• Stop Anti-LGBTQ Laws: Discrimination is not a Religious Value
    2016 has been a startling year for legislative attempts to restrict justice, dignity, and equality for LGBTQ people. More than 175 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in 32 states. Of the record 175+ anti-LGBTQ bills filed, 45 of those bills directly target transgender people. Already in 2016, legislatures in South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and North Carolina have considered and, in some cases, passed anti-transgender bills. Too often these anti-LGBTQ efforts are perpetrated in the name of religion. These bills and their proponents perpetuate false narratives about transgender people and vilify transgender women, in particular, as threatening safety in women's restrooms. This dishonest rhetoric perpetuates hostility and violence toward transgender and gender non-conforming people seeking to access public accommodations. Some of this anti-LGBTQ legislation, like the recently passed bill in North Carolina, override local ordinances protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination—preventing local municipalities from outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ people. *When you sign this petition, you'll be invited to the Religious Institute’s network of more than 15,000 people of faith.
    5,597 of 6,000 Signatures
    Created by Religious Institute Picture
  • Stand with Catholic Church Workers!
    In recent years, many Catholic workers have been unjustly terminated or deprived of fair contract renewals. These firings have typically targeted those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), those who are in relationships not recognized by the Church, those who support women’s equality in Church and society, and those who have made decisions about family life in the sacredness of their conscience. These unjust terminations are not only spiritually, emotionally, and financially devastating for the individual, but they also impact students, parishioners, family members, colleagues, and others, often diminishing their level of trust and respect for the Church.
    1,018 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Ryan Hoffmann Picture
  • Dear Presidential Candidates: #WeMakeAmericaGreat
    As people of faith and moral courage, we believe all people are part of one family, and that we need to act together to build a world that respects everyone’s dignity. We reject the messages of candidates whose platforms, language, and campaigning exclude, discriminate against, and perpetuate violence towards members of our communities because of their citizenship status, gender, race, or sexuality. Many 2016 presidential candidates have chosen to build their campaigns on fear. Their use of xenophobic, racist and derogatory language has activated nationalist and white-supremacist groups throughout the country, inspiring further hate speech and violent hate crimes against immigrants and people of color. More so-called “moderate” presidential hopefuls have failed to stand up against these dangerous ideas. Some have defended the racist term “anchor babies” to describe infants born to undocumented parents, recommended we track immigrants like FedEx packages, and suggested we send air-strike drones to the U.S.-Mexico border. Our Values As people of faith and moral courage, we are called to welcome the sojourner and love our neighbor. We are appalled by the ugly, divisive, and cowardly tactics from candidates running for the most powerful office in our country. The United States was founded on the moral principles of liberty and justice for which civil rights leaders have struggled to make a reality for generations. We can’t move backwards to policies that resurface segregation. Instead we must move forward, with moral principles that value the diversity of all people and make America great. This includes immigrants, both new and established, and a range of identities in gender, faith, sexuality, race, and ethnicity that enrich our communities and strengthen the values we hold as people of faith and people of good conscious. Our vision of a better and more just world means calling on all political leaders to recognize the inherent value of all people, regardless of citizenship status, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Please sign this petition if you are ready to dump the divisive language and policy proposals pushed by extremist candidates, so that together, we can make America great!
    1,548 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Noel Andersen
  • Say No to Hate! Sign a letter of support to Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Georgia
    Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer was desecrated by a spray painted hate message that quoted Leviticus 18:22 and threatened the church with burning. “We are clear this is not just vandalism; this is life-threatening hatred. When people who cite chapter and verse to send others to hell, they are usually prepared to personally send you there,” said Global Moderator Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “It is sad that we have to remind people that hate is not a Christian value.” “As an African American woman, I know that hate is hate. Whether it is the shooting of the Charleston nine, burning of churches, or spray painted threats on church doors, the intent is to silence us with fear for our lives,” said the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, MCC Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries. “We will not be silent! Silence will not protect us. It will only embolden those who use guns, torches, and spray paint because they have not opened themselves to the power of love.” Send your love by adding your name, and if you can go the extra mile, make a donation for the repairs and the security system at: http://www.gofundme.com/mccofourredeemer
    479 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Elder Nancy Wilson
  • Tell Congress Religious Liberty Doesn't Mean LGBT Discrimination
