Today at 10 AM EDT, C-SPAN will broadcast an important briefing on the situation at Guantanamo and how the President can move forward with closing the prison there. We encourage you to watch it. The briefing is hosted by Rep. Jim Moran and is sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, The Constitution Project, and the New America Foundation.
The situation at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center continues to deteriorate. Eleven years after it first opened, and more than 4 years after President Obama mandated its closure, there are still 166 men being held at Guantanamo – 86 of whom have already been cleared for transfer or release. At the moment 100 of the detainees, responding to a growing sense of hopelessness and despair over their continued detention, in most cases without charge or trial, are engaged in a prolonged hunger strike.
Last week, 38 religious leaders sent a letter to President Obama and to Congress calling for the closing of the detention center. Please add your name to theirs by also signing the letter. The letter states, “As people of faith, we oppose torture and indefinite detention without trial because they are contrary to the inherent dignity of the human person. As the nation’s most visible and painful symbol of torture and indefinite detention, Guantanamo Bay is a constant reminder of a deep moral wound that will heal only when it is permanently closed.”
Help us build support for closing Guantanamo within your community. Here are two ways you can get involved:
Join in the 100th Day Weekend of Action
May 17th will mark the 100th day of the hunger strike. We invite you and your congregation to mark this day with a “100th Day Weekend of Action.” Please find a time during the weekend of May 17-19 to include mention of Guantanamo in your worship service or prayers. We also invite you to hold a prayer vigil, fast in solidarity, or organize educational and advocacy activities in your congregation. To assist you we have prepared a Guantanamo Fact Sheet, Sermon Talking Points and a Bulletin Insert with an Interfaith Prayer. Go to www.nrcat/closegitmo for more information.
Add your name to the religious leaders letter
You can add your voice to the growing chorus demanding that Guantanamo be closed by signing the religious leaders’ letter. Also, please download a petition version of the letter and circulate it in your congregation, campus or community.
If we can help you or you wish to let us know of your plans, please contact Paz Artaza-Regan .
Thank you for lifting up the importance of closing Guantanamo.
Linda Gustitus, President
Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The R.I. House of Representatives Thursday approved matching same-sex marriage bills after their unanimous approval by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night. Governor Chafee signed them into law shortly afterward.
Take a look back at a timeline of events in gay and lesbian history, here and Rhode Island and across the country:
In Case Watch reports, lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative provide analysis of notable court decisions and cases that relate to their work to advance human rights law around the world. Read more
from U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
The pages that follow document the often difficult march forward of human freedom around the world. Significant progress is being made in some places, but in far too many others governments fall short of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ vision of a world where people live “free and equal in dignity and rights.”
A week after the European Union called for proposals from organisations in Zambia working on human rights, including the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, the Minister of Home Affairs, Edgar Lungu, stated in an interview that the EU was promoting same-sex marriages in Zambia – sparking a storm of homophobic bigotry and hate-speech.
Read full article http://www.osisa.org/lgbti/blog/sowing-poisonous-seeds-zambia
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was part of the first religious LGBT delegation to meet with a U.S. sitting president in 1979. She is currently a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The White House announced a forum to review progress on the fight against human trafficking, a cause to which President Barack Obama proclaimed his commitment in his groundbreaking speech in September of 2012. One partner group is the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which released a report called, “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery” on 10 April 2013. (Full Report)
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and member of the Council, said, “Today, we stand against the sexual or economic enslavement of any human being. We are abolitionists from all religions because we share the belief that each human being is a creation of God.”
The report states:
There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe. … Victims of modern-day slavery include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, children and adults, who are trapped in forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation, with little hope of escape.
Trafficking in persons is estimated to be one of the top-grossing criminal industries in the world, with traffickers profiting an estimated $32 billion every year. The extraordinary reach of this crime is shocking—with cases reported in virtually every country in the world…
“With over 77% of victims being persons of color and the targeting of homeless youth, 40% of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, our mandate is clear,” said Dr. Wilson. “Prejudice makes people vulnerable to hate, to violence and to being enslaved so we must challenge prejudice wherever it is.”
The report made 10 recommendations ranging from scaling up the fight against slavery throughout the world, minimizing purchase of slave-produced goods, anti-trafficking work by government agencies, ad campaign, hotline, national summit, call to action and “tool kit” for religious groups on what to do.
“All MCC congregations and faith leaders understand that it is our stories that change hearts and minds. We are walking a path toward freedom and must bring others with us. When anyone is enslaved, we are all enslaved,” said Dr. Wilson. “When a child or worker cannot tell their story, we must tell it for them and work for their freedom.”
The report highlighted the stories of:
Pope Francis! Pope Francisco! When I heard his name, I thought, “What an auspicious beginning!” His name alludes to St. Francis Xavier, founding Jesuit scholar, but it is St. Francis of Assisi, renowned for service to the poor and his love for all God’s creatures, that Pope Francis is claiming. We pray that ministry to and with the poor become the hallmark of his legacy.
Read the full article on the Huffington Post
[Rev. Victor Bracuto is MCC’s Coordinator for South America and the Dean for Students in the Garner Institute.]
Argentina’s leading LGBT rights advocate on Wednesday criticized Pope Francis’ strong opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Esteban Paulón, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Federation (FALGBT,) noted during an interview with the Washington Blade hours after the College of Cardinals elected Francis that he was among the most vocal critics of a same-sex marriage bill that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed in 2010. The new pontiff, who was the-then archbishop of Buenos Aires, described the measure in a letter he wrote to four Argentine monasteries before the country’s Senate approved it as a “machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
read full article at the Washington Blade
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 .