It’s Christmas season, as well as an important time for several other faiths. A time for peace and goodwill to all. So Equal Love Armidale is calling upon the religious faiths and groups of Armidale to address the growing rate of bullying of Same-Sex-Attracted, Gender-Questioning, Intersex, Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay youth at schools and the harassment and violence suffered by people in the community. In order to do this today was posted letters to every mail address we could find for faith groups and leaders in the community. Emails have just been sent out to everyone we found the email address of too. And a press-release sent to radio and newspapers. We hope that they all respond, for it’s not much that is being asked of them, and it’s something very Ethical, very Moral. Read the open letter for yourself, and feel free to pass it on to others.
A call to Armidale’s Churches and Religious Congregations
As we approach Christmas and the end of the school year it’s supposed to be a season of peace, of goodwill to all people, of compassion and giving and reflecting on spiritual virtues. And yet many of us live in a climate of fear all year round, many will be keeping secrets from their families for fear of losing them forever, many schoolchildren over the holidays will be dreading returning to school next year.
Because of bullying and violence faced by those who are or who are perceived to be same-sex attracted, gender questioning, gay lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or Intersex. As evidenced for example in the LaTrobe University Writing Themselves In studies which has found that this bullying and harassment is increasing. The most recent of the series of studies may be downloaded from this address http://www.glhv.org.au/node/657
While religious views on these matters vary from denomination to denomination and with which translation or interpretation of the bible or other faiths holy texts they use I am sure that none of the faiths present in Armidale supports the bullying of children and acts of violence towards people because of their sexuality gender identity or expression which lead so many to attempt suicide.
So the group Equal Love Armidale is calling upon all the Churches and other faith groups of the region to publicly openly specifically condemn the acts of violence harassment and bigotry against GLBTI people, that occur in such high rates, as well as speaking out against all other such violence and harassment in this season.
We do not expect these churches to go against their doctrines on this subject or to support equal rights. We simply ask them to speak out to the community and to their own congregations against the violence, the bullying, the harassment of people who are different.
We ask them to remember the many calls to tolerance of those who are different in the holy texts of the world such as those in the bible like ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, ‘Love thy neighbour as you love yourself’, ‘Vex not a stranger nor oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’, ‘Judge not lest ye yourself be judged’ and the many others.
In this season of goodwill and peace it should be very little to ask that a stand is taken especially against the rising tide of such harmful damaging bullying in schools no matter the doctrine or dogma on the subject and I am sure that every person of decency and faith would agree.
On behalf of Equal Love Armidale