• Say No to Hate! Sign a letter of support to Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Georgia
    Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer was desecrated by a spray painted hate message that quoted Leviticus 18:22 and threatened the church with burning. “We are clear this is not just vandalism; this is life-threatening hatred. When people who cite chapter and verse to send others to hell, they are usually prepared to personally send you there,” said Global Moderator Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “It is sad that we have to remind people that hate is not a Christian value.” “As an African American woman, I know that hate is hate. Whether it is the shooting of the Charleston nine, burning of churches, or spray painted threats on church doors, the intent is to silence us with fear for our lives,” said the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, MCC Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries. “We will not be silent! Silence will not protect us. It will only embolden those who use guns, torches, and spray paint because they have not opened themselves to the power of love.” Send your love by adding your name, and if you can go the extra mile, make a donation for the repairs and the security system at: http://www.gofundme.com/mccofourredeemer
    478 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Elder Nancy Wilson Picture
  • Tell Congress Religious Liberty Doesn't Mean LGBT Discrimination
    The religious liberty upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse religious landscape to flourish. Recently, however, what we have seen promoted as defending religious liberty too often reflects one particular religious perspective that does not at all respect that diversity of faith and belief, or the intent of our Founders. We believe that the First Amendment Defense Act does not respect the spirit of religious liberty—nor does it reflect fundamental values of treating all people with fairness and equality—and we therefore strongly oppose this legislation. Further, though people of faith are not a monolith and all are not in agreement on whether their faith sanctions LGBT relationships, we cannot in good conscience support legislation that favors one religious viewpoint over another and in the process discriminates against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples. The religious freedom of individuals and organizations, including clergy and houses of worship, who object to same-sex marriage are already protected by the First Amendment and federal law—and we, as clergy and faith leaders, continue to stand by the right of others to hold beliefs that may differ from our own while recognizing that for many of us, supporting LGBT individuals and families is a principle of our faith. Rather than protecting the First Amendment, this legislation actually undermines true religious liberty. The religious liberty on which our nation was founded guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs — but it does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others or to infringe on the religious beliefs of others. By opening the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples, this legislation does nothing to protect our rights as people of diverse faith traditions and it has the potential to do considerable harm in the name of religion. For example, were this bill to become law it would: • allow an organization to accept federal funds to run a homeless shelter or drug treatment program but then turn away from that program LGBT people or anyone who has a sexual relationship outside of marriage; • allow hospitals to refuse dying patients visitation from their spouse or designated support person; and • permit a government employee to deny services they have a duty to provide, including Veterans or Social Security benefits to a surviving member of a same-sex couple. We are also troubled that this bill is so broad it could even prevent the federal government from enforcing longstanding laws designed to combat discrimination and promote equality. For example, it would let commercial landlords violate fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the landlord’s religious beliefs and allow businesses to violate family medical leave laws by refusing to let a gay or lesbian employee care for a sick spouse. As people of deep faith committed to a country that supports diverse, robust, and healthy religious expression and in the spirit of equality and justice, we urge you to oppose the First Amendment Defense Act.
