Once again clergy from many faith traditions gathered at the capitol today to let legislators know that our faith calls on us to love one another and treat each others as neighbors. We are no longer going to allow clergy voices of judgment and exclusion to be the dominant ones.

Below is the press release that went out nationally about the event. Please continue to pray for the people whose lives will be impacted by the numerous bills that will be voted on as the legislative session winds down.

AUSTIN – Clergy from an array of denominations and faith traditions gathered at the Texas Capitol today to pray together for equality for all and to deliver to state lawmakers letters signed by hundreds of faith leaders opposed to promoting discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“The outpouring of opposition from faith leaders of all backgrounds should make the moral argument very clear to legislators set to cast votes to legalize discrimination,” said Rev. Karen Thompson of Metropolitan Community Church-Austin. “The Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated – is a basic tenet of every major faith tradition. Lawmakers can’t hide behind religion in passing these discriminatory measures.”

Texas legislators have filed at least two dozen bills that would subject LGBTQ people to discrimination in virtually all aspects of their lives. Among the proposed bills are efforts to discriminate against transgender people in public restrooms.

“As a United Methodist pastor, I’ve tried to follow John Wesley’s three simple rules: do no harm, do all the good you can and love God,” said Rev. John Elford of University United Methodist Church in Austin. “My calling compels me to speak up passionately for transgender persons, who are marginalized and vulnerable children of God, and who deserve our care and protection. My calling compels me to speak out powerfully against bills like HB2899 that, under the guise of protecting women, actively discriminates against and does harm to transgender persons.”

Thompson, Elford and other clergy associated with Texas Believes – a coalition of interfaith clergy who support equality for LGBT people – gathered in silent but public prayer for equality outside the House chamber. Afterward, they delivered to House and Senate offices a letter signed by more than 200 Texas faith leaders opposed to the discrimination legislation.

“We will continue to speak out against all attempts to use religion to demonize, discriminate against or bring harm to our LGBT sisters and brothers” the letter reads. “And we encourage you, as leaders in our state, to support policies that treat all Texans equally under the law, including the LGBT community.”

They also delivered a letter, signed by more than 100 prominent faith leaders from across the country, criticizing state bills that “threaten the dignity and equal treatment of LGBTQ people and violate the very tenets of love and justice that are the backbone of our religious traditions.”

Among the signers to the Texas and national letters are faith leaders from diverse faith traditions, including Christians, Unitarians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.

The Texas letter is available at texasbelieves.org/letter. The national letter is available at religiousinstitute.org/national-faith-statement-anti-lgbtq-bills/.
Texas Believes (TexasBelieves.org) is a coalition of faith leaders who support full equality for all Texans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans.

Always in Hope,