'We are deeply saddened that faith leaders are missing an opportunity to highlight the teachings of love and justice of their faith traditions,' said HRC's Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today expressed concern over statements made by religious extremists about the upcoming Jerusalem WorldPride Festival. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride event, attended by thousands from around the world, will be held in Jerusalem in August 2005. Led by southern California evangelical Christian pastor the Rev. Leo Giovinetti, extremist representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths demanded that the festival, themed "Love without Borders," not be allowed to be held in the Holy City.
According to The New York Times, a Muslim Sufi sheik was quoted as saying: "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."
"We are deeply saddened that faith leaders are missing an opportunity to highlight the teachings of love and justice of their faith traditions," said incoming HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Members of the GLBT community are drawn to Jerusalem because of its central place in their own religious commitments. They come seeking a connection with the sacred. It is our hope they will be met with enlightened wisdom."
According to Rabbi Jack Moline, such cooperation among these three major religions, particularly in the Middle East, is highly unusual. Though, he also noted that the statements come from extremist ends of the religious groups that usually save such invective for each other.
"Scripture affirms that all people are created in God's image. Members of the GLBT community - whether active in their religious communities or still seeking faith - should be welcomed as pilgrims, not demonized," said Moline. "I am heartened that religious leaders worldwide are more faithful to the celebration of human diversity than these few espousers of prejudice."
The WorldPride festival, planned to be held August 18-28, 2005, in Jerusalem, started as InterPride in Boston in 1982. The organization was started to promote GLBT pride on an international level. Since then, festivals have been held in several international cities, including Rome Auckland, New Zealand and Glasgow, Scotland.
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