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Archive for the ‘External Global Justice News’ Category

Black LGBT Religious Leaders Statement of Unity and Purpose

Black LGBT Religious Leaders Act with Historically Black Churches: “Black Bodies Matter”

LGBT Black Christians and faith leaders join tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/ denominations and allies to wear black to church on Sunday, December 14 in response to police brutality: “Black LGBT bodies must matter, too!”
Spokespersons
  • Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM)
  • Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
Black America faces an unspoken agenda of terror and racism. In response, tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/ denominations and allies across the country will be wearing black on December 14, 2014, to protest the criminalization, disproportionate incarceration, and killing of black and brown people by law enforcement. As Black lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) religious leaders, we are all too familiar with oppressive systems that discriminate and kill.
Over the last six years, fair minded Americans have moved the country to elect our first Black president, opened the doors of marriage to same gender loving people in over 35 states and Washington D.C., began a national conversation on the inclusion of transgender brothers and sisters, and confronted the need to finally address immigration reform. This decided shift toward progressive social values has been met with an escalating conservative backlash most abhorrently embodied in the aggressive policing of Black and Brown bodies. The conservative climate has also led to rampant unresolved murders of transgender people.
Action: As more than 150 Black LGBT faith leaders, we commit to mobilize our LGBT led congregations, denominations, and faith communities to participate in a day of solidarity and to pray for healing, justice, and holy boldness as we respond as a united front. We call for the Black community and our allies to stand with us. In turn, we sign on to the following actions:
  • Intentionally collaborate with Black civil rights and faith-based organizations, Black church denominations, and grassroots social justice actions.
  • Participate in Black Lives Matter Sunday, December 14, by wearing black in solidarity and offering prayers to stop the violence against African Americans, to heal Ebola in Africa, and to end to the exportation of homo-hatred by conservative Evangelicals.
We, as LGBT religious leaders across faith traditions and across our country have created an historic alliance among ourselves as we assert that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We declare and decree our wholehearted commitment to participating in a new wave of sacred resistance to power structures, which demean black bodies, and reinforce policies, that undermine the life, and vitality of our community. We uphold that All Black Lives Matter and condemn all the ways Black bodies are marginalized, and subjected to hostility.
To that end, we call for all Black religious voices to unite together across the diversity that exists among us to proclaim that we stand on the side of justice for all and that every life is sacred. To do so we must connect the dots between the forms of oppression that rise up from the toxic root of racism. We stand against oppressive practices wherever they exist and are committed to the practice of peace and we encourage our communities to find common ground.
We commit to moving from the margins to the middle as we articulate an integrated multi-issue justice movement embracing the totality of concerns impacting Black and Brown bodies: police brutality, mass incarceration, violence against trans people, income inequality, immigration discrimination, malnutrition, gun violence, the assault on reproductive health, unequal pay for women, inferior education, disproportionately high HIV/AIDS, Ebola, the homeless crisis among black gay youth, and the lethal exportation of homophobia to Africa by the Religious Right.
As demonstrators around the country are organizing themselves to speak truth to power, we join our voices to this chorus of justice seekers and stand in solidarity with all who seek to change the ways our communities are oppressed and disenfranchised. In response to grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, and in other parts of the country where Black lives are ended senselessly over minor offenses or for no offense at all, our hearts are broken by the lack of justice for the victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement. We grieve with the families in St. Louis, Cleveland, and New York City who have lost their loved ones. We are also dismayed by militaristic police tactics that try to silence the voices of peaceful protesters reacting to the lack of justice from our legal system.
As religious leaders, we lift our voices in solidarity with the families, protesters, and all those who stand against discrimination. We affirm that the walls of racism, homophobia, transphobia and injustice must be pulled down in our communities, nation, on the continent of Africa and throughout the Diaspora.

National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath

A diverse coalition of faith groups has come together to oppose gun violence in the U.S.  Faiths United, which MCC and the Global Justice Institute have endorsed, is inviting congregations, houses of worship, and people of faith to participate in the annual Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend (Thursday – Sunday, December 11-14, 2014).  The timing coincides with the anniversary of the elementary school shootings in Newtown,GunViolencePreventionSabbathConnecticut.  Sponsors hope to double participating from the previous Sabbath’s 1,000 places of worship. The weekend will start with a special December 11 event in the nation’s capital hosted by theWashington National Cathedral.  It will include an interfaith service honoringthose whose lives were lost to gunfire, special prayers for their families, and training sessions to help community leaders implement strategies to reduce gun violence.

