Nearly 200,000 people of faith, both liberals and conservatives, signed a Faith in America pledge to help end the harm done to LGBT youth by anti-LGBT religious teachings.
The pledge is part of the "Save yOur Kids" campaign run by Faith in America, a group that works for LGBT acceptance in religion, in coalition with a variety of organizations. As part of the effort, Faith in America last month assembled volunteers to engage attendees at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Phoenix regarding the denomination's anti-LGBT stances.
The pledge, available on the Save yOur Kids website, represents a commitment to similar conversations. It notes that LGBT youth who experience strong rejection by their families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide in young adulthood than those who are more accepted, and that such youth are also at high risk of homelessness.
"Regardless of how we interpret scripture, we must come together to discuss how we can save these kids," the document continues. "So, I pledge to Save yOur Kids! by being compassionate and open to dialogue with others who might interpret scripture differently from me in order to end the harm that is leaving hundreds of thousands of kids with the belief that they are better off on the street than at home."
"I'm not surprised we were able to inspire almost 200,000 people of faith to take our pledge because I know firsthand how conflicted so many Christians are over this important subject. In my community and in my travels, I regularly meet people who simply don't agree with their religious leadership or don't understand why they are being told family members are broken, when they know they are not. I am very encouraged by this response," said Mitchell Gold, Faith in America's cofounder and board cochair, in a press release. "At a time when support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high among people of faith and growing, we have a responsibility to come together and end the harm that is caused to these innocent kids."