Opposing HB2

intersection

Why Orange Durham Americans United will fight against HB2:

HB2 is a law in NC that requires people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. The justification of the law was made as a “public safety issue.” Now the state of NC is on a list of place to boycott.  The entire state.

 

  • When NC Senator Buck Newton announced HB2 – he said “Keep NC Straight” showing that the law is not about protecting anyone, it is about vilifying the LGBTQ community. Divide and conquer.
  • #ProtectThyNeighbor is a program within Americans United to stand up against hate and bigotry toward marginalized groups.
  • When the law was championed, clergy from the religious right were present with law-makers to show their support. We are working to organize clergy in opposition to the law.
  • Biblical literalist religious dogma requires a horrific view of any expression of
    homosexuality
    other than chastity.
  • Biblical literalists reject the classical American commitment to equality of all citizens before the law and in society. Fundamentalist faith justifies an exclusivist and punitive attitude to LGBTQ citizens and works to codify that into law.
  • HB2 is not only an attempt to deny basic rights of these citizens, it also wants to forbid local communities from protecting those rights.  This is clearly a law based on fundamentalist religious dogma, a quasi establishment of religion.

Getting Souls to the Polls

Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred

September 20-23, 2016

The polarization of our nation during this election year has been perplexing and often painful. Join The NC Council of Churches, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and other faith leaders to discuss the intersection of politics and religion and ways to provide a faithful witness in your own community.

Topics Will Include:

  • What can I legally discuss with my faith community as its leader?
  • What pending legislation could affect the church and state relationship?
  • How can I continue to advocate for the good of all, especially the “least of these”?

Registration is $15 to cover coffee, lunch, and snacks.

Please use this link, which includes payment options: http://goo.gl/forms/XHtkxlxcq6x2LA2u1

Or call the NC Council of Churches at: 919-828-6501

 

Workshop Dates and Locations

GREENVILLE – Tuesday, September 20, 10 am – 2 pm

@ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 401 East 4th Street

DURHAM – Wednesday, September 21, 10 am – 2 pm

@ First Presbyterian, 305 East Main Street

CHARLOTTE – Thursday, September 22, 10 am – 2 pm

@ Selwyn Presbyterian, 2929 Selwyn Avenue

ASHEVILLE – Friday, September 23, 10 am – 2 pm

@ First United Church of Christ, 20 Oak Street

Taking Our Pulse

It has been excruciating to watch the news streaming from Orlando in the aftermath of the horrific slaughter of innocents early Sunday morning at the night club, Pulse.  All of the mass killings have touched me deeply: Sandy Hook, Paris, Santa Bernardino, Columbine…  This one, however, elicits a unique breadth of pain and dread.  It is an election year and the polarization in America is deep and seems intractable.

Already the President is being castigated for not calling the attack “radical Islamic terrorism.”  And, of course, the NRA will chant, “if someone in the crowd had a gun they could have taken him down.” Blame the victims?  We learned almost immediately that the killer had a license to own the weapons and got them legally, and that he was mentally unstable but had never seen any mental health provider.  No existing or proposed gun laws would have prevented him from doing what he did.  We can’t regulate ourselves out of the morass of distrust and hatred into which we have been dragged, though we must not stop trying.

Further, this is not about the faith of Islam.  I have participated in numbers of inter-faith dialogues, and every Muslim I know is devastated about this massacre, and doubly so: it reflects wrongly and badly on the character of their faith and further alienates many persons of shallow spirit.  We even have an aspiring leader of the nation who gloats that he was right about Islamic terrorism, and scores of political opportunists who will try to capitalize on it.

At the heart of it all is the religious and cultural disdain and hatred of LGBTQ persons.  Two hundred anti-LGBT laws have been introduced in our legislatures, and not by Muslims!  How can we make light of our nation’s founding principle that all are created equal and endowed by the Creator with life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?  Is America sick?  It is time to take our national, ethical and spiritual pulse.

Rev. Rollin Russell
Hillsborough, NC

Off The Rails

Our state elected leaders have really gone off the rails this time. No, I am not referring to the beleaguered legislature’s bizarre HB#2. This time it’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He has sent a letter on his official state letterhead inviting himself to churches to “share my faith story, as well as share how my relationship with God impacts my family, career, and everyday decisions.” He says he has done this previously and is happy to give other churches the opportunity to hear and converse with him. It is a finger in the eye to federal law, which bars tax-exempt groups from intervening in partisan politics.

Forest goes on to suggest a format for such a visit: “invite me to attend a Sunday service at your church, . . . have me on stage side-by-side with you (the pastor) and you conduct a Q and A session.” Never mind that he is running for re-election. Does he not know that to do as he suggests would place any such church in possible violation of the Internal Revenue Code and endanger its tax exemption? Doesn’t he know that churches, like most non-profit groups, are forbidden to engage in partisan political activity? Of course he does. He and the church groups to which he panders want to have their tax-exempt cake and eat it too.

I doubt that any Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mennonite, Lutheran, United Church of Christ or Unitarian churches will receive Forest’s letter, much less Jewish synagogues or Islamic mosques. He is wooing a particular evangelical-fundamentalist constituency, not the majority of Christian churches or religious groups. The former all know the truth that was recently so well expressed by their national leaders in “A Statement of Faithful Obedience:”

“When entering the public sphere, faith leaders must take care to avoid being used by politics or politicians, or to allow their faith to be exploited for partisan causes or their faith communities turned into mere political constituencies.”

Perfectly stated. The lieutenant governor has gone off the rails and should be ashamed.

Rev. Rollin Russell
Orange-Durham Chapter
Americans United for Separation of Church and State