Inclusive Justice and MUUSJN receive $25,000 HOPE Fund grant
Michigan ranks among 15 states with lowest LGBT equality ratings.
There is a need for a more balanced LGBT awareness within faith communities, who are respected as having moral authority by the public. This Project will work to mobilize faith community support, to educate the public on issues and to create an atmosphere that supports fair treatment and civil rights for Michigan’s LGBT community.
Education within faith communities is a strategy to help persuade the “movable middle” to affirm the dignity of LGBT persons.
A $25,000 grant provided by the HOPE Fund, through the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan will help enable these two organizations to develop an LGBT awareness model program targeted to faith groups in Southeast Michigan.
Inclusive Justice/Together in Faith, a statewide interfaith LGBT welcoming and advocacy organization, and Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN), a statewide faith based advocacy group, have been leaders in educating and activating clergy and people of faith throughout Michigan to become responsive and engaged in local and statewide LGBT rights.
Can we help your faith community?
Do you have concerns on how to better welcome all people into your faith community?
Are you struggling with scripture and how it applies to LGBT people?
Do you know how to offer the best hospitality to all couples?
Are you ready for marriage equality?
We have a group of experienced speakers and workshop leaders who are available to work with you and with your faith community. More information can be found here.
Statement on Judge Cox’s ruling
In August of 2016, a federal judge in Michigan, U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, ruled that a Detroit-area funeral services provider, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, was in the clear for firing a transgender employee, because their discriminatory actions were protected under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The employee lost her job just weeks after informing her bosses that she was transitioning.
Members of Inclusive Justice, a Michigan organization of faith leaders and people of faith who affirm the worth and dignity of all people, deeply deplore this ruling. Denying the rights of transgender people to employment creates unnecessary harm for a community of people who are just as deserving of the means to provide for themselves and their families as anyone else. Additionally, the ruling opens a Pandora’s Box, allowing employers to essentially ignore civil rights laws and discriminate against individuals if they claim it is because of sincerely held religious beliefs. Going down this path puts many Americans at heightened risk of discrimination – including single moms, unmarried couples, LGBT people, religious minorities and many more.
“I affirm and support the rights of trans and gender non-conforming individuals,” says the Rev. Beth Rakestraw, Inclusive Justice Co-Chair and Pastor of Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church, “precisely because of my deeply held Christian religious beliefs, not in spite of them. Using religion as an excuse to cause harm to anyone fails to meet the commandments found in several sacred texts, including the Bible, to love one’s neighbor and to extend hospitality to especially the strangers in our midst.”
Inclusive Justice commits itself anew to affirming and supporting members of the trans and gender non-conforming community by co-hosting with The National LGBTQ Taskforce an event designed to organize faith-based allies who believe that discrimination against trans people is wrong.