FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2023
Seth Nieman, West End Strategy Team
firstname.lastname@example.org; (202) 702-3302
Interfaith Alliance Kicks Off “Faith for Pride” Campaign Highlighting Broad Religious Support for LGBTQ+ Rights
An annual, month-long celebration, Faith for Pride 2023 seeks to mobilize congregations for LGBTQ+ justice as discriminatory legislation continues to proliferate
WASHINGTON—Religious freedom organization Interfaith Alliance hosted a virtual kick-off rally today alongside multifaith partners to mark the start of Faith for Pride, the organization’s annual, month-long effort to mobilize faith-based organizations, congregations, and activists to push back against anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, fight anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and support grassroots organizations that work with LGBTQ+ communities.
Interfaith Alliance President and CEO The Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush hosted faith leaders and activists from across the nation, speaking to how the majority of faith groups are inspired by their traditions to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and fight for their inherent dignity, worth, and rights. Speakers also touched on the ongoing fight against anti-LGBTQ+ bills being advanced in statehouses across the country and their organizations’ own ongoing organizing efforts seeking to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Featured speakers included: Ani Zonneveld, founder and president, Muslims for Progressive Values; Rev. Traci Blackmon, senior pastor, Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO; Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, executive director, Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis; and many more.
“This is personal to me. As a gay man with a husband and two children. For me, faith has been a great source of inspiration and support for my family. Right now, we are all part of a fight for shared justice,” said Rev. Raushenbush. “There are many people who are using religion as a means to discriminate rather than celebrate, and subjugate rather than liberate. So faith leaders must show up for LGBTQ+ people, not just in this moment, but in the future.”
More than 100 national and local organizations are co-sponsoring this year’s Faith for Pride initiative, including the Anti-Defamation League, Keshet, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Sikh Coalition, United Religions Initiative, and the United Church of Christ.
As far-right lawmakers push forward more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year alone – often in the name of religion – Faith for Pride aims to shift the narrative, spotlighting the overwhelming faith support for America’s LGBTQ+ communities. The full list of co-sponsors is here.
Through policy research, public education, grassroots organizing, and advocacy on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and beyond, Interfaith Alliance has worked for years to advance policies protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans. Most recently, the organization played an instrumental role in mobilizing faith support for the Respect of Marriage Act.
If you have any questions about Faith for Pride 2023 and would like to speak with a representative from Interfaith Alliance to discuss further, please contact Seth Nieman at email@example.com or 202-702-3302.
You can find a full recording of today’s kickoff event at this link, and some key excerpts from speakers below:
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, executive director, Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis: “There are people out there, powerful people, and they are speaking in your name. They are speaking in the name of your faith, and if you have not yet spoken out, then let today be the day that you take your voice back. For too long, we have allowed faith to be the voice that silenced our children, kicked out the vulnerable, and tried to quash the most creative souls blessing us on this earth. No more; my faith is faith that recognizes that divinity is so much bigger than any binary. No narrow definition of God’s love can ever suffice.”
Rev. Traci Blackmon, senior fellow, Auburn Seminary; executive minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ; and senior pastor, Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO: “We are living through a scary time in our nation. 160 bills in legislative sessions across the country have specifically targeted trans youth and their parents. However, this month and every month we are here to bear witness that you are all loved and adored. The word I want us to hold onto is “through.” We will get through this time of evil together. This my friends we know to be true: We are all connected and made in the image of the divine. I see you. We see you. God sees you. Thanks be to God.”
Ani Zonneveld, founder and president, Muslims for Progressive Values: “All of us, regardless of religion, or no religion are spiritual equals. This is at the core of what it means to be a Muslim, or what it means to be a good and just human being. We must no longer teach or accept the theology of hate, no matter where that hate is directed. I encourage everyone joining us today to do away with the theology of hate, regardless of who you are or what you choose to believe.”
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.