A Southern Proclamation, signed by leaders of faith communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
As people of faith
We proclaim God’s love for all, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
(LGBT) persons and we publicly apologize where we have been silent. As reasoned people of faith we believe that the truth sets us free and we recognize that the debate concerning sexuality is over. The verdict is in. The debate should end. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one biblical perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God. The tenets of all faiths recognize that all people, no matter their color, ethnicity, sexuality or religion, are children of one God and equally loved by their creator. Further, our books of faith ask us to love God, love our neighbor and to follow the path that leads to true justice.
In repentance and obedience to the God within us, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, which claim to be speaking the truth of scriptural teaching. This errant righteousness leads directly and sadly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. Our faith in God compels us:
v To affirm that the essence of life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;
v To embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;
v To declare that the violence must stop. God’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of religion;
v To celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for our faith communities, especially the LGBT faithful, who have met hatred with love.
Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The constitution of the United States declares that all people are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.