 

The Public Policy Team encourages MCC congregations to take Faiths United’s Pledge Against Gun Violence and to sign up to host a local gun violence prevention event during this special weekend.

 

To aid you in these and other efforts, Faiths United is providing the following resources:

Through faith, we find the inspiration to be the blessed peacemakers the world so desperately needs.

 

For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net.

Continue The Momentum For Environmental Justice

World leaders are gathering again to develop next steps in addressing the global climate change crisis.  Earlier this year, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Presiding Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, helped lead a diverse coalition of faith groups participating in the People’s Climate March. The march called on world leaders gathered for the UN Summit on Climate Change to take an aggressive stand against air pollution. These leaders will assemble again in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) for the Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of the 20th Convening of the Parties, they will identify the broad areas of international agreement around carbon emmissions caps, financial support for clean energy production, and workforce development for “green” economies.

10565081_710033962365285_5278859586515675537_n

Faith groups will be present to ensure they produce a framework that reflects our core values of justice, broad enviornmental stewardship, jobs for all, protection for the vulnerable, and relief from poverty.  We must be bold.

Because of the work and advocacy of activists the world over, Global leaders ARE LISTENING.  This week, China and the United States of America, two of the world’s largest air polluters, announced a new program to reduce carbon emissions over the next twenty years.  We must keep up the pressure so that these nations fully implement the plan and that other nations join in the effort.

Here are some actions you can take, wherever you live in the world, to maintain the momentum leading up to the Lima conference:

  • Contact your national government’s foreign ministry or (for expatriates) your local embassy and demand that leaders issue legally binding solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide meaningful support for poor and vulnerable communities.
  • Submit a personal pledge of sustainability and share it with Creation Justice Ministries on Facebook and Twitter and share your reflections every day during the meeting in Lima (1-12 December 2014), Tag @ourvoices2015 and use the hashtag #climatechorus
  • If you reside in the USA, sign Creation Justice Ministries’ petition to President Obama and the Congress and send a letter telling the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with its Clean Power Plan.

Reflecting our sacred duty to exercise stewardship over all of God’s creation, MCC stands in solidarity with environmental justice advocates around the world.
For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net.

JOIN WORLD DAY OF ACTION AGAINST JAMAICA’S ANTI-BUGGERY LAW

WEDNESDAY 6 AUGUST 2014

 

MCC is joining with human rights activists, LGBT Jamaicans, and people of faith from around the world for a day of global protest on Wednesday, 6 August 2014, in opposition to Jamaica’s Anti-Buggery Law.  The law has provided legal cover for extreme anti-LGBT violence throughout the country.  The anti-LGBT movement in Jamaica has been highly effective in spreading hateful propaganda about the community.  MCC joins activists from around the world in calling for a coordinated, global response in solidarity with LGBT people on the ground.

6 August is Jamaica’s Independence Day, and we invite you to join us in calling for an end to violence and the legal system that enables it. 

 

10562982_473357036137287_4259168785229981968_nJamaican Consulate Protests:

 

  • Jamaican Consulate/High Commission in 303 Eglinton Avenue East, London, Toronto, Canada 12 noon Eastern Standard Time (4pm GMT)
  • Jamaican Consulate, 767 Third Avenue New York, NY USA.  12 noon Eastern Standard Time (4pm GMT)
  • Jamaican High Commission, 1 Prince Consort Road, London, England UK, 5pm BST (4pm GMT)

 

Our Day of Action will send a powerful message that the British-era colonial law has no place in any modern society.  Dwayne Brown, the founder of Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, said, “For too long, the government of Jamaica has failed to take decisive action to address the ongoing crisis of anti-LGBT violence.  One important step is immediately repealing the buggery law, which has been used in various ways to terrorize the LGBT community.”   It will further support the legal challenges taking place in the Jamaican judicial system to eliminate the anti-buggery law, an effort led by MCC’s Maurice Tomlinson.

