Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Clergy to lobby on Hill for gay rights" -- an AP report on today's HRC Clergy Call

So I've got pictures of my own to post and a lot to share about a great two days of work and witness in Washington, but that's a "stay tuned" because tonight I'm too pounded to anything but websurf and get to bed early for an early flight back to L.A. in the morning. HOWEVER, this AP report gives the "gist" ... more to come!

[AP] The U.S. Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop is among hundreds of clergy members urging Congress to support gay rights, including the passage of an expanded hate crimes bill that would give gay victims of violence new federal protections.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and more than 300 clergy of various faiths plan to spend Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers to push through a bill that broadens the definition of hate crimes to include those motivated by a person's sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The legislation was passed by the House last week.

Clergy also will push for legislation providing protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is the second time the lobbying effort known as Clergy Call has been held on Capitol Hill; the first event was held two years ago.

"They're not here to grind political axes," said Harry Knox of the Human Rights Campaign, which is sponsoring the event. "They're here out of a pastoral concern for real people in their congregations who have to deal with the ramifications of hate violence and employment discrimination."

The 2009 Clergy Call comes amid significant victories for the gay rights movement, including the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa and Vermont.

Also on Tuesday, the D.C. Council is expected to take a final vote on legislation recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The vote will place the issue before Congress, which has final say over the city's laws.

Bishop Robinson, who delivered the invocation during a kickoff concert at the Lincoln Memorial for President Obama's inauguration, said that despite recent momentum, an uphill struggle continues for gay rights supporters in the religious community. He said that's because their message is often overshadowed by many on the religious right.

"Religion in general still presents the greatest obstacles we face in full equality," he said Monday during a speech at Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington. "Ninety-five percent of the oppression that we know in our lives comes from the religious community."

Bishop Robinson's 2003 consecration has divided the Episcopal Church in the United States and abroad. Last year, theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province.

Bishop Robinson said he continues to deal with threats. On Monday, he spoke of a scare earlier this year in which a man was arrested while driving with a sawed-off shotgun, a map to his home, and photographs of the bishop and his partner taken from the Internet.

He spoke of the importance of clergy members who are reaching out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. "We actually are the bridge between the LGBT equality movement and those institutions which are afraid of it," he said.

Mr. Knox, the director of the Human Rights Campaign's religion and faith program, said Tuesday's daylong lobbying effort would include 325 clergy members from various religions representing Christians, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims.

8 comments:

Cany said...

Did you go to Rep Miller's (R-Diamond Bar) office? I got a request today to let him know how I feel about his voting against the Matthew Shepard bill which I called their DC office about. They were very nice.

Miller voted AGAINST the bill.

I am now asked by HRC to communicate my serious displeasure with this vote, which I will do, but am interested in how their office responded to any clergy call so I can include that, as well.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Miller wasn't on the list I got for CA visits ... mostly we saw staffer -- not the reps -- but whether we skipped Miller because we couldn't get an appt (which happened in some cases) or just because we didn't have anyone with us from that district.

Two Auntees said...

Thanks to you and all other clergy for taking a stand against injustice. This is so important.

David |Dah • veed| said...

I am only here to read the comments, but now I have to post because I see that the word verification is ...

...wait for it...

rednked
OK, please carry on, nothing more to see here.

Cany said...

Okay, thanks Susan!

Bateau Master said...

If this is the case +Robinson speaks of, the perp seems both very dangerous and awfully equal opportunity:

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20090127/THISJUSTIN/901270299/-1/RSS10

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

So what's your point?

Bateau Master said...

My point is that the perp is a dangerous wackadoodle - perhaps equally dangerous to the local Mormons, Jehovah Witness's, others denominations (though not yet charged), and Bishop Robinson.

http://www.wtic.com/pages/3759609.php?

Also, this is a fascinating story that didn't make it to widely distributed press .... you wouldn't believe how far down google I had to go!