Faith leaders applaud APA resolution
Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded to the American Psychological Association's (APA) resolution, adopted at the organization's annual convention, that states that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
Statement by the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
National Religious Leadership Roundtable
"The American Psychological Association has clearly articulated that 'reparative therapies' don't work, in fact they can be very harmful. This resolution is welcomed news for all who support the full humanity, morality and worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially those of us who do so because of our religious understandings.
"At the Task Force, we have worked with more than 3,400 congregations to create environments that are supportive and affirming of LGBT people. In addition to these, there are many, many supporters of LGBT people within many religious traditions, even those whose official policy is anti-LGBT. This is important because, while it may be the most psychologically healthy move for some to leave their religious denomination of birth, for others, faith, family, ethnicity, race and culture are inextricably linked and leaving is not an option. For these folks, finding those allies and supporters within their tradition is critical to spiritual and mental health.
"Additionally, the report makes some important statements about the relationship between science and religion. Being deeply religious does not necessarily mean being anti-LGBT. In fact, this report shows that religious practice and belief can and does translate into support for LGBT people. The truth is that religion and science do not have to be opposed to one another. In fact, science can be an enormously important tool for understanding the grandeur and wonder of God's creation. In this case, science helps us understand more fully the gift of sexuality — one of God's greatest gifts."
The National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faith, spiritual and religious organizations. We work in partnership with other groups to promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people within society at large and in communities of faith. We promote understanding and respect within LGBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty, and to achieve commonly held goals that promote equality, spirituality and justice.
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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