Website launched urging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to take action: www.hrc.org/DemandTheTruth
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, responded forcefully today to a full-page ad in the New York Times that implies there is an organized attempt by the LGBT community to foment mob intimidation and violence toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church recently ended a $40 million campaign which dehumanized lesbian and gay people in fighting for the passage of Proposition 8, which stripped gay families of the right to a civil marriage in California. The ad was sponsored by NoMobVeto.org, a project of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
"Several signatories to the ad are generals in the culture wars," said Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Church (Episcopal) in Pasadena, CA. "They lied about gay people in the campaign, and now they are lying again when they say we are in favor of mob intimidation and violence. I personally talked legitimately angry demonstrators in California out of such action and every credible LGBT organization called for peaceful resistance to the Prop 8 travesty. Many of the leaders cited in this ad preach hate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, then look the other way when LGBT people are the victims of hate crimes. This ad is an act of individual and corporate hypocrisy."
Human Rights Campaign is urging people to take action online. By visiting the website, supporters can write a letter to the New York Times send an email to the Beckett Fund, the organization that paid for the misleading New York Times advertisement and share their personal story with NoMobVote.org and let them know how the passage of Prop 8 affected their life.
"As an African-American, I've heard this before. A few frustrated members of a minority group respond in anger to a new indignity and the oppressor calls them anarchists. Satan, sometimes called the Father of Lies, is at work when powerful people seek to dehumanize those who are less-powerful," said Bishop John Selders of Amistad United Church of Christ in Hartford, CT.
"I am always struck that those in power, those who manipulate the truth to maintain oppressive structures, present themselves to the public as the ones being persecuted. Make no mistake, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a powerful organization with an agenda of imposing a narrow religious view upon the rest of America. As we Hispanics say, 'que vergüenza' (what a shameful act)," said Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO.
"Calls for tolerance of certain religious viewpoints rings hollow in a world where religion often stands by tolerating violence perpetrated on God's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children," said Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson, a Presbyterian minister and psychotherapist in Atlanta, GA.
"While I agree that violence and anti-religious bigotry need to be combated, we must also demand an end to the violence undertaken by those religious institutions that not only encourage but also fund bigotry against lesbians and gay men," said Rev. Dr. Ken Stone of Chicago Theological Seminary. "Where will the Becket Fund be when we call for endorsements of hate crimes and employment protection legislation for LGBT people?"
"The 'No Mob Veto' ad would be more convincing as a statement of concern for civil debate over the well-organized and well-funded participation of the LDS church in the passage of Prop 8 had it not itself ended with a clear threat of intimidation toward anyone criticizing that church's role in the election. As the Christian gospels demonstrate in Jesus' action of overturning the tables of money-lenders in the temple, sometimes speaking the truth to entrenched and wealthy religious leaders requires a dramatic stroke. To protest the enormous financial involvement of a religious body in stripping equal rights from California LGBT people, their families, and their children is in no way anti-religious bigotry it is instead, like the example of Jesus in the temple, an attempt to speak the truth to those rooted in power and wealth whose actions serve to deprive other human beings of the equal respect and dignity all of God's children deserve," said Rev. Dr. Mary A. Tolbert of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA.
"As a Christian, I was taught not to 'bear false witness.' One of the deepest tragedies of the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California was its bearing false witness-- more plainly stated, its lies-- about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This ad is one more example. In response to the passage of Proposition 8, faithful, honorable, patriotic Americans from every walk of life and of many sexual orientations and gender identities, gathered to say no to lies and yes to love, truth and the American way. To name these overwhelmingly peaceful gatherings as mobs dishonors me, my family, members of my church and so many others who participated in them. As a Christian, my religious tradition also admonishes me to speak the truth in love. Therefore, I prayerfully ask those who have run this ad and others like it, to stop your false witness. Instead, and especially in these times, our country and our world need all of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans and all people of faith, to work on behalf of the dignity of all human beings," said Rev. Rebecca Voelkel of the Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
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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