 

 

Here’s what you can do to join the movement:

  • Work with your church and local partners to stage a demonstration or activity, ideally at the same time as the consulate protests in Canada, USA, and UK.  Virtual and in-person are equally encouraged. 
  • Help gather signatures for the Petition Calling for the Repeal of the Anti-Buggery Laws. Download the petition HERE and email the completed ones (with signatures) to Jason Latty care of MCCNY.  jasonlatty@outlook.com
  • Follow the Protest’s Facebook page and stay update about local actions around the world.
  • Tweet #JamaicaRepealBuggeryLaw in support.


MCC Moderator to Witness Signing of Presidential Executive Orders with NO Exemptions

“We Dare Not Confuse Sincere Prejudice with Sincere Religion”

MCC global moderator to witness signing of presidential executive orders with NO added exemptions

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), which has ministries in over 40 countries.  Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with U.S. White House staff in 1979, and she served as a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson has been invited to the White House to witness President Barack Obama sign two executive orders. The first will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1965 Lyndon Johnson executive order which banned discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or nationality in hiring by federal contractors. The second order adds gender identity to the list of protected classes of federal workers and was first signed by President Richard Nixon, who added disability and age. President Clinton added sexual orientation, and President Obama adds gender identity.

“We are thrilled that President Obama will sign executive orders to include sexual orientation and gender identity within Federal policies of non-discrimination. It is even more historic because no sweeping religious exemptions sponsored by conservatives will be added,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, global moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).

 “Using religious exemptions as a smokescreen for discrimination is the kind of persecution the First Amendment to the Constitution helps us to avoid,” said Dr. Wilson. “Everyone loves religious liberty, but we dare not confuse sincere prejudice with sincere religion. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people know that exemption from the law is a dangerous by-product of religious bigotry, not religious liberty.”

“MCC stands with all people of good will to support President Obama in this historic action,” said Dr. Wilson. “It is a deep honor to represent Metropolitan Community Churches at the signing event. While these executive orders will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes for federal contractors and workers, we will not rest until Congress passes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with no religious exemptions so all Americans will be hired and fired based on their work and integrity rather than their gender identity or whom they love.”

 “We know that conservatives will continue to market their prejudices under the guise of religious freedom, but we will not let their brand of judgmental Christianity be the only voice of faithful Christians that the public hears. We are LGBT and straight people of faith together who know that we are created in the image of God,” said Dr. Wilson. “We categorically reject the disastrous religious dogma that God wants Christians to hate some people.”

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches Calls for Moment of Prayer In Face of Tragedies and Violence

17 July 2014 -­‐-­‐-­‐ Today, as Israel and Hamas took a brief recess from their 10 -­‐day war, only to have that lull in fighting marred by the deaths of 4 Gaza children hit by missiles while playing on the beach near their homes; while violence claimed the lives of innocent civilians from the airport of Kabul to the streets of places like Syria and Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, someone shot an airplane out of the sky over Donetsk in the Ukraine, an already war-­‐ravaged area of the globe. Fields with purple flowers became the unintended resting place of 295 people on their way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The flight manifest has yet to be released, but we know from our friends around the world that at least 5 AIDS activists on their way from points in Europe to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne were among those lost.

At times like this, our hearts are broken for the families and friends, the allies and co -­‐workers of all those lost to violence and the senseless tragedies it produces. While many on the airwaves debate who is responsible for the tragedies, I am drawn to the example of Jesus, who when pressed by the crowds of unrelenting needs around him for relief and healing and peace, would go off to a lonely place to pray.

And so, I ask all MCCers and people of faith to join me in prayer now.

