CLERGY AGAINST BULLYING
CALL FOR ACTION AND TIME OF HEALING
IN WAKE OF GAY TEEN SUICIDES AND ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE
Today, as leaders of Christian communions and national networks, we speak with heavy hearts because of the bullying, suicides and hate crimes that have shocked this country and called all faith communities into accountability for our words or our silence. We speak with hopeful hearts, believing that change and healing are possible, and call on our colleagues in the Church Universal to join us in working to end the violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.
In the past seven weeks, six young and promising teenagers took their own lives. Some were just entering high school; one had just enrolled in college. Five were boys; one, a girl becoming a young woman. These are only the deaths for which there has been a public accounting. New reports of other suicides continue to haunt us daily from around the country.
They were of varying faiths and races and came from different regions of the nation.
The one thing these young men and women had in common was that they were perceived to be gay or lesbian. Each in their own way faced bullying and harassment or struggled with messages of religion and culture that made them fear the consequences of being who they were.
You'll want to read the whole statement but here are some "therefores:"
It's time to talk openly and honestly about the diversity of God's creation and the gift of various sexual orientations and gender identities – and to do that in a way that makes it safe for people to disagree and still abide in love.I am so delighted to see our Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as one of the signatories to this important witness. Please take a minute and join me in sending her office an email of thanks for stepping up and speaking out.
It's time to talk openly and honestly about the use and misuse of power and authority by those we entrust with our spiritual well-being. It's time to make it safe for our clergy colleagues who are struggling to live what they preach, to get the help and support we all sometimes need.
The young people who took their lives a few weeks ago died because the voices of people who believe in the love of God for all the people of God were faint and few in the face of those who did the bullying, harassing and condemning. Today we write to say we will never again be silent about the value of each and every life.
And then continue to think, pray and organize to work toward becoming the kind of world where all our children are equally valued, loved, protected and celebrated.