May 22nd – 24th saw hundreds of faith leaders from all 50 states participating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call for Justice and Equality for 2011. Among the leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. to support legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, to ban employment discrimination against LGBT people, and protect students from discrimination and bullying were three of people’s favorite contributors to a number of the Living the Questions DVD series. They included Bishop Minerva Carcaño, episcopal leader of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Winnie Varghese, Priest in charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in the Bowery in New York City, and Bishop Yvette Flunder, Senior Pastor of City of Refuge Community Church UCC in San Francisco.
At a Press Conference at the HRC event on May 24th, Bishop Carcaño said:
“Hate and violence against persons, whether it is bullying in our schools, the taunting and violating of a person’s privacy to the point of humiliating that person and destroying his or her sense of self worth and belonging, to beatings and even murder on our streets or on the outskirts of our towns, all because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, cannot be left unchallenged or unconquered. Such violence against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers is a violation of all that is good within us, and destroys the inherent human dignity of all of us.” Read the bishop’s complete statement HERE.
Bishop Flunder added, “Too many are being murdered, too many are being bullied, too many have committed suicide!” In her own remarks, Flunder reminded those gathered that,
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people should have the right to be treated fairly in the workplace. Currently, Federal law provides legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability, but NOT sexual orientation or gender identity. Still in 30 states across America it is still legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation and in 38 states it is still legal to fire someone for being transgender. Say it with me, we have work to do!”
In Living the Questions’ “Dream, Think, Be, Do” (see video above) and LtQ2, Bishop Flunder says,
“I have come to believe that true faith in the Church means essentially not gradually moving toward the margin. True faith is when we take a great leap toward the margin. And the question is, in our time, who is most marginalized by Church and society? And right now, what I have come to call the last real blind spot on the body of Christ is the inclusion, the affirmation, and celebration of same gender loving and transgender people in the Church. And I believe that it would be remarkably liberating for the Church to find itself full of extravagant grace and radical inclusivity.”
More on the HRC event HERE.
In related news, a new HRC poll shows that a majority of Christians support LGBT Equality. Check out the poll results HERE.