    The religious liberty upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse religious landscape to flourish. Recently, however, what we have seen promoted as defending religious liberty too often reflects one particular religious perspective that does not at all respect that diversity of faith and belief, or the intent of our Founders. We believe that the First Amendment Defense Act does not respect the spirit of religious liberty—nor does it reflect fundamental values of treating all people with fairness and equality—and we therefore strongly oppose this legislation. Further, though people of faith are not a monolith and all are not in agreement on whether their faith sanctions LGBT relationships, we cannot in good conscience support legislation that favors one religious viewpoint over another and in the process discriminates against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples. The religious freedom of individuals and organizations, including clergy and houses of worship, who object to same-sex marriage are already protected by the First Amendment and federal law—and we, as clergy and faith leaders, continue to stand by the right of others to hold beliefs that may differ from our own while recognizing that for many of us, supporting LGBT individuals and families is a principle of our faith. Rather than protecting the First Amendment, this legislation actually undermines true religious liberty. The religious liberty on which our nation was founded guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs — but it does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others or to infringe on the religious beliefs of others. By opening the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples, this legislation does nothing to protect our rights as people of diverse faith traditions and it has the potential to do considerable harm in the name of religion. For example, were this bill to become law it would: • allow an organization to accept federal funds to run a homeless shelter or drug treatment program but then turn away from that program LGBT people or anyone who has a sexual relationship outside of marriage; • allow hospitals to refuse dying patients visitation from their spouse or designated support person; and • permit a government employee to deny services they have a duty to provide, including Veterans or Social Security benefits to a surviving member of a same-sex couple. We are also troubled that this bill is so broad it could even prevent the federal government from enforcing longstanding laws designed to combat discrimination and promote equality. For example, it would let commercial landlords violate fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the landlord’s religious beliefs and allow businesses to violate family medical leave laws by refusing to let a gay or lesbian employee care for a sick spouse. As people of deep faith committed to a country that supports diverse, robust, and healthy religious expression and in the spirit of equality and justice, we urge you to oppose the First Amendment Defense Act.
    3,792 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Stosh Cotler Picture
  • We support the appeal to replace Archbishop Cordileone
    In a letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle April 16, 2015, Catholics appealed to Pope Francis to replace the archbishop with a leader true to Catholic values. In response to the ad, the archbishops’s reply was "The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for the Catholic Community of San Francisco...They do not.” We want Pope Francis to know that YES THEY DO speak for us! "Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance." say leaders. "He has forced Archdiocesan high school teachers to accept a mean-spirited morality code that violates individual consciences, as well as California labor laws He supports a pastor at Star of the Sea parish who marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service, contrary to your desire to expand women’s roles in the Catholic Church. He has isolated himself from our community, and brushes aside advice from his priests. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow, under Archbishop Cordileone’s supervision." Full text of the letter is available at: http://bit.ly/1b1ZLhm The story has been covered at: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Prominent-Catholics-call-on-pope-to-oust-S-F-6202539.php Get involved by following the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theyspeakforme?fref=nf
    1,159 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
    7,252 of 8,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Tell Obama: Anti-LGBT religious exemptions are wrong and immoral
    Dear Mr. President, As faith and civic leaders dedicated to affirming the sacred dignity and equal worth of every person, we are grateful for your upcoming executive order ending discrimination against LGBT people in hiring by federal contractors. We urge you not to include a religious exemption in the executive order. In keeping with the principle that our government must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fairness in its own operations, we believe that public dollars should not be used to sanction discrimination. We recognize in others, and have ourselves heard, a faithful calling to contribute to our communities and country through public service. The imperative to seek healing and justice is one of the most widely shared values across religious traditions and our world is better because of it. In our democratic nation, we believe that public service—especially when it is directly supported by the federal government and our tax dollars—must be aligned with the Constitutional principle that all people deserve equal treatment under the law. Requiring all federal contractors to operate according to the same set of non-discriminatory hiring practices is more than fair; it is a critical safeguard that protects all parties. If contractors were allowed to selectively follow employment or other laws according to their religious beliefs, we would quickly create an untenable morass of legal disputes. Furthermore, if selective exemptions to the executive order were permitted, the people who would suffer most would be the people who always suffer most when discrimination is allowed: the individuals and communities that are already marginalized. Increasing the obstacles faced by those at the margins is precisely the opposite of what public service can and should do, and is precisely the opposite of the values we stand for as people of faith. In a nation as diverse as the United States of America, it is critical that the federal government be trusted to follow—and indeed, to role-model—equitable employment practices. We believe that our mutual commitment to the common good is best served by policies that prohibit discrimination based on factors that have no relationship whatsoever to job performance. We are better and stronger as a nation when