More on Clergy Call from Last Week:
I attended and participated in HRC’s Clergy Call for Equality and Justice last week in Washington, D.C. On Monday of last week I had the privilege of participating on a panel with Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, Rev. Dr. Harry Knox, Bishop Carlton Pearson. The Panel was about Faith Messaging and going deeper in our spiritual pursuits of Social Justice. When clergy speak about social justice we do so not just out of a political imperative but often out of our faith and spirituality. I know I certainly do. I shared with the 298 clergy members from all fifty States that my guiding faith statement comes from the Prophet Micah: What does God Require of you? Only to do justice love compassion and walk humbly with your God. (As you readers know those words are part of the title of my blog). These words are also emblazoned on the wall of my office surrounding a window that looks out into our sanctuary at Kol Ami. These are daily reminders to keep my eye on what matters: God, Torah and the People Israel and hence all people. As a rabbi I shared with those gathered that when I speak in the political realm I do so with my whole being: My spirituality and my Jewish values. It is important when clergy speak for equality for LGBT people we are not afraid to assert the moral injustice caused by discrimination, bigotry, and hatefulness. When clergy speak for justice for LGBT people -we have to take back the voice of faith from those who use the Bible and the Torah to bash gay people. Of course those that do that – read the bible selectively. They forget the verses that remind us all are created in God’s image. When so called religious folks use the Bible or Torah to dehumanize others-then they blaspheme! Plain and simple.
So it was important to carry this message to teach clergy -many who had never been to lobby Congress on any issue let alone the issues of equality that we carried to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Specifically we lobbied on two anti-bullying bills including a safe schools bill; we lobbied for a trans-inclusive ENDA-Employment non-Discrimination Act: and we lobbied for the Respect for Marriage Act which would overthrow DOMA and allow marriages to be federally recognized if they are performed in a specific state.
Two years ago-at the last Clergy Call we lobbied for the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes bill. It is now the law! For many of the Congress people we visited it was the first time that they met pro-LGBT equality clergy!
This is why Clergy Call is so important:To train clergy on LGBT equality issues and familiarize them with the intersection of policy and faith issues. And to let their voices ring out through out the halls of Congress.
I am glad to be a part of this powerful tide of change. Thank you HRC for helping make it possible.