A coalition of
national faith leaders issued an open letter Monday to
more than 20,000 religious and political leaders, calling
for a faith-based approach that supports diverse
sexual orientations and gender identities. The letter,
published by the Religious Institute on Sexual
Morality, Justice, and Healing, challenges religious leaders
to use the pulpit to spread a welcoming message to all
people while educating themselves about the diversity
of human sexuality.
thousands of religious leaders, each U.S. congressional
member will receive the document.
religious denominations continue to debate issues of
sexuality," said the institute's director, the
Reverend Debra W. Haffner, "the silence
and...condemnation of clergy have led to destroyed
relationships, suicidal despair and discrimination, and
violence against LGBT persons. Denying that God created
diversity as a blessing is denying biblical
religious institutions have failed to embrace sexual and
gender diversity," the letter reads.
"Some have mistakenly called homosexuality
sinful when the real issue is heterosexism or the unjust
privileging of heterosexuality. Heterosexism devalues
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, just
as sexism and male privilege devalue women. Silence,
misinformation, and condemnation of differing sexual and
gender identities have created despair, destroyed
relationships, and led to violence, suicide, and even
murder. Sexual and gender oppression can no longer be
portrayed as virtuous and morally defensible."
According to a
press release, the letter was developed by theologians and
ordained clergy from Jewish, Baptist, Brethren, Episcopal,
Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, United Church
of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist traditions.