers etc. Love between 2 consenting adults, and parent love is always right, and totally grand.
    Yes, life is full of choices.

  • cknuck

    YN the individuals you indicate are not necessarily homosexual and if they are it was decided for them by royalty, eunuchs were made eunuchs for service sake by their masters. You mis-interpret the word my friend and regardless your intentions false gospel is still false. pagan your quote wit MF MM FF is indeed the pagan way but not the way of the bible and of course you don’t believe in the bible so it is to be expected I just feel sorry for Christians that have been influenced by the way of the pagan. It is prophesized and as always only a remnant shall remain true.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, never feel sorry for those who choose other ways to believe. Wasn’t it your god who supposedly gave humans “free will?” There are fortunately LOTS of ways to believe …none superior to any other…including yours.

  • GodsCountry

    “”…grow the hell up already…””
    …psychological projection.
    Look it up.
    It happens here, frequently, when one hasn’t a chance of producing a valid argument.

  • cknuck

    pagan you continue to express that all beliefs are equal when in fact that is a lie. I won’t bring up the differences because they are meaningless to you but you should take care not to make blanket statements you cannot possibly back up.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, there are soooo many more religions than Christianity…and none are superior to another. I know you and some have a problem with that, but I don’t. Christianity isn’t the end all of religions, it doesn’t trump the Jewish faith, or the Hindu faith, the Muslim faith or any others, IMO. To you Christianity fits your life, to me…others do. What’s to back up? Differences are wrong? To you maybe. If there were no differences and your’s was THE way to believe, this world would be really boring.
    GC…word of the day has changed from audacity to some word placed in front of the word: Projection? Wow, how intellectual you have become! I’m so not impressed.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, I’ve been wondering….just why do differences in religions make them unequal to you? I’d find your answer to that interesting. That analogy has been used for skin color at one time. Those with dark skin, or eyes of a differnt shape etc. weren’t considered “equal” to those with white skin? Was that correct? Of course not, so why do you think your religion is so superior? Your savior is no more perfect than someone elses superiour being. The importance of a religion is in the head/mind of the follower.

  • Better than U

    ck,
    “eunuchs were made eunuchs for service sake by their masters”
    You would do well to actually read the Scripture on eunuchs. There are 3 kinds, not just the 1 kind you mentioned. Let the one that can understand it accept it. You obviously do not understand it.

  • cknuck

    better there don’t be silly there is only one kind of eunuch and no volunteers, none of them made themselves a eunuch.

  • Better than U

    cknuck once again your ignorance is showing. Matthew 19:12. 3 kinds. How does anyone take you seriously when you are so often proven wrong?

  • GodsCountry

    mnms is now better than u?
    Just as blind, just as militant and just as WRONG.
    And still no reason why an atheist desires a hearing on a site where belief is discussed.
    Searching, perhaps?
    Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. You may only approach God through Him.
    Plain truth.

  • My Name

    Well if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. You’re not militant gc? I would like to add condescending to your list of transgressions. Your rhetoric in no way, shape or form makes Christianity appealing. I wouldn’t want to be a Christian if you were my only example of a Christian. So where exactly is BTU wrong? I looked up the verse. They clearly talk about 3 differents types of eunuch. Care to shed some light on how the good book should be twisted to mean only 1 when it clearly references 3?

  • cknuck

    YN I understand your confusion, the verse involves three different situations (not three different kinds of literal eunuchs) One is a person that is born with a deformity of their genitals, another is a person that is castrated for service reasons, and the last example is simply practicing Celibacy. The castrated person is the only true eunuch the others are not. “A eunuch (pronounced /ˈjuːnək/) is a castrated man, in particular one castrated early enough to have major hormonal consequences;”

  • pagansister

    Just why shouldn’t anyone, GC, desire a hearing on this site? This site is for EVERYONE and anyone who wants to discuss topics related to religion. One most certainly doesn’t have to be your version of Christianity ( not a great representative of that) or have any religious bent to talk here. Religion is very interesting. The whys and wherefores of all branches are fun to discuss. Thus you do not have any more priority on this site than anyone else…

  • Poupon U

    Hey, “U”,
    How does anyone take “U” seriously when “U” are so often proven wrong?
    from,
    the new “U” on the blog

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