13 March 2013
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
Moderator of Largest LGBT Church
Calls for Prayer for New Pope
Today I join with people around the globe in praying for the newly elected pontiff, Pope Francis, and for the people the world over who will look to him for spiritual guidance.
The challenges any Head of Communion faces are many and far outweigh the privileges that accrue to the position. Though we may differ on our perspectives, I trust that all who lead the faithful seek the fulfillment of God’s plan for peace on this earth and good will prevailing among all. Whether his choice of name reflects his devotion to the great Jesuit scholar or the humble monastic of popular piety who heard the voice of God calling him to rebuild the Church, I pray that Pope Francis will have the wisdom and courage to lead by demonstrating compassion, mercy, generosity and grace in all things as the One Christians across the globe follow, Jesus the Christ.
The first Jesuit and the first Argentinian to be elected as Pontiff, I pray Pope Francis will be the first Bishop of Rome to embrace the diversity of God’s creation, especially as that relates to God’s LGBT children, and become a voice for respect and equality everywhere.
I call on MCCers and people of good will everywhere to join me in that prayer.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality
United for Marriage Rally
March 26, 2013
On March 26-27, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider landmark cases that will determine if LGBT Americans will enjoy the freedom and equality under the law that is every American’s birthright. These deliberations are coming amid a dramatic change in public opinion about marriage equality for LGBT people with more than half of Americans favoring marriage rights for same-sex couples according to a December poll by Gallup. The United States of America is ready for marriage equality.
As the nation’s highest court begins its deliberations of these cases, Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute are joining LGBT and allied organizations, faith and grassroots leaders, and social justice and religious associations from across the country in rallying at the steps of the Supreme Court to tell our stories and make our voices heard about the fundamental right and freedom to marry.
Please join us for this historical moment by helping us demonstrate our strong support for marriage equality for all Americans, whether in Washington, DC or in your own community. In addition to the rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 100 local leaders and organizations are organizing rallies, vigils, observances, and prayer services in their local areas to highlight their support for marriage equality for LGBT people.
Can we count you in? There are three ways you can get involved:
Come rally with us outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 26th and 27th: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageRally
Join or organize a community event in your area: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageLocalEvents
Tweet from your event using #united4marriage
Whether you attend the rally in Washington, DC or in your local area, wear red to show your support for freedom and equality.
Every action and every event we organize in support of marriage equality will bring us a step closer in making freedom and equality a reality for all people. Several MCC’s have already committed to lifting their voices on behalf of marriage equality within their own communities:
*MCC Hartford, Hartford, CT
*MCC New Haven, New Haven, CT
*Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
*Trinity MCC, Gainesville, FL
If your congregation is planning an event in observance of the marriage equality court hearings, please let us know at .
In many different cultural contexts across the world today, religious arguments are all too often used to justify violence and discrimination, and to endorse hate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people.
These voices are not the majority, but they are often the ones that are most heard. This fosters a false image of religious and spiritual beliefs as antagonistic to the creation of a world in which people have the right to love whoever they want to.
But other voices do exist everywhere and also within these same religions many people object to the use of religion to justify hatred and rejection and sometimes even violence, crimes and bloodshed.
For many years now, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia has provided the backdrop for initiatives from progressive religious groups. Indeed, while many religious voices will not support any progressive vision on sexual and gender diversity, most will not upfront support homo/transphobia either. As speaking out against violence and hate provides a ‘minimum’ platform of dialogue, many find in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia an entry door for new alliances. In various countries, LGBT Christians have been organising church services, sometimes even in cathedrals. Elsewhere, vigils have been organised to commemorate the victims of hate crimes. Conferences, media broadcasts and television roundtables have provided an avenue for progressive religious leaders to address public opinion. Progressive groups have blogged, posted and tweeted.
The IDAHO Committee invites all progressive religious voices to use the Day to take whatever action they feel appropriate. We invite all to share information about their plans, so we can share this with the rest of the world and connect like-minded people together, create more momentum, and show the world how vibrant and diverse we are.
If you have any doubts, queries or requests for information and ideas – and also so we might help to give your event more visibility – please feel free to contact Zara
The team will be updating regularly about news and events here at our home site – tagged Global Prayer Initiative – and on our facebook and twitter pages. You can also follow updates and events using the hashtag #IDAHOprayer.
The IDAHO Committee team
Watch the trailer for “An Abominable Crime” the latest upcoming film from Common Good Productions. Help support the film by donating to the Kickstarter campaign today!
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 14 December 2012
Thank you all for coming to this remarkable meeting. What a meaningful way to commemorate Human Rights Day. I welcome all of the activists, supporters and others here today.
The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
All human beings – not some, not most, but all.
No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.
The United Nations has a proud record of combating racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities.
We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice. Slowly, some old prejudices have started to dissolve.
Yet others remain in place, with horrendous consequences.
Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.
LGBT people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools – the very places that should protect them.
More than 76 countries still criminalize homosexuality.
I am pained by this injustice. I am here to again denounce violence and demand action for true equality.
Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.
