News from AllianceQ: May 2016

Faithfully Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Certainly you’ve been noticing the growing wave of anti-lgbt legislation being introduced and often passed in states these days that is using a misguided sense of religious freedom to harm especially transgender people. This article, sent to us by David Lohman, Faith Organizer at the National LGBTQ Task Force, tells us about a great new resource: A Practice Spirit, Do Justice Toolkit: Faithfully Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Legislation.

A Practice Spirit, Do Justice Toolkit
Faithfully Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

As we come together as people of faith to work against the forces who are so gravely misusing faith as a way of demonizing and punishing those whom they deem the “Other,” our faith demands that we respond. We must reach out – to our faith leaders, to our fellow congregants, to our friends and family, and to our elected representatives – to say that this misuse of faith is simply evil. In both the faith and political realms, there is so much that YOU can do to make a difference! We hope and pray that this Toolkit will give you the skills, attitudes, and knowledge to get involved in meaningful ways. And we hope that this expands how you think it looks like to get involved as a person of faith.

A look into what’s in this toolkit:

Part I: ADVOCACY

Letter Writing
Legislative Office Visits
Twitter 101
Messages in Your Bulletin
Talking to People You Know

Part II: CHANGING HEARTS AND MINDS

GRACEFUL ENGAGEMENT
WORSHIP (Sermons, Music and Liturgy)

EDUCATION

Fulfilling Our Divine Calling to Live Authentically: A Self-Reflection
Be a Great Trans Ally Training
Trans Day of Remembrance is Over: Is Your Church Still Trans-Inclusive?
How to Be a Great Ally to Trans* People
Other Congregational Curricula
Other Congregational Efforts
       Host or Attend a Building an Inclusive Church Training
       Host an Exhibit of the Shower of Stoles Project
       Does Your Church Congregation Want to Believe Out Loud?

Our approach is two-fold. The first is the most urgent and immediate – that being ADVOCACY in the public square. People’s lives are being harmed right now by laws like HB2 in North Carolina and HB1523 in Mississippi. Faith should never inflict harm. Ever. We must do all we can – particularly as people of faith – to counter these mean-spirited, discriminatory laws. This Toolkit is chock-full of ways that you and your community of faith can get involved – both inside and outside of your walls.

The second approach is working to CHANGE HEARTS AND MINDS. If we are to ultimately succeed in bringing about the world as we so strongly believe it ought to be, we must engage in the long-term work of helping people on their individual journeys towards acceptance and welcome of LGBTQ people. This work is done through relationship-building, graceful engagement, getting to know the stories of LGBTQ people. This journey of the heart also happens through the experience of worship. Hearing, speaking and singing the message of the radical inclusiveness of God’s love can change, and indeed save lives. It is vital that this beautiful and healing theology be on our tongues during worship. So we have included sermons, theological reflections, music and liturgy to help your community experience this message with their full selves. Education is a key component in this journey of the mind. In a Christian context, part of this educational work is done through the study of scripture. Across many denominations, we all have different ways of looking at and interpreting scripture. But we can agree that the Bible grounds us, and informs and inspires our faith. Many of our opponents claim that we who support LGBTQ people do not take scripture seriously. On the contrary, we take it very seriously. We support LGBTQ people – not in spite of – but precisely because of our faith and what the Bible calls us to do!