The Mary Renault Society

The Triangle Area of North Carolina

Promoting the New Religious Perspective on Sexual Orientation and Why it is Important

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Religion-based stigma and hostility has been and still is at the root of the opposition to LGBT equality. It drives anti-gay marriage amendments, it drives opposition to gay couples being allowed to adopt, and sadly it is why many people of faith still put a moral and religious stamp of disapproval on the very existence of LGBT youth. The harm caused those youth and their families is well documented and widely known.

We are at a point where a majority of Americans, including people of faith, can simply no longer accept that LGBT people deserve such a burden. Scanning today’s news reports of various LGBT-related issues reinforces how the “traditional” religious perspective on homosexuality is losing ground. To say just that such a trend is exciting would be a grave understatement, considering the tragic history of harm some religious teaching has done LGBT individuals and their families.

Past struggles for social justice have shown that the residual of such stigma and hostility can remain in place for a very long time. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement, one can directly observe hostility that President Obama has faced and still faces because of unreconciled racial discord. One can see the stigma women in America still face because of misguided religious teaching that placed a stamp of male superiority on society. But what the Faith In America organization finds most promising in the current societal awakening is its opportunity to have a dramatic impact on those residuals of stigma and hostility, which are still prevalent in certain religious demographics.

Would the residuals of racism, bigotry, and misogyny have remained in place for so long had there been a concerted and effective effort to offer an alternative to the prejudice and discrimination still in the minds of many Americans long after anti-discrimination laws were enacted? The LGBT movement for civil rights has both a unique opportunity and a pressing obligation in a post-acceptance LGBT society to foster genuine understanding and integration.

Brent ChildersBrent Childers spent 20 years in print journalism and once was vice president of a public relations and publishing firm. He now serves as executive director of Faith in America, a nonprofit organization which educates the public about the harm caused to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people when certain church teaching is used to promote and justify stigma and hostility toward that minority population. Childers, an evangelical Christian who once aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry, has served with FIA since its inception in 2005.

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