FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“Union on the Hill” Public Forum to be Held at National Press Club
Washington, D.C. – Rev. Frederick A. Davie, Executive Vice President at Union Theological Seminary, announced that the Seminary will convene a press conference with Evangelical and other faith leaders from around the country to promote a pro-LGBTQ public policy agenda for the Trump Administration and new Congress at 9:30 am, the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Conference rooms Murrow/White/Lisgor, Washington, D.C. on Friday, December 9, 2016. (Breakfast at 8:30 am.)
Presenters at the event will highlight why they support the LGBTQ community because of their faith, and not in spite of it. The policy agenda will focus on five key areas proposed by faith leaders: LGBTQ basic rights, LGBTQ homeless youth, LGBTQ senior citizens, the transgender community, and global anti-discrimination.
Over the past 12 months, Union has worked with a wide array of religious leaders from around the country to express support from the faith community for LGBTQ rights and equality. Many evangelical leaders have joined this effort, including Rev. Adam Phillips, Pastor, Christ Church Portland; Rev. Amy Butler, Senior Minister, The Riverside Church; Brandan Robertson, Founder and Executive Director, NOMAD Partnerships; Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church; Alan Manning Chambers, Co-Founder of Speak. Love. and former President of Exodus International; Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs, Union Theological Seminary; Kathy Baldock, Board of Directors, The Reformation Project; Rod Snyder, Board Member, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality; Robert and Susan Cottrell, Founders, FreedHearts; Doug Pagitt, Pastor, Solomon’s Porch and National Director, OPEN Networks; Michael Kimpan, Organizer, OPEN Networks; and Josh Dickson, Co-Founder and Board Member, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality.
“It is vital that the Trump Administration and Congress continue to support policies and legislation that preserves and defends the rights of all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. “We at Union are proud of the historic advances in LGBTQ rights and we remain committed to advocating for the equal protection of all people under the law.”
“I am driven by my faith to ensure that the Trump Administration and Congress protect the civil rights and human dignity of the LGBTQ community,” said Rev. Fred Davie, Executive Vice President of Union Theological Seminary, who organized the event. “Faith leaders from around the country are determined to raise this critical public discussion to increase respect and tolerance, and tackle the festering and explosive underlying issues of hate, bigotry, and violence targeted at members of the LGBTQ community.”
The press conference is co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Community of Churches, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, Auburn Seminary, SAGE, Cathedral of Hope, the Center for African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University, Covenant Baptist UCC, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
Speakers include: Rev. Fred Davie, Union Theological Seminary; Rev. Adam Phillips, Pastor, Christ Church Portland; Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, Director of Latinx and Catholic Initiatives, Human Rights Campaign; Victoria Kirby York, National Campaigns Director, National LGBTQ Task Force; Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church; Rev. Clayton Brooks, M.Div., Director of Advocacy, Covenant House; Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Pastor of Sacred Souls Community Church, UCC; Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force; and Bishop Joseph Tolton, Executive Director, Believe Out Loud.
Support for LGBTQ rights and equality continues to grow among religious Americans – particularly Christians. According to the Pew Research Center, 58% of Catholics and 64% of White Mainline Protestants support marriage equality today, compared to 40% and 38% in 2001, respectively. Support for marriage equality among White Evangelical Christians has more than doubled since 2001, with Black Protestant support increasing by close to one-third during that time. As the culture wars of the past fade away, many faithful Americans – conservative Christians in particular – are increasingly seeing LGBTQ equality as integral to their religious values and their calling to love their neighbors as they do themselves.
“One of the most meaningful ways of living out one’s faith is to bring the principles of justice and mercy to our work in the public square,” said Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins. “Micah reminds us to ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.’ We are at our best as a nation when justice and compassion are at the center of how we treat one another. The LGBTQ community is very much a part of the fabric of American society, and working to make sure that the policies of our government protect and ensure the fullest participation of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers is not in addition to, but an essential part of, our faith.”
Following the press conference, Union leadership and faith leaders will meet with public officials to voice their support for the LGBTQ community and discuss how our policies as a nation can reflect the timeless concept at the core of our democracy that all people are created equal. They have secured meetings at the White House, and are seeking to meet with the Trump Administration and members of the new Congress. Moving forward and in keeping with its 180-year-old mission, Union will continue to work with religious voices across the country to support the full inclusion and equality for the LGBTQ community.