O God,
We give you thanks for the gift of life,
and the chance you give to all of us
to live each day with a heart for compassion and care
and a spirit attuned to peace.
We mourn all our brothers and sisters lost
to violence and needless violence and tragedy today,
especially those on Malaysia Airlines flight 17
and those 4 little boys on the beach in Gaza Cit y.
Be with their families and friends left behind,
and help them to find some comfort in knowing that
they are at peace with you, and that
we will all one day be together again.
With a full heart, O God, we pray for
peace on this earth
and goodwill among a ll.
Regardless of our political persuasions or belief systems,
help us to renounce all violence and to seek to live
in a way that promotes the wellbeing of all your children.
Give us all the courage to follow in the footsteps of Jesus the Christ,
Prince of Peace, in whose name we pray. +Amen

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES WELCOMES NEW CDC GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF PrEP FOR HIV PREVENTION

Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) welcomes the May 14, 2014 announcement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

(See http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf)

MCC is long tenured in the response to HIV as it was the first Christian denomination to minister to those with HIV/AIDS.  The CDC announcement is good news to our churches because it gives us an additional tool to reduce new HIV infections.

All methods of HIV prevention should still be applied in addition to this new scientifically proven method of taking a daily dosage of Truvadaas described in the guidelines under the direction of a medical professional with the required counseling.  However, MCC emphasizes that PrEP is not a substitute for condoms, but another option now available. No single intervention is completely protective in preventing HIV transmission. Clean syringe exchange for people who use drugs, widespread distribution of male and female condoms to populations at risk for HIV transmission, reducing the number of sexual partners, universal access to health services and anti-retroviral treatment, eliminating gender-based violence and gender inequality, age-appropriate sex education and repealing laws criminalizing people with HIV and sex workers and people most at risk for HIV transmission are interventions that we know will work.

PrEP is a medical advance that is the product of peer reviewed research and international scrutiny, and should be made universally available.

We still need a cure for AIDS and a vaccine for HIV. Recognizing that PrEP is not a cure or a vaccine for HIV, we now have evidence that it can reduce HIV infections among populations most at risk for HIV transmission.  While new HIV infections overall have declined somewhat worldwide, they are either not declining or increasing in populations most at risk for HIV such as gay men and men who have sex with men and transgender persons.

MCC and the Global Justice Institute call on the world’s medical community to marshal resources and make personal commitments to providing PrEP-inclusive medical care to all those at risk of HIV transmission including those who are incarcerated. We call on people of faith to do the work of justice, in the private and public sectors, by opposing all systems of domination and marginalization that make the use of PrEP necessary.  We will judge our work complete when the world fundamentally agrees on the sacredness of sexuality and no one abuses this fundamental freedom.

Click HERE to download information provided by MCC’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council on PrEP, andHERE for the CDC’s guide to how to talk with your doctor.  Click HERE for the Advisory Council’s information on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

This statement was prepared by the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council and the Moderator’s Public Policy Team,

Metropolitan Community Churches

Metropolitan Community Churches Celebrate Marriage Equality in Idaho, USA

Today, along with fair-minded people of faith around the world, Metropolitan Community Churches celebrate Marriage Equality in the state of Idaho, USA. Every picture and video we see and every story we hear of committed same-sex couples and allies celebrating, fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.

On Tuesday evening, May 13, 2014, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale issued a ruling that struck down Idaho’s 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Her ruling will take effect on Friday, May 16, 2014, at 9:00 AM. Although Idaho Governor Butch Otter has requested a stay of the order and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden plans to do the same today, no court action on those requests has occurred.

Marriage Equality is important to Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). The Rev. Elder Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, performed the first same-sex wedding ever in the United States in 1968, according to Time Magazine. Rev. Perry continued his marriage equality work throughout his ministry as Founder and Moderator of MCC. “MCC’s commitment to the work for Marriage Equality continues today, not only in the United States, but all over the world. We will not rest until full Marriage Equality is established,” says The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Relational Issues for the Global Justice Institute.

Marriage Equality is becoming the law of the land in many places. “We look forward to its full implementation in Idaho, all over the United States and around the world.” said MCC Moderator The Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, “When it comes to Marriage Equality, justice is raining down like water.”

Once again, hearty congratulations and blessings to the people of Idaho.