I am proud that as Secretary-General I have a global platform to highlight the need to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The United Nations should lead by example. I recently reiterated to all senior managers that discrimination against staff on the basis of sexual orientation will not be tolerated. I have also asked that the UN’s rules and policies be examined to ensure that the rights of our LGBT staff are protected.
More and more governments are working to tackle homophobia. Last year, the Human Rights Council adopted the first UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, which expressed “grave concern” at violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights published the first UN report dedicated to the problem, which was then debated at the Human Rights Council, marking another UN first.
The past decade has seen far-reaching reforms in Europe, the Americas and a number of Asian and African countries … and extraordinary shifts in social attitudes in many parts of the world.
I applaud Argentina for introducing some of the most progressive legislation in the world on same-sex partnerships and gender recognition. I am pleased that we are joined today by Blas Radi, from Argentina, who helped drive the gender identity law adopted there earlier this year.
I also welcome Olena Shevchenko who leads an important human rights effort in Ukraine.
In a number of countries, including Ukraine, draft laws have been proposed that would criminalize public discussion of homosexuality – potentially making meetings such as this one illegal. I deplore these kinds of measures wherever they are introduced. They threaten basic rights, feed stigma and lead to more abuse.
We are also pleased to have Gift Trapence, a prominent human rights defender from Malawi. When I visited Malawi in 2010, two young men had just been sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for the so-called “crime” of celebrating their wedding. At my request, the then President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them, on the very day when I asked him, but he defended criminal sanctions. Now under the new leadership of Her Excellency President Joyce Banda, Malawi is weighing possible changes in the law. I hope Malawians take the opportunity to turn a page.
We must all speak out against homophobia, especially those who are considered leaders in society as well as others in the public eye.
Let me say a big Bienvenido to pop sensation Ricky Martin. Muchas Gracias! You are a wonderful role model for LGBT youth and for all people. Thank you.
I am again honoured to share the stage with Yvonne Chaka Chaka – a global superstar and a champion of development, including as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria. Thank you very much.
Yvonne, you are known as the Princess of Africa. Today, you are our Queen of Equality.
Our guests – and you here today – have helped to open a door. We cannot let it close.
It is an outrage that in our modern world, so many countries continue to criminalize people simply for loving another human being of the same sex. In many cases, these laws are not home-grown. They were inherited from former colonial powers.
Laws rooted in 19th century prejudices are fuelling 21st century hate. In other cases new discriminatory laws are being introduced.
These laws must go. We must replace them with laws that provide adequate protection against discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
This is not optional. It is a State obligation, based on the principle of non-discrimination – a fundamental tenet of international human rights law.
We also need a broad public education effort to spread understanding and counter fear.
When I meet with leaders from around the world I raise my voice for equality for LGBT people.
Many leaders say they wish they could do more. But they point to public opinion as a barrier to progress.
I understand it can be difficult to stand up to public opinion. But just because a majority might disapprove of certain individuals does not entitle the State to withhold their basic rights.
Democracy is more than majority rule. It requires defending vulnerable minorities from hostile majorities. It thrives on diversity. Governments have a duty to fight prejudice, not fuel it.
I am deeply grateful to the cross-regional LGBT core group of Member States for bringing us together. I hope many other countries will join you.
You and I and people of conscience everywhere must keep pushing until we realize the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people. The freedom, dignity and equal rights that all people are born with – must be a living reality each and every day of their lives.
Thank you very much.
Tell Your U.S. Rep and Senators to SAVE Vital Services
Members of Congress will soon face big choices: will they make damaging cuts to nutrition, education, health care, housing, and more? Or will they prevent service cuts by asking the wealthiest 2 percent to pay more of their fair share in taxes? Will they favor defense contractors over human needs? Those concerned about promoting the common good, protecting the vulnerable, and rebuilding the economy have to speak out! Please send this email. We encourage you to change the text to reflect your concerns; or send it as is. But please be heard – and please forward this widely.
Click here to send an email to your Representative and Senators.
This is the text of the email people are asked to send (or they can edit the wording to personalize it):
Subject: Please prevent cuts to human needs programs; End upper income tax cuts
As your constituent, I urge you to follow these principles as you make budget and tax decisions: 1) protect low-income and vulnerable people; 2) promote job creation so all of us can share in restored economic growth; 3) increase revenues from fair sources; and 4) seek responsible savings by targeting waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere.
You can save vital services for low-income and vulnerable people by allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent to expire. More than $1 trillion will be saved over the next decade if these tax cuts end. Asking those at the top to pay their fair share in taxes will allow needed investments in jobs, education, nutrition, health care, and housing. These and other services will help us now, and build for the future.
In the coming months, please vote to allow the tax cuts for the top 2 percent to expire in January 2013, and preserve tax credits for low-income working families. Please vote to avert cuts now scheduled for January in programs that prevent poverty and meet human needs.
We can make the investments needed for the common good if you take these responsible steps. Thanks for your attention.
Rev. Boon’s and Phineas’ Chinese Wedding Banquet held at Dragon Dynasty Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur on August 4th. About 200 people were in attendance. Although many predicted there would be government or police interference, perhaps in an attempt to scare people away, the banquet went off without a hitch. Rev. Boon’s family, including his mother and sister, were in attendance.