    3,790 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Stosh Cotler Picture
  • We support the appeal to replace Archbishop Cordileone
    In a letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle April 16, 2015, Catholics appealed to Pope Francis to replace the archbishop with a leader true to Catholic values. In response to the ad, the archbishops’s reply was "The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for the Catholic Community of San Francisco...They do not.” We want Pope Francis to know that YES THEY DO speak for us! "Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance." say leaders. "He has forced Archdiocesan high school teachers to accept a mean-spirited morality code that violates individual consciences, as well as California labor laws He supports a pastor at Star of the Sea parish who marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service, contrary to your desire to expand women’s roles in the Catholic Church. He has isolated himself from our community, and brushes aside advice from his priests. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow, under Archbishop Cordileone’s supervision." Full text of the letter is available at: http://bit.ly/1b1ZLhm The story has been covered at: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Prominent-Catholics-call-on-pope-to-oust-S-F-6202539.php Get involved by following the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theyspeakforme?fref=nf
    1,147 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
    7,250 of 8,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Tell Obama: Anti-LGBT religious exemptions are wrong and immoral
    Dear Mr. President, As faith and civic leaders dedicated to affirming the sacred dignity and equal worth of every person, we are grateful for your upcoming executive order ending discrimination against LGBT people in hiring by federal contractors. We urge you not to include a religious exemption in the executive order. In keeping with the principle that our government must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fairness in its own operations, we believe that public dollars should not be used to sanction discrimination. We recognize in others, and have ourselves heard, a faithful calling to contribute to our communities and country through public service. The imperative to seek healing and justice is one of the most widely shared values across religious traditions and our world is better because of it. In our democratic nation, we believe that public service—especially when it is directly supported by the federal government and our tax dollars—must be aligned with the Constitutional principle that all people deserve equal treatment under the law. Requiring all federal contractors to operate according to the same set of non-discriminatory hiring practices is more than fair; it is a critical safeguard that protects all parties. If contractors were allowed to selectively follow employment or other laws according to their religious beliefs, we would quickly create an untenable morass of legal disputes. Furthermore, if selective exemptions to the executive order were permitted, the people who would suffer most would be the people who always suffer most when discrimination is allowed: the individuals and communities that are already marginalized. Increasing the obstacles faced by those at the margins is precisely the opposite of what public service can and should do, and is precisely the opposite of the values we stand for as people of faith. In a nation as diverse as the United States of America, it is critical that the federal government be trusted to follow—and indeed, to role-model—equitable employment practices. We believe that our mutual commitment to the common good is best served by policies that prohibit discrimination based on factors that have no relationship whatsoever to job performance. We are better and stronger as a nation when hiring decisions are made based on professional merit rather than personal identity. An executive order that allows for religious discrimination against LGBT people contradicts the order’s fundamental purpose, as well as the belief shared by more and more Americans every day, which is that LGBT people should not be treated as second-class citizens. An exception would set a terrible precedent by denying true equality for LGBT people, while simultaneously opening a Pandora’s Box inviting other forms of discrimination. In addition to protecting current and potential employees, we believe ensuring that federal contractors do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in their hiring helps to reduce the likelihood that these contractors will discriminate against clients or other parties in the provision of services. If contractors are free to discriminate in their hiring, it is at least plausible, if not probable, to conclude that clients will experience discrimination as well. We believe that the best way to eliminate discrimination at one level is to reduce discrimination at all levels. We are a pluralistic nation—one that is among the most religiously diverse and devout in the world. Each day we continue to make progress on our journey toward “a more perfect union,” in which all God’s children are treated with fairness and dignity. Many forces help spur this progress. They include the courage of everyday people who live openly as who they truly are; the witness of faith leaders who provide a compass for religious growth; the commitment of political leaders such as yourself who help guide our nation toward a more just path; and the passage of laws and policies that ensure fair treatment for all people. In conclusion, Mr. President, we believe that the path to national unity lies in affirming the full equality and potential of every person. In the spirit of equality, fairness, and justice, we urge you to issue an executive order that ends discrimination against LGBT people in federal contracting without exceptions. http://www.groundswell-mvmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Signers.pdf?showEmbed=true *This emerging coalition of leaders includes diverse faith leaders from around the country, including seminary Presidents, NGOs heads, congregational clergy, theologians, denominational heads, and others.*
    2,212 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by David Elcott, PhD
  • People of Faith Call on the Louisiana Legislature to Help the Poor, Stay Out of People's Bedrooms
    On April 15, 2014, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 66-27 to retain a state law that bans sexual relations between consenting adults. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such laws are unconstitutional, and they cannot be legally enforced. During what is for many people one of the most sacred seasons of the year (Holy Week and Passover), Louisiana lawmakers decided that the best use of their time would be to make an official pronouncement against the 100,000+ Louisianans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and the millions more who love them. Their vote means: "You are not welcome in Louisiana. If it were up to us, you would be fined thousands of dollars or put into jail for up to five years." Trying to extend the reach of government, they also said with their vote: "What you choose to do in your own bedroom is our business." This is in violation of a central tenet of all our faith traditions -- to "love your neighbor." It is especially damaging to LGBT children, who like all children need to know that they are loved and respected as God's unique creations. Louisiana lawmakers used their positions and taxpayer resources to express those intolerant and ignorant opinions, instead of focusing on the fact that Louisiana: > Ranks second in terms of state poverty rates > Has the nation's highest murder rate > Has the highest incarceration rate in the world > Stands to lose billions of dollars and refuse medical care to low income people by refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Is slipping into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of one football field per hour The legislature's vote is not only mean spirited, it is also ironic: Many of these lawmakers are themselves guilty of the "sin of Sodom" as expressed in Ezekiel 16:49: "Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door." As clergy and ordinary people of faith, we call on the Louisiana House of Representatives to repeal Louisiana code 14:89 - the "sodomy law" - and then move on to the real work that needs to be done so the state can live up to its full potential: > Help people to rise out of poverty > Make our streets safe > Keep people out of jail if they don't need to be there > Accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Save this beautiful land before it disappears into the sea.