hiring decisions are made based on professional merit rather than personal identity. An executive order that allows for religious discrimination against LGBT people contradicts the order’s fundamental purpose, as well as the belief shared by more and more Americans every day, which is that LGBT people should not be treated as second-class citizens. An exception would set a terrible precedent by denying true equality for LGBT people, while simultaneously opening a Pandora’s Box inviting other forms of discrimination. In addition to protecting current and potential employees, we believe ensuring that federal contractors do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in their hiring helps to reduce the likelihood that these contractors will discriminate against clients or other parties in the provision of services. If contractors are free to discriminate in their hiring, it is at least plausible, if not probable, to conclude that clients will experience discrimination as well. We believe that the best way to eliminate discrimination at one level is to reduce discrimination at all levels. We are a pluralistic nation—one that is among the most religiously diverse and devout in the world. Each day we continue to make progress on our journey toward “a more perfect union,” in which all God’s children are treated with fairness and dignity. Many forces help spur this progress. They include the courage of everyday people who live openly as who they truly are; the witness of faith leaders who provide a compass for religious growth; the commitment of political leaders such as yourself who help guide our nation toward a more just path; and the passage of laws and policies that ensure fair treatment for all people. In conclusion, Mr. President, we believe that the path to national unity lies in affirming the full equality and potential of every person. In the spirit of equality, fairness, and justice, we urge you to issue an executive order that ends discrimination against LGBT people in federal contracting without exceptions. http://www.groundswell-mvmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Signers.pdf?showEmbed=true *This emerging coalition of leaders includes diverse faith leaders from around the country, including seminary Presidents, NGOs heads, congregational clergy, theologians, denominational heads, and others.*
    2,214 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by David Elcott, PhD
  • People of Faith Call on the Louisiana Legislature to Help the Poor, Stay Out of People's Bedrooms
    On April 15, 2014, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 66-27 to retain a state law that bans sexual relations between consenting adults. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such laws are unconstitutional, and they cannot be legally enforced. During what is for many people one of the most sacred seasons of the year (Holy Week and Passover), Louisiana lawmakers decided that the best use of their time would be to make an official pronouncement against the 100,000+ Louisianans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and the millions more who love them. Their vote means: "You are not welcome in Louisiana. If it were up to us, you would be fined thousands of dollars or put into jail for up to five years." Trying to extend the reach of government, they also said with their vote: "What you choose to do in your own bedroom is our business." This is in violation of a central tenet of all our faith traditions -- to "love your neighbor." It is especially damaging to LGBT children, who like all children need to know that they are loved and respected as God's unique creations. Louisiana lawmakers used their positions and taxpayer resources to express those intolerant and ignorant opinions, instead of focusing on the fact that Louisiana: > Ranks second in terms of state poverty rates > Has the nation's highest murder rate > Has the highest incarceration rate in the world > Stands to lose billions of dollars and refuse medical care to low income people by refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Is slipping into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of one football field per hour The legislature's vote is not only mean spirited, it is also ironic: Many of these lawmakers are themselves guilty of the "sin of Sodom" as expressed in Ezekiel 16:49: "Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door." As clergy and ordinary people of faith, we call on the Louisiana House of Representatives to repeal Louisiana code 14:89 - the "sodomy law" - and then move on to the real work that needs to be done so the state can live up to its full potential: > Help people to rise out of poverty > Make our streets safe > Keep people out of jail if they don't need to be there > Accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Save this beautiful land before it disappears into the sea.
    154 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Max Niedzwiecki
  • Rainbow Door
    This spring a rising trend of hate crimes toward the LGBTQ Community in NYC has led to an atmosphere of fear in our neighborhoods. Given the fact that most of the homophobic rhetoric in our country comes from faith communities (or justifies itself through the faith lens) it becomes particularly important that open and affirming communities of faith stand up and be counted. Not only do we want these communities to visibly identify themselves as "safe sanctuaries" to the LGBTQ Community, we want their voices to be heard in the wider faith dialogue in this country. STATEMENT OF INTENT from the RAINBOW DOOR, A FAITH COALITION Violence against people perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) has existed for millennia. Recent anti-LGBTQ violence in New York City is the latest chapter in this sorry history of bigotry, oppression and discrimination. Urgent action is needed to put a stop to the growing number of targeted bashings and murders in our community. Religion is complicit in this violence. For too long, fearful religious rhetoric has been used to attack the LGBTQ community and to justify discrimination against its members. The Rainbow Door Faith Coalition strongly affirms the right of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification, to be free of the burden of prejudice in their practice of religion and in all other areas of their lives. We reject the antiquated dogma that LGBTQ people are "sinful" or that their so-called "lifestyle" is immoral or threatening to religion or society. We support