Prepared by The Moderator’s Public Policy Team and the Global Justice Institute
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director

IDAHOT 2014

OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST 

HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA 

DAY OF ACTION – MAY 17

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Human beings of all sexual orientations and gender identities are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights . . . Everyone is entitled to enjoy all human rights without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone is entitled to equality before the law and the equal protection of the law without any such discrimination whether or not the enjoyment of another human right is also affected. The law shall prohibit any such discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against any such discrimination.” — The Yogyakarta Principles, 2006

In the past year, several nations have passed new laws to enshrine into their legal and cultural institutions discrimination and criminalization against their citizens on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Uganda and Nigeria have passed anti-homosexuality laws that criminalize same-sex sexual activity with life imprisonment and impose harsh penalties for those who advocate for civil and human rights for LGBTI persons or who fail to report same-sex behavior.  The Russian duma passed a “gay propaganda” law, which makes it illegal to talk to children about “non-traditional sexual relationships,” creating a chilling effect on freedom of expression and leading to increased persecution of IDAHO_Logo[1]the nation’s LGBTI community. Now, more than ever, people all over the world who suffer from violence, hatred, discrimination, and exclusion based on sexual orientation or gender identity need the support and solidarity of allies who are free to bear witness to the need for civil and human rights protections for all people.

Since 2005, millions of concerned people worldwide have joined together each year for a day of action against anti-gay prejudice and gender-based discrimination, highlighting personal stories and direct action to bring equal rights to LGBTI persons in every corner of the world.  Now understood to be the “international LGBT solidarity day,”

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) has inspired more than 100 countries to engage their citizens and institutions in intentional conversations around the rights and quality of life issues for sexual minorities within their borders.  As a result, a global movement for civil and human rights for LGBTI people is fomenting unprecedented momentum for change.  But more needs to be done.

On May 17th, join others from all over the world in raising your voice in your church, school, and/or community against homophobia and transphobia.  This is our opportunity to bring a message of equal rights and non-discrimination to regions and countries where civil and human rights have been stifled and to build alliances with those who are willing and able to mobilize for action in a comprehensive campaign for equal rights.  Further, all of our actions against homophobia and transphobia forecast to political leaders and social and religious institutions that the demand for civil and human rights for LGBTI people will not be silenced.

MCC’s Public Policy Team joins in solidarity with LGBTI persons and allies in observance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and urges all members of MCC to raise their voices against anti-gay prejudice and discrimination.

There are many ways that you can participate:

  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the logo for IDAHOT on May 17th
  • Tweet about the event and your local action using the hash tag #IDAHOT
  • Publicize IDAHOT in your church bulletin
  • Print and share IDAHOT campaign promotional art and flyers.
  • Organize an event in your church, school, or community, including a pray-in, a sing-in, a training and education event, or a candlelight vigil.

The resources below can help you make the most of your observance of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:

 

This statement was prepared by Rev. DeWayne Davis and Angel Collie for the Public Policy Team of 

Metropolitan Community Churches/The Global Justice Institute, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.

For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at rmccadvocacy@mccchurch.net.
Support the Global Justice Institute.

contagiousgenerosityThe Global Justice Institute is the non-profit advocacy and resourcing arm of Metropolitan Community Churches.  We “do justice, show kindness, and live humbly with God” (Micah 6:8).  From helping LGBT activists in Uganda to resourcing communities of women in Pakistan to fighting for marriage equality in the U.S.A. and beyond, the Global Justice Institute is effecting change and making a difference throughout the world.  Please consider making a generous contribution in support of this work.  Donate now.

Russia and the Olympics — It’s Not a Game!

An Italian advocate for transgender rights and former member of parliament was detained at the Olympics for unfurling a rainbow flag with “Gay is OK” on it. Russian officials denied it, but the Italian foreign ministry activated its crisis protocol for Italian travelers in trouble.

Russian President Vladamir Putin showed up last week at a celebration party for Irene Wust, an openly lesbian gold medal winner from Netherlands. Just days before, outside of the Olympic arena, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) supporters were arrested during a peaceful protest.

When the Olympians go home, it will be business as usual. Orthodox Church leaders will continue to work hand-in-glove with the political machinery that scapegoats LGBTQ people. The lack of outcry against Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws are producing a climate where gangs now go “hunting” to track down gays to torture them. Their impunity is so great, that many were willing to be filmed for an upcoming documentary without disguises while they humiliated and brutalized a person they identified as gay.

Read more on the Huffington Post here