HRC Blog

We Have Hope!

This post comes from Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, M.Div., Deputy Director of HRC’s Religion & Faith Program:

For the first time in a very long time - as an African American ordained member of clergy and a gay man - on the afternoon of July 9, 2012 in a ball room with hundreds of African American mainstream clergy, when the declaration of “We have hope” was pronounced over those gathers, I felt included in the word “We.”

The word “hope” alone has transformative power; but embodied in the word “we” is recognition that by working in solidarity, religious and spiritual people can do far more than we can in isolation of one another.

Hope, faith, and civil protections under the law for all people: these themes were celebrated among the gathering of more than five hundred members of the clergy at the 103 NAACP Annual Convention Religious leaders Luncheon this week in Houston.

Rabbi David Saperstein, presiding, Chair of the Religious Affairs Committee, Board of Directors, and Reverend Julius C. Hope, Director of, NAACP Department of Religious Affairs led an illustrious gathering of prominent African American religious leaders, where a trumpet was sounded for a “call to ministry for the whole person.”  

Bishop Williamson conveyed that “if we are not ministering to the whole person then we are not ministering according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The decided shift of inclusion of sexual orientation in the organization’s lexicon of equality was discussed by both Rosalyn Brock, Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors and Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, in their opening addresses to the thousands of delegates present at the opening session.

We have hope. We have hope because the wise elders – the board of directors of the NAACP - have heard their LGBT daughters and sons calling for justice; recognized our need for full equality in our deep love and commitment one to another; and issued a stance in support of marriage equality. We have hope because we realize that when we stand together, there is a power that emerges amongst us that is greater than our individual influence. We have hope because in the face of great challenge, we recognize that we have greater faith. And so it is.

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