To The Editor:
In recent weeks, several clergy from houses of worship in Harlem have made remarks against Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) people that are damaging, malicious and false. In these statements, LGBT (same gender loving) people have been associated with activities of pedophilia and bestiality. These statements are false and send messages to our community that promotes hate, harassment, bullying and physical violence.
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent are Christian adults; both clergy and lay leaders. We are able to defend ourselves based on the personal and professional lives that we lead. We can be emotionally destroyed, but we are concerned about what these characterizations do to others especially young people who are same gender loving. How do they protect themselves when they are abandoned by their families, bullied in school, thrown out of their homes and worst; physically attacked? What are their lives to become when this kind of hatred is preached from the houses of worship in their communities?
Such words of hate give license to others; to kill us. They give parents the legitimacy to banish their gay children from their homes. Hate and homophobia lead to violence against us.
We accuse no one person of being homophobic, but we do want you to know that this hate speech is homophobic and only practiced by persons who have no respect and love for God’s people. We do not believe that religion gives anyone the right to condemn others. In the words of Scripture, “…but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18.
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and same gender loving people of African descent and their allies formed to serve as ambassadors and educators to oppose discrimination, exclusion and intimidation of LGBT persons in our society and particularly in our church communities. The group includes clergy, divinity students and faith leaders who represent diverse interdenominational religious institutions. As people of faith, they believe in the spiritual values of love, inclusiveness and respect for all people.