full equality for LGBTQ persons and encourage respect for their relationships both inside and outside the spiritual traditions that we represent. We call upon faith leaders and communities to: — acknowledge that speech condemning LGBTQ persons is violent speech and, therefore, unacceptable. — encourage congregations and denominations to accept, affirm, and celebrate the whole identities of LGBTQ persons as gifts from God. — mark their buildings with the “Rainbow Door” symbol of solidarity and sanctuary. — exercise “Rainbow Door Safe Sanctuaries” practices, offering compassionate pastoral and congregational care to LGBTQ persons, not to convert or change, but to empower each person’s sense of wholeness and well-being, particularly in this current culture of anti-LGBTQ violence. — choose to hold themselves accountable to this pledge of safety through education of other faith leaders and communities, through reexamination of their beliefs, actions, and words that instigate violence, and through support for the LGBTQ population in general, as well as all marginalized populations within it. Our respective faiths call us to not only stand up for victims of direct violence and oppression, but to cooperatively work to transform violent religious rhetoric until all LGBTQ persons are safe inside and outside faith communities, not because of changing times, not because of shifting politics, but because our faith has commanded and will always command such truthful, anti-violent action. Endorsed by Judson Memorial Church Community Church of Syosset, UCC Middle Collegiate Church Church in the Village Brooklyn Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
    177 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Paul Russell
  • Tell ESPN: Christian Does Not Equal Anti-Gay
    When NBA player Jason Collins came out as a gay man, he noted “My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.” Collins also understands the struggles of LGBTQ youth: “My one small gesture of solidarity was to wear jersey number 98 with the Celtics and then the Wizards. The number has great significance to the gay community. One of the most notorious antigay hate crimes occurred in 1998. Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found.” The Religious Institute applauds this courageous public witness, and our network of religious leaders affirms sexual and gender diversity as a blessed part of life. The Religious Institute is a national nonprofit advocating for sexual and reproductive justice, education and health in faith communities and in society. As longtime advocates for full equality of LGBTQ persons in all areas of religious and public life, we know that the vast majority of LGBTQ youth regularly hear negative messages about LGBTQ people, and that they are twice as likely as their peers to report being physically assaulted at school (http://hrc.org/youth/view-statistics) ESPN provocatively entered into the culture wars and deliberately skewed the Christian perspective by providing a platform for a voice that is known to denigrate sexual and gender diversity. (Update: The petition language has been amended to reflect LZ Granderson's participation in the segment.) ESPN neglected the many religious voices that celebrate sexual and gender diversity as a blessing consistent with their faith tradition. (http://religiousinstitute.org/sites/default/files/open_letters/diversityopenletter_0.pdf)
    4,714 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Debra Haffner
  • Family Film Reviewer Won't Approve Films Featuring Loving LGBT Families: Fight Back!
    In April, "Love Free or Die" – the story of the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson – was denied a family-approved rating by the Dove Foundation, a family film reviewer. Why? "Two men kiss and hold hands" and "many people state they are gay." As a minister who pastors to loving LGBT families, including a family shown in the film (two committed dads and the 4 at-risk children they adopted), I cannot emphasize enough that more families need to see "Love Free or Die." It is a film about love, family, and faith, as well as equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters. "Love Free or Die" shares a message that all of our families and children need to explore together: that our faiths and values teach us to love each other and our neighbors, no exceptions. The Dove Foundation exercises a lot of power by narrowing the choices for parents deciding what films are appropriate for their children. It's clear now that Dove focuses not only on the appropriateness of the content (violence and drug use, for example), but also, alarmingly, on what constitutes a family (no LGBT families need apply). It's alarming because many film industry studios, like Fox Home Entertainment, include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove-approved DVDs. Is "Love Free or Die" really the same as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D," which also is not Dove-approved? I know from experience that you can't help but be positively moved by the love displayed in "Love Free or Die." The film inspires conversations about love and commitment, faith and God, equality and dignity, that make our families stronger, and lay the foundation for our children to grow up as people of faith and values. Now, as a family film reviewer that writes their reviews based on Judeo-Christian values, the Dove Foundation has the opportunity to say that movies like "Love Free or Die," which show loving families, gay and straight, are faith- and family-approved! The faith that I know doesn't teach Love Only Thy Straight Neighbor. In fact, the church where I met Fred and Michael, one of the loving gay couples in Love Free or Die, decided not to perform marriages until same-sex couples could marry. Fred and Michael chose the church because it was a welcoming church for them and their children. Fred and Michael also chose that church for its strong family-focus. Together they had adopted 4 at-risk children, conquering the challenge of raising kids who would have otherwise had a tough life with love and devotion. Fred and Michael saw this as God’s work. Together, we can raise our voices to tell the Dove Foundation that the incredible stories of loving LGBT families – like Bishop Gene Robinson's, like Fred and Michael's – make our families stronger by illustrating a love that our faiths teach: one that embraces all. http://vimeo.com/39888349
    1,419 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Ellen Tillotson