Human Rights Campaign Statement on Death of Rev. Peter Gomes

by HRC Staff

Washington - Rev. Peter J. Gomes, theologian, author, Harvard professor of Christian Morals, and Minister in Boston's Memorial Church died yesterday from complications arising from a stroke. Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Program, released the following statement:

"As one of this country's most formidable preachers and renowned scholars, Rev. Gomes was instrumental in shaping how a new generation approaches the Bible and the discussion of sexuality. Gomes deftly demonstrated in the pulpit and on the page how the Bible has systematically been used as a tool of both liberation and oppression. More than any other theologian, he has painstakingly shown the ways the Bible has kept marginalized people down when employed as a tool to justify racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia.

"But Gomes did more than rail against religious bigotry he offered a way for religious people to claim their faith and their sexuality. When people of faith are routinely told that they are sinful and presented with the choice of the closet, ex-gay ministries, or leaving religion altogether, Gomes has been a healing voice. In his 1996 bestseller, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, he taught people to pay attention to the spirit of the Bible rather than viewing it as a convenient shield for their prejudices.

"Without Gomes, there would never be a Religion and Faith program at the Human Rights Campaign because our work is predicated on the work of theologians of his brilliance, audacity and heart to provide us with a language and an interpretive lens to re-imagine our relationship with our faith. He was a paradigm-shifter that gave religious and secular leaders alike a way to see how the dream of equality for all people had a resounding place among the faithful. He will be deeply missed."

The Human Rights Campaign 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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