Faith-based communities can play important role in advocacy for LGBT persons

Dear Editor,

Using the Bible to exclude or attack people is morally unconscionable.

I join in support of the call to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. Saturday’s historic Pride Parade with a resounding call for Human Rights of LGBT persons, showed courageous witness, strength and hope, and is an inspiration and affirmation of sexual diversity as a blessed gift of life. I am appalled at the attacks from persons within the Christian community. We are reminded that at the centre of Christianity is the biblical mandate to love, do justice, seek equality, and act with compassion. 

We read the Bible from various lenses, sometimes with respectful disagreement about the meaning and application of specific texts. However, using the Bible to exclude or attack people violates the very spirit of our traditions and is morally unconscionable. The Gospels do not say much on sex and sexuality but address issues of persons who were marginalized because of their sexual status, showing compassion and a readiness to affirm their place in the work of God. A strong theme in the Gospels is the extent to which the requirements of biblical law come under consistent questioning by Jesus himself.  To follow Jesus means many things but it surely means nothing less than resisting intolerance and injustice, and nurturing communities of life.

Living in a time of rapid social change we are challenged to live faithfully in loving, respectful relationships and to honour the many ways that people live and love. As we move toward a more just society, we approach our texts and traditions with critical reading of the signs of our times and with fresh questions and new understandings. For example, biblical texts that condone slavery, regard women as property, forbid divorce, or equate disease with divine retribution cannot be regarded as authoritative. We honour texts and traditions that invite us to welcome the stranger, love our neighbour as ourselves, and view all people as created in God’s image. Understanding sexual diversity requires a deep connection with the groanings of sexual minorities who are marginalized, castigated and legally unprotected.  We must also be attentive to their wisdom, as well as to findings from the biological and social sciences.

Faith-based communities can play an important role in joining in advocacy for justice and rights, and in providing support and care for LGBT persons, their families and friends. The great Swiss/French Reformer, John Calvin said: “Where God is known, there humanity is also cared for.” Let us seek to be a positive influence in our communities where God is known and our brothers and sisters are cared for.

Yours faithfully,

Rev. Patricia

Sheerattan-Bisnauth

Moderator, East Demerara Parish,

Guyana Presbyterian Church

Executive Director,

Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association

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