Photo Credits: Flickr
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization that works to achieve equality for LGBTQ people and their rights, has started a tour during which its president, Alphonso David, will visit religious communities in order to build relations between them and LGBTQ communities. The tour, “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground,” officially started in Philadelphia where David visited The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.
“The cornerstones of religion and faith and the LGBTQ movement are the same: inclusion and justice. LGBTQ people are in every faith tradition, and LGBTQ people and people of faith have more similarities than they do differences,” said HRC President Alphonso David, according to The Human Rights Campaign website. “I am excited to visit diverse houses of worship to strengthen HRC’s relationships with faith communities. Today’s visit to the Historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, the first African Episcopal church in the United States with a strong legacy of humanitarianism and community outreach, is the perfect way to begin this series of conversations to advance dialogue and initiatives around LGBTQ equality.”
The idea behind the tour is to create better relations between houses of worship and faith traditions on one side and LGBTQ organizations on the other side with the goal to promote equality and justice for all. It is a common thought that a person can't be LGBTQ and also a person of faith probably because there is a perception that religion is in conflict with being LGBTQ. Besides this there is also a widespread thought that religious persons are against LGBTQ people and against their rights.
According to The Religion News Service, "last year survey by Public Religion Research Institute showed that there is broad support in all U.S. states for gay rights, with 69% of Americans supporting nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Researchers found agreement across religious groups as well, from 90% of Unitarian Universalists and 80% of Jews to 54% of white evangelical Protestants and 53% of Jehovah’s Witnesses." Those numbers give a solid ground for further improvements in relations between religion and LGBTQ people.
Together with a campaign to improve those relations, HRC is using this tour to mobilize voters for the 2020 elections. As part of HRC's Get Out The Vote efforts, HRC volunteers will help members of the congregation update their voter registration information and urge them to bring their family members and friends with them to vote in upcoming elections.