Faith & Religious Freedom
In the United States we have freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Yet the constitutional definition of religious liberty is regularly manipulated to advance political objectives and enact laws that reverse or impede progress in virtually every aspect of our lives. In Texas alone, over 100 pieces of legislation were introduced in their last session that used faith to validate discriminatory political advances.
In 2008, at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference, V. Gene Robinson, the country’s first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated bishop in a major Christian denomination, addressed the over 2,000 people in attendance, stating:
“You have been treated very badly by the religious institutions of our time. Our wanting you to come back to church is not unlike asking an abused spouse to go back to her husband. Give us another chance. There are religious people out there who actually see the vision of justice for all that we believe in.”
For over 10 years, the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources and Practice Faith, Do Justice training program has led national efforts to amplify the voices of these welcoming and affirming faith leaders, and counter efforts by the religious right to use religion as political ammunition and continue to strip LGBTQ people of their right to practice their faith. From October 20-23, 2015, we held a “Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit” in Salt Lake City, convening hundreds of LGBTQ people of faith and equipped them with skills necessary to take action to end LGBTQ discrimination in their communities and nationwide.
Our work is geared toward building a vibrant, faith-based network for LGBTQ equality that continues to increase dialogue, understanding and support for the LGBTQ community. A large majority of Americans identify as people of some faith. Our work aims to empower that shared identity — that someone can be LGBTQ and a person of faith with dignity and acceptance. We do this through trainings, materials, advanced leadership development and “train-the-trainer” programs that bolster understanding and prepare trainees to hold meaningful conversations about who they are and their experience as an LGBTQ person of faith.
We’re determined to shift the phony narrative that LGTBQ people aren’t people of faith and that people of faith aren’t supportive of LGBTQ people.