    153 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Max Niedzwiecki
  • Rainbow Door
    This spring a rising trend of hate crimes toward the LGBTQ Community in NYC has led to an atmosphere of fear in our neighborhoods. Given the fact that most of the homophobic rhetoric in our country comes from faith communities (or justifies itself through the faith lens) it becomes particularly important that open and affirming communities of faith stand up and be counted. Not only do we want these communities to visibly identify themselves as "safe sanctuaries" to the LGBTQ Community, we want their voices to be heard in the wider faith dialogue in this country. STATEMENT OF INTENT from the RAINBOW DOOR, A FAITH COALITION Violence against people perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) has existed for millennia. Recent anti-LGBTQ violence in New York City is the latest chapter in this sorry history of bigotry, oppression and discrimination. Urgent action is needed to put a stop to the growing number of targeted bashings and murders in our community. Religion is complicit in this violence. For too long, fearful religious rhetoric has been used to attack the LGBTQ community and to justify discrimination against its members. The Rainbow Door Faith Coalition strongly affirms the right of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification, to be free of the burden of prejudice in their practice of religion and in all other areas of their lives. We reject the antiquated dogma that LGBTQ people are "sinful" or that their so-called "lifestyle" is immoral or threatening to religion or society. We support full equality for LGBTQ persons and encourage respect for their relationships both inside and outside the spiritual traditions that we represent. We call upon faith leaders and communities to: — acknowledge that speech condemning LGBTQ persons is violent speech and, therefore, unacceptable. — encourage congregations and denominations to accept, affirm, and celebrate the whole identities of LGBTQ persons as gifts from God. — mark their buildings with the “Rainbow Door” symbol of solidarity and sanctuary. — exercise “Rainbow Door Safe Sanctuaries” practices, offering compassionate pastoral and congregational care to LGBTQ persons, not to convert or change, but to empower each person’s sense of wholeness and well-being, particularly in this current culture of anti-LGBTQ violence. — choose to hold themselves accountable to this pledge of safety through education of other faith leaders and communities, through reexamination of their beliefs, actions, and words that instigate violence, and through support for the LGBTQ population in general, as well as all marginalized populations within it. Our respective faiths call us to not only stand up for victims of direct violence and oppression, but to cooperatively work to transform violent religious rhetoric until all LGBTQ persons are safe inside and outside faith communities, not because of changing times, not because of shifting politics, but because our faith has commanded and will always command such truthful, anti-violent action. Endorsed by Judson Memorial Church Community Church of Syosset, UCC Middle Collegiate Church Church in the Village Brooklyn Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
    175 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Paul Russell
  • Tell ESPN: Christian Does Not Equal Anti-Gay
    When NBA player Jason Collins came out as a gay man, he noted “My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.” Collins also understands the struggles of LGBTQ youth: “My one small gesture of solidarity was to wear jersey number 98 with the Celtics and then the Wizards. The number has great significance to the gay community. One of the most notorious antigay hate crimes occurred in 1998. Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found.” The Religious Institute applauds this courageous public witness, and our network of religious leaders affirms sexual and gender diversity as a blessed part of life. The Religious Institute is a national nonprofit advocating for sexual and reproductive justice, education and health in faith communities and in society. As longtime advocates for full equality of LGBTQ persons in all areas of religious and public life, we know that the vast majority of LGBTQ youth regularly hear negative messages about LGBTQ people, and that they are twice as likely as their peers to report being physically assaulted at school (http://hrc.org/youth/view-statistics) ESPN provocatively entered into the culture wars and deliberately skewed the Christian perspective by providing a platform for a voice that is known to denigrate sexual and gender diversity. (Update: The petition language has been amended to reflect LZ Granderson's participation in the segment.) ESPN neglected the many religious voices that celebrate sexual and gender diversity as a blessing consistent with their faith tradition. (http://religiousinstitute.org/sites/default/files/open_letters/diversityopenletter_0.pdf)
    4,712 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Debra Haffner
  • Family Film Reviewer Won't Approve Films Featuring Loving LGBT Families: Fight Back!
