May 14, 2013

Including LGBTQ Voices in Interfaith Work

My home state of Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage today. (And yes, my grandmother has already called to say that I "can move home now.") While I celebrate this sign of social progress, there is still much work to be done. In this spirit, my new piece for HuffPost Religion and Interfaith Youth Core calls for interfaith advocates to include LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) voices in their efforts to promote pluralism. Check out an excerpt below, and click here to read it in full.

As an atheist and interfaith activist, much of my work focuses on advocating for the inclusion of nonreligious voices in interfaith dialogue. But a related—and, for me, equally urgent—push for inclusion can be found in efforts to welcome LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people into interfaith spaces. I am passionate about LGBTQ acceptance, and I am passionate about interfaith cooperation. In my eyes, these passions are not in tension; they are intimately connected.

In Faitheist, I write about times that I experienced exclusion and demonization for being an atheist, and also times I was attacked for being queer. I included both to highlight the reality that fear of the “other” has frequently pushed me, and many others, to the margins of our society—this includes atheists and agnostics, but also LGBTQ people, Muslims, Sikhs, women, and many others. Interfaith work, which brings together people from diverse communities to better understand one another and build inter-community networks that advocate for the dignity of all people, must necessarily welcome all people.

Click here to continue reading.