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The Resistance Prays

December 29, 2018
By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

Today's Top Story
"He Was a Gay Man on Staff at a Catholic Parish. Then the Threats Began Coming In." The New York Times reports: "When Antonio Aaron Bianco arrived for work at his Roman Catholic church office on a recent Monday morning, he was rattled to discover that someone had broken into the conference room and spray-painted a message in large yellow letters on the wall. It said 'No Fags.'"

Meanwhile, the bishops of the United Methodist Church released a letter to the global LGBTQ community. The bishops write "Amid our sorrow, we seek to learn and grow in grace. To that end, we commit ourselves to helping people who disagree with each other to have conversations that include, honor, and respect people with different convictions."
"In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises." Galatians 3:28-29 
Free and equal in rights and dignity
  • What am I most excited about in 2019? That's easy. Marrying the Rev. John Russell Stanger. (If you recognize his name, it's because he occasionally writes for the Resistance Prays himself.) John Russell is the most amazing person I know. He's a gifted pastor and deeply committed to Jesus' ministry of peace and justice. I'm grateful that a minister at my Baptist church in Louisville will officiate our wedding ceremony and that many ordained Christian clergy friends will be in attendance. 
  • You're probably wondering at this point: why isn't he talking about Trump? I created this newsletter to spiritually and politically defeat Trumpism, and we've written letters every day for 18 months to advance that mission. But these two news articles made me step back for a minute and think: we need to also pray for church reform. To confront Trump, we need to get our own houses in order. And that means fully embracing LGBTQ equality. While I'm incredibly excited for my own wedding ceremony, I fully realize and regret the harm done to LGBTQ people in the name of Christ. 
  • LGBTQ equality is a human rights issue. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilla puts it this way: "The case for extending the same rights to LGBTQ persons as those enjoyed by everyone else is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin international human rights law: equality and non-discrimination. The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are unequivocal: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’.”
  • I honestly have zero interest in arguing with people over my human rights. My interest lies in LGBTQ liberation and resisisting the remaining anti-equality denominations like the Catholic Church and United Methodist Church. Thankfully, many churches like my Baptist church in Louisville have evolved. But until all churches do, we have to work towards church reform. The fight against Donald Trump is a fight for fundamental human rights. We must affirm these fundamental human rights in our churches if we are ever to defeat Trumpism. 
  • The United Methodist Church will meet this February to decide whether they will join the Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Church, and other denominations in embracing human rights for LGBTQ members. The letter from the bishops strikes some as a preemptive apology for denying LGBTQ equality once again. While in the Catholic Church, conservatives are using the sexual abuse crisis to launch new attacks on LGBTQ Catholics. Both strands of Christianity are in crisis, and we must pray for them both to embrace LGBTQ Christians as full and equal in rights and dignity. 
Support the work of Dignity USA (a Catholic LGBTQ rights organization) and the Reconciling Ministries Network (an United Methodist LGBTQ rights organization.) 
Holy One, reveal to us your vision of all humanity being born equal in rights and dignity. Compel us to make this vision a reality in our own lives. Transform our hearts and minds from despair to action. Deliver us from the evil of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and bring forth your reign of equality and dignity for all. Amen.
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