Clergy and faith leaders say, 'No More Bullying!'
From Wire Reports
New York, October 19, 2010 --An
alliance of high-level mainline Christian leaders and faith groups released
a statement Monday calling on "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 wake of a rash of suicides after anti-gay bullying and violent
attacks on gay people in New York, top faith leaders signed a pledge "to be
LGBT and straight people of faith standing together for the shared values of
decency and civility, compassion and care in all interactions."
faith leaders signing the
Clergy Against Bullying statement include
the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of
Churches, the Rev. Geoffrey Black, general minister and president of the
United Church of Christ, Elder Cynthia J. Bolbach, moderator of the
Presbyterian Church (USA), the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the
Presbyterian Church (USA), Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts
Schori, Bishop Yvette Flunder, presiding bishop of The Fellowship and the
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches.
"The member churches of the National Council of Churches are moved by
scripture to affirm every person as a valued child of God and to support
protection from bullying and discrimination," Kinnamon said. "Just as we
spoke out on behalf of Muslims who were under threat, so we now stand as
Clergy Against Bullying of our neighbors, regardless of sexual orientation
and gender identity. Given the recent outburst of anti-gay rhetoric and
action, the Church must not be silent."
Head of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said, "The
Episcopal Church abhors the persecution of any group of human beings and
seeks the just and dignified treatment of all."
"Bullying for any reason is contradictory to authentic religion," said Dr.
C. Welton Gaddy. "Religion inspires respect, empathy, compassion and
humility-values that prompt healing and condemn hurting."
"We are asking all faith colleagues, LGBT and straight alike, to go online
and sign the Clergy Against Bullying statement and to work toward safe space
for all God's children in our churches," said the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.
"Too often, young people who are gay, transgender or questioning fear
judgmental church people. This statement by Clergy Against Bullying will
help us all tell the story of the One who came not to judge or condemn but
to love us. Today we are saying to every child who is different in any way:
'You are safe in the arms of God; you are safe with our congregations.' "
Bishop Yvette Flunder, who is also senior pastor at City of Refuge UCC,
said, "When our young people hear messages of condemnation from church
leaders, they are left alone to wonder if God loves them, if their families
will reject them and if their peers will attack them with taunts and
bullying. Today, Clergy Against Bullying are choosing to speak words of
humility, love and acceptance."
Harry Knox of the Human Rights Campaign said, "We rejoice that we are
joining our voices with Muslims for Progressive Values and the more than 300
Jewish organizational leaders coordinated by Keshet. You will be inspired to
do more when you read the powerful
For a full statement of
Clergy Against Bullying and to sign on,
go to the web site. All clergy and people
of good faith are welcome to sign. Clergy Against Bullying will be building
online resources to help congregations create safe spaces and support for
all of God's children, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for
ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's
36 member faith groups -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican,
Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace
churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local
congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact:
Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),