Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Statement from Integrity on Recent Legislation in Indiana

As Integrity's Coordinator for Province V, which encompasses 14 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in six Midwest states, I wish to express my deep sadness over the passage of legislation in Indiana that legitimizes discrimination against LGBTQ persons.

This law arose after the Supreme Court, on October 6, 2014, declined to hear an appeal of the Seventh Circuit Court's decision to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana and four other states.

There are three reasons for my sorrow. Firstly, it is disgraceful to see elected officials enacting laws that provide legal cover to the behavior of individuals whose education or upbringing blind them to the equality of all persons as established by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution.

Secondly, I am distressed by these legislators' justification: that this law in some way "restores" religious "freedoms" that have somehow been lost. Supporters of this law are very careful not to articulate these "freedoms," for obvious reasons: they are the acts that express a moral or genetic superiority over an oppressed minority. Over the years many other groups have been discriminated against, denied equal treatment in housing, service, employment and law enforcement, and made to feel unwelcome in this country by others who are taught to feel somehow superior. As with the first point, this "freedom" to be bigoted is frankly un-American.

Finally, to claim a "right" to discriminate against others on religious grounds offends me. The supporters of this law claim, as I do, to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus disturbed the religious leadership of his time by prioritizing concern for people over regulations and traditions. His only command to us was "to love others as I have loved you". As Christians, we are called to reflect the compassion and mercy toward others that He showed us during His life on earth. The legislation that passed in Indiana serves a different god.

We hope that in the coming weeks and months, this odious law will be repealed or declared unconstitutional. In this regard, we encourage your action to "do Justice". Write your legislators. Recognize and celebrate diversity among our citizenry. As Scripture says, again and again, "Be not afraid".

David Fleer, Integrity Coordinator
Episcopal Province V

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