This year, over 300 religious leaders from all 50 states and representing more than 25 denominations and faith traditions will come together in the nation’s capital. They will organise and strengthen their faith voices and lobby members of Congress about why, as a matter of faith,they support full equality for LGBT people and families. Clergy will focus their advocacy on legislation to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and to protect students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“America’s clergy are leading the charge in changing hearts and minds, both of the American people and our elected leaders,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Clergy Call 2011 will have a lasting impact on Capitol Hill. Diverse clergy voices speaking out for justice show our legislators that religion is NOT antagonistic to the LGBT community. ”
The theme for Clergy Call 2011, “Leadership for Justice in Complex Times,” reflects the vision and need for a faith-based movement in support of LGBT equality at this moment of great change in our country. On May 22 and 23, clergy will engage in programming designed to strengthen their diverse voices and their reach as moral agents for justice. In addition to this skill-based work, they will take part in a faith service the evening of May 23rd(open to the public), and a morning press conference on May 24th before lobbying their elected leaders.
“Religious leaders from across the spectrum of faith backgrounds and from states as diverse as Maine and Alabama are turning to the core tenets of their religious beliefs as they proclaim that justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a matter of deep faith,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion and Faith program. “They will not stand on the sidelines, but are claiming their faith as they join the struggle for LGBT equality.”
“What HRC has figured out is that the best antidote to the Religious Right is mobilised moderate and progressive faith voices,” said Rev. Susan Russell, Sr. Associate Pastor at All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA. “As faith leaders, we must demonstrate the love, compassion and yearning for equality we possess in our hearts in order to end oppression.”