Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Progressive Clergy and LGBT Equality

Rev. Debra Haffner published a piece in the Huffington Post providing evidence for what I have known from experience. Churches that quit pandering to fear and instead embrace LGBT equality will soon benefit the entire community in many areas.

Read the whole of her excellent essay (and send it on to your minister and church board), Will Clergy Lead the Way in LGBT Equality?

This may surprise you, but your local minister or rabbi may well be ahead of the curve when it comes to LGBT advocacy. The same day the Quinnipiac poll was released, two other reports - one by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, the other by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources - depicted the depth of LGBT-affirming ministries and activism among clergy in mainline Protestant, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist congregations.

These two reports revealed that LGBT equality is the primary focus of social justice activism in progressive congregations. At the same time, they indicated that congregations that take intentional action to embrace LGBT congregants also tend to be more active in environmentalism, reproductive justice, anti-poverty efforts and other social concerns. And they refuted the myth that welcoming LGBT persons and their families into the congregation creates divisions or drives other congregants away.

In short, these progressive congregations are demonstrating how the entire faith community benefits from the full embrace of LGBT equality. It's a lesson the wider American community should listen to, and learn from. And clergy are in a unique position to deliver the message. (read more)

When my current congregation took the plunge and
  • affiliated with The Center for Progressive Christianity, More Light Presbyterians, and The Covenant Network,
  • included "sexual orientation and gender identity" in our welcome statement on our bulletins and web page, and
  • opened our doors to performing holy unions for same-gender couples,
we grew in attendance and membership. We have folks of all ages and we have more children under seven than I can count. Why? Because the parents of these children want to raise them in a church that is inclusive and affirming of all people.

Hey, it's my blog; I am going to brag about my church. Here is the May newsletter that just went on-line today. You will see this little congregation involved anti-poverty efforts, environmental efforts, and all kinds of things.

Progressive congregations who do not shy away or try to play the middle but instead become a place of full inclusion as part of their social justice ministry end up doing social justice in all areas.

The same will happen for our denomination when we finally become fully inclusive.


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