BY Trudy Ring
February 12 2010 9:10 PM ET
LGBT folks can expect to get some love not only from their romantic partners this Valentine’s Day but also from a perhaps unexpected source — mainline Protestant churches.
The Believe Out Loud campaign, an interfaith effort launching Sunday, calls on church members and clergy who support LGBT equality to become more vocal and visible, and make it clear that the religious right does not speak for all Christians.
“We want more [LGBT-friendly] people of faith speaking publicly about what they believe,” says Michael Adee, executive director and field organizer for More Light Presbyterians, the LGBT-supportive group within the Presbyterian Church USA, and one of the groups involved in the effort. They need to speak out not only about church policies but also but also civil matters like marriage equality, employment policies, hate crimes, adoption rights, and many others, he says.
Believe Out Loud, coordinated by the multifaith social justice organization Intersections International, targets the seven largest mainline Protestant denominations — American Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist — but other churches are welcome to participate, says Sung Park, Intersections project manager.
These faith groups have varying policies on gay rights, both within the church—some ordain partnered gay clergy and bless same-sex unions; others do not—and in the public policy sphere. Studies, like one done three years ago by the think tank Movement Advancement Project, have shown that many clergy members in these denominations support LGBT rights but have not taken action on the issue, Park says. “We need to start shedding light and amplifying the voices of those who are supportive,” he says.
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