The Reformation Project’s conference in Washington, D.C., was billed as a training to help Christians advocate for LGBT people in their faith communities. Discussions about the conference on Twitter used the hashtag #TRPinDC.
Featured as keynote speakers were David Gushee, an evangelical Christian minister and ethics professor who recently wrote a book advocating for LGBT acceptance, and Allyson Robinson, an ordained Baptist minister and a transgender woman who previously headed OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Transcripts of both keynote speeches have been posted online. Excerpts from both speeches follow.
"The un-Christlike teaching of contempt for LGBT people is, in my view, in the process of being discredited, of breaking down, even as we speak. Every year elements of it lose ground. …
"We must celebrate the progress being made in repudiating the teaching of contempt against that 1/20th of the human family who are LGBT. And we must finish the job as soon as we can. …
"Teaching and behavior that harms our own sexual minorities has not disappeared, not by a long shot. LGBT people are still not treated as equals, as kin, in the family of faith. They are often rejected by their families, churches, schools, and friends. Their gifts continue to be blocked. In just two weeks since my own announcement of standing in solidarity with LGBT Christians, I have heard from literally scores of young people, parents, and others with their harrowing tales of rejection and harm. Brothers and sisters, this must not continue. …
"Ultimately, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians must be accepted and welcomed in the Church on the same basis as any other sinner saved by grace. Their — your — participation in Christian community must be governed by the same principles that apply to any other believer.”
Gushee’s remarks also drew parallels between anti-LGBT teachings and historic anti-Semitism and drew attention to the plight of homeless LGBT youth.
"I’m honored to join you tonight and especially honored to share this moment with you. I’m speaking this moment when we gather together around the sacred words, yes, but even more so this cultural moment — this historic moment when everything is changing fast and when that which seemed impossible just a few short years ago looks, well, inevitable.
"I called it, and I might have been the first — if so, I want to make sure I get credit for that — in an article I wrote recently for The Narthex:Tthe culture war is, finally, at long last, coming to a close. Now, wars have a certain momentum, and the culture war is no different. There will be a few, final battles and, sadly, more casualties to go with them. But the outcome is no longer in question.
"Marriage equality for same-sex couples nationwide is inevitable. Courts and commissions regularly find in favor of transgender plaintiffs in cases of workplace discrimination. More companies, more hospitals, more universities, and yes, more churches are making it clear: LGBT inclusion and equal opportunity are among their core values. Even in the most entrenched sectors of our society resistance is giving way to resignation. Our time in the wilderness is almost over."
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly published on YouTube excerpts from an interview with Reformation Project founder and president Matthew Vine:
According to Vine, the Reformation Project will hold conferences in Atlanta and Kansas City in 2015.