My experience with the civil rights movement of the 1960s (yes, I am that old), makes me realize that the civil rights legislation that ultimately became the law of the land for racial, ethnic, and religious minorities could not have passed without the support of the white majority.
More so, it required a real change in attitude on the part of a number of religious traditions and their support to make it a reality.
So too do I realize that the goal of equality, acceptance, and the celebration of committed relationships shared in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community cannot become part of the fabric of our society without the supportive voices of straight allies and members of our religious institutions and faith communities.
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It has long been clear to me, both as a PFLAG dad and as a clergy person, that I want that to happen and that, for my child and all of our LGBT loved ones, I need that to happen.
While some faith traditions and religious movements have adopted positions of inclusion, too many others still hold to doctrines that — at best — marginalize and — at worst — demonize our families. PFLAG, because of its distinctive family and ally voice, united with the voices of LGBT people, is in a unique position to make that happen.
Therefore, it is with much happiness that I share the news of PFLAG’s newest publication aimed at helping make those changes. “be not afraid – help is on the way: straight for equality in faith communities” will enable our members and supporters to change the hearts and minds of their co-religionists one at a time, and thus change the world.
“be not afraid…” aims to move the way we understand our religious beliefs and our relationships with GLBT people—and support for equality—away from the either/or, “love the sinner, hate the sin” framework and to a place where people can try to understand that you can be a person of faith, loyal to your religion’s teachings, and someone who supports their GLBT friends and family.
Forty years ago, when Jeanne Manford took her historic steps to publicly support her gay son, no one might have imagined that we would have come as far as we have. And people of faith, from a variety of religious backgrounds and traditions, are a strong and important part of PFLAG’s history.
With this new approach (shared through this publication, resources, and training opportunities) PFLAG will engage a new generation of straight allies—people who perhaps, unlike Jeanne, don’t have a family connection to the LGBT community, but like Jeanne, do have a passion for fairness—to start engaging others in their faith communities.
I invite you to read and share this new guide, and to become part of the voice that will make a change in our faith traditions.
It is already beginning to happen; we can and we will make a difference.