I don’t believe it’s necessary for you to believe in a higher power, or to belong to any organized faith. It works for me and my partner, but I admit I have no proof any god exists … or doesn’t exist, for that matter. (You can ask me next week what I believe about God, and I might change my mind.)
What I do firmly believe is that a small but vocal and well-organized minority of self-professed Christians in the United States have done extraordinary harm to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people over the past 20 years. They have gone out of their way to marginalize and demonize us, and other Christians have been reluctant to push back, I guess out of fear of not being “nice.”
And it makes me furious. You know, it’s one thing to “turn the other cheek,” but it’s another to not stand up when someone else’s humanity—and their very right to exist—is being questioned. How is it “Christ-like” to stand idly by while someone else is being attacked?
(Gay-bashing and trans-bashing clerics have also done tremendous damage to their own credibility. A story in the May/June issue of the Delta Foundation’s Equal Magazine quotes a 2011 study as saying 63 percent of Americans believe that negative messages from so-called religious leaders contribute to suicides among LGBTQ kids. Sixty-three percent!)
So I am really excited about this Sunday afternoon’s event at Highland Park reservoir and fountain. Called “Circle of Faith Pittsburgh,” it’s a call for interfaith organizations from throughout Pittsburgh to welcome and include LGTBQ persons, their families and allies.
A check of their Facebook page shows Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists and others from around Western Pennsylvania are planning to participate. (It’s at 2 p.m. You can find directions here.)
“Circle of Faith” seems like a positive step at pushing back against small-minded bigots, and repairing some of the serious harm that’s been done in Jesus’ name, and I think it’s long overdue.