Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NGLTF/GLAAD Press Release



Media Contacts:       


Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Manager, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

646.358.1479 (office), 787.602.5954 (cell), pserrano@thetaskforce.org


Ann Craig, Director of Religion Faith and Values, GLAAD

213.703.1365, craig@glaad.org


National faith leaders hold vigil in D.C. to challenge Kansas City evangelist headed to Uganda with anti-gay message


WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Bishops and Elders Council of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force convened this week in Washington, D.C., to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Christian traditions.  In response to a call to action from LGBT leaders in Uganda, they held a noontime vigil, Tuesday, April 27, at the National City Christian Church, to support Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are facing increasing persecution.


Ugandan LGBT people have experienced threats and violence while their national Parliament considers a proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” which would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death. Political and religious leaders across the globe have condemned the proposed legislation but it remains under consideration.


Into this volatile situation, Lou Engle, a Kansas City evangelist is planning a stadium evangelism rally in Uganda.  Engle has a track record of referring to gay people as having demons and preaching a message of God’s wrath.


Last week, leaders of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) issued an action alert which asked leaders in the United States “to take action to ensure that Lou Engle and his associates do not set foot in Uganda….the inflammatory preaching of Lou Engle and his associates is likely to incite further violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.”


Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship, said, “Christians are called to share a message of love and inclusion, not fear and rejection.  Lou Engle is stuck in old-fashioned judgmentalism when the true call is to love our neighbors—whether in Kansas, Washington, D.C. or Uganda.” 


Rev. Roland Stringfellow, United Church of Christ minister said, “It is wrong and dangerous to dehumanize anyone by saying they are demon possessed. Lou Engle needs to preach God’s love and acceptance, not God’s wrath and vengeance.”


“Increasingly, Christians in the United States are accepting their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members.  It is wrong for US evangelists to now go to Uganda and ask them to reject and condemn their own family members—their church members—their neighbors—because of who they love or their gender identity,” said Rev. Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches.


“The Bishops and Elders Council is made up of leaders in over twenty communions and networks that represent over five million Christians who support the core values of our faith—love of God and neighbor—including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Faith Work Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.


Harry Knox, Director of Religion and Faith for the Human Rights Campaign said, “The whole world needs to see another face of Christianity from the United States.  We need to say loudly and clearly that persecution of LGBT people in Uganda is wrong.  In Malawi, in Brazil, in Iran, in Eastern Europe, in Jamaica, in the USA and the whole world, when sexual orientation and gender identity are used to imprison, execute or persecute people, it must stop.  As people of faith, we can come to no other conclusion.”



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