The Quixotic Pastor

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Creating Change, some thoughts

For many, many years now, generally in the last part of January, first part of February, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ["the Task Force"] hosts a gathering of 2000+ national and international activists called Creating Change.

Last week, as a volunteer with a local program of the American Friends Service Committee, I travelled to Denver to this gathering to learn various advocacy skills from experienced activists, to challenge and be challenged, and to look at the intersections between advocacy work for the LGBTQIQAetc community and peace, inclusion and justice work for other communities that suffer under the weight of patriarchy, privatized privilege and poverty.

One trend developing within the Creating Change community that I deeply appreciate --and celebrate that I see it happening with other LGBT advocacy groups as well-- is a new emphasis on LGBT persons reclaiming their spirituality, even their Christian spirituality.

In other words, room is being made at the table for persons of faith in a gathering where religion and spirituality have almost always been suspect. The queer community has tended to assume that, because some religious voices are oppressive, all religious voices are oppressive. Christianity is particularly evil within this paradigm: if some Christians are heterosexist, then all Christians must be. If some Christians are anti-science, anti-intellectual, then all Christians must be ... and so forth and so on.

More than once in my life when people have known I was queer and I came out as a Christian, I have basically been accused of "fraternizing with the enemy" and "demonized" as an oppressor myself.

I am so glad to see that changing for many reasons. When it comes to LGBT civil rights, I think this is of particular importance since so much of the voice of the opposition comes from religious people and organizations who have co-opted the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to serve their own political ends, to exclude those whom they fear and to shore up their own power and privilege.

BTW, one reason why I am reflecting here about this is that I have to submit a report for our program's website about my experiences at Creating Change.


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