Today, our social consciousness again is awakening to the grave injustice that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans have faced and continue to face because of certain religious teachings which places a stamp of moral condemnation and rejection on their very being, especially LGBT youth.
June 15, 2011 marks the 16-year anniversary of such a moment in the history of one of this nation's largest religious denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), as it acknowledged its role in justifying and promoting prejudice and discrimination toward African-Americans, some of whom are LGBT and continue to experience discrimination from the SBC.
We believe the time is right to move toward reconciliation with the LGBT community. While we cannot make direct comparisons to different forms of discrimination, most Americans today recognize religion-based bigotry is often an unfortunate common denominator in struggles for human dignity and equality.
Next week, as the Southern Baptist Convention holds its annual meeting in Phoenix, we call upon its churches and congregants to recognize how stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against LGBT people has been justified and promoted within its institution and by outside forces working to influence its churches and congregants.
Given the arc of justice and the trajectory of history, there is no doubt the SBC will at some point offer a full apology to the LGBT community. We are hopeful that a process of reconciliation will begin today.