    In April, "Love Free or Die" – the story of the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson – was denied a family-approved rating by the Dove Foundation, a family film reviewer. Why? "Two men kiss and hold hands" and "many people state they are gay." As a minister who pastors to loving LGBT families, including a family shown in the film (two committed dads and the 4 at-risk children they adopted), I cannot emphasize enough that more families need to see "Love Free or Die." It is a film about love, family, and faith, as well as equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters. "Love Free or Die" shares a message that all of our families and children need to explore together: that our faiths and values teach us to love each other and our neighbors, no exceptions. The Dove Foundation exercises a lot of power by narrowing the choices for parents deciding what films are appropriate for their children. It's clear now that Dove focuses not only on the appropriateness of the content (violence and drug use, for example), but also, alarmingly, on what constitutes a family (no LGBT families need apply). It's alarming because many film industry studios, like Fox Home Entertainment, include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove-approved DVDs. Is "Love Free or Die" really the same as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D," which also is not Dove-approved? I know from experience that you can't help but be positively moved by the love displayed in "Love Free or Die." The film inspires conversations about love and commitment, faith and God, equality and dignity, that make our families stronger, and lay the foundation for our children to grow up as people of faith and values. Now, as a family film reviewer that writes their reviews based on Judeo-Christian values, the Dove Foundation has the opportunity to say that movies like "Love Free or Die," which show loving families, gay and straight, are faith- and family-approved! The faith that I know doesn't teach Love Only Thy Straight Neighbor. In fact, the church where I met Fred and Michael, one of the loving gay couples in Love Free or Die, decided not to perform marriages until same-sex couples could marry. Fred and Michael chose the church because it was a welcoming church for them and their children. Fred and Michael also chose that church for its strong family-focus. Together they had adopted 4 at-risk children, conquering the challenge of raising kids who would have otherwise had a tough life with love and devotion. Fred and Michael saw this as God’s work. Together, we can raise our voices to tell the Dove Foundation that the incredible stories of loving LGBT families – like Bishop Gene Robinson's, like Fred and Michael's – make our families stronger by illustrating a love that our faiths teach: one that embraces all. http://vimeo.com/39888349
    1,416 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Ellen Tillotson
  • Tell Senator Schumer: Protect LGBT Families in Immigration Bill
    Dear Senator Schumer: As New Yorkers and as leaders of diverse faiths and backgrounds, we write to you today with thanks and a reminder. Senator Schumer, we acknowledge and applaud your sincere friendship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over many years. You stood on the right side of history when it wasn’t as popular as it is today and no one will forget that. Today, we call upon you to lead again by including equal protections for LGBT Americans and their families in comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Same-sex bi-national couples should not be forced to choose between their love for America and their love for each other. These couples are our congregants, friends, and leaders in our communities. They are created in the image of God, just like all people, and should be protected as equals by the law. As President Obama, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and so many others have said, LGBT Americans and their families deserve the dignity of the same family immigration rights as all other Americans. You have supported that cause, too, but at the moment, you have not made it clear that this important provision will be included in the original immigration legislation. Not including LGBT protections in the original draft of the bill sends the wrong message and risks that those critical protections will not be included. It also sends the dangerous message that it is acceptable to continue to discriminate against certain groups of people and would be incredibly damaging to those who support LGBT rights and immigration reform. The dignity of LGBT people, who we love and value, must not be traded behind the closed doors of legislative negotiations. They deserve a vigorous, public, and moral advocate in their U.S. Senator. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from Birmingham Jail, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We, the undersigned leaders in New York’s faith community, urge you to publicly endorse the inclusion of LGBT protections in the immigration bill and to include the principles of LGBT equality represented in the Uniting American Families Act in the first draft you are generating with your Senate colleagues. This moment in history is an opportunity to cement your legacy as a champion for the civil rights of all Americans. This is God’s work. Please don’t let us, or our LGBT brothers and sisters, down. Sincerely, The Undersigned This campaign is a partnership of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Empire State Pride Agenda, Auburn Seminary, and Groundswell.
    178 of 200 Signatures
    Created by David Elcott, PhD
  • People of Faith Say: Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts
    We issue our call as Eagle Scouts, as Christians, and as ministers ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We support the full inclusion of gay, bisexual, and transgender boys in the Boy Scouts of America. This is a moral choice: there is no way for us to be true to our oath as Eagle Scouts without affirming the dignity and inclusion of all God’s children. The Boy Scouts Executive Board just announced that they’re considering ending the longstanding ban on gay Scouts and leaders. The question is: Will they only hear from religious extremists advancing discrimination cloaked in scripture, or will we drown out hate with our call for dignity for all Scouts? We invite people of faith and fellow Eagle Scouts to join us in this petition. The Boy Scouts need to know that the “religious” voices calling for the ban to stay in place do NOT represent the whole of the faith or Scout community – especially when we are so close to a victory for equality. (Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso and I, Rev. Patrick Heery, both Eagle Scouts – share our own personal stories in a short letter titled, "Two Eagle Scout Ministers Say, Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts" - http://justiceunbound.org/action-alerts/two-eagle-scout-ministers-say-lift-the-ban-on-gay-scouts/.) To secure victory, the Boy Scouts need to hear from congregations pledging to maintain, if not enhance, support for scouts and their troops when the ban is lifted. And to know that troops currently hosted and sponsored by churches will not suddenly find themselves kicked out and on the street – or that, if they do, new worshiping communities will take them in. It’s why we’re: (1) calling on the Boy Scouts to lift the ban, and (2) promising to support newly inclusive Scouting. Let’s make sure the Boy Scouts know we've got their backs when they stand for equality! We know that this change may be challenging for some, even though troops will remain able to make their own local policies on this issue. Others of us would like to see a stronger policy guaranteeing protection for gay Scouts. But the truth is that lifting the ban will provide an opportunity for Scouts all over this great nation to discuss and wrestle with these questions—to do so bravely and openly as leaders for today.
    1,724 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Patrick Heery
  • Point Loma Should Charter an Official LGBTQ Club
    Point Loma Nazarene University has no institutionalized club that creates a safe space for current students who identify as LGBTQ. Without the explicit support of the university, these students often suffer greatly with feelings of isolation and depression. Knowing that they are supported and celebrated as full members of the community is integral to their health and success. We understand that the chartering of a club is complex because of the institution's ties to the Church of the Nazarene, a Christian denomination that does not recognize the right of LGBTQ people to be in relationship with one another. However, despite the denominational policy, many of us remain compelled to advocate for LGBTQ rights and find it difficult to remain associated with an institution that so blatantly makes LGBTQ students feel unwelcome and unloved. Institutional complexity does not absolve moral imperative to stand for justice even if that stand comes at great cost. Because of this, we--as students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Point Loma Nazarene University--cannot offer financial support in the form of alumni giving until the club is chartered.
    1,312 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Todd Clayton Picture