I spent a good chunk of my college career working on different interfaith committees – primarily focusing on LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces and the sanctuary movement. As someone who had very little experience with different faith backgrounds and had until then really rejected religion and faith, my experiences then truly opened me up to the idea that God is love and that faith communities should be the cornerstone of community and support.
There are so many people, myself included, who have internalized the idea that it’s inherently contradictory to be queer and of faith and internalized the idea that God hates queer people. It took me a really long time to fully untangle all the harmful things I had internalized while at Catholic school and it was really through the examples of the people I met that I was able to do that. And it’s also people like John Pavlovitz that helped; he wrote recently about why being LGBTQ+ is “God’s best” for LGBTQ+ people.
Faithfully LGBT is a project from Eliel Cruz, a writer, activist, and bisexual Seventh Day Adventist. The project is a photo series of people who are both LGBT and of faith – various orientations, identities, and faith communities so far have been represented. The Community of Welcoming Congregations is another group – it’ a regional organization from the Oregon and Southwest Washington area that works on interfaith ministry and advocacy.
There are other interfaith groups that work on other issues as well – the new sanctuary movement for example. Immigration has been a hot button issue for quite some time now, especially with Trump wanting to build a wall between the US and Mexico, President Obama deporting more immigrants than any other commander in chief, and the Syrian refugee crisis. But many churches all around the nation have been participating in the sanctuary movement and providing shelter to those facing deportation from ICE.
The movement uses the government’s longstanding unofficial policy of not raiding schools, churches, and hospitals against ICE as a way to at least temporarily shelter undocumented immigrants. And there are organizations like the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) that support churches and immigrants and advocate for immigration reform. IMIrJ is also involved in the Mother’s Day Vigil outside of the Northwest Detention Center that I mentioned yesterday.
These are just two things that faith groups and leaders around the US and the world are doing. Many faith leaders are saying that black lives matter and that intersectionality is still important. There are others that work on supporting those struggling with food insecurity and even more working on workers’ rights. It’s easy to sit back and worship once a week. But for me, seeing all the faith in action is truly what it means to serve God.