Encouraged by Growing Number of Religious Leaders Speaking in Support of LGBT Rights
WASHINGTON - After three decades of work on behalf of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Rev. Richard Cizik was forced to resign Thursday after a radio interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" in which he asserted his support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. In response to his forced resignation, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization issued a statement from Harry Knox, the director of the organization's Religion and Faith Program.
"This week the National Association of Evangelicals lost a good man but even worse it lost credibility as a religious organization that professes to teach the Gospel. Our faith traditions call on us to celebrate, not denounce, our most sacred loving relationships," stated Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Religion and Faith Program. "Jesus calls on us first and foremost to love God and love our neighbor. We are encouraged by the growing number of religious leaders such as Rev. Richard Cizik who are looking with fresh eyes at Scripture's requirement and wrestling with what justice for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors means."
Knox states further, "Perhaps most disturbing about the NAE's decision is that it makes no room for its leaders to grow in their belief. If the NAE won't allow one of its most renowned and celebrated members to wrestle with Scripture and grow in relationship to God then it is doing nothing more than making an idol of tradition and sacrificing their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors before it. When Rev. Cizik spoke publically about his shifting position on lesbian and gay relationships he was speaking as a man of God. He let other Evangelical Christians know that the word of God is larger than our preconceptions and prejudices."
Younger Evangelicals are overwhelmingly standing in support of equality and fairness. An October 2008 poll taken by the Faith and American Politics Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research, shows that among young evangelicals, 52% either support marriage equality or civil unions.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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