Thursday 13 June 2013

Inclusive faith groups need you ...

It never ceases to amaze me how much money is apparently around to both sponsor, and be made from, bigotry and bigoted causes.

The language used by organisations that support bigoted views often claims to support what is holy, sacred, or core to our values as a society.  They use scare tactics and a series of untruths to attempt to label those they're seeking to oppress and to gain support and finances from people who don't wish to see their lifestyle or value system threatened.  In my opinion this is less of a faith issue, but more of a power issue, and occasionally a financial issue.

By contrast, the groups that seek to promote full inclusion often work with very limited budgets and payrolls, but work very hard.

This is especially true in the case of so-called faith groups fighting against the LGBT community.  There are plenty of groups working very hard to fight the full inclusion of LGBT people, to campaign against marriage equality & marriage equality in faith communities, and most recently - often campaigning for bills which allow discrimination on the religious grounds.

I don't believe the answer to fighting bigotry in faith groups is to silence the voice of faith. If we allow ourselves to go down that road, we effectively silence all faith voices, including those fighting hard to bring full equality and inclusion.  People of faith who believe in equality for all often speak out in favour of full inclusion at the risk of their careers, and sometimes even their homes and families.  If we're to bring change in faith communities and have faith communities that affirm and include all and advocate for equality, we're going to need to support them and help them find their voice. If we give them back their voice, it removes some of the power of the oppressive groups that seek to silence everyone that doesn't submit to their control.

I wish to draw attention to some of the groups working for the full inclusion of the LGBT community, in faith groups, in society, in law and in our culture.  They need your support, your time, your gifts and talents, your prayers and your donations.

Faith Groups
  • LGCM - the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement.
    Find out more about them here
    Donate to their ministry here
  • Changing Attitude - Changing Attitude works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the life of the Anglican Communion.
    Find out more about them here
    Donate to their ministry here
  • Two:23 - an evangelical Christian with a LGBT inclusive ministry
    Find out more about Two:23 here
  • Diverse Church - Diverse Church is a supportive community of 250+ young 18-30yo LGBT+ Christians, predominantly in UK evangelical churches. They aim to be a pastoral/mission resource for the wider church.
    Find out more about them here
  • Inclusive Churchworking for a church that is welcoming and open to all, and also holds a directory of inclusive churches nationwide.
    Find out more about them here
    Support their ministry here
  • Accepting EvangelicalsAccepting Evangelicals is a open network of Evangelical Christians who believe the time has come to move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
    Find out more about them here
  • Metropolitan Community Church - a global inclusive church movement
    You can read more about them here
    Find their Western European & Un
    ited Kingdom ministry groups here (you can support their ministries on their respective pages)
    Support their global ministry here
  • Matthew Vines' Reformation Project
    Matthew is a remarkable young man. There are plenty of people who have explained the theology behind inclusive Christianity, but Matthew is perhaps the first to make it available in a YouTube video, in the form of an hour-long lecture, that provides a brief summary of all Scriptural views of homosexuality. Matthew's page is here.
    This video, and it's growth in global popularity, gave rise to a ministry by the name of
    The Reformation Project a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organisation that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Read more about this ministry here.
    The Reformation Project is only available in the USA for now, but is hopefully coming to the UK soon.
    Support Matthew's Reformation Project here.
    I'm hoping to get the chance to meet Matthew at some point over the course of my Sabbatical, but obviously time-permitting for both of us.
Community / campaigning groups
  • StonewallProbably the group many people think of first when thinking of a group working towards equality for LGBT people.
    Find out more about Stonewall here
    Find out about the many ways you can support Stonewall here.
This list is not exhaustive, but a brief introduction into a few of the groups I've had the pleasure of being in contact with - and supporting - over the last year or two.  The people in these groups are extremely hard-working and dedicated, but they desperately need support - in whatever form you can offer it - to continue to fight for equality for the LGBT community in our government and in our faith communities.

I regularly tweet about Equality and Equal Marriage (although not exclusively) ... you can follow my